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Sly Deceptions

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God’s Thoughts to Me

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1, NIV).

Test everything. Hold on to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NIV).

The Noble Bereans

I used to be good friends with a lady who was a member of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church. She had a very difficult childhood and subsequently grew up into a very insecure, vulnerable young woman.

The White Family

The White Family

When she desperately needed love, she met a few Seventh-Day-Adventists and they welcomed her with open arms. As she didn’t grow up in a church and didn’t know our Lord, she accepted their teachings and married their young pastor.

The founders of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church were Ellen G White, her husband, James White and Joseph Bates. The Adventists consider the teachings of Mrs White, which are based on visions she apparently received from God, to be just, if not more, reliable and true as the Bible.

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These precious people are heavily bogged down under the yoke of legalism. Yet, they consider themselves to be the remnant spoken of in Revelation 12:17.

This belief can easily scare the living daylights out of a naive, gullible person, like my friend, and make them a life-long member of this church.

Their teachings are very dangerous and the fact that they celebrate their Sabbath on a Saturday, is only a small fish in the ocean of deception.

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My friend tried her utmost to convert me to Seventh-Day-Adventism, but when she realized she was wasting her time, she sadly ended our friendship. I did a thorough study of their teachings and our Pappa protected me from believing lies.

I am amazed how educated, intelligent people use a single Scripture verse as the basis for a whole new doctrine and subsequently a new church!

Just to give you an idea how easily a Scripture verse can be taken out of context and manipulated to create a whole new doctrine, I want to mention their teaching about dietary laws.

According to them it is sinful to eat pork, but conveniently ignore Paul’s warning, “So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink… (Colossians 2:16)”.

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When Peter received the vision from heaven of the sheet containing all the “unclean” animals, according to the Old Testament laws, our Pappa told Peter to eat these unclean food. We know our Lord wanted to show Peter that, contrary to their belief, He didn’t consider the Gentiles to be unclean.

The Seventh-Day-Adventist believe He was referring only to people and not animals! Pigs are still happy and safe in Jerusalem and amongst these folks! The dietary laws of the Old Testament are still operative to them today.

Their teachings made me realize how easily one can base many false, deceptive doctrines on a few Scripture verses taken out of context and by implication deceive millions of people. The fear factor and the false security it offers keep many earnest seekers of God chained to these false doctrines.

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The greatest danger lies in the fact that nearly every lie can be defended from Scripture and the adherents usually valiantly claim to be just as noble as the Bereans who eagerly listened to Paul and Silas and searched the Scriptures daily to if what they preached was in fact the truth.

When I came to realize that countless, terrible lies were being nobly taught straight from the Bible, I seriously looked at what the Bereans were really doing. I found the secret lying not in what they were doing, but in what Paul was preaching.

Paul and Silas were in Thessalonica before they came to Berea. There was a Jewish synagogue and for three Sabbaths in a row, Paul reasoned with these Jews.

He used the Torah to explain the prophecies about the Messiah who had to suffer and rise from the dead. He informed them that Jesus was this promised Messiah.

Jewish Children Learning The Torah

Jewish Children Learning The Torah

The Bereans were more open-minded than the Thessalonians and eagerly listened to what Paul was preaching. Yet, they didn’t just gobble-up everything Paul said, but searched their copy of the Torah daily to make sure of the truth of their words. Paul commended them for this (Act 17:11).

Paul warned the Thessalonians to test everything and only hold on to what is good and true. In the same manner we find John warning the believers not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits to see whether they were from God. Even then many false prophets were claiming to preach the truth of Christ.

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Today were are in the midst of a great apostasy and we have greatly stifled the Holy Spirit’s gift of discernment. We believe left, right and centre everything that is taught in the name of our Lord Jesus without testing anything.

I know that if people are like me, we often cry this great battle cry of  “Sola Scriptura”. Yet, we are clueless about the battle we are so valiantly fighting for! No wonder the Roman Catholic papacy, at the time of Martin Luther, used to say that the Protestants only exchanged their idol of the Pope for another, the Scriptures!

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I invite you to accompany me as I investigate, like the Bereans, for another few posts and test a few of the subtle false spirits doing the rounds today and which are difficult to discern as falsehood.

I want to delve deep into the Gospel Paul was preaching and hold onto our Lord Jesus who is the only Way … the only Truth … and the only Life.

Blessings and love.

Mia

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Elijah, Mount Carmel and Me

God’s Thoughts to me

So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions ? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent. (18 Kings 1:20-21, NLT).

The Contest on Mt Carmel

The last month I have been reluctantly travelling through the well-known Fm/CFS country, Mega-Flare Land. Actually, I was forced to accompany my unwelcome friends, Mr Pain, his ugly wife, Exhaustion, and their brood of brat-like kiddos: Fibrofog, IBS, Migraine, Desperado and all their siblings. They were joyfully irritating me, taking turns in giving me the honors of piggybacking them.

Taking a short respite, we stopped at a shady Inn called Quitters Paradise. This scaly looking building was situated in the middle of the desolate Plain of Despondency. I peeked through a dirty window and was not at all surprised to see a few very familiar felons already lodging there. Mr Self-Pity and his cousin, Mr Down-in-the-Dumps, were beckoning me inside, cordially inviting me to join their wallowing in a dark, dirty cesspool of muddy despair. I willingly capitulated and in the blink of an eye I was overwhelmed by a major Elijah moment. Remember that time after Elijah outran King Ahab to Jezreel?

Well, true to human nature and just following Elijah’s example, I offered our Lord my very famous BUT-GOD complaint. Yet, our gentle, loving Pappa patiently enquired, “What are you doing here,  Elijah? (Mia?)” (1 Kings 19:9b) He encouraged me not to waste my valuable little energy on my lamentations and languishing and invited me to rather join Him on another journey far back in time, thousands of years ago. I was not too keen to accept His offer for I did not want to leave my mud wallowing gremlin friends behind!

Double-Minded!

But our Lord’s gentle charm won my heart and I followed Him back to the days when Israel was experiencing a severe drought and was ruled by King Ahab. Actually, by Jezebel, since Ahab was totally under the petticoat government. Our Father introduced me to those obstinate, double-minded Israelites who were comfortably resting on their religious laurels. Their minds were in a comfy state of equipoise and they had one foot firmly planted in the state religion of Jezebel, and the other one, in the Heavenly Kingdom of our Pappa. My Pappa gently showed me that the condition of my heart was in reality not much different from theirs.

To my sorrow, I realized that my loyalties were also divided between religion and my allegiance to my Pappa. In other words, I was also double-minded and conveniently ignoring our Father’s words, “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:8, NIV). I realized that I was also dancing around two altars and needed to repent of my foolishness, allowing the sweet Holy Spirit to drastically renew my mind and change my heart’s desires.

I appreciated Elijah’s originality in using a metaphor from the world of birds when he compared the Israelites to the notorious habit of birds, hopping from the one branch to the next, quite finicky about choosing where to settle. I could relate to that!

Ahab summoned Elijah and had the audacity to blame him for Israel’s 3-year long drought. Elijah vehemently denied the accusation and turned the blame back to its rightful owners: Ahab, Jezebel and their large entourage of Baal and Asherah cronies. Elijah courageously challenged them to that famous Carmel contest. Since Baal was considered by the people as the presiding deity who had the power over fire, the Israelites considered Elijah’s challenge to be a brilliant idea to determine once and for all who the only true God really was. I found it quite interesting that Elijah had rebuilt the altar of our Pappa that was previously demolished by Jezebel and her Asherah and Baal hirelings. It consisted of 12 stones representing the 12 sons of Jacob, and therefore the 12 tribes of the Israelite nation. It reminds me of our Lord Jesus using each and everyone of us as a living stone to build the spiritual temple of which He is the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:8-9).

To eliminate even the slightest possibility of human help (works of the flesh), Elijah ordered the Israelites to drench the altar three times, each time with 4 big jars of water. We are all familiar with the outcome of this contest, but my Pappa patiently showed me my allegiance to so many of the modern-day Baal and Asherah prophets and I knew that I also needed my own contest on Mount Carmel. I knew that serving their God only resulted in extreme spiritual poverty and subsequent “cutting of flesh” and bleeding of my soul.

A Bronze Sculpture of the Prophet Elijah, by Australian Artist, Louis Laumen

I needed to allow our Lord Jesus to slaughter all my false prophets. Like Elijah, I knew that I could spare them not even the slightest hint of mercy. I placed all these false perceptions and beliefs on the altar of my heart, drenched with all my tears. Our Heavenly Father wasted no time in sending forth His fire from heaven to consume my offering and filled all the empty spaces, vacated by all the wrong perceptions and idols of my heart, with His Love, His Life and abundant grace. He gently opened my eyes to the futility of the so-called Health, Wealth and Prosperity gospel with its own legion of prophets who had already ushered so many people into apostasy.

He opened my eyes to the dangers of the doctrines of all the so-called “…isms”, like Fundamentalism, Evangelism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Pentecostalism, Calvinism and so forth. Although these religious systems all contain a lot of intellectual truth, they reek of a multitude of laws, rules and regulations, but very limited life, no grace, no love, compassion or the relationship with our precious Savior.

They can actually be quite detrimental to the wonderful freedom our Lord Jesus has called us to for a relationship of love and respect to blossom and flourish. Our Pappa is all for simplicity, “He has showed you , O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV).

He has shown me that Christianity is not and will never be a book religion, or morality, or a belief system. Christianity will never be a method of problem-solving, or a-what-would-Jesus-do role-playing or an ideological option. For, Christianity is and will always be Christ, a blessed life lived in our Lord Jesus, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27, NIV). Forever and ever. Amen.

Dear Ones, needless to say, I was then completely cured of my affectionate affinity to mud pool wallowing… if only until next time!! Thank you so much for once again listening to all my ramblings.

Lots of hugs and blessings

Mia