Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why do people want to steer me away from truth?

Why do people want to steer me away from truth?

Again and again, people want to steer me away from God’s truth? Why?!

A few days ago, as I was selling my Christian children’s books at a market, a man suggested I read the works of a 19th philosopher, known for art and literature and who was admired for his spiritually enlightened insights. 

Here I am, selling my books at a market.
The fellow, who made the suggestion, was apparently enamored by the philosopher whose name he put before me. I had never heard the name before, though I had heard of one of his books which had been touted by some subculture followers of the sixties and seventies. No, I won’t say the philosopher’s name because we could insert any number of names—some well-known and some obscure.  

Curious about this man from history, whose works I’ve been missing out on, I looked him up. I learned that he was relatively popular and has been quoted by famous people in speeches and songs in recent decades.

Though raised a Christian, he became influenced by Islam and various mystical religions upon reaching adulthood. This has been a common occurrence throughout history and is much the same these days. I know people who’ve experienced being reared in Christianity, and as young adults striking out to find “a better way.”

After my conversation with the man at the market, I asked myself, “Now, why did he even get into that topic with me? I was innocently trying to sell my books.” 

I then recalled our conversation:

He asked, “How did you get into writing these books?”

Me: “I first wrote the stories for my grandchildren and felt led to get them into print for others to enjoy and learn from. I love to study the Bible and would like to see my grandchildren and others become interested in knowing what the Bible says.”

(There it is! I told him I love to study the Bible, therefore he wanted to help me out by encouraging me in the sphere of philosophy and religion.)

He: “Have you ever read the works of _______ ______?”

Me: “No, I don’t think so.”

He: “Well you should. I think you’d enjoy him. He was a great writer and literary person. Here, I’ll write down his name for you.”

My helpful new acquaintance proceeded to pull out a tablet and write down the name of his apparent hero along with a brief quote for which the hero is known.
I politely took the paper and subsequently checked him out. To tell you the truth I found pretty much what I expected because this kind of thing has happened before. I discovered yet another popular Gnostic-style religious master, similar to individuals the early church contended with in the first century. These false teachers and false prophets come along each and every century and will continue to do so until the blast of the last trumpet.

It’s certainly not the first time I’ve experienced such encounters. Those of us who know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father but by Him are often confronted by well-meaning, but misguided individuals who want more for us. (Sigh!)

If they only knew! If they only knew Jesus like I know Jesus, they wouldn’t consider a need for something more, or greater—a more esoteric level of truth, or some other gobbledygook! 

In his letters to the first century church and to his protégé, Timothy, Paul warned about false teachers and false prophets seeking to disrupt and lead astray inexperienced church members. Some examples are found in 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 John 4:1; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; Col 2:8.
I especially like his warning in Colossians: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8 NASV).

I am confident that nothing will dissuade me from Jesus, the only Son of the Living God, my own personal Savior. But what about you? What about your children—my own children and grandchildren?

I know my confidence comes from getting to know my God thought Bible reading and study and through a consistent prayer life, as well as being connected to a local church fellowship.

If you are not totally sold-on—sold-out—convinced that Jesus is indeed the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him and through Him alone, then I beg you to get into God’s Word seriously! Ask the Holy Spirit to be your Helper and let God’s truths wash over you, your mind and your spirit. Let it teach you and refresh you every day of your life.
Don’t be distracted by worldly philosophies no matter how good they sound and no matter that they even use a portion of scripture to try to draw in God’s elect. We are warned over and over about such threats. Satan is as a wolf in sheep’s clothing and like a lion seeking who he can devour. (Matt. 7:15).

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”   
(Matthew 7:15)

Let’s pray for one another, especially for our little ones and those young in the faith. Christian college students are being led astray by false teachers and prophets who stand behind podiums in their classrooms. One reason this is so rampant is that these young adults don’t know why they believe what they were taught at home and church growing up. Many are actually not born-again even though they attended church with their parents for 18 years. They may have never come into a personal relationship with Jesus nor have developed a strong biblical foundation for themselves. 

They don’t know the Word of God! AND their eternal destiny depends on it!
Do you recognize false teachers when they come your way?
Do well-meaning friends and family members encourage you to check out thus and so philosophy or teacher? Please share about it below, if you’d like.
Are you discerning of the source of well-intentioned quotes and banners you may share on Facebook? When we share a quote or cool photo, to some degree we’re promoting whoever originated it. 

I know many may say that, I’m too narrow in my thinking but “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded ...” (2 Timothy 1:12). 

I hope you are also well grounded. If not, begin today to dig in and get to know Jesus better and build your spiritual house on the firm foundation of God’s Word. 

Your comments are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.
©Connie Wohlford 2016

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Preserved, As We Wait On God

Preserved, As We Wait On God

Are you waiting on God for something?

I suspect that almost everyone (if not all), who believe in God and trust in Jesus, are waiting on God for something.

On Facebook, each morning, I post a prayer for our children and grandchildren. Each post involves praying God’s Word over our dear ones.

One recent prayer, using Psalm 25:21, goes like this: “Father, I pray that integrity and uprightness will preserve my children as they wait on You.”

The psalm says, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You” (Psalm 25:21 NKJV).

As I typed the prayer and prayed it for my own children and grandchildren, I paused to consider the meanings of each word. Those are some penetrating words!

What happens when we wait on God? Some of us have been waiting for years—lots of years—for God to do a specific thing. While we wait it’s easy to get impatient or discouraged. Our faith may begin to wane or we might even decide to take matters into our own hands to help God along.

Consider what happened when Abram and Sarai (Abraham and Sarah) decided to help God with their childlessness dilemma. To this day the consequences of their impatience are felt throughout the world. 

We’ve heard it said, “Patience is a virtue.” Let’s expand that: “Patience is a character-building virtue.”  That’s much like what our psalm says. 

Integrity and uprightness are both commendable attributes of one’s character. 

The Hebrew word for integrity is defined as completeness or moral innocence.* Uprightness in Hebrew means straightness, often referring to choosing to walk on the straight and narrow path.** 
The Hebrew word for preserve is natsar, pronounced naw-tsar, and means to guard, protect, maintain. “The word refers to people maintaining things entrusted to them, especially to keeping the truths of God in both actions and mind.”*** In other words, the work of God’s character, reflected in people, is preserving them. 

King David’s words, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You,” were a small part of his plea to God in Psalm 25. At the time he was petitioning God for forgiveness of sin and deliverance from enemies for himself and for the nation of Israel.

So, as I pray this verse for my children and grandchildren, I also petition God for myself and my country:

“Oh Lord, let moral innocence and walking the straight and narrow path be our guard and protection as we keep the truths You’ve entrusted to us and as we reflect Your character to preserve them while we wait on You. In Jesus name—Amen.”

As we wait on God—whether for 30 minutes or 30 years—let’s ask Him to help us maintain His kind of integrity and right living in the meantime. In the end, our faith and patience will bring good results.

Your comments are welcome.

Link to the Facebook prayer mentioned above:

* ** *** Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, Old Testament Dictionary; AMG Publishers; *p. 2067; **p. 1898; ***p. 1958
©Connie Wohlford 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Speaking of FREEDOM—FREEDOM God’s Way

Speaking of FREEDOM—                                      
                    FREEDOM God’s Way

God’s kind of freedom is so incredible! When we join His family, by receiving Jesus into our hearts, the freedom benefits blow me away. Indeed, we’re set free from all our sins and their attachments, like Guilt. Oh yes, we may still cope with some of the consequences, but He’s right there with us, supporting us all the way to the end.

Freedom from sin paves the way for us to be in right relationship with our Creator and gives us our ticket to Heaven. No denying it—that’s the very best benefit of salvation.

But we’re freed up from many other things as well and I want to focus on one of my favorites. I’m so grateful that Jesus has set me free from FEAR! I don’t mean fear of the boogie man or fear of the dark. (Though these may be your top fears.) 

I’m talking about fear of man, of my personal insecurities, the future, the safety and well-being for myself and my loved ones, health, finances, terrorists, provision.... Hey, this list could fill the screen—and then some.

I must admit, I continually have to remind myself, “God’s got this.” Fearlessness does not come natural for me.

I love Jesus’ reassuring words to His disciples just before He was crucified: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27 NKJV).

From Jesus we’re assured that we needn’t be troubled nor afraid and we can have supernatural peace. That is peace that passes understanding which comes from the Prince of Peace himself. 

I’d like to share an acrostic, using the word FREEDOM:

FEAR NOT!  I’m told that some form of “Fear not” is in the Bible 365 times—one for each day of the year. I haven’t counted for myself, but I do know I’ve read it there many, many times.
Released from the domain of sin and darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13-14).
Every sin is washed away by the blood of Jesus, freeing us from the punishment we deserve (1 John 1:7).
Everyone is welcome, but sadly not everyone accepts God’s offer of ultimate freedom (2 Peter 2:9). 
Deliverance for the captives, the brokenhearted, the sick and lame (Luke 4:18).
Oppression – The Lord is a refuge for those who are oppressed and who are experiencing trouble (Psalm 9:9).
Manifestations of freedom in Christ can be experienced every day as we allow His Spirit to work freely in us.

In what ways has Jesus set you free? Your comments are welcome.
©Connie Wohlford 2016