High Standards, Higher Grace

At Men’s Prayer Breakfast on Saturday we planned on discussing Matthew 5-7 but in the end we didn’t even get through Chapter 5 because there is so much to unpack.

One point that was brought up was the difficulty of doing a lot of what Jesus is saying.

During the discussion it came to me, “high standards, higher grace”.

We do have high standards to follow as Christians but the Grace of God far exceeds are failures.

This does not give us a license to sin or ignore God’s commands.

No it should give you hope and more reason to follow God’s commands. Because while God’s standards are high it’s not just His grace that is higher but His love and His mercy.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Matthew Chapter 5:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205&version=NIV

New Age and Word of Faith

Today is going to be a bit different. Instead of me writing on a subject I am going to be posting a video and resources to go with it. 

The topic I am posting about is vastly important, it is the rapidly growing “New Age” movement and its effects on Christianity. I am no expert on this subject and many of you reading this may not even have a clue about what I am talking about. So instead of me writing on this I am going to post a video featuring Pastor Mike Winger talking about some Bible Verses “New Age” people and “Word of Faith” Christians misuse to justify their beliefs.

If you’re from the “New Age” or “Word of Faith” I ask you to please watch this video. Also if you’re unfamiliar with this topic I suggest you watch as well as this is not something to take lightly. The New Age is everywhere and being promoted all over different forms of media. 

Without further ado here is the video. 

Now in addition to this, I am leaving several Ex New Agers YouTube channels for further information. 

Steven Bancarz: 

https://www.youtube.com/c/StevenBancarz

Doreen Virtue: 
https://www.youtube.com/c/DoreenVirtueForJesus

Melissa Dougherty: 
https://www.youtube.com/c/MelissaDougherty

Have a Blessed Week, 
Chris 

Two Ways To Check If You Should Follow A Ministry

One of the toughest things Christian have to do is use discernment when it comes to figuring out if they should follow a certain ministry.

I have a couple of methods I use to determine if I am personally going to follow a ministry. I am going to share those with you today.

First is the ministry “orthodox”? And when I say “orthodox” I mean the Webster’s dictionary version of the word which is, “conforming to established doctrine especially in religion” not the Orthodox denomination.

But how do you do that? Well the first way is obvious read and study the Bible. I know Biblical study takes time and you may need a quicker answer so how about this.

Follow the Nicene Creed,


“We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried.
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
He spoke through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
and to life in the world to come. Amen.”

Please note the term “catholic” means “universal” it is not referencing the Roman Catholic denomination. People often get that confused.

That is a perfect way to start. That way you know if you hear a ministry saying something like, “Jesus isn’t God, He was a created Being made by the Father born two thousand years ago”. You can immediately know that the Ministry who says that is teaching false doctrine and you should avoid them. They’re a lot ministries who just by knowing the Nicene Creed you can write off as they teach things that are not the basics of the Christian faith. Things we call “heresy”. It is very important to know who God is and fundamentals of the Trinity.

The second way I am going to discuss is going to be a bit less popular. Does this ministry produce the Fruit of the Spirit?

What is the Fruit of the Spirit? Well this…

Galatians 5:22-23 New International Version
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

So if you see a ministry that is hateful, wrathful, angry, arrogant, aggressive, graceless, always picking fights and being divisive without every controlling the tongue then avoid them.

That’s right.

Avoid them.

After all they’re many ministries who can articulate theology and preach sermons without behaving in a manner that goes against the way the Bible instructs. (Click the link below to read more on divisive people and behavior)

You may say, “But Pastor So and So has excellent theology and is a great teacher!”

I ask you, “If that Pastor had such excellent theology then why does he behave in such an unbiblical manner? If that Pastor is such a great teacher than why is he teaching his followers to behave like a sinner and not like Jesus?”

I will leave you with this scripture as the best response to any challenge on this…

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 New International Version
“13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Sources:
https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/creeds/nicene-creed

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orthodox

https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/1%20Corinthians%2013%3A2

For More:
https://www.openbible.info/topics/divisiveness


Discerning If You Heard From God: Test Three

The third and final way to test if you’re hearing God is the one I’ve been teasing as the most important. Did what you hear contradict scripture?

This is unbelievably crucial. 

God is NOT a hypocrite. 

God does NOT contradict Himself. 

Study the Word of God and make absolutely sure that what you think you’re hearing from God goes along with the Bible. 

Sadly an example I’ve heard a few times is when a person is in sin they say, “I feel like God told me He wants me happy”.

That is completely unbiblical and God would never do that.

God is not calling you to sin or live against His Word. He doesn’t have a new message that will change scripture. 

Matthew 24:35 (ESV), “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” 

God’s Word is eternal and He is calling you to righteousness, repentance and submission to His Word. 

If God speaks to someone it will coincide with His Word not go against. 

If you’re unsure if what you hear is Biblical than you need to read your Bible. 

Remember John 1:1 (ESV), “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 

The Word of God is the most important way to test if you’re hearing from God. 

That’s the bottom line. 

Study His Word and you will hear from God every day no matter what. 

Have a Blessed Week, 
Chris 

Discerning If You Heard From God: Test Two

Hello everyone, 

Last week we covered one way to test if you’re hearing from God, please feel free to go check that out. 

A second way to test if you’re hearing God is, are you only hearing things that you want to hear? Does everything you hear about yourself, what you want, what is expected of you exactly what you want to hear? Is what you hear in your mind or through others who claim they’re speaking from God just tickling your hears? Are you being drawn away from church or living a Christian life? Is everything you hear about making your life easier? 

For example, if you keep hearing, how wonderful you are and that we are all sinners so don’t feel guilty. Just be you. Things like it’s okay it was only a white lie or a little sin.

That certainly isn’t God.

I am of course not saying God won’t say anything nice to you or offer encouragement or tell you that He loves you but what I am saying if everything you hear is just telling you what you want to hear then that is not from God. Because that is not life as a true Christian. 

Now are you hearing God tell you what you need to change? Is God exposing to your sins and leading you on the path to sanctification? Is God challenging you to serve Him better? To go out and live for Him? Are people telling you things that you need to hear, not just want? Are people drawing you into service to God? Is what you hear causing you to be a better follower of Christ? 

If you can say yes.

That sounds like  messages from the Lord to me. 

Why?

Because that is what we are called to do, live a self-sacrificial life. Constantly walking down the narrow path, serving Christ, suffering and make changes along the way to be the way God wants us to be. Praising Him along the way when blessings come and praising Him when trials come. 

Next week I am going to take a week off but after that it will be my final entry of the series. The most important test. 

Have a Blessed Couple of Weeks, 
Chris 

Discerning If You Heard From God: Test One

The first way I will discuss to test if what you heard is from God is a relatively easy one. Did what you hear come true? 

An example of this, did you think you heard God tell you that you were going to get a certain job you applied for and in the end you did not get the job? Well then what you heard, no matter the source, was not true. Don’t make excuses or come up with reasons as to why it did not come to pass. Simply realize that was not God but either your own mind or someone else’s wishful thinking. 

Let’s not speculate, just trust in the Lord and recognize that was not Him. Don’t feel down about it and don’t condemn someone who misspoke to you. Instead go to the Word of God. Because even if you didn’t hear a word from the Lord, you have the Word of God at your fingertips. Praise God. 

Now on the other side If you hear a message from the Lord in whatever way that was clear and specific and it does come to pass, then praise God it appears the Lord spoke to you. 

Give all the glory to God and keep seeking after Him and studying His Word. 

I know this first entry was brief but I hope it helped. 

See you all next week. 

Be Blessed, 
Chris 

Scripture Reading Plan
Monday – Jeremiah 2:4-13

Tuesday – Psalm 112

Wednesday – Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Thursday – Luke 14:1, 7-14

https://www.heritageloves.com/sermon-podcasts

Discerning If You Heard From God: Introduction

A common question I see asked is, “How do I know if what I heard is from God?” Today I am going to begin discussing answers to this question.

Originally I thought this was going to be just this week’s entry but I’ve come to realize this is a loaded topic so I am going to make this my next series. 

I want to start this off by saying, this entry will not be set out to prove any type of stance on the Gifts of the Spirit. I do not label myself anything in that department, this is not from a Pentecostal’s perspective or cessationist perspective. I am not going to even lay out my beliefs. All I am doing here is addressing those who are wondering about ways to test what they have heard to see if it is from God. I am going to give three different ways, they’re many more I am sure but I will be giving just the three. The third is the most important. 

Now when it comes to “hearing God” there is a lot of different ways people think they’re hearing from God. It can be on their own through their mind in prayer, through a dream, plenty of other ways I’m sure as well. 

And of course through the Bible! Yes, the Word of God. Read that first and foremost. That is your best bet if you want to hear from God. Many times reading scripture has given me the answer I needed. 

Sometimes you get messages from other people, whether it be a subtle confirmation on something you have been praying about, a more bold proclamation from someone claiming they have a message from the Lord (this of course you certainly want to test). I really could go on and on. 

Whether subtle or bold, we should, “test all things” like scripture says but do so with a gracious and loving heart. Not out to debunk a message but also not out confirm something just because you want it to be from God. 

Also look out for vagueness, if you hear in your mind or from someone else something like, “Good things are coming your way” or even, “Troubles are coming”. That is true no matter what, that is far too vague to know if it is from God. 

The following three weeks (with a break for Labor Day) I will be discussing the three before mentioned ways to test if what you’re hearing is from God with examples to help. 

I hope this helps those who need it. 

Have a Blessed Week, 
Chris 

So What Are You Going To Do About It?

My Pastor yesterday preached a great sermon yesterday on Isaiah 1:1,10-20. There is a lot I could unpack as there is a lot that stood out to me but the truth is I want to focus on one part at least for now.

A little note on my Pastor, he likes to stay informed. He listens and reads to all different sides of an issue to understand things. During the sermon he mentioned how people love to call into radio programs and complain, they get very worked up and angry. They complain, vent and complain some more. One particular radio host likes to ask the caller at the end of their rant, “Now what are you going to do about it?”

I don’t know who that radio host is or what they believe but what a great question to ask.

We get upset, angry, grieved about the sins of the world and we are justified in those emotions. There is so much evil, pain and sorrow in the world.

But after thinking about these things lets ask ourselves, “Now what are you going to do about it?”

What we need to do about it is follow Christ and live a self sacrificial life of servitude to God. Spreading the Gospel not just in our words but in our actions. Love people, take care of people, tell them about their savior.

Because the true answer to the question, “Now what are you going to do about it?” is what God wants me to do about it.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Scripture Reading Plan:

Monday – Isaiah 5:1-7

Tuesday – Psalm 82

Wednesday – Hebrews 11:29-12:2 (Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16)

Thursday – Luke 12:49-56

The Broken Cross

When I was in high school a friend of mine who was a fellow Christian gave me a cross. It was green and made of glass. I loved it, the color was my favorite, the cross felt so nice in my hand.

I wore it every day and everywhere.

One day at the favorite local hang out spot (the arcade) I was playing a game called Dance Dance Revolution. After the game was over, I noticed my cross had fallen from my neck and shattered.

I was heartbroken, there was no fixing the cross. My friend later asked me where the cross was? I had to solemnly tell him the news. You could tell he was disappointed.

He got over it quick because quite frankly his life had one tragedy after the other. It was a hard and cruel life.

Years later he now openly mocks God and faith on Facebook.  

The broken cross he gave to me ended up being a metaphor for what was to come, his faith would be broken.

It grieves me to think about and sadly of all my friends from high school I can think of only two who are believers in Christ.

Even worse they’re not just unbelievers but many of them bash God and hate Jesus Christ.

It breaks my heart.

I often times feel hopeless for my high school friends. But then I remember there is hope.

Hope in Jesus Christ.

Because truly in high school, I was broken. That broken cross could serve as a metaphor for me. I was vile, deep in sin. Filled with hatred and pain. I was completely shattered and seemed to be unfixable.

But then Jesus truly saved me from myself.

I owe all to God.

All glory to God!

Praise His Name.

Have a Blessed and Hopeful Week,
Chris

What is Loving?

I was once told that a post of mine was the opposite of what my blog was supposed to be. They said I was being judgmental and unloving for telling people the Truth that is found in Christ

In reality Jesus said He was, “The Way, The Truth and the Life” and “That no one comes to the Father except through Me”.

The truth is not judgmental. Telling someone they’re an atheist or a muslim or anything else and then proceeding to tell them about themselves that is judgmental. But telling someone they’re a sinner in need of a savior that is just truth. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.

Now on to the “unloving” part. Since Jesus declared Himself to be the “Truth” not telling someone about Jesus would be unloving because not telling the truth is lying and that in itself is an unloving thing to do.

Most importantly Jesus is the savior of the World. Imagine if you were in a fire and were saved, you now know the way out of the fire, would it be unloving to tell people the way out? Or would that be the most loving thing to do. The least loving thing to do would walk away and say, “well that is my way out of the fire. They’re many different paths to getting saved from the fire”.

That would be awful!

The world right now is trying to tell us Christians to do exactly that. They’re telling us to embrace everyone with “love” but its fake love desired to gratify the flesh.

Do the most loving thing you can do, tell someone about Jesus, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Have a Blessed and Loving Week,
Chris

Daily Scripture Reading
Monday – Hosea 1:2-10
Tuesday – Psalm 138
Wednesday – Colossians 2:6-19
Thursday – Luke 11:1-13