Lies & Lukewarm

It’s more righteous to rebel than to lie:

Jer. 3:6-11 – the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the Lord. The Lord said to me, “faithless Israel is more righteous then unfaithful Judah…”

Pretense:
1. an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true.
2. a claim, especially a false one.

God and people both hates lies. You’d be better off being honest about your sin, than lying. As it applies to marriage, it’d be better to divorce than to deceive. As it applies to Christians in the South, in warrants the question, ‘Are we are going to church to appease God or man, or are we going out of a true desire to know God?’ 

Rev. 3:16 – I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Matt. 27:37-38 – Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

If loving God with your whole heart is the first commandment, I think a lot of the South needs a heart check. Likewise, loving your spouse with all your heart, mind, and strength means letting go of porn, unfaithfulness, and thinking about past relationships.

Rev. 3:17-22 – You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Matt. 12:30 – He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.


Prayer: God help us live before you in truth. Help us let go of fear, fakeness, and lies that waste our time. Help us live on purpose and be all in, in whatever we do. Help the Bible-Belt in the South be free from religious spirits that would blind us to our true condition. Help us see the true state of our hearts, and our dire need for the fullness of You. Let us not continue to sit in church because our parents did, or our friends do, or because it’s expected of us, or even with the thought that it will make us right with You. Raise up more churches in the South that help people walk in ALL You have for us. Churches that can tear down generational and doctrinal lies and equip people to walk in their full purpose. Raise up leaders who call out our worthless idols and call us up to something more than a worthless life (Jer.2:5). Let the people of the South no longer be looked at as those who attempt to make something that is not the case appear true. Let us be Christians, mature, walking and living the way you lived, Jesus. Remove the mask for your glory, Amen.

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The Gift of Prophecy: 16

How do we know the difference between a true and false prophet? Let’s think in the realm of teaching to begin with. The Bible says there are true and false teachers, so what makes a teacher true or false?

2 Peter 2:3 (BSB) – In their greed, these false teachers will exploit you with tales they have concocted

(NLT) – In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money

A false teacher can say things that are true, and quote the Bible really well, but there is an issue with their delivery. What makes them false teachers is their heart/motive. If a teacher has greed in his heart, he can be moved to sculpt his teaching around whatever he deems necessary to get the money he desires. Tithes and offerings are biblical principles, so he can try to disguise his motives, but God looks at the heart:

1 Sam. 16:7 – the Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart

Satan does the same. Satan is a false god and an anti-Christ. He quotes scripture to us, making us believe we are listening to God’s voice, yet he twists the context God’s word so that we fall into sin:

Matt. 4:5-7 – Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Jesus knew the difference between God and Satan’s voices by comparing God’s words to the rest of God’s words. The way the word was being presented did not line up with God’s character as seen in the rest of the Bible. So, how do we know the difference in a true and a false prophet? Let me state yet another way:

Lev. 19:11 – Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.

Do not lie is one of the Ten Commandments, right? Yet, during the Holocaust people deceived Nazi soldiers by hiding Jewish people. They lied to the government to protect God’s people. Was this a sin? Let’s look:

2 Kings 5:15-19 – Then Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel… please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.” “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

Naaman was a Syrian soldier with leprosy. When God healed him, he gave God his full heart, however it was part of his job to help the Syrian king bow to a false god. Naaman asked God’s forgiveness in advance and God knew the condition of his heart–that he didn’t want to bow to the false god. Naaman’s heart was positioned correctly with God, as were the hearts of those who protected the Jews during the Holocaust.

Sin is a heart issue and so sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a Pastor who truly wants you to grow closer to God, and a pastor who is trying to take advantage of you somehow. If Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light, how much more can a person:

2 Cor. 11:14 – And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.



What is a false prophet?

2 Peter 2:1 – But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.

For there to be something false, there has to be something true. Just because there are false teachers, false pastors, or false prophets doesn’t mean we get rid of all teachers, pastors, and prophets. We should be wary against anything false, but should also praise God for giving us true prophets.

A false prophet, just like a false teacher or pastor, is a prophet whose heart motives have turned toward wickedness. Just like the false teacher or pastor, the false prophet can speak the truth and prophesy correctly what God is saying, but they will twist God’s words into something that benefits themselves:

Jer. 28:15-16 – Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies… you have preached rebellion against the Lord.

Here we see a true prophet confronting a false prophet. The reason Hananiah was a false prophet was because he preached rebellion against the Lord.

Rev. 2:20 – Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

This false prophet taught people that sexual immorality was okay. Many false pastors today are teaching that the gifts of the Spirit aren’t for today. Both of these are sin and preaching rebellion against the Lord.

A true prophet, teacher, pastor, etc will be known to be true by the fruit of their work. Their words will line up with God’s character as seen in the rest of the Bible.

Matt. 7:15-17 – Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Healing the Orphan Spirit – Part 1

Book Review:
Healing the Orphan Spirit by Leif Hetland – Part 1


 

Here are some take away quotes, ideas, and statistics from the book–and some personal notes:

A true orphan knows what it means to live life without the security, stability, and warmth of a physical home. A spiritual orphan is not any different. He is also well acquainted with the feelings of fear, anxiety, rejection, and homelessness even if he has a place to go home to at night.

Children from fatherless homes are more likely to be:

  • Poor
  • Become involved in drug and alcohol abuse
  • Drop out of school
  • Suffer from health and emotional problems
  • Boys are more likely to become involved in crime
  • Girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens

Adam & Eve were not born orphans, but they acquainted the orphan spirit the moment they left the Presence of God.

Genesis 3:8-10 – And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

Man deals with fear by pushing it deep down in his spirit. Since he does not allow the Father to remove that fear, he begins to struggle and tries to handle it on his own. Instead of acknowledging fear within the inner-core, we learn how to be self-reliant, thinking we can fight off the rising dread within our spirit.

We cope with fear through the outbursts of anger, or we do the opposite and turn the emotion inward and retreat within ourselves. We are constantly pressured to fix everything on our own. We retreat because we are afraid to deal with the real situation at hand for it might hurt too much. We think if we ignore the problem or dilemma, it will just go away.

We turn our hearts to steel, thinking that, if we make our inner being as tough as a rock, we might become impervious to the string of failure and rejection. In order to sustain that tough exterior, we learn how to reject the love, comfort, and admonition we receive from other people. We live life without a home while we try to create the self into an island fortress, striving to be self-sufficient and having the ability to go through life without experiencing the rewards of fellowship and true friendship.

A deep-seeded fear drives us to succeed at all costs.

Overwhelmed, we begin to indulge in escapism. Alcohol, drugs, porn, or more socially acceptable mechanisms like losing oneself in relationships, drowning oneself in books, tv, video games, etc. In these instances we can sometimes justify our escape patterns, because the things we are escaping to are not sins. Nonetheless, addiction sets in, and before we know it, we are already neck-deep in the deal’s quicksand.

Prov. 9:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

We are commanded to be in awe of His ways and obey Him. However, we were never told to fear the presence of God.

Ephesians 3:12 – In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

If we do not understand the ways of the father, then it is perfectly understandable why we are afraid when He is near.

Instead of seeing God’s commandments as coming from the heart of a loving God, we see them as restrictions. The laws of God are seen by many as a test instead of as signposts, which would lead to a blessed life. Thus, there are 2 ways the orphan spirit will cope with this fear of Father: 1) rebellion 2) religion.

Religion assumes that formalities and adherence to a man-made code of beliefs will justify his lack of true contact with Father.

The result of sin is shame. Many choose to rebel instead of putting up with shame. They flaunt their sinfulness for the whole world to see. The religious person, on the other hand, tries to deal with shame by attempting to appease God with good deeds.

The newly freed Hebrew slaves were more than willing to go back into bondage simply because they could not believe the Lord would fulfill His promise to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. One glance at their immediate circumstances forced them to conclude that God had brought them into the desert to die.

Rom. 8:14-17 – For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

John 15:4 – Abide in Me, and I in you.

Jesus uses the illustration of the grape vine to make clear to His disciples what He means, and in this illustration the word abide is used eleven times. The word abide means to continue on in a permanent state.

Walk through a vineyard and you will see fruit but no tension. You will never walk up to a branch and hear it complaining or struggling to bear fruit. It knows that the fruit it bears comes from inside the life of the tree and not from ‘working it up’ on the outside of the branch.

Works are a product of the arm of the flesh, while fruit is a product of abiding in Christ. Fruit is a natural outgrowth of our union with Him.

We must abide in the vine of where Christ has placed us if we are going to produce fruit. If we don’t, we will end up like the Hebrews, ‘making bricks without straw.’ Lots of busy activity with nothing to show for it! Fruit is the result of life, not hard work.

Most of us understand the principle of tithing, or giving the first fruits of what God gives us. The word ‘fruit’ is used throughout scripture with more than just money however. It is used with soul winning, holy living, character, and praise:

Heb. 13:15 – Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of our lips that openly profess his name.

In tithing we give back to God the first 10% of what we receive from Him. In praise, why can’t we give back the first fruits as well? Give God praise with the first 10 minutes of your day. It’s a sacrifice, not always something we want to do or feel like doing. Science has proven that uplifting words can put you in a better mood. Fake it till you make it actually works after all!

If we talk about vineyards, then we also need to talk about pruning.

  • What does He prune? Whatever hinders my growth!
  • When will He prune? At the right season to produce the greatest amount of fruit.

Pruning is necessary for maximum productivity. If there is no pruning, there will be no increase in fruit.

Abraham tried to figure out a way to make God’s word work. Every time we try to help God out, we are in danger of producing our own Ishmael. It wasn’t what God had in mind! Abraham was deceived.

Abraham believed God’s promise. The prophecy was taking a long time. Abraham wondered if there was something he was doing wrong. Is there something that I need to do to make the prophecy come to pass? Is God waiting on me? Shouldn’t I be co-laboring with God? What am I missing?

Deception means: to look for something where it’s not. Webster says it is: fraud, double dealing, or trickery.

This could be the lost entry to my diary: Turning Point 13 – I took the prophecies I received, and did what I thought I needed to do to co-labor with God and see them come to pass. I put 30k toward a business I knew nothing about. I later figured out it wasn’t God. I called the company, called it fraud and got a full refund (thank God). Plus, they let keep the books, so I have learning material to grow into. I now have money to live on, buy a new car, or whatever. And my anxiety is a little less, seeing that the money isn’t sitting in mutual funds wasting away with the declining economy and I have 4 jobs biting this week. Guy Harvey at the beach, 50k without moving, slow & easy life + a free house, or meet a doctor? Hmm… ? All great things and hard choices!

God was still gracious to Abraham’s confused efforts, by blessing Ishmael. However, God didn’t allow Ishmael or Abraham’s efforts to replace His original purpose.

Rom. 11:29 – for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable

When God decides to give us something, He doesn’t change His mind, no matter what we do.

2 Cor. 3:6 – the written text brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Religion lives for rules. Rules are how we control people, especially in the church.

The Pharisees:

  • Loved prominence
  • Endangered the souls of men
  • Majored on the mechanics of religion
  • Lived a double standard
  • Talk didn’t match their walk

Rom. 7:24 – Who will rescue me from this body of death?

The term to which Paul alludes to is descriptive of a shocking execution that was employed by the Romans. A cadaver would be fastened to the condemned person so that he could not be released from the corpse. The deceased, decaying flesh of the cadaver accompanied every move he made. Eventually he would die a slow, painful, and emotionally horrifying death. It’s ghastly to think about, but that’s what it looks like for a person living without Christ. Their sin follows them wherever they go and produces death.

Facts of Fatherlessness:

  • The percentage of kids born out-of-wedlock has grown 223% since 1970.
  • 7 of of 10 African-American kids are born out-of-wedlock.
  • 3 out of 10 Caucasian kids are born out-of-wedlock, an increase of 440% since 1970.
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
  • 60% of repeat rapists grew up without father.
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father.
  • 63% of youth suicides are from a fatherless home.
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
  • 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother.
  • 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
  • 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
  • 70% of juveniles in state prison have no father.
  • 85% of youth in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
  • 75% of prisoners grew up without a father.
  • Fatherless boys are 2x’s as likely to drop out of high school, 2x’s as likely to end up in jail, 4x’s more likely to need help with emotional or behavioral problems.
  • 43% of US children live without their father.
  • Each year America spends $48 billion on incarceration, $5 billion on parole and probation, and $6.5 billion on juvenile detention due to fatherlessness.
  • Over 6 billion people are in the correctional system due to fatherlessness. That is almost the same as the population of Hong Kong, China, or 3 times the population of Houston, Texas.

John 14:16-18 – And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

In the parable of the prodigal son we see two sons without a father. The rebellious son and the religious son. Both lived outside their father’s love.

Rebellious: The son has to wait, in most cases, for the last will and testament of the father, but this son asked for and received his inheritance early. He wanted his inheritance early so he could live outside of the fathers will. He took it and left for another country, creating as much distance as possible between him and the father. He wanted total control over his own life and did not want the guidance or approval of his father.

The son wasted his money on wild living, and when he had nothing left to give, his friends left him. Severe famine hit the land and he was forced to hire himself out as a pig farmer. He wasn’t treated like a human being. In fact, he was treated lower than slaves, as even the pigs were considered more important than him! He begged his master to give him a portion of the pig feed and they refused.

Then he remembered his father and that even his servants had food to spare. He came to his senses. Only one thing held him back: his belief that no one could accept a rebel such as himself.


As Jesus taught this parable, Pharisees and teachers of the law were listening. They probably wondered why Jesus was wasting his time talking about a sinner who deserved to be punished. They were confident they knew the Law and the moral of the lesson. The Law called for death:

Deut. 21:18-21 – If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

To the Pharisees, it would have been better for the prodigal to stay away because his father had the legal right to stone him for his rebellious attitude.

God welcomes back his lost son with open arms, giving him the best of all he has, and restoring him to sonship. God doesn’t want us to hide from Him like Adam & Eve did. He wants us to be restored to Him.


Religious: The elder brother from the parable of the prodigal son was noted to be working the fields with the servants. His rightful place was in the presence of the father, but he seemed oblivious to the fact that he was a son. He manifested the orphan spirit in a different way by acting as if he did not have a home, when, in fact, he had legal rights as an heir. The Pharisees, like the elder son, knew the father, yet did not seek intimacy. Instead they built a religion, or a to do list of works, around Him. Most modern churches still exhibit this model: Israel wanted God’s blessings and what He could do for them, but they did not want anything to do with seeking their Father’s face. They encouraged Moses to enter into the tent of meeting to commune with the Lord, while the rest of the nation of Israel were content to stay in their tents far away from the Presence of God.

God reminds the elder son that he is an heir, and has continual access to all the father has. Remember that you are a son and not a slave. Don’t let your work separate you from God, or think that your work is the only way to God, or think that God will only love you if you do His work. You are more important to Him than something you can do for Him. He has enough servants; He wants a son.

The father tried to change his mindset to think like an heir. ‘Everything I have is yours’ – Luke 15:31

Don’t continue to look with envy at the resources within your grasp while feeling unable to even glean from the ripened harvest.

We can’t earn His love. He freely bestows His love on us all, so stop working like a slave for it.

Our fathers nitpicked, condemned, and cut us down. They pointed out every flaw. They belittled us, made us feel unloved, made us feel like we had to earn their love by changing ourselves to get to their standard. We had to climb, work, and change to become something that they could approve. Sometimes it might have worked, but most of the time it didn’t. Who wants to change to live up to that evil standard anyway? Our heavenly Father wants us to know that we don’t have to do anything to earn His love.

Rom. 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God loves us while we are still sinners. He wants us just the way we are. We don’t have to strive, or constantly work to change ourself to His standard. We can rest in His love now, where we are, whether that be in a state of sin or righteousness. He will never stop loving us, so stop trying to earn it; He’s not going anywhere.

There is nothing I can do that can take Your love from me; and there is nothing I can do to make You love me because it is not about the doing. You just love me because I am Yours

Job is an illustration of what the orphan spirit looks like. In his case it took the pressure of difficulty to bring it out, but it is obvious it was there all along.

The Black Hole
The orphan spirit will:

  • Seek to drive a wedge between our heart and our Father’s love
  • Try to convince us that God is to blame for all our troubles
  • Cause us to look for answers from any other source but our Father
  • Create confusion and distance between us, and those closest to us
  • Cause us to live in despair when not healed by the power of Christ
  • Job saw himself as an animal trapped by circumstances. Job 19:6 – ‘it is God who has wronged me, capturing me in his net.’
  • Job felt like an innocent man being condemned as a criminal in court. He felt like God was treating him unfairly. Job 19:7 – ‘Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.’
  • Job felt like he was making progress, enjoying life, and doing all the right things before God put a roadblock in front of him.Job 19:8 – ‘He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, And He has put darkness on my paths.’
  • Job blamed God for taking away every good thing he had. Job 19:9 – ‘He has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head.’
  • It’s hard to be normal and function the way we want to when everything is out of sorts. Job felt like a building that had been completely destroyed. Job 19:9 – ‘He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone’
  • An uprooted tree will die. Without its root system it will not produce fruit or survive. Job 19:9 – ‘my hope has he pulled up like a tree.’

Heaviness takes the color out of life, and makes it difficult to see the truth clearly. Heaviness makes it hard to find purpose and direction in life. Heaviness can come from a variety of reasons:

Constant Criticism:
Ps. 69:20 – Insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, but found no one.

Spiritual Failure:
Ps. 119:25-28 – My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.

Family Difficulties:
Prov. 10:1 – A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

Worry:
Prov. 12:25 – Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

Trials & Pressures:
1 Peter 1:6 – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials

to be continued

Lack of Communication

Lack of communication is a killer

In Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar made a decision to kill all the wise men under his authority. Giving into the fear of communication at that point, would have been a silent agreement to go to the slaughter. Daniel instead of fearing, asked the timeless question: why? Our ‘why’ can save lives, but it needs to be from a place of wanting to understand the persons heart, not from a place of challenging.

There will be a point when your child disagrees with you, and you may want to scratch it off as rebellion. However, a parent that is willing to ask ‘why’ and listen to their childs heart, can save their life. A parent willing to navigate the hurt in their child’s heart instead of calling a disagreement rebellion, can save their lives. I’ve watched many friends make the decision that they did not want to go to college; most of them later regretted it. I’m sure they thought, ‘I’m tired of school’ among a plethora of other reasons. Instead of their parents letting that be the end of the subject, they could have said, ‘Do you plan on having a job? Would you rather make $10/hr or $30/hr in exchange for the same amount of your time?’ Honestly, any amount of wisdom/healthy communication we can give our children will help save their lives. 

Next time remember: It’s not rebellion, it’s an opportunity to strengthen your connect and impart wisdom

Because I Said So

'Because I said so'

‘Because I said so’

No child likes hearing the phrase: ‘Because I said so.’

This phrase can work with a child who knows, and trusts, their parents, but it is not a great response for a child who lacks relational connection to their parents.

‘Because God said so‘ can, occasionally, be an okay answer for a Christian who trusts God, but to an unbeliever it is like eating fire; likewise, to a disconnected child it is going to mean absolute rebellion.

Rules without Relationship = Rebellion

Rules without Relationship = Rebellion

Many children who have been abused, whether emotionally, physically, or sexually, have a hard time trusting authority. Something as simple as not spending quality time with your child (avoidance), can damage a child emotionally. If a child feels like you do not care about them, you are going to have a hard time with discipline. If you are already in this position, try to put quality time above the law for a little while and see if it makes a difference. Children who love their parents will automatically want to please them.

Understanding that, rules without relationship is a recipe for rebellion, we can start to see why unbelievers typically hate Christians. For years Christians have stated the ‘rules’ to God’s wayward children, instead of portraying His love to them. We need to rethink our outreach plans. Relationship is the most important thing to God.

A father gave his son his inheritance, to do what he wanted to with it. The son made some bad choices, and ended up remembering how good his father was. We need to be the people reminding the prodigal son how good and loving the Father is. The son already knew he was in a mess. When the son returned, the father didn’t get onto him for his bad choices, he hugged, accepted, loved, and celebrated his return.



The child without relational connection, or with damaged trust, will ask ‘Why?‘, so they can see if they can trust the reasoning. The unbeliever needs us to show God’s reasoning of why something is wrong or right. This is called teaching and gaining trust. The unbeliever is the prodigal son, and the mistrusting/damaged child. They need to know they can trust God’s rules. They need to be able to see that God’s plan for them is good. Thankfully, God tells us why. Instead of tweeting ‘Divorce is sin‘ or ‘Homosexuality is sin‘, realize that you are quoting rules to a disconnected child that will result in rebellion. Instead say ‘Divorce causes deep emotional trauma‘ or ‘Homosexuality results in disease and illness. God says it’s wrong because He doesn’t want you to be in pain.‘ God is concerned for you and deeply cares about you.

A ‘b/c I said so‘ message tells the child, I don’t care about our connection or teaching you how to make decisions for yourself. Why then are Christians still preaching sermons with a ‘b/c i said so‘ mentality toward the lost? God gives us His reasoning. He shows us why right is right, and why wrong is wrong. He wants to teach us and build relationship, not command/control us, and keep us ignorant. His first goal is to build relationships and trust. Once we trust him ‘b/c I said so‘ becomes an okay answer here and there.

Light has no Darkness

– 1 John 1:5 – God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Candle Light

– Light is not darkness

– Light overcomes darkness

– Light does not create darkness

– Light, by nature, exposes what is not light

– Light can create more light

– Eph. 5:8-14 – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord… everything exposed by the light becomes visibleand everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

God wants you to be a light so you can see your path and not hurt yourself by walking around, stumbling, in the darkness.

– Heb. 12:29 – our God is a consuming fire.

Candle Light

– John 1:1-5 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was lifeand that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

– Ps. 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

– John 12:35-36 – Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”

– Prov. 4:19 – But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

– John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the worldWhoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

– Ps. 91:12 – He will lift you up in His hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

– Prov. 3:23 – Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.

God's light– Ps. 25:4-21 – Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land. The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.

candlelight

– 1 John 4:16 – God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Noah, the Flood, & Evil God


Noahs Arc   Peter drowning

The waters, of Noah’s flood, washed away the wicked. What kind of loving God would kill all mankind? He’s so harsh, right? Let’s look into this story and its meaning. Remember God is, was, and is to come; that means His Words, and actions, are without time – and the message stays consistent.


– John 1:1-2,4-5,14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son

– Gen. 1:1-2 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

– Matt. 14:24-25,27-31 – When evening came, He was there alone. By this time the boat was far from land and was being thrown around by the waves. The wind was strong against them. Just before the light of day (or the beginning of day; the dark hours before daybreak), Jesus went to them walking on the water… But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.

These 3 passages have similar components like: 1)God  2)on the water, 3)in the beginning, 4)at the dark of night.

So many people read the story of Noah and think that God wiped out mankind without giving them a chance, but these verses show us that, from the beginning of creation, God has been walking on the waters, looking for people to rescue. Since the beginning of creation, God has been hovering over the waters. When I hear the word hover, I think of a helicopter on a rescue mission, searching fiercely for those drowning.

Helicopter water rescueHover means to remain in the air in one place. This is God. He has His eyes on all the world. He is our dispatcher. Jesus is our first responder. Jesus says in John 12:49 that He doesn’t do anything on His own, but only does what God has commanded Him to do. Jesus is God. Jesus mission is to rescue.  He’s on the ground, er on the water, coming to the aid of all who cry out for help.

So why did God destroy the wicked? Let’s see what the definition of wicked is, so we know who drowned in Noah’s flood.

The dictionary says wicked means:
1. distressingly severe, as a storm
2. unjustifiable; dreadful; beastly
3. extremely troublesome or dangerous
4. evil or morally bad in principle or practice

Hmm… by definition it doesn’t sound like God sent a storm to destroy the wicked; it actually sounds like the wicked people were the storm.

– 2 Sam. 22:5-7,17-18,20,49 – Because deadly breakers engulfed me, while torrents of abuse from the ungodly overwhelmed me. Binding ropes from Sheol entangled me while lethal snares hindered me. I cried out to the Lord in the middle of my troubles; I cried out to my God. He listened to my voice from his sanctuary, and my call for help was heardHe sent for me from on high! He grabbed hold of me, drawing me out of deep water. He rescued me from my strong enemy— from those who hate me continually, since they were stronger than I… He brought me to a wide open area, rescuing me because he was pleased with me!… delivering me from my enemies. You exalted me above those who rebelled against me, delivering me from violent men.

– Prov. 10:25 – When the storm ends, the wicked vanish, but the righteous person is forever firm. (*We are in the storm right now)

We can surmise that wicked people destroy themselves. They are their own storm and since God gave us freewill from the beginning, he lets our freewill play out to the fullest extent. People have blamed God because it’s easier to blame God than blame self; we don’t want to take responsibility for our own actions and admit that we did wrong. People have also chosen to blame others instead of blaming self; Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the snake, and I’m sure the snake blamed God for being loving and giving him the freewill to choose to do wrong! Granted, many of us are victims of someone elses wrong doing. I was. I was a long-suffering victim of many things. Family, friends, people without God, and people with God, all hurt me (I put part of this testimony at the bottom of this post). I had to hold on to God, take responsibility for my own life, and wait for the other side of God’s ‘Noah’s ark’ promise:

God can save the righteous from those who are wicked. God’s ways tell us to die to self, and not repay evil for evil, though that goes against every fiber of our being. God doesn’t want us to have to protect ourselves; we are His kids. He is our protector and He is more than capable of taking care of us.

Imagine you are the father to a child and someone just came up and slapped them to the ground. We gonna fight; you don’t touch my child like that. God, our Father, is the king of everything, and he is a warrior king at that. Don’t cross him. He can vaporize you in an instance, or worse yet, make you face an eternity of punishment…

But guess what. We are ALL God’s children. He says:

– Eze. 18:23 – “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” declares the Sovereign Lord. “No, instead I would like him to turn from his sinful ways and live.”

– 2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

God is waiting for every child to ask Him how to love. He is love! He is pulling out all the stops to show us love, but God can’t help us until we are willing to listen to His advice. That’s the definition of love: respect. God respects you enough to let you make your own choices. In Eden He gave us a choice, and everyday on earth is another choice. He will never FORCE us to do anything, and that should show you that He loves you, not make you think that He doesn’t care about your choices. He has given us His Word as our way to hear His advice on any, and every, topic. He is our loving, good, heavenly Father that is with us at every moment. He is not a wicked person who thinks he is supposed to control someone. Our Father teaches us right and wrong, then gives us the choice to make. This can cause us pain if we choose our own way:

Child touching stove eyeWhen dad says, ‘Don’t touch the stove or it will hurt you’, then we test it out and get hurt – that experience should drive us closer to our father, and show us that we can trust his advice.

Haven’t you seen a parent that was loving and wise, but the child was too rebellious to take their advice? The child put himself through hell before he finally realized he needed to take his parents advice. They had to face the consequences of their own choices before they could accept the wise advice of their parents. Their pride got the best of them: ‘I know better than my parents.’ Soon they realize, ‘My parents had more experience than me. I went through the same pain and trials they went through, because I was too prideful to listen to their advice. They were trying to save me this pain. They had a good plan and future in mind for me and I missed it.’

Every person sins. God does not destroy us because of sin. Those of His children who are willing to listen to Him and take His advice are covered (by Jesus blood). All His children will sin, but they will immediately turn to Dad and say, ‘I did wrong; teach me how to do right.’ These children are not wicked, or rebellious. They are God’s heart.

The people that God calls wicked, are those who are so prideful, that they truly think they can do no wrong, or have never done anything wrong. Those people will be destroyed unless they open their eyes to their wrongs, ask forgiveness, and turn from their wicked ways. They are hurting themselves, and everyone else, and they cannot admit that they have done anything wrong.

David had a son who tried to steal his throne. David loved him and did not want to punish him. Eventually, Absalom led an army against his father David, to destroy him. David’s commanders went out to battle and David said, ‘Be gentle with Absalom.’ In the battle the commander thought he knew better than the king, and he killed Absalom. When David heard this he cried, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! I wish I had died instead of you. Absalom! My son, my son!”. – 2 Sam. 18

David is often used as a depiction of Jesus. Jesus told us to go ‘fight the good fight’ by sharing His love with every person. How dare one of us decide that we know better than Jesus, and try to cut down one of His children.

The disciples painted a better picture for us, on how to treat those living in sin:

Water is often thought of as representing sin. Think about baptism: we are dunked under the water, and it represents dying to sin and self. Then we come out of the water, and it represents new life, lived through the Spirit of God.

Jesus gave Peter the ability to walk on water, just like he gives us the ability to live free from sin. We are walking toward Him without getting bogged down in the mire. Peter (like all those who are walking toward Jesus will) fell into a bit of sin, started to sink in the water and cried, ‘Help!’ It says Jesus immediately stretched out his hand to catch him.

As Christians we are all called to live the same kind of life that Christ did. Jesus wasn’t trying to show off to Peter; He was trying to disciple him. We need to get out of the physical boat that we call religion, or the church, and realize that the physical boat can’t save us from the storm. Jesus is our spiritual boat; He is our salvation from the storm of sin. He wants us to 1)get out of the church building, 2)follow Him into all the world, 3)walk on the waters, and LOOK for those who are drowning, thrashing, panicking, and crying out for help.

– Gen. 1:1-2 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Go out, into the dark places of sin, and be a part of God’s rescue mission. Noah preached to a wicked world for 100 years, and no one believed him. We have the same call, and I guarantee it won’t take 1 year for you to find someone who wants God. God is our true boat; there is safety in His righteous ways. Bring people into Him.

Fire fighter saving naked childBe gentle with the sinner (Absalom). It is hard to see underwater; it’s hard to know which way is up, and which is down. It’s hard to stay on top of the water when the crashing wakes of sin are beating you down.

Be the hovering helicopter with the search lights;  be the hand that helps them up and brings peace to the storm. Get out of your place of comfort, where you think you are safe, and be the rescuer that puts his life on the line to save someone else.

Matt. 10:39 – If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Are you so scared of sin that you can’t be obedient to God’s command to go out and help those who need help? If your first response to seeing the firefighter photo was, ‘I thought this was a christian blog; why is she showing a naked person?’, then you might want to check your heart. God’s call, not to look with lust, is serious, but if it keeps you from seeing a person in need and doing everything in your power to go to them where they are, and save them, then you don’t have love. Anything done outside of love is worthless to God (1 Cor. 13:3). And if you’re scared that the second you look on a naked body you will lust, then your heart isn’t that pure is it? Don’t lose your life:

– Is. 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you

We aren’t going to the waters of sin to drown in it. We are passing through the waters to save people. It is hard and you might sink a little, like Peter, but God will never leave you or forsake you; and He is more than capable of getting you back up. Don’t fear for your life. Put your trust in God to save you from sin.

Worship: Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United


Thank you God for putting your life on the line to save us. Thank you Christians who put your life on the line to save us. Thank you cops, firefighters, and first responders for putting your life on the line to save us. Thank you for seeing the worth of a person above your own fear of sin, waves, fire, or trials.

Sacrifice 
Jesus on Cross


Personal Testimony:
I made the decision to give God my life in the 5th grade. I didn’t have anyone to train me in His ways, so I lived the same way a non-Christian would, except that I was reading the Bible for myself. In 6th grade I read about the gifts of the Spirit; I came across the scripture and had no idea what it meant. Most of the gifts confused me, but I understood what a miracle was, and that sounded nice, so I asked Him what the others meant. Several years later, in 9th grade, I had planned out my suicide. I was tired of my lot in life. I could’ve blamed God, but God gave me a home; my parents lovingly adopted me. God is love, and everything that comes from love, comes from Him. Everything that’s bad comes from sin (outside of the plan of God). My parents weren’t perfect, nor was my birth mother; they had their own struggles. It wasn’t my fault, but I had to suffer through it. One was driven to drinking and abuse. A hard life drove the other crazy; schizophrenic to be exact. My life was hell for many, many years, but theirs had been too. I love them very much, and forgive them, but I had a lot of pain at that time, so I was sitting in the place where I would kill myself; preparations at hand. No one was there, but as I shut my eyes to cry, I saw Jesus. He walked up to me and placed His hand on my head saying, ‘Peace be still.’ This overwhelming peace flooded me. Every other thought was silenced. I told him, ‘God, I have nothing to live for but you. As long as you are in my life, I’ll keep trying.’ I walked away that day, but a month after that the thoughts came back. I had a string of suicidal thoughts, about the length of my testimony to this point. I was just about to leave for church, so I went and tried to stuff them down. I went up for prayer after the teaching, and before I had spoken a word, the 15-year-old girl (who had been preaching) opened her mouth and repeated verbatim – word for word, sentence by sentence – the full length of the thoughts I had thought. She then rebuked the evil spirit behind the thoughts, and prophesied God’s good purposes over me. 1)I had been alone when I thought them, 2)I had not said them outloud (they were thoughts), 3)I hadn’t told anyone about them – and yet this girl knew exactly what they were. Freaked. Me. Out. Just like God proved I wasn’t alone the 1st time, God showed me again in this 2nd instance – I AM with you. God came Himself the 1st; and the 2nd, he came through a person. This is the gift of prophecy; the ability to HEAR God’s voice, through the gift of the Holy Spirit (who is God).

Miracle of the Red SeaHow did I know it was God and not the devil? Well, I sure as hell knew it was something! But the Bible also says, 1)the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for every man, and 2)the devil doesn’t work against himself. Satan was trying to get me to commit suicide both times. He would not have interjected a vision of Jesus or a prophetic Word from Jesus that 1)lined up with scripture, 2)immediately kept me from killing myself, and 3)strengthen my relationship with God. As far as I was concerned, there was no question in my mind whatsoever that there was a God; this was solid proof.

God tells us that he never leaves us or forsakes us; He is always with us. Reach out to Him; He is speaking. How can we as Christians pray, and be mad at God because we don’t hear a response, while many of us have disowned Christ (the Word of God), which says the gift of prophecy is a gift for every man to help us hear His voice?

– Matt. 23:29-32 – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

Meant for “bigger things,” Scuffy the Tugboat sets off to explore the world. But on his daring adventure Scuffy realizes that home is where he’d rather be. 'Home is where the heart is.' My heart is in God, and God's Spirit is in me; home sweet home

Meant for “bigger things,” Scuffy the Tugboat sets off to explore the world. But on his daring adventure Scuffy realizes that home is where he’d rather be.
‘Home is where the heart is.’ My heart is in God, and God’s Spirit is in me; home sweet home

Prayer: God, I understand that we are all sinners, and I have many things to relearn about you and cause to come into alignment with your Word; but helps these who are hurting and asking to hear your voice. Deliver your righteous ones from the sins of their leaders. Remind us of your word to test every spirit, and taste every word that is spoken, to see if it lines up with who YOU say you are. Strengthen us to search you out, so we can see for ourselves how real you are. Raise up those working by the Spirit of God, though the workers be few, for a sign to all the world. We will be mocked, beaten, and called heretics, but so was Jesus. You, God, were rejected by the world and the church leaders (Pharisees). Don’t let me stay in the physical sinking boat of religion, trying to save my own life. Give me the power of your Spirit to walk on the waters and rescue those drowning. Don’t let it be said of me that I didn’t preach for the 100 years of my life, trying to pull people out of the flood waters. You are my boat, and you live in me, which makes me a boat. You do the steering; just help me be willing.


I’m working on a multi part blog about the Holy Spirit. I hope to make it fully comprehensive about who He is and what He does. You know the fruit of the Spirit is love, and love is God; we need the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, I’m not through writing it yet, so here are some resources to help you find out more in the mean time:

Highlands Sermon Series – The Holy Spirit
Riches in Humility, by lovedisciple

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