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Posts Tagged ‘Being Deceived’

Sometimes … doubts just creep in and threaten to consume me.

Not doubts about God … whether He is real, or loves me. I don’t think I’ve ever had a shadow of a doubt about those.

But doubts about me. Do I really know what I think I know? Have I really heard His voice, or have I deceived myself? No question in my mind that no person has ever had it 100% right except Jesus; we all are in error about some things. So I know I’m surely wrong on some things.

But constant pounding by people with different opinions sure gets to me: Catholics aren’t real Christians; if you don’t believe “xyz” you don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear; if you haven’t come to believe “abc” yet it’s because the Holy Spirit hasn’t revealed it to you; you are too brainwashed by your church; you are too afraid to give up your own beliefs.

Is it really that difficult? If we’re told to seek and knock and by doing so we will find … does God keep hidden things that are important? I mean seriously … if (for example) universal salvation is THE good news … and if I’ve asked and asked and studied and considered … am I really just stubborn, or so brainwashed that I can’t “see” the Truth?

It’s discouraging. It makes me sad. Why is it so easy to see when other people are basically deceiving themselves … but I don’t know if I am deceiving myself? I don’t think I am – I constantly ask the LORD to search me and to show me. If He is silent, is that my answer? If He has shown me and told me several times (just within this blog I’ve mentioned confirmation-after-confirmation) why do I second-guess myself and doubt? Why do I care, anyway?

No answers to any of that today; I don’t want to wallow in a pity party but I sure could use some encouragement. I feel so out-of-place sometimes, not really fitting in anywhere.

I’m homesick … I want to go Home.

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Today’s reading will be my prayer for the day – I love this!

Proverbs 30:7-9

7  “Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8  Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

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I have known my friend a long time, and long before he admitted to struggling with bisexual longings, I knew it.

Now he has admitted it – to himself, and to people around him. He’s looking for unconditional love; he’s hoping nobody rejects him because of it; he doesn’t want to be judged or treated like a freak. He wants to be accepted.

As he’s become more open about it, and has explored deeper, he’s made some comments that concern me:

The words that are translated as homosexuals in many Bibles are too ambiguous to allow me to conclude that they are blanket prohibitions against same-sex love.

I have strong doubts (which are my own opinion) about whether the Bible is really properly translated in the few verses that are often cited to supposedly prove that God forbids all forms of homosexuality.

i am just so confused WHY God would condemn all forms of homosexuality. I am confused why Jesus is silent in the Gospels on the subject of homosexuality. I am going to have to see what the early Church Fathers had to say on the subject, and see if I can compare that to the social context.

He also has said, “”I am in a monogamous heterosexual relationship, and have no plans to break the vows I made to my wonderful. wife”

He is married, and has children. And what concerns me isn’t who he is … it’s where he’s headed. He’s already gone beyond accepting the struggle placed in his life.  He’s completely bypassed the idea that this struggle is for him to overcome – to surrender himself and his hopes and dreams and desires utterly to God and follow where He leads.

He is starting to look for a way to rationalize, to be told “it’s ok – it’s the way you were made; go with it.”

Why are some people created with homosexual feelings if it’s wrong?  I don’t know … why are some people created with addictive personalities to alcohol … drugs … porn … gambling … food? Why are some people created with a lust for children, or animals? Why are some people created broken … blind … lame … sick?

Isn’t every person given trails – aren’t these trials our opportunities to overcome our own sin nature and to be made holy by God?

But instead we try to find ways to stay where we are; to avoid transformation; we say we want to be made holy, but we try to do it our way.  We try to rationalize, to explain, to convince ourselves we are ok as we are; “Jesus loves me just as I am.”

That is true – “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

But I don’t believe He wants us to remain unchanged. I believe He wants to transform us – He wants us to surrender all that we are to Him and to become Holy.

That’s the point … that’s our struggle.  It’s yours, it’s mine, it’s my friend’s.

Isn’t that kind of the point of Job? Satan told God Job was righteous because he was so protected and blessed; he claimed that removing those blessings would cause Job to curse God.

After losing all of his property, his children, and his health … who would have blamed him if out of frustration he had been angry and blamed God? Wouldn’t we all have understood his feelings and anger and frustration?

But he didn’t; he did not sin and curse God.

We ALL are given trials and “reasons” we could use to turn away from God.  And those very same reasons, are the reasons we should turn TO God.  It’s out of our hands, it is not our “fault,” we are broken and depraved and wicked people who need our Saviour.

Some of this I have said to my friend; some of it I have not. I don’t know if I will. I know he needs friendship and acceptance first, and I trust the Holy Spirit.  I pray for my friend’s protection from being deceived; for his guidance and that he follows.

This world and this life is tough … we all need great love to navigate it.  and Love Himself will help each of us when we ask.

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Today’s Readings
EZEKIEL 14:12-16:41 | HEBREWS 7:18-28 | PSALM 106:1-12 | PROVERBS 27:4-6

The readings today were kind of sad to my heart.  I guess they reminded me how important it is to pray for my children and loved ones, pray for their salvation. There is a reason the LORD has been laying this so heavily on my mind and heart these last years, teaching me and drawing me into a deeper prayer life.

as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness. (Ezekiel 14)

I thought this imagery was very interesting … all go go through purifying fire, but not all exit it in any useful form.

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, how is the wood of a vine different from that of a branch from any of the trees in the forest? 3 Is wood ever taken from it to make anything useful? Do they make pegs from it to hang things on? 4 And after it is thrown on the fire as fuel and the fire burns both ends and chars the middle, is it then useful for anything? 5 If it was not useful for anything when it was whole, how much less can it be made into something useful when the fire has burned it and it is charred?

6 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem. 7 I will set my face against them. Although they have come out of the fire, the fire will yet consume them. (Ezekiel 15)

This next cried out to me again about the evil of abortion, that it is allowed in our land. Not only allowed, but defended and praised.

My heart grieves for these helpless children, and also for all of the people who have been deceived into believing evil can be called good, that abortion is an answer to their problems. I grieve for the emotional and spiritual wounds they are sure to suffer all of their lives.

20 “‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? 21 You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols. 22 In all your detestable practices and your prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood. (Ezekiel 16)

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Today’s Readings
EZEKIEL 12:1-14:11 | HEBREWS 7:1-17 | PSALM 105:37-45 | PROVERBS 27:3

I don’t know why the LORD brought this to mind, but the following passage in Ezekiel 13 makes me think of the universal salvation teaching.

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination …

10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?”

13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. 15 So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD.”’

The prophets around Ezekiel were speaking from “their own imagination;” they promised peace and no harm to anyone; and the “whitewash” … oh my.  That just spoke very much to me of universal salvation. I know from my discussions at tentmaker that many (not all) are quite immature in their faith; they cling tightly to what they want to believe even to the point of outright saying that if US is not true, they can’t love & worship God.

That grieves my heart deeply for them. I’m not even saying US is or isn’t true – but they are placing their own thoughts and hopes above all else, even God.

In a very real way, they create their own god, after their own image.

They are not alone;  it was a wakeup call to me several years ago when someone wrote, “If my children aren’t saved, I don’t want to be either” and someone shared a John Piper passage that asked if God alone isn’t enough? If He isn’t … we have many idols in our lives that we love more than God.

I’ve PONdered that a lot.  And it’s caused me to pray that the LORD help me love Him more than anyone or anything else in this world.  It doesn’t take away my love for others, and in a very real way it increases it, and makes me more compassionate. But love of God must come first and foremost.  I get that now … the LORD answered my prayer and helped me release to Him the things He showed me I held over Him.  I think it’s a lifelong thing; I pray He doesn’t let me become too comfortable or forget to examine myself.

Search me oh, LORD … search my heart and mind and show me; protect me; guide me; lead me. Help me to follow and to love you above all else.

For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:

“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”(Heb 7)

I found that interesting – we often ask “what changed” from the Old Testament to the New. I’ll be PONdering this passage today.  🙂

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This morning I was thinking of the arguments for universal salvation. I was thinking of how they “sound” good to the ears; of how people who argue for it are able to appeal on an emotional level using reasoning that is certainly attractive.

But the arguments, boiled down, are based on very little scripture. And scriptures that oppose with their belief are brushed aside with an argument that certain words were “not properly translated.”  They have developed a very intricate (and baffling) translation for “eternal, everlasting” that means “eternal” for God … but not for punishment.

I’m not saying all of this to judge those who believe in US unkindly; indeed, many of whom I’ve met and talked with are very kind, sincere, tender-hearted. I know they are seeking just as I am seeking. I can only speak for what the LORD has shown me personally, and today’s readings were alllllllllllllll about US … putting it in a nutshell for me.

Today’s Readings
JEREMIAH 22:1-23:20 | 2 THESS 1:1-12 | PSALM 83:1-18 | PROVERBS 25:11-14

This first reading from Jeremiah 22, in a nutshell, tells me how we are to conduct ourselves …

3 This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. 5 But if you do not obey these commands, declares the LORD, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.’ ”

Is this not another “nutshell” of sorts?  It is not hard to see the difference between a “dead” king and an “exiled” king and how it relates to resurrection and salvation.

10 Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss;
rather, weep bitterly for him who is exiled,
because he will never return
nor see his native land again.

I am very sorry to admit that Jeremiah 23 reminds me much of some (not all) who teach US.

6 This is what the LORD Almighty says:
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the LORD.

17 They keep saying to those who despise me,
‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’

This passage more than any other tells me that universal salvation is not Truth.  First from today’s reading in one version, then from my NAB:

2 Thes 1
9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.

2Th 1:8  in blazing fire, inflicting punishment on those who do not acknowledge God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
2Th 1:9  These will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power

How could those be “incorrectly translated?  “Everlasting/eternal” comes from:

G166
αἰώνιος
aiōnios
ahee-o’-nee-os
From G165; perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well): – eternal, for ever, everlasting, world (began).

“Destruction/punishment” comes from:

G3639
ὄλεθρος
olethros
ol’-eth-ros
From ὄλλυμι ollumi a primary word (to destroy; a prolonged form); ruin, that is, death, punishment: – destruction.

Dear Father in heaven, I don’t always understand your ways; but I trust them … I trust you. I ask you to protect us all in our mind, body and spirit. Lead us to Truth; show it to us plainly so we understand; open our hearts and our minds and our eyes and our ears to what YOU want to show us and what You have for us to learn. Help us to see clearly and to believe.

In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.

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Today’s Reading
JEREMIAH 6:16-8:7 | COL 2:8-23 | PSALM 78:1-31 | PROVERBS 24:26

WOW there is a lot today!  My brain is bouncing all over the place and I pray the LORD helps me to settle down, focus, pray, and understand.

16 This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls. (Jer 6)

What a great way to start this morning … I want to know where the good way is and to walk in it; I desire rest for my soul.

27 “I have made you a tester of metals
and my people the ore,
that you may observe
and test their ways.

28 They are all hardened rebels,
going about to slander.
They are bronze and iron;
they all act corruptly.

29 The bellows blow fiercely
to burn away the lead with fire,
but the refining goes on in vain;
the wicked are not purged out.

30 They are called rejected silver,
because the LORD has rejected them.” (Jer 6)

I thought that passage was cool for several reasons. I love the imagery I often hear about how just as the silversmith removes impurities through fire, we are purified through our trials.

But this passage tells me that not all silver can be purified … if we are unwilling to let go of the wickedness He desires to purge from us, and if we cling to it by our own choice and free will, we will be rejected.

That is so clear to me in this verse, and sobering.  So much for calvinism, and universal salvation.

And speaking of “Free Will,” simply go on to this passage in Jer 7:

30 ” ‘The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the LORD. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.

I know that some believe everything we say and think and do was scripted for us from the beginning, but this is crystal clear to me.

I think that’s why the next passage spoke to me so much – sometimes it is really hard for me to be firm in what I believe when someone else is speaking with great certainty or authority, explaining how I am wrong about something or not spiritual enough or not mature in my faith or deceived by “man’s teachings.”  This is how I feel about others sometimes and it makes me feel a little bad for judging them so, but at the same time I sincerely pray that God protect my heart and mind and spirit from being deceived.

18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. (Col 2)

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