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You know the old adage about how to know when a politician is lying (his lips are moving)? Well, there’s just as easy a way to know whether or not your preacher is a prophet sent from God or is a false prophet (that is, not sent from God).
If you spend any time at all in Christian circles, you’ll know that preachers are a dime a dozen and that more are popping up each day. People being enthusiastic about God and Jesus is not a bad thing, but if their enthusiasm is for other purposes than teaching and preaching God’s Word, then what you’re dealing with is likely a false prophet.
There are as many ways to discern whether a prophet is false as there are false prophets, but three of the easiest ways are listed below. If your preachers fail one or more of these “false prophet litmus tests”, it’s best to steer clear of them, even if you’ve grown to like or depend on them. (more…)
When we were little kids, we learned simple songs. The songs had at most a dozen notes in an easy-to-reach range, a simple and catchy tune, and lyrics that didn’t always make sense but were easy to remember. Think “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. We sang these songs at daycare or at school or with our mother at home. Sometimes we’d sing them quietly to ourselves if we were sad or scared, as a way to recall happier times and comfort ourselves. They were as much a part of our lives as play time, snack time, and bedtime. They became part of us and still are part of us today.
I mention these childhood songs because, as born-again believers, we need to learn a new song. We’re old enough now to choose the notes ourselves, but the lyrics should go like this: (more…)
Jesus said: “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Jesus said: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus also said: “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Without a doubt, and from the evidence of Jesus’ own words, God’s prophesied Kingdom has come. It was heralded by Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, who is now ruling over the Kingdom from the right hand of the Father. God’s Kingdom – the Age of the Messiah – is here and now and has been for the past nearly 2000 years. Those of us who are born again are priests and prophets in the Kingdom. We are protected from our spiritual enemies. We live in profound peace that the world cannot match. The Kingdom cannot be taken away, as it is an eternal Kingdom and our enemies are under our feet. They must steer clear of us and have no jurisdiction over us. We truly are free in that we live free of fear within God’s perfect protection. These are promises made by God through his Old Testament prophets, and all these promises have come true in Jesus and through Jesus in the very present Messianic Age. (more…)
One of the most perplexing (to me) statements made by Christians is “God needs me”. They usually use it within the context of God needing them to do something for the Kingdom, such as street ministry work or going on an overseas mission or doing volunteer work at a local church. Yes, God invites us to help him with his ongoing work of saving souls, but he doesn’t need us. We need him. (more…)
I was baptized a Catholic when I was about a month old. I went on to “receive” my First Holy Communion (at age 7, wearing a red mini-dress and fishnet stockings), after which I declared myself an atheist, and that was that. I was pulled from weekly religion classes and didn’t darken a church doorway again for decades.
Fast-forward nearly 30 years. I was born again on a deserted beach in South Australia. Knowing next to nothing about Christianity, I figured I was still somehow a Catholic, so I started attending Catholic mass every day (twice on Sundays) and was “confirmed” (a Catholic rite of passage) a few years later. I even considered becoming a nun.
Then one day while I was sitting all alone in a church after mass, God opened my eyes to the truth about Catholicism (that it’s not Christianity), and within a minute I was out the door. That was 16 years ago and haven’t been back since.
Here’s what God showed me that day: (more…)
I’ve been doing a deep reading of the book of Jeremiah over the past week, along with supplementary historical information.
It is very sobering stuff.
Jeremiah is the Old Testament prophet who spent his life warning his people that they had strayed far from God’s ways and in so doing were setting themselves up for God’s unique, inescapable, perfect and perfectly timed brand of punishment.
Most of the people not only did not heed Jeremiah’s warnings, but some even went so far as to imprison him and try to kill him, just to shut him up.
Jeremiah survived the imprisonments and attempts on his life, and then went on to see his warnings come true in the form of a great slaughter of his people at the hands of the Babylonians (modern-day Iraqis) and the total destruction of Jerusalem, including the first temple. Nearly 600 years later, a few decades after Jesus’ crucifixion, there was another great slaughter and destruction, this time at the hands of the Romans, who also razed the second temple to the ground. God had warned, through Jeremiah: “If they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation.”
That he did, and that he has done. (more…)
I can imagine that if Jesus went to the pubs today, he wouldn’t go there on Friday or Saturday nights, when they’re loud and crowded with people having a few rounds with their buddies and relaxing after a long week of work or classes. No, Jesus would go to the pubs on Sunday nights or Monday nights or Tuesday nights, when they’re deathly quiet and the real drinkers are there, propped up on the bar or hidden in far corners, alone, and nursing pint after pint.
Pubs are dreary places on “off nights”. As an atheist, I used to work in bars, and no-one wanted to take the “off-night” shifts. A pall hangs over the place, no matter how loud or lively the music. It echoes around the empty space and back at you as you keep yourself busy wiping tables and stocking the fridge, praying for the front door to swing open and a massive crowd to sweep in. That prayer was never answered. (more…)