Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who Is Your Teacher?

God dealt with people very differently in the Old Testament compared to after Jesus came.  This is one of the most profound concepts a Christian must grasp to have a fruitful life.   So many Christians are still living under the law of works and other deceptions.

But God sent His Spirit to reveal to us God’s secrets – 
the secret of Jesus’ resurrection, His plan for salvation, 
and the wonderful things He has freely given 
to those who love Him and believe in Him through Christ. 
(1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, 
but the Spirit who is from God, 
that we might know all things that have been freely given to us by God.   
(1 Corinthians 2:12)

This knowledge cannot be grasped by even the wisest scholars unless they accept God’s message in faith.  All those who reject God’s message are foolish, no matter how wise they are considered to be by the world’s standards.  The reason for this is because God’s message can only be understood through His Spirit.   If a person does not have God’s Spirit in him, he cannot understand it.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, 
for they are foolishness to him; 
nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.   
(1 Corinthians 2:14)

Jesus said that every word he spoke, were Spirit and Life.  Every teaching of Jesus cannot be understood except by the Spirit in you.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. 
 The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.  (John 6:63)

As we study God’s Word, we should be mindful of who our teachers are.  There are countless books, videos, sermons, and teachings available to Christians today, however not all of them are necessarily sound Biblical teaching.  When we have the Holy Spirit working in us, He teaches us and reveals to us the truth of God’s message.

The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.  (1 John 2:27)

This is especially important as we approach the end times, since God has warned us that many false teachers will arise to mislead good and sincere believers.
One of the Gifts for the Spirit, is the “discerning of spirits” (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).  It is prudent to ask God for a spirit of discernment, and to “search the Scriptures daily”  (Acts 17:11).  We should be very selective in who we listen to and what we read.  Everything we read or hear taught by Christian teachers, we must evaluate against the Word of God, under the leading of the Holy Spirit.   

Jesus admonished us to abide in Him as He abides in us.  An intimate relationship with Him comes only through constant, continuous time spent in His presence and in His Word.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Festivities In February

We live in a culture that is immersed in festivals with pagan roots.  Unfortunately many Christians have become so entrenched in these festivals, that it is difficult for them to discern between godly and ungodly.  

The problem is that when we start to compromise our faith by sugar-coating activities with ungodly roots, we begin the process of eroding our faith and character as Christians in such a way that others will no longer be able to distinguish us from the world, not to mention the damage that this compromise does to our spiritual strength and our relationship with the One True God.

We are called to be in the world, but not of it - not to be conformed to this world. (Romans 12:2)  We are instructed to NOT love the world or the things in the world (1 John 2:15).  We are admonished that friendship with this world is enmity with God. (James 4:4).

It is impossible to sugar-coat a paganistic event such as Valentine's day, by making it more socially acceptable, and think you can still remain faithful to God.   You delude yourself if you think you can participate in a celebration by "cleaning it up" and by saying you are sharing "the love of Jesus".  The so-called 'Christianization' of non-biblical, pagan celebrations is an affront to God and causes His name to be blasphemed among the Gentiles.  If you put a load of icing on a rotten potato, does it take away the rot?

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I urge all sincere believers in Christ who seek a spirit of discernment and intimate walk with the Lord, to investigate for themselves the horrific historic roots of Valentine's Day.  Look into the Roman festival of Lupercalia and how the Roman Catholic church attempted to replace this very popular pagan festival.  Today, even the Catholic Church recognises the Roman and Catholic roots of Valentine's Day and has removed it from their official calendar.

Consider, instead, to participate in a celebration that was instituted in Scripture, and is celebrated around the same time  -  Purim.

What do you think will please God more?   A celebration commemorating His Goodness in delivering His people and to honor His faithfulness throughout history and in the future?   Or..  a fun party that commemorates ritualistic animal sacrifices to a pagan god followed by a sexual lottery and debauchery?

God does not change.  He is just as offended by His people embracing paganistic rituals today, as He was in Biblical times. 

This year, Purim is scheduled for February 23-24.

Purim is such a fun celebration and the fact that it is a Biblical festival instituted in Scripture (Esther 9:31-32) just makes it extra special.  It’s a wonderful way to teach our children more about the Hebraic roots of our faith through the story of Esther.  Above all, we glorify God for His faithfulness in delivering His people throughout history, for sending the promised Messiah (Jesus), and for His promise of deliverance as His people are persecuted today, and will be in the future end times.

I plan on doing some fun crafty activities with the kids, making “groggers” (noisemakers) and silly hats.  The kids will be making little gift packets with cookies and snacks to give to friends and neighbours, and we’ll collect and assemble gifts to charity.  We’ll invite some family and friends over for a celebratory meal, and the reading of the beautiful story of Esther.  And of course we just have to have those really cute triangular cookies that symbolize Haman’s hat!