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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…)
So where are we now, as Christians? Where is Christianity in the great continuum of belief systems?
I’ll tell you where it is – it’s exactly where Judaism was when Jesus showed up to destroy it for being a pile of hogwash that had no connection to God’s Word and was based on “doctrines of man” rather than God’s principles. That’s where Christianity is today – based on doctrines of man. And just like the Jews in Jesus’ day thought that being Jewish (that is, being children of Abraham) was enough to give them entrance to God’s Kingdom, most Christians today also think that being Christian and “having faith” is enough to win them a one-way all-expenses-paid forever holiday in Paradise. They believe this because that’s what they’ve been taught to believe, even though it’s not in the Bible.
I know most of you don’t want to hear this, but nearly everything you’ve been told in mainstream Christian churches is a lie. You’ve been lied to by people who are not born again, don’t know God as their Father, aren’t filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and don’t follow Jesus as their example. How can they possibly teach you God’s Truth if they don’t know God and don’t have God’s Spirit to guide them? (more…)
When Jesus invites all those who are “heavily burdened” to come to him, he is talking about more than just the burdens of this world. Yes, everyday life can be a heavy burden in itself, with increasing debts and expenses, difficult relationships, and too many things to do within too short a time, but Jesus was also and perhaps more specifically referring to heavy spiritual burdens, as things of the spirit were his specialty. In most cases, if we resolve our spiritual burdens, our worldly burdens are also resolved.
One aspect of a heavy spiritual burden can be found quite literally in the heavy weight of demonic oppression that occurs during sleep paralysis. I have not personally experienced it myself since being born-again 20 years ago, but prior to that, sleep paralysis was nearly a nightly event. The demons that attended on me had a field day all night. (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 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…)
Being a Christian living in a non-Christian world surrounded by people doing non-Christian things can be quite appalling at times. Try telling an unbeliever not to do something because it’s wrong, and watch the initial look of surprise turn into a snarl and the snarl turn into a spiritual lunge.
I remember snarling and lunging when I was an atheist. I took great pride in doing what I knew was wrong. Sometimes I did it deviously, so that no-one knew, and sometimes I did it “loud and proud” so that everyone would know. Then, when I was born again, all of the advice that I used to snarl at became my default position. No-one had to teach me that abortion or homosexuality or promiscuity were wrong; I just knew it, from one second to the next. Jesus tells us that we won’t have to go to believers and tell them “don’t do this” and “don’t do that”, because they will all be taught by God.
Telling unbelievers that abortion is murder or that living with someone you’re not married to is wrong is essentially swatting at spiritual flies. You tend to make yourself more of a fly target when you swat at them. They don’t go away, and they call in reinforcements to harass you. You accomplish nothing except to make yourself frustrated and fly-ridden. (more…)