Discernment — Post by Michael J. Findley

 

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Why do good people make bad decisions? Dear friends, stop believing every spirit. Instead, test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and rotten tree cannot produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire. So by their fruit you will know them.
Matthew 7:15-20

Based on a friend’s recommendation, I attempted to watch a trailer of the movie The Shack. Do evangelical/fundamental Christians not understand that portraying God as a woman is sin? God does not appear to us any way we choose to imagine. That is not the God of the Bible. That is a god of our own imagination.

Then God spoke all these words:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt—from the house of slavery. You are to have no other gods as a substitute for me. You are not to craft for yourselves an idol or anything resembling what is in the skies above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water sources under the earth. You are not to bow down to them in worship of serve them, because I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the guilt of parents on children, to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing gracious love to the thousands of love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:1-6

This is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, break their pillars, cut down their ritual pillars, and burn their cared idols in fire, because you are a holy people to the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 7:5-6

Understand that God is limited by His Word, His promises. God cannot lie. God cannot sin. God does not appear to us any way we want Him to. A god who does is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In The Shack a letter is found in the mailbox after snowing with no tracks to the mailbox. The letter tells a character in the story to go to a shack.

While some people believe that God revealed Himself to His prophets in the Old Testament like this, they are mistaken. This is the method the demon chose to reveal himself to Harry Potter. It is a common method of communicating with unclean spirits.

A prophet or a diviner of dreams may arise among you, give you an omen or a miracle that takes place, and then he may tell, you, ‘Let’s follow other gods (whom you have not known) and let’s serve them.’ Even though the sign or portent comes to pass, you must not listen to the words of that prophet or that diviner of dreams. Deuteronomy 13:1-3

My people are destroyed because the lack knowledge of me. Because you rejected that knowledge, I will reject you as a priest for me. Since you forget the Law of your God, I will also forget your children. Hosea 4:6

All Scripture from the International Standard Version

Image Credit: www.theshack.movie

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Repent For the Kingdom of Heaven Is At Hand: The Message of John the Baptist –Post by Michael J. Findley

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When confronted about his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, did David say this to Nathan the prophet? “I apologize to … for how distracting and divisive this has been.” Are these the words of Paul to Jesus on the road to Damascus? Yet this insult has been used in place of repentance several times recently.

First, true repentance requires understanding God’s holiness. There are books, even sets of books on the subject. It is the emphasis of the Law God gave to Israel on Sinai.

Leviticus 11:45 You are to be holy, because I am holy, is one of the most repeated phrases in the entire Bible.

Because we are sinners, our sin needs to be atoned for. That sin is the reason for the entire sacrificial system; the tabernacle, the temple, and the death of Christ on the cross.

Second, true repentance requires understanding what sin is. Sin separates us from God. Sin is far more than a “distraction,” or “divisive.” For the wages of sin is death.

It is usually easy to see what we might think is sin in someone else. But true repentance is not repenting of someone else’s sin. It is confessing our own sin. True repentance understands sin, confesses that sin, and forsakes that sin.

1 John 1:9
If we make it our habit to confess our sins, in his faithful righteousness he forgives us for those sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

Confess means to say the same thing about our sin that God says about our sin. It is neither just listing the sin, nor is it just doing penance. It means making the sin right. If something was stolen, then it must be returned. If you committed murder, then you must face the punishment for murder, up to and including your own death, if that is necessary to atone for that sin.

Whatever sin we committed, we must atone for that sin. Apologies which do not even acknowledge a sin put us in the same position as David when he attempted to cover up his sin. 2 Samuel 11:27 says, Meanwhile, what David had done grieved the Lord. God sent Nathan the prophet. The judgment for David’s sin was the death of the child. Later, when David sinned in numbering the people, 70,000 men died.

It is sad the others suffer the consequences of our unrepentant sin.

Hebrew 3:12-15
See to it, my brothers, that no evil, unbelieving heart is found in any of you, as shown by your turning away from the living God. Instead, continue to encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, because we are the Messiah’s partners only if we hold on to our original confidence to the end. As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as they did when they provoked me.”

All Scripture quotes are from the ISV

Image Credit: Thou Art the Man. Artist: Peter Frederick Rothermel (1817-1895) Public Domain

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SBC supports building NJ Mosque — post by Michael J. Findley

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Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) filed an amicus brief supporting the construction of a mosque in New Jersey in 2016. The International Mission Board also signed the amicus brief. Dr. Moore was questioned about this by a Pastor from the floor of the SBC annual meeting in St. Louis, June, 2016.

“I would like to know how in the world someone in the Southern Baptist Convention can support the defending of rights for Muslims to construct mosques in the United States when these people threaten our very way of existence as Christians and Americans. They are murdering Christians, beheading Christians, imprisoning Christians all over the world. Do you actually believe that if Jesus Christ were here today, He would actually support this and that He would stand up and say, well, let us support the rights of those Baal worshipers to erect temples to Baal? Do you believe that Dr. Moore?”

Dr. Moore replied, “You know sometimes we have to deal with questions that are really complicated and we have to spend a lot of time thinking them through and not sure what the final result was going to be. Sometimes we have really hard decisions to make. This isn’t one of those things.”

In January 2017 IBM trustee Dean Haun resigned over this. He is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Morristown, TN and former president of the Tennessee Baptist convention. His church voted unanimously to put their giving to the Cooperative Program in escrow until the amicus brief support is reversed.

Perhaps as result of this, the President of the IMB, David Platt, issued this apology:
“I grieve how the amicus brief in the recent mosque case has been so divisive and distracting.”
[My note: Sin is always divisive and distracting.]

“All this to say, in short, I apologize to Southern Baptists for how distracting and divisive this has been. I am confident that in the days ahead, the IMB will have better processes in place to keep us focused on our primary mission: partnering with churches to empower limitless missionary teams who are evangelizing, discipling, planting and multiplying healthy churches, and training, planting and multiplying healthy churches, and training leaders among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God.” David Platt

I agree with Bud Ahlheim’s comments on this apology. “Platt didn’t acknowledge that his agency had made a grave error in supporting the Muslims in their legal proceedings. He did not apologize for disregarding God’s perspicuous commands in Scripture. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) What Platt apologized for was the “distracting and divisive” result such participation generated.

It seems not altogether unlike the cookie-thieving child who is sorry for getting caught, not for actually committing the crime. Or perhaps like the adulterous husband who regrets the repercussions of his sin more than the sin itself. It just doesn’t seem to evoke authentic ‘godly grief.’ (2 Corinthians 7:10)”

On February 16, 2017, former SBC president Jack Graham, who is currently pastor of Megachurch Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX, said that his church has also agreed to escrow their giving to the cooperative program because of the amicus brief supporting the building of the mosque. In 2015 they gave $500,000 to the Cooperative Program.
This blog is based on the February 16, 2017 Pulpit and Pen article by Bud Ahlheim:

http://pulpitandpen.org/2017/02/16/sbcs-david-platt-issues-apology-for-mosque-building-alliance/

and a February 17, 2017 Christianity Today article:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2017/february/trump-advisers-church-withholds-donation-sbc-graham-moore.html

Image Credit: Dr. Moore preaching in chapel at SBTS 9 October 2011 Photographer: Theology147 Wikimedia Commons

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What Does the Bible Teach about Immigration? — Michael J. Findley

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In spite of many social justice warriors attempting to force the Church to take care of unbelievers, the words immigration, immigrant, and emigrant are not in the Bible. Neither is the concept contained in Greek and Hebrew words which can be translated as visitor, alien, foreigner, stranger, outsider, pilgrim, and sojourner. All of these words are temporary visitors, even if the visit is many years.

The important point is, who do you worship? The Law assumes that all Jews will worship the LORD. Idolatry is not tolerated in the Law. Foreigners who accepted the LORD could enter the congregation of the LORD. Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah the Hittite did just that.

But those who did not convert to worship of the true God were not part of the congregation of Israel. They were not to marry them, though they were to treat them kindly. This is the reason Ezra had to spend months examining the Jews who had married Ammonite women. Those who renounced the gods of Ammon could eventually (10 generations) have their children enter the congregation of the Lord. But no one who remained an Ammonite culturally and in terms of belief was to enter the congregation of the LORD. Ever.

Muslims do not worship the LORD Jesus Christ who spoke the universe into existence. They are like the Ammonites Nehemiah and Ezra had to deal with. We pray for them. But we do not support them or the evil of their worship. They worship either a demon or Satan the prince of darkness.

If we look for New Testament comparisons, they are like Alexander the coppersmith who did Paul much harm. When in power politically, they behead our brothers and sisters in Christ.

They certainly are fellow human beings. We pray for them. We should not mistreat them the way they mistreat our brothers and sister in Christ.

The physical resources we as individual believers have are very limited. The resources the Church has are limited. Even the resources of an entire nation are limited. Those resources should be used the way God intended that they be used. They should not be given to idolaters who intend to use whatever we give them to destroy us.

Image Credit: Pixabay, Alexas Photos Public Domain

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Thank You, Franklin Graham — Post by Michael J. Findley

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“It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come, that’s not a Bible issue,” Franklin Graham told HuffPost. “We want to love people, we want to be kind to people, we want to be considerate, but we have a country and a country should have order and there are laws that relate to immigration and I think we should follow those laws. Because of the dangers we see today in this world, we need to be very careful.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/frankling-graham-refugees_us_5889049ce4b061cf898c6c42

Despite attacks which are best described as vicious hatred by those who claim that Franklin Graham does not love Muslims, he has continued to speak the truth on this issue. Once again, his statements on this issue are well-spoken. Thank you, Franklin Graham.

Image Credit: Image of Franklin Graham captured 15 June 2014 In Poland by Leszek Jańczuk

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Will you be my Valentine? I mean Free Reader?

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Whether you’re a Valentine’s Day lover or hater, we hope you’re a free book lover! There are lots to choose from, including nine from Findley Family Video Publications. Come pay a visit to our facebook event page and see all the free books! Some are free only certain days so be sure to check throughout the three day event!

http://bit.ly/2lEM6Ds

Or come straight to the Christian Women Writers’ website to see what’s there! Whoa! A free Kindle giveaway!

http://cwwriters.com/readers/valentines-day-event-plus-kindle-fire-giveaway/

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Peace, Unity, and Refugees: the Executive Order

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If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people. Romans 12:8

Eric Costanzo, pastor of the South Tulsa Baptist Church (SBC) in Tulsa, OK co-signed a protest letter published in the Washington Post, wrote a facebook article, and posted a blog supporting the Evangelical protest of the temporary immigration halt from seven countries. In the Tulsa World he wrote that we have a “blindness to the degree of polarity between their [refugees’] needs and our extravagance that allows us to somehow justify our selfishness and inaction to their suffering.” The plight of many is desperate. It is also possible that there are more refugees in the world than the entire population of the USA.

His comments are typical of what many believe. “Whether or not we will admit it out loud, our conservative culture is quick to dismiss injustice if those who are oppressed are Muslim. The Bible contains several mandates from God that his people show compassion, provide refuge, and care deliberately for the foreigner who is in need.”
If this statement is true, why didn’t Jesus do this? Jesus fed people who listened to His teaching. This is not what most people mean by providing refuge and care. Jesus had no homes, clothing, money or food to give people.

Pastor Costanzo wrote: “These verses and stories are not hard to find, and their applications to the current refugee situation are hard to miss.” There are many great needs; refugees, our brothers and sisters in Christ in North Korea, the Sudan, China, and families next door. Meeting specific needs is certainly a responsibility commanded in Scriptures. So is providing for your own families and neighbors. Our abilities, resources, time and income are extremely limited. With billions of needy people on earth, what are God’s priorities?

“I believe it is the responsibility of every evangelical leader,” Pastor Eric wrote, “and every believer, to speak out against injustice; to take action on behalf of the refugee; and to be willing to step into the messiness of their lives in order to be good news.”
How does speaking out against injustice help us to teach and preach the Word, glorify God, worship, and make disciples? Great injustices have been committed in the name of speaking out against injustice.

He wrote “Of all the countries who have accepted and are accepting refugees from the Middle East, the U.S. has accepted a very low percentage. This has been true regarding refugees for decades.”

According to the UN, however, “The United States is the world’s top resettlement country for refugees.” “In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the United States resettled 69,933 refugees and in FY 2013 (the most recent data available) granted asylum status to 25,199 people.” migrationpolicy.org/article/refugees-and- asylees-united-states. According to the UN, though there are over 21 million refugees in the world, only 107,100 have been resettled. unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a- glance.html So about 70% of all resettled refugees in the world are in the USA.

From the Ice Age, the time of Job and Abraham, through the New Testament, refugees in the modern sense did not exist. Until recently, everyone on earth either owned enough property to properly take care of themselves or they were property, in other words, a slave. You either found some way to take care of yourself and your family, you died, or your were enslaved.

The letter Pastor Eric signed in protest of President Trump’s executive order says, “we are deeply concerned by the recently announced moratorium on refugees.”

Why? This letter dwells at length on the plight of many people. It also makes many false implications about those who do not agree with their position.

In an attempt to correct some of the worst errors in the Washington Post letter, here are some quotes from the actual Executive Order by President Trump, “the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by- case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.” Sec. 3. (g) “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program.“

Defining terrorism-related attacks is difficult. Some make a definition which claims that there have been very few assaults since 9-11. Others use a very broad definition which leads to hundreds of thousands of assaults. It is pointless to attempt to convince anyone whose mind is already made up. There is no question that the Boston marathon bombing was terrorism-related. The thousands of unsolved homicides by illegal aliens in LA are not as clearly connected to terrorism.

Section 1 “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

It is so sad that Pastor Eric’s blog perpetuates the myth that “We are afraid that refugees from the Middle East will be our enemies.” A proper understanding of Islam reveals the radical form of the religion of Islam is our enemy. That is understanding, not fear. Radical Islam has declared war on the USA and Christians. Do we understand that?

For an example of how one country handled the very human and laudable desire to open its arms to refugees, look at Sweden. The best intentions to help the helpless turned Sweden into a nightmare where few are helped and many, including both refugees and native residents, regret this misguided attempt at giving refuge.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/09/how-sweden-became-an-example-of-how-not-to-handle-immigration/

To briefly summarize, the writer explains the generosity of the Swedish people in accepting disproportionately large numbers of refugees. It details the types of people who came, and what was done to try to help them. And it frankly covers the consequences to the native population and to the refugees, including the youngest people. Gang cultures, attacks on woman, a murder and rape epidemic, and forced child prostitution are just a few of the consequences.

Sweden is known for being one of the most generous, compassionate, and liberated countries in the world. If their hospitality can backfire on them so profoundly, are we so arrogant as to think that our compassion cannot blind us to the potential for a failure just as great?

We have to rightly divide the Word of Truth. We cannot react with well-intentioned compassion that is not guided by a true interpretation of Scripture. Of all the times when we need God’s guidance, one of the most critical is to discern what we can do to show Christ’s love to this world. Humanitarian aid and hospitality to foreigners in distress is wonderful.

But we have a mandate to communicate truth, and the truth is that we can only fight against man’s greatest needs with the greatest weapon, God’s truth in His Word. The weapons of our warfare are not material, but effective to the destruction of spiritual powers.

Thank you President Trump for standing for the Word of God, the rule of law and constitutional rights.

Here is a link to Pastor Costanzo’s blog post: https://ericcostanzo.me/2017/02/09/why-i-signed-the-letter-to-president-trump-on-behalf-of-refugees/

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