Tag Archives: wisdom

The Heavy Weight…

When Jacob’s ten eldest sons left Canaan for Egypt, guilt weighed heavily on each of them.  Foremost in their hearts and minds was the image of their father, so frail and old now, with fear for his youngest son, Benjamin etched in his face, as he refused to let him travel with them.  Their father had been such a strong and vital part of their lives, as he cared for them and their mothers over the years.  He had always had such a strong, unshakable faith in El Shaddai, but in the years since Joseph’s death, even his faith seemed to have failed him.

Nothing had worked out as they had imagined it would.  Their evil actions hadn’t brought them more of their father’s love, without Joseph there to steal it.  Instead, it had brought them more pain and loneliness.  Instead of earning their father’s undivided love, they had earned his fear and distrust, as well as a heavy burden of guilt, like a massive weight that threatened to break them, as they carried it with them everywhere they went.  Indeed, in the twenty years since they had sinned against their brother, Joseph, their burdens had only grown heavier.

When they entered into Egypt, they learned that they would have to ask Egypt’s governor to allow them to purchase the grain needed for their families to survive, due to the severity of the famine.  Therefore, they lined up, behind the others who had gathered to collect the much needed grain.  Finally, after waiting for many long hours, the ten brothers stood before the governor of Egypt, and immediately dropped to their knees and bowed before him.

Joseph, the governor, paled at the sight of his ten older brothers, bowing down before him.  He recognized them instantly, and caught his breath, as his heart pounded furiously within his chest. It felt like it might break free from his ribs.  As the lump in his throat grew, Joseph fought the tears that threatened to spill.  Looking at them now, bowed down before him, he couldn’t help but remember the dreams he’d had as a youth, in which, his brothers had bowed down to him.

Struggling to pull himself together, Joseph’s voice was harsh as he spoke to his brothers, “Where are you from?”

“We come from the land of Canaan,” they replied.  “We have come to buy food.”

Although he had immediately recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize Joseph, and why should they?  In their minds, they imagined that he had probably died, or at the very least, was still a slave to a foreign master.  Joseph didn’t reveal himself to his brothers.  Instead, he pretended to be a stranger, and said to them, “You are spies!  You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.”

How rigidly he must have held himself, so as not to break down in front of these brothers that he had loved as a child, only to be betrayed by them when he was just a teenager.  Beloved reader, have you known the pain of betrayal at the hands of a family member?  If so, surely you can understand how difficult it must have been for Joseph to maintain control of his emotions.  How conflicted he must have felt.  For, on the one hand, he loved these brothers, and he must have longed for news of their family.  Yet, on the other hand, he must have felt an intense explosion of rage welling up within him, to see his betrayers, for the first time in twenty years.

Proverbs 29:11
Complete Jewish Bible

A fool gives vent to all his feelings,
    but the wise, thinking of afterwards, stills them.

Fear gripped the brothers’ hearts, and they quickly responded to Joseph’s accusation, “No, my lord!  Your servants have simply come to buy food.  We are all brothersmembers of the same family.  We are honest men, sir!  We are not spies!”

Joseph continued his charade.  “Yes, you are!  You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become,” he insisted.

“Sir,” the brothers replied, desperate to make him understand, “there are actually twelve of us.  We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan.  Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.”

Still, Joseph insisted, “As I said, you are spies!  This is how I will test your story.  I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here!  One of you must go and get your brother.  I’ll keep the rest of you here in prison.  Then we’ll find out whether or not your story is true.  By the life of Pharaoh, if it turns out that you don’t have a younger brother, then I’ll know you are spies.”

So, Joseph put them all in prison for three days.  How tormented he must have been, as all of the emotions that he thought were long gone, came rushing over him.  It was like reliving his brothers’ betrayal and brutality all over again.  How he must have cried out to ‘Elyon, to strengthen him, and give him wisdom.

Psalm 3
New King James

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

On the third day of their imprisonment, Joseph spoke to them again.  “Look, I am a God-fearing man.  If you do as I say, you will live.  If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison.  The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families.  But you must bring your youngest brother back to me.  This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.”  The brothers agreed to Joseph’s terms.

Speaking among themselves, the weight of their burden of guilt was evident, when they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph, long ago.  We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen.  That’s why we’re in this trouble.”

Tears ran down Reuben’s face, as he asked, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?  But you wouldn’t listen.  And now we have to answer for his blood!”

His brothers, who still didn’t know Joseph’s true identity, had no way of knowing that he understood every word that they had spoken, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter.  Upon hearing his brothers’ words, he turned and walked away from them and began to weep.  The emotions, and the weight he had been carrying for more than twenty years, was simply too much to bear, as his brothers openly spoke of his betrayal.

So deep was their own fear and anguish, that the brothers took no notice when Joseph turned away from them.  They were all lost in the midst of a storm that had been brewing for more than twenty years.  When Joseph regained his composure, he spoke to them again, and chose Simeon from among them.  He ordered Simeon to be tied up before their eyes.

Then, Joseph ordered his servants to fill his brothers’ sacks with grain.  He also gave them secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack, and he gave them supplies for their journey home.  So, although ten brothers had started on the journey to Egypt, only nine returned home, and the weight they carried grew heavier with each step…

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Overview of Ephesians

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Road in Ephesus

Praise the Lord! Yesterday, I wrote an introduction to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and today, before we begin to really dig in to this message, we’re going to do an overview, of it and answer the five W’s about Ephesians. Therefore, let’s dig in and discover the answers to our questions.

Before we begin this overview of Ephesians, let’s ask our Father in heaven to open the eyes of our hearts…

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for leading us in this walk through Your word. I pray Lord, for each person who joins in this study of Ephesians, that You would open the eyes of our heart, and that as we begin to understand this message, our hearts  would hunger to know You better.

Lord, I pray that we would love You more, and that we will gain wisdom through Your word. I also pray that as our love for You increases, our love for mankind would increase as well, in Jesus’ name. Lord, reveal Yourself to us through Your holy word in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Before we get started on the overview, I encourage you to read the book of Ephesians. It really isn’t that long (just 6 chapters), and it will help you to answer the five W’s for yourself. Below are the links to each chapter…

Image Credit: Ephesus Theatre wanderingdanny.com
Image Credit:
Ephesus Theatre
wanderingdanny.com

The above links will take you to Bible Gateway, and if you sign in, you will discover that there are many study tools that you may use. While I’m reading, I like to highlight the verses that answer the five W’s in one color. Later, I may go back and highlight the key verse in each chapter, or sometimes, key words. You can always undo this, if you like, but I find this method of studying really helps me. Therefore, I urge you to click the links above, and keeping in mind the five W’s we learned in yesterday’s Introduction to Ephesians, highlight your answers to those questions as you go along…

  1. Who?  Paul wrote the Ephesians Epistle (epistle is a letter) to the Ephesian believers…
    1. Who wrote the book/letter?
      1. This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1a  NLT ~
      2. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      3. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
    2. To Whom was the book/letter written?
      1. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1b  NLT ~
      2. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. ~ Ephesians 1: 13  NLT ~
      3. Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. ~ Ephesians 2:11  NLT ~
      4. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and peace to the Jews who were near. ~ Ephesians 2:17  NLT ~
      5. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. ~ Ephesians 2:19  NLT ~
      6. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:22  NLT ~
      7. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      8. … assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending His grace to you Gentiles. ~ Ephesians 3:2  NLT ~
      9. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      10. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. ~ Ephesians 5:1  NLT ~
  2. WhatPaul wrote this letter to the Ephesians to both encourage the Ephesians, by reminding them that God chose them before the foundations of the earth were laid. He also wanted to encourage them to lead a life worthy of their calling. Also, by reinforcing how they were saved, and how they are to live as Christians, Paul also warns the Ephesian believers against false teachings, encouraging them to be ready to battle the enemy at all times…
    1. What did the author hope to accomplish by writing this book/letter?
      1. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. ~ Ephesians 1:4  NLT ~
      2. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      3. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. ~ Ephesians 6:12  NLT ~
  3. WhenPaul wrote this Epistle to the Ephesians between 60-62 A.D., while he was imprisoned in Rome.
    1. When was the book/letter written?
      1. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      2. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      3. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him, as I should. ~ Ephesians 6:20  NLT ~
  4. Where
    1. Where was the book/letter sent? As we stated earlier, Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesian believers, where he had spent three years, establishing a church.
      1. This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1  NLT ~
    2. Where was the book/letter written? As we’ve already established, Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians from his Roman prison (Ephesians 3:1, 4:1 and 6:20). 
  5. Why?  The purpose is so all of God’s children will praise and glorify Him.
    1. Why did the author of the book/letter write it? 
      1. 12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.

This concludes the overview of Ephesians. We will begin studying Ephesians 1 in my next post, line by line and precept upon precept. I look forward to studying with you again soon! Meanwhile, please join me as we close this post with a prayer to the Almighty.

Father, thank You so much for sending Your word to us. I pray Lord, that You would speak to each person who reads and joins this study, and that we would be drawn ever closer to You. Holy Spirit, You are the great teacher, so please Lord, teach us, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Tongues of Men and of Angels

Daily Post: Take That, Rosetta!

by Ben Huberman on February 10, 2014

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TONGUE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 — NASB ~

Image Credit: getacoder.com
Image Credit:
getacoder.com

If I could wake up tomorrow with the ability to speak any language that I am not currently able to speak, I would want to speak in the one universal language that is understood by every human being — the language of love. Although each of us is born with the capacity to understand this language, sadly, we aren’t born with the ability to speak it. Indeed, very few people ever truly learn the language, and though we were born with the ability to understand love, by the time we reach adulthood, most people have a distorted view of what love is.

Before one can truly speak the language of love, he/she needs to understand exactly what love is. To gain an understanding of what love is, we first need to wipe the slate of our minds clean from the lies we’ve been led to believe from the time we were children. You see, love has nothing to do with the gifts people bestow upon you, although many have come to equate love with that. If love was about the presents given to us at Christmas, then those who are too poor to afford gifts would be unable to love, and that certainly isn’t true, now, is it?

Image Credit: easy4us.wordpress.com
Image Credit:
easy4us.wordpress.com

Love also has nothing to do with sex, although many people have given their bodies to others in the name of love. Now, I’m not saying that sex is evil, or that no one having sex loves his/her partner. What I am saying is that many people have sex without loving the person they are with. Those who pay for prostitutes feel no love for the person they are paying to have sex with them, and likewise, the prostitute feels no love for the person he/she is charging to have sex with  him/her. 

Also, there are people who move from one lover to another, over and over again. This is not love. Love is not a temporary or fleeting emotion, regardless of what you may have experienced or seen on television, or in your life, or the lives of others. This is what true love is…

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 — NASB ~

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Image Credit:
truthforlife.org

Love is patient. That means no matter how many times the person I love irritates me, I will still love that person. What’s more, because I love this person, I will learn to control my temper. Because I love someone, I will forgive him/her when they wrong me, calmly enduring any pain he/she may cause me. Because I love this person, I will strive to be understand him/her, and why he/she acts out in certain ways. This is an example of true love, but there is more…

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Image Credit:
QuotesDonkey.com

Love is kind and is not jealous. For every man or woman who has ever had a  jealous boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse, read those words again. Love is kind and is not jealous. If there is someone in your life who is jealous of other people who love you, understand this… jealousy is not love. And for those reading this post who are jealous of your significant other’s loved ones, I’ll say it again, jealousy is not love. Jealousy is not a proof of your love for someone, or their love for you. Jealousy is evil. Jealousy destroys relationships. Jealousy destroys people. Jealousy can kill.

Love is kind. To love someone is to be tenderhearted toward him/her. To love someone is to put that person before yourself. To love someone is to treat them the way you would like to be treated. Love is kind.

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Image Credit:
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Love does not brag and is not arrogant. Are you getting this? If someone claims to love you, and then puts you down, he/she does not love you. If someone says that he/she loves you, and treats you as anything less than his/her equal, then this person does not love you. If this person brags about him/herself, and thinks more of  him/herself than he/she thinks of you, this is not love. 

Love does not act unbecomingly. Love is not boastful or proud or rude. If someone treats you disrespectfully, this is not love. This bears repeating, because sadly, many people are confused about this. When someone treats you with disrespect, or as though you are less than him/her, no matter what they may claim, they are not acting in love.

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Image Credit:
kerenthrelfall.com

Love does not seek its own. Love does not seek its own way. When you love someone, do you have to have your own way? Are you willing to let the person you say you love have his/her own way? Or do you demand your own way? If you always demand your own way or the highway, then you do not love. If the person you are with always demands his/her own way, the he/she is not loving.

Love is not provoked. Is the person who claims to love you easily angered? Do you walk around on pins and needles because you fear angering this person? Are you  easily angered by the ones you say you love? Do others tread carefully when they are around you, fearful of your anger? If so, my friend, this is not how love acts. Remember, love is patient and kind.

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Image Credit:
DNA Connexions

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Do you remember every wrong done to you by the person you say you love? When you and this person have a disagreement, do you throw other wrongdoings in their face, even though you say you’ve forgiven them? Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. True love forgives completely, and though it is very hard to forget, we must choose not to remember, if we truly love someone.

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Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Now this is really difficult, because our human nature likes to see others get what’s coming to them. It’s very natural for us to want to see someone get the punishment they deserve, and yet, if we want to walk in love and if we want to speak the language of love, then we can’t rejoice in another person’s suffering, not even if they deserve it. We can and should rejoice when the truth comes out, this is good and right. But there’s a fine line between rejoicing in the truth and rejoicing in someone’s suffering. If someone commits a crime against you or someone you love, and that person is brought to trial and found guilty by the jury, rejoice because the truth came out, and this is good. BUT we must not rejoice because the person will now have to suffer for his/her crime. To truly love and speak the language of love is indeed difficult, which is why so many choose not to love, but the rewards of truly loving far outweigh the cost.

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Image Credit:
Christianbook.com

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. To truly walk in love, means that we must bear all things… No matter how difficult it is to love someone, no matter how mean or contrary the person may be, if I want to speak the language of love, I must be willing to bear their abuse, believing and hoping that all things will work together for my good, because I love God and He has called me according to His purpose, and therefore, come what may, I will endure all things. The best example of true love that I can think of is the example Jesus gave us.

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

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, 8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:1-11 — NLT ~

Every word Jesus spoke, every breath He took, every glance He gave, was done in love. He alone, was able to speak the language of love fluently, without a flaw. In fact, it is only in His name that anyone is able to truly speak this language, which has very little to do with the words we speak, and everything to do with our actions. 

You ask me what language I would speak, and my answer is the ancient language of love. “Why?” you ask, and my answer is, “Because God first loved me, so I want to love Him and others, with that same love.” What is the first thing I would do with my new linguistic skills? I would seek the bitterest, most unlovable, hopeless person, and I would begin to demonstrate the love that Jesus gave me… the love that I described above. 

Lord, hear my prayer and let me love others as You love them, with the love that You have given me. Let me speak to them with the tongues of love. Let me demonstrate that love to them by being patient and kind to them. Help me not to be jealous or boastful or arrogant. And help me not to be rude or disrespectful to them. Father, help me not to seek my own way, rather, help me to submit to others. And Lord, help me not to be easily provoked or to take into account the wrongs others may do to me. And Father, please help me not to rejoice in unrighteousness, but instead, teach me to rejoice with the truth. Strengthen me and help me to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things, just as Jesus did when He suffered and died on the cross for my sins. Lord, let my love for others never fail, just as Your love never fails, never gives up and never runs out on me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

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

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

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

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

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

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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 ~

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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.

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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 ~

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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?

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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

Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead

"Let the dead bury their own dead."
“Let the dead bury their own dead.”

21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

~ Matthew 8:21-22 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg
Image Credit:
http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg

What do you think when you read this scripture? Does it sound harsh to you? Does it seem like Jesus is being really cold in light of the pain the disciple must be feeling at the death of his father? I always struggled with that passage, and I’ll be honest with you, I prayed the Lord would give me the wisdom to understand this and to share it with you (and me too!).

And then I started thinking about it, and the Lord opened my eyes as He taught me… Let’s take note of the first thing that Jesus says to the man — “Follow Me…” Think about it. Jesus commanded the disciple to follow Him. He gives us the same command today, and we must make a choice. Will we follow Him? Or will we go our own way?

“Follow Me”, Jesus commands us, and we mustn’t let anything get in the way of this command. We must choose to follow Him, no matter what our circumstances are. If all is well, we must follow Jesus. If it seems as though all hell has broken loose, we must follow Jesus. Our lives depend on obeying this command to follow Jesus.

Now think about this, Jesus is LIFE, and this disciple wanted to leave LIFE, to go and be with his dead father. Yes, this was his father, but his father was dead. Really, there was nothing more that could be done for his father, but there was every reason for him to follow the One in whom there was LIFE.

4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

~ John 1:4-5 — NKJV ~

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

~ John 11:25-26 — NKJV ~

Let’s look at the passage of scripture we are studying again…

21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 8:21-22 — NKJV ~

When I read this passage now, I see the harshness of Jesus’ response borne out of love for His disciple. The disciple wanted to leave Christ to bury a dead man first. Think about it… Not only was this disciple putting something else ahead of the Lord, he was putting a dead man ahead of Him!

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if I were dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”

~ Revelation 1:17-18 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg
Image Credit:
http://followpurity.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jesus-hand.jpg

This disciple wanted to put a dead man ahead of the One who is the First and the Last. He was going to put a dead man, who had already lived his life — “Yes,” you may say, “but this was the man’s father!” — ahead of the One who holds the keys of death and the grave. Yes, although the dead man was the disciple’s father, he was dead. There was nothing more he could do for his father, because he was no longer among the living. What remained was the disciple, and the choice he made would determine whether he would be among the living or the dead.

Jesus’ statement, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead,” reminds me of one of my favorite passages in Deuteronomy 15, when Moses addresses the people of Israel, giving them the choice between life and death. I believe that this was Jesus’ message to His disciple and to every other man, woman and child who would follow, that they too must make a choice…

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

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

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

~ Deuteronomy 30:15-20 — NLT ~

Don’t you see the choice Jesus gave the young man? “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” We can follow Him and let the dead bury their own dead, or we can leave Him to be with the dead… When He says, “Follow Me,” I can almost hear Him saying, just as Moses said to the children of Israel, “Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” And now, after praying and meditating on this word, it no longer seems as though Jesus is being harsh. This passage is just another example of the wonderful, matchless and unmerited love of Christ for each and every one of us.

© 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