Beginning Monday, April 20 to June 1, I will be doing an online book study of The Renewing of the Mind Project by Barb Raveling. Bible study will be involved in the book study as well. You can choose what your project will be. Some examples include weight loss, procrastination, overcoming worry or fear, etc. Ladies, please feel free to join the Facebook group by clicking on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/985637161832375/
I am writing to you, my precious reader, because the Lord has called my attention to errors in some of the teachings I have set forth. He has made these errors known to me through His Word. If you have noticed that my blog posts have become less frequent, it is because I have been seeking the Lord through prayer and His word.
Often, Bible teachers have to evaluate their teachings. If they are not scriptural, they must be changed. During the past few days I have been going through previous posts. On some posts I completed edits. Others were deleted altogether. James 3:1 reminds believers that bible teachers are held to a strict judgment. I do not want judgment so I choose to make biblical changes.
The teachings to which I am referring are not salvation issues, but they could be misleading to people who are trying to mature in their walks with the Lord. I do not want to lead people into error neither deliberately nor unintentionally. I will be discussing these teachings in future posts and videos, but for now I want to discuss the sufficiency and authority of the scripture.
A Sure Word of Prophecy
While the Lord uses the gifts of other people to encourage and help us, it is the duty of each and every believer to search the scriptures for themselves. Having a solid knowledge of the Bible is essential, especially in the day and time in which we now live. Far too often, Christians want a minister or other believer to give him or her a “word”. The true need is for the word seeker to get in the Word and get a word.
God makes it clear throughout the Bible that His book is the primary way that He speaks. I am not suggesting that God does not give us wisdom and knowledge that we need on matters not discussed in scripture such as the following: What job should I take? Where should I live? Who should I marry?
Certainly, He will give wisdom, but if you are not a student of the Bible, you will find yourself confused on every turn. In 2 Peter 1:19, we are told that we have a more sure word of prophecy. Peter was speaking of the Word of God which you will see clearly if you continue reading the rest of that chapter. If you need God to speak, read your Bible. There are 66 books with loads of scriptures and true stories that will inspire you, challenge you, and correct you.
The Bible is Sufficient
Hebrews 1:1-2 speaks of various ways God spoke to His people in the Old Testament. The writer of Hebrews (maybe Paul, maybe not), makes it clear that in our time, God is speaking to us through Jesus Christ. In John 1, it is made clear that Jesus is the Word in flesh. Now, we have the written word, His words.
I make this clear so you will understand the importance of pouring over the scriptures for yourself and pouring over them prayerfully. Ask God for wisdom to rightly divide His word. You will find the Word is sufficient.
I heard a lady make a statement that made me sad. She said she knew she had the Bible, but she needed more. Wanting more than the scriptures can lead you to dangerous places, and from what I have seen, this lady has plunged headlong into New Age teachings which are opposite of the scriptures. When people say they need more than the Bible, it is a clear indicator that these same people are not reading and studying the Word on a regular basis or no such statement would escape their lips.
The Bottom Line
Please do not take my words to an extreme. The bible is clear that we need preachers and teachers as well as assembling with other believers. I am blessed greatly by the gifts of others. Just know that what we are told in the words of other people cannot exceed scripture.
Let’s pray for others and ourselves as we study the precious Word of God that we rightly divide it. Read scriptures in context and avoid making a doctrine from one single verse. Be a good Berean and study the scriptures to see if these things are so.
In Ecclesiastes 3, we are reminded of the wisdom of God’s timing. He knows when various purposes and plans must be carried out, and He knows when they must halt. There is a time to plant and time to pluck up what is planted, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
We are in an uncertain time in our nation and world. The Coronavirus pandemic has many in panic and fear which is completely understandable. However, as Christians, God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and sound mind. Certainly, I am not suggesting that we throw caution to the wind, but God never told His people to cave and cower to fear.
Time to Pray
I understand that we are constantly being told to pray, but it always should be our first step in any endeavor. Prayer is a beautiful design given to us by God the Father for communication. Prayers strengthens us. Prayer changes our situations. Most of all, prayer changes us.
Not only do we and others around us need prayer, our nation’s leaders need prayer as well as various state and local authorities. As a matter of fact, the Bible instructs us to pray for them. Sadly, I see many that want to bash and say what he or she would do if in leadership, but the fact is you do not know until you are in the situation. The decisions they are making press heavily on them. You can see this in the faces of many of them. They need our intercession.
Rather than hitting up social media to gossip and rant, hit your knees and cry out to God for our nation. Cry out to God for all people! Cry out for those who are lost without God! People’s lives and souls are at stake. What we do matters.
Time to Sanctify Yourself
I am a firm believer in God’s grace and mercy. He has been so patient with me during seasons of willful sin and in my failings in general. However, the time has come for many of us to grow up in the Lord. It is vital that we open our Bibles along with our prayer and ask the Lord for wisdom to rightly divide His word.
When reading His word, you will discover areas of your life that need to change. I have discovered the same. Instead of trying to change what the Bible says or justify ourselves, let’s surrender to Christ and allow Him to change us. It is not pleasant to the flesh, but it is vital. The world needs to see a people on fire for Jesus and so in love with Him that we allow His love to radiate through us so others can see.
Time to Fast
Christians, it is time for us to push the plate back to show our true desire for God’s will in our lives and for the salvation of our lost people. I love to eat as good as anyone, but I find that fasting has turned the heart of God. It is His desire to show mercy. It is His desire to save. It is His desire to heal and deliver, but we have to allow Him to drive out that which is not godly in us so He can put more of what is Him in us.
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Read the book of Esther and Jonah. Fasting turned away God’s wrath and brought mercy and healing to Nineveh. Fasting turned God’s heart to pour out divine favor on Esther as she went before the King without being summoned, which could have led to her demise. Jesus instructed us to fast. When giving instruction concerning fasting, He said, “When you fast…” He did not say “If you fast…” How you go about that process is something your should seek the Lord about particularly if you have diabetes or some other ailment.
Time to Act
The time to do more than talk the talk has come. It is time to walk the walk. It is time to demonstrate God’s love and faithfulness to those with which we come in contact. For some, it might be to stay in to keep from spreading the pandemic. For others, it is to be on the front line bringing aid. For all of us, we can pray. We can look after the elderly. We can encourage each other and pray for our leaders.
Yesterday is gone. The time is not tomorrow or next week. The time to do God’s will is now.
Progressive Christianity is known as movement that seeks to change Christianity. When I say Christianity, I mean biblical Christianity. Attempting to re-write the Word of God or dismiss certain portions of it is dangerous.
For the past several years, I have avoided speaking out on this issue. Why? Honestly, I knew it would open a proverbial can of worms. However, if I refuse to speak truth, I will answer to God. So will you. Keep in mind that I am not suggesting that God’s people suddenly start beating people over the head and becoming combative. I am simply saying that it is time to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Experience Over the Bible
An alarming trend has been on the horizon for many years now. I fear that it is becoming more than a trend. Christians are beginning to trust more in their experiences and emotions than they do in the Word of God.
Once again, I believe we can have spiritual experiences, but they must line up with the Bible. If your experiences are contrary to scripture, they must be dismissed. Our emotions are real and should not be ignored, but they should not take priority over God’s word. For example, I might not feel like walking in love. The feeling is real, but the Bible says I must walk in love, therefore, I need to deal with my emotions and obey God’s Word.
If visions and other spiritual experiences are contrary to the Word, God’s holy word must be valued over my experience. 1 John 4:1 states that we are not to believe every spirit, but we must try the spirits to see if they are of God. We are also told that many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 states that we must test all things and hold to that which is good.
Failing to evaluate experience with the Bible leads to false and heretical teachings. Both Islam and Mormonism were founded upon dreams and visions. 1 Corinthians 4:6 warns us not to exceed what is written.
The Prosperity Gospel
Too many ministers have fallen into the trap of placing their focus on money and material possessions. Certainly, God has no objection to us having possessions, but when people are convinced that they have no faith since they have no wealth and health, the gospel has been seriously misrepresented.
In Matthew 10:8, we are reminded that we should freely give of the things of God because we have received freely from God. While it is fine to give to ministries, it is not appropriate that receiving funds to be the entire focus of a ministry.
The true gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. He came to save sinners. He came to set captives free. Our wealth, or lack thereof, does not determine our righteousness. Accepting Christ and placing our faith in Him does.
The Definition of Marriage
I love all people. More importantly, Jesus does. However, loving people does not mean that I have to approve of what is sin. No, I do not sit in judgement on someone in sin, but it is time people realized that speaking the whole counsel of God’s word is not judging.
When God’s people try to find ways to change the definition of marriage to please people, they are bowing to an idol. Acts 5:29 reminds us that Christians should be pleasing God rather than man. While homosexuality is not the only sin, it has to be addressed because many of God’s people have caved to the pressure of the world. Church by-laws have been changed and attempts to wrongly divide the word of truth have been made.
Please know that if you are involved in homosexual sin, there is deliverance in Jesus Christ. He came to set the captives free. I have been bound to many sins in my lifetime, but He has proven to be my deliverer. He can be yours too.
Which Gospel Will You Accept–Jesus Christ or What is False?
The decision to be offended or accept what I have said is yours. Most of all, Christians need to be searching the Word of God for themselves to see if what I am saying is true. Progressive Christianity has progressed because too many Christians accept the word of others over the Word of God.
It is not a watered down version of the gospel that draws people to Christ. I have yet to see someone leaving Islam, Buddhism, etc. to become a Christian when he or she sees such compromise. Christ said that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. Rather than lift up false teaching, lift up Christ, the true Christ of the Bible. He loves you, but He loves you too much to leave you in your sin.
Praising God is not only what we were created to do, but it is also what helps transform our minds into spiritual thinking. As a result, we are able to walk above negative circumstances. It seems scary, and perhaps strange, to praise God in negative situations. Yet, the results can be miraculous.
When you praise God while going through tough times, you are inviting heaven to move on your behalf. Demonic influences can not tolerate praise to God. While they might turn up the heat of battle for a time, they will not last long under praise to God.
Jehoshaphat and Judah
Jehoshaphat ruled Judah, the southern portion of Israel, before the Babylonian captivity. During his reign, many enemies came against him. The number was vast according to 2 Chronicles 20:2.
While I am certain that Jehoshaphat had feelings of fear, he did not allow these emotions to rule him. He gathered the people and fasted. Jehoshaphat prayed sincerely acknowledging that he had no clue how to act. He stated that his eyes were on God.
Praise Comes with Victory
The Lord assured Jehoshaphat that victory was his because the Lord was in control. After talking to the people, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to walk in the front lines of battle. Putting singers on the front lines is not a normal strategic tactic. However, when God is fighting your battles, He does not use orthodox methods.
The singers marched into the battle along with the others singing praise to God. When they began singing, the Lord Himself sent an ambush against the enemies of His people. Most of these enemies were annihilated. The ones who survived the ambush became confused and slaughtered each other. The people of Judah looked out to see all of their enemies dead. They gathered the plunder from their enemies.
Praise in My Personal Life
When my sister passed away in 2002, a gaping wound was left in my soul. I did not think I could ever deal with the loss. Depression and despair entered my mind and took over my life. The Lord dealt with me to begin praising Him even though it was the last thing I felt like doing. When I began singing praise to God on a regular basis, the heaviness began to lift. After a while, it was totally gone.
Last summer, my husband went before a judge in a final attempt to get social security disability that he had been denied several times before. The battle was long and hard. Due to insurance struggles, much needed doctor’s appointments were challenging to obtain. Without needed medical evidence, it was impossible to get the help we needed.
The Lord reminded us to simply praise Him that the work had been done because He was in control. By faith, and I mean not knowing the results, we began praising God. After doing this for a period of time, we both began feeling a strong presence of the Holy Spirit. God began moving. My husband’s hearing before the judge went favorably giving us a good outcome.
Praise Brings Change
I did not tell you these two stories to make my husband or myself look super spiritual. Believe me, we are very human, and we experienced and yielded to very human emotions at various times. I am telling you that praising God causes your mind to think differently which is vital. Praise changes your outlook on life and increases your faith. Why? When you praise, your focus is on God instead of all that is wrong. Praise magnifies God while giving in to despair magnifies the problem.
What about you? Are you facing an intense battle? Lift up your hands, and by faith, praise God for His mighty work in your situation. Continue doing this even when your emotions are not in agreement. Heaven will move on your behalf.
The subject of forgiveness is a touchy one for most people. I freely admit that I am most people. The idea of forgiving someone when they have wronged me, or repeatedly wronged me, is displeasing. Or, should I say it is displeasing to my fleshly nature?
Why does God require us to extend forgiveness to those who have offended us? Is He simply wanting us to let wrongdoing go and let the offender off the hook? Through study and my own experience, I can confidently assure you that is not case. God requires us to extend forgiveness for our own benefit.
Forgiveness from God
Quite simply, God has forgiven us a great sin debt. This was accomplished when Jesus was crucified and died. Our new life came through His resurrection. By nature, we are sinners. No matter how hard we try or how good we are, we are unable to atone for our sins. Jesus paid a great price to free us from our sinful nature.
God freely gave us His forgiveness. Once we accept what Jesus did as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, we become born again. When we sin, we go to the Father, through Jesus Christ, to receive forgiveness. We did not deserve this grace and mercy, but He freely gave it.
Because of the forgiveness we have received, we must forgive others when they sin against us. Refusing to forgive puts a barrier between us and God. It also opens us up to being ruled by other sins such as malice, unbridled anger, gossip, and many others. We become obsessed with getting revenge which can be dangerous to us and others.
Forgiving others does not mean that the offense was not wrong. It does not mean that is is okay that you were hurt. It simply means that you release the offense to God giving Him the right to take care of it. Trust me, God knows how to deal with other people. Once you have released the offense (an act you might have to repeat several times), you will find that you have joy and peace. You will realize that the offense was weighing you down.
Often, the person I have needed to forgive is myself. You might find the same is true in your case. When I keep falling into the same sin over and over, I begin to become self-condemning. Unfortunately, this is not productive. What is productive is bringing myself to the throne of grace, pouring my heart out in repentance to the Father. His Word promises that He will cleanse us of our sins when we go to Him.
Once you have repented, leave condemnation alone. If you try to carry it, you will be of no use to the kingdom of God. It is not humility. It is a selfish focus on yourself and an insult to the blood of Jesus. Whether you realize it or not, you are saying the blood of Jesus is not enough when you walk in condemnation. We do not need to do penance. We simply need to repent and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us.
So, How about Forgiving?
Are you struggling to forgive someone who has done a great wrong to you? Are you struggling to forgive yourself? Bring that hurt to the Lord. He is able to take it and make you new again.
Refusing forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die. It is dangerous, and it is heavy. You will feel much lighter when you let go of the offense and allow God to take vengeance. Forgiveness, whether being given or received, brings transformation.
Perhaps I should explain why I have not yet published the book I was promoting. The title of the book is Are You Ready for Transformation (It’s All in Your Mind). As a practical guide to renewing the mind, I want the Holy Spirit to guide me through the process. In my rush to complete the book, I found myself running off without Him. That will never do.
At this time in my life, I am experiencing some great transformation spiritually, personally, and in my career. I am excited about these changes although I can get a bit apprehensive. Why? I am stepping out of my comfort zone.
Areas of Struggle
One of the areas of my life in which I struggle is with my weight. Since my late teens, I have been on one diet or another. When I was not dieting, I was going on complete binges. This type of yo-yo method is not healthy and can mess with the metabolism.
The Lord began speaking to me about my weight. I am following His leading, and I would love your prayers. He is teaching me how to keep the pursuit of weight loss in balance, allowing Him to heal areas that led me to overeating in the first place. However, the pursuit of weight loss must not become an idol in my life. If I am not careful, I tend to pursue the blessing rather than the God giving the blessing. Can you relate?
Giving Up Control
By nature, I have a type A personality. I feel the need to be in control. Part of that control is feeling that I have to do everything asked of me to show my capability. When I surrendered my control to God’s control, I found that I can say “no” when I need to. I do not have to do everything someone asks of me. If I need to, I can politely refuse. Jesus did not travel to every town. He did not give in to the wishes of everyone around Him when those wishes contradicted the will of the Father. (Balance alert: While I do not need to do everything asked of me, I do need to consider the needs of others which, at times, can bring inconvenience.)
Leaving the Comfort Zone
Due to loving control, I have a certain zone I prefer to stay in. If that zone were God’s will, then it would be fine. However, it is my own desire. It had to be surrendered to God because wanting to remain comfortable was keeping me from the transformation I needed. Understanding that God’s ways were higher than mine liberated me to allow Him to lead and guide my steps.
Are You Ready for Transformation will be out when I know God’s timing is right, not mine. The transformations that I have been undergoing will be discussed along with scriptures that the Lord led me to. I am willing to wait because I know it will be better and the annointing of the Holy Spirit will be more evident when I rely on God and give Him the glory.
What about you?
Are you undergoing transformation by the leading of the Lord? Remember our transformation comes by renewing our minds. If you belong to Christ, you have the mind of Christ. Using the mind He has given us will cause us to tap into realms of glory that we have never before experienced.
Trust the process that the Lord is taking you through. The end result is worth the means. God loves you, and His plan is to give you more abundant life.
It has been a long time since I last posted. So much has happened in my personal life since my last post. Major breakthroughs have happened in my own life as well as my family and church family. Of course, when a breakthrough comes, other battles come with it.
Wait a minute! Am I telling you that when you get a breakthrough, you still have battles? Yes! It comes as a shock, but count it all joy. When the children of Israel crossed over into the promised land in the book of Joshua, they battled giants. Although battles can be scary, what is even scarier is having no battles. If you have no battles, you are not progressing to higher spiritual ground.
Battles and Transformation
Of course, every single second of your life does not have to be a battle, but life does happen. I mentioned transformation in my title. Our battles are meant to bring transformation to us.
According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, we are changed from glory to glory. This glory to glory change involves being changed from battle to battle. The word transformation refers to a complete change that is often miraculous.
Look at the Eagle
The eagle is used as an illustration in the Bible and many sermons. There is a good reason for the analogy of eagles and our walks with God. Eagles are magnificent birds. They do not stay on the ground and scratch around. They soar, and when they do, they soar above most things.
During a storm an eagle will fly higher so he is above it. One transformation that must take place in our lives as Christians is that we must learn to fly above the storms in our lives. Yes, we are human. Yes, we will feel pain, but we do not have to allow the pain and suffering to cause us to drop to a level in which we do not belong. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can fly higher until we are above the storm. The storm, or the circumstance, is still occurring, but we are above it. We can avoid being negatively affected by adverse circumstances.
Is Such Change Possible?
In ourselves, it is impossible to soar above a storm, spiritually speaking. However, with God, all things are possible. When we tap into the power that Christ gave us through the cross and His resurrection, we can do great things. Of course, these accomplishments are not for our glory but to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have been listening to a Christian neuroscientist as well as studying in God’s word about transforming thoughts. According to what I have gleaned, God’s people have not even begun to tap into the power that God has made available to us by renewing our minds day by day. Until our thinking changes, great transformation will not take place. Romans 12:2 reminds us that we are not transformed by our own goodness or simply trying extra hard. We are transformed by renewing the mind.
In future posts, I will have more to write about this. Until then, pray about your own transformation. Through Jesus Christ, we have been given all we need for life and godliness. We simply need to learn to utilize what we have been given.