Through the Narrow: People Honor Me with Their Lips – By Tami Dykes

People honor Me with their lips,  but their heart is far from Me

What do Mark Batterson, Nancy DeMoss, and Priscilla Shirer have in common? 

They have all taught people to draw circles, stand inside and pray for something. Now, I’m not going to rehash all the articles about circle making because I believe the word has gotten out about how very unbiblical Circle Making is, so your welcome. The fad wore off soon after true biblical brothers and sisters started addressing the subject.  

Just to quickly recap for those that may not have ever heard of Circle Making, it’s the practice of many Christians by making a circle on the ground by drawing it in the dirt or using tape or whatever and then stand inside the circle and ask God for something.  

I mentioned above 3 people that have held teaching on Circle Making and I would like to point out how they teach it and why. 

Now, to start off with I want to explain how Mark Batterson was the first in modern days to write about Circle Making. 

I’ll quote from this article titled, “The Origins and Evolution of Prayer Circles”, 

“In his book, Batterson states that it was Gipsy Smith who inspired him to write the book, which is a retelling of the story of Honi the Circle Maker, a Jewish miracle worker. According to the legend, a group of Jews came to Honi and asked him to pray to God to make it rain and end the drought they were experiencing. Honi prayed, but the rain did not come. So Honi drew a circle on the ground and stood within it and prayed again. This time a very light rain started. Honi was not satisfied so he prayed again to God, saying, “This is not that rain that I prayed for! I prayed for rain that will fill the cisterns!” Then it began to rain very, very hard. Again, Honi stood in his circle and prayed to God, saying, “I did not pray for such a hard rain, but a good rain!” and then it began to rain moderately. One of the Israelites then said to Honi, “You entreat God, and He performs your will!” 

“Batterson has taken the pagan ritual of Gipsy Smith, and the legend of Honi the Circle Maker, and thrown in a dash of prosperity gospel to create his various “Circle Maker” books which have sold well throughout the Church, influencing hundreds of churches and Christians. One of the more influential followers of Batterson’s false “Circle Maker” teaching is Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham. Lotz is so enamored with Batterson’s teaching that she has threatened to shut down at least one website that called for her to repent of it.” 

So, you’ll see how the newest fad of modern times of Circle Making came from Batterson’s book. 

I have to say though the section where the man named Honi seems to push his own weight around with God is a bit cringe. He speaks to God as if he himself is God’s Boss. For example, the first time Honi prayed and it rained he sounds a bit annoyed that God got it wrong. It says in the write-up that he prayed again to God, saying, “This is not that rain that I prayed for! I prayed for rain that will fill the cisterns!”.  

I just feel as if this is a correction to God as if Honi is saying God messed up. So, the second time Honi prays again… “Then it began to rain very, very hard. Again, Honi stood in his circle and prayed to God, saying, “I did not pray for such a hard rain, but a good rain!” and then it began to rain moderately.” This appears to really frustrate Honi and he again corrects God. I find this very disrespectful for Honi to talk to the Lord in such away. Honi is not calling the shots, God is, so who is he to address a Holy and Righteous God the Creator of all the living in such a way that makes him look like a spoiled child. 

Why would Batterson not see how disturbing this guy’s attitude towards God is?  

So shortly after Mark Batterson’s book, you can see how others start practicing circle making and bringing it into their life.  

Mark says you can draw a circle with chalk 3 times, stands inside, and prays for any situation you are facing. In his book review, it asks “what impossibly big dream is God calling you to draw a prayer circle around?”  

Answer: Nothing! God does not call us to draw circles around any dream or situation we have.  

Take note that there are two different men involved in the making of this very old story that Mark talks about, Honi and Gipsy Smith. Honi is the man that was asked to pray for rain and then Gipsy Smith the man that follows in Honi’s footsteps teach it as a place to pray for revival. 

________________________________ 

Next we have Nancy DeMoss, she’s a woman that picked up Circle Making after it became popular and introduced it into her women conferences. Nancy DeMoss tells the same story on the very first night of her conference about the man named Gypsi Smith that made a circle and stood inside it and prayed. 

An article titled, “Nancy Leigh DeMoss Endorsing Chalk Circles? Mercy” quotes this: “Nancy Leigh DeMoss also spoke at a True Woman Conference in September 2012, and according to an article on the True Woman website, chalk circles were drawn throughout the conference room, and participants of the conference were encouraged to utilize these circles for prayer. And as a clever little marketing tie-in, the participants were sent home after the conference with little goody bags containing, that’s right, chalk, so that they could all go home and perform their own pagan rituals, umm, prayer circles.”  

Quotes from it say, “Nancy (conf): And to step inside that circle and say, “Lord, would You send revival to my family? Would You send revival to my church? Would You send an awakening to our nation, to our world? We desperately need it. But oh, Lord, would You start the revival inside this circle? Let it begin in me. 

Janet: So let me tell you what happened for me as a speaker when I stepped into that circle. I was under very strong conviction. David said, “My sins are ever before me.” That’s what I felt when I was in that circle. I thought, “Lord, I’m not here to teach these women. I’m here to seek Your face.” 

Janet (conf): The point here is Jesus. He’s defying convention. He’s moving deeper into the life of a woman who had some pretty dark secrets, and she’s more thirsty than she can even imagine or knows herself. So Jesus responds. And He says, “Everyone who drinks this water [referring to the well] will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” What a message! What a Teacher! 

Janet: And standing in this circle I am very aware of my own sins. And what I want more than anything is to walk away from this experience saying, “Lord, I’ve had a wash, rinse, and spin cycle. My sins have been blotted out. I have a fresh start and a new beginning, and I want to seek Him as Nancy was teaching us. Not once every five years but moment by moment every single day. That’s the only way I can keep my ledger short. That’s the only way I can constantly say “Lord, if there’s going to be revival, I want it so desperately to begin with me. Revive my heart. Change me, Lord. Let me be aware of what You’ve done in my life.” 

They are saying being inside the circle “you will feel something“, “you are in the circle to seek God“, “you are asking God to revive you and change you in the circle“. 

Now, none of that sounds bad but what I want to ask everyone is, do we seek God in a circle on the ground or do we seek God in His Word? Are we supposed to be led by our feelings and how we “feel” in the circle or by the Truth of God’s Word? Do we change our hearts by standing inside a circle and asking God to revive or change us or do we change our hearts by reading God’s Word?  

It seems to me, that the focus is on circle making not praying and asking God for something.  

I truly believe the focus solely needs to be on God and His Word. We can pray for revival but don’t make it a ritual or action to get something. 

In a report about the conference is found in this link below: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/podcast/revive-our-hearts/report-true-woman-12/ 

—————————— 

The next teacher I mentioned was Priscilla Shirer (You can see her in the picture with Nancy DeMoss) and, in the video of Priscilla, she tells her audience she got the teaching from Nancy DeMoss. Priscilla tells the same exact story as Nancy did but Nancy gives the name of the man ‘Gipsy Smith’ and Priscilla doesn’t. She just says he’s a preacher yet Mark tells the story from Honi. So, what I’m trying to say is we see all of them teach circle making just a bit different to their audience but all of them still point to the circles as the focus in order to bring God’s blessing.  

__________________ 

The only other place I’ve seen “Circle Making” was in witchcraft. 

Witches practiced these rituals for protection or whatever they needed at the time but instead of calling it “Circle Making”, they call it the “Circle of Protection” or “Magic Circle”.  In an article on circles, they explain a little of how witches do this practice. The link below says, “One of the most basic devices used in ancient pagan spirituality is the “circle of protection.” You find it everywhere from the Eastern mystery religions to modern witchcraft. The circle of protection was commonly used in old Gypsy magic, as it was thought to create an impenetrable barrier of protection around those in which it was created. This “magic” circle, spiritual in nature, could be something physical, such as lines drawn in the dirt or sand, or even a sprinkling of salt. But they could also be imaginary.”  

Taken From: https://bereanresearch.org/nancy-leigh-demoss-wolgemuth-mixes-pagan-witchcraft-circle-making-christianity/ 

Just like what Mark, Nancy, and Priscilla teach, we can see that witches also require making a circle on the ground, getting inside it, and doing something to get something like protection. 

You should know Circle Making does NOT come from the Scriptures.  You can look but you will not find God teaching it anywhere in the Scriptures. 

As I researched this subject one of the many articles, I read that I felt makes excellent points was Tim Challies’ article called, “Don’t Pray in Circles “. Simply put he discuss circle making as… Extra-Biblical, Un-Biblical, and Anti-Biblical. 

Oddly enough at the very end of his article, he does make a point to tell his readers that he is only talking about Mark Batterson and not Nancy DeMoss. I found that to be very odd. You can read the article in this link below. 

Now, because Priscilla learned it from Nancy then people believe Priscilla shouldn’t be lumped in with the review that Challies said about Mark either.  

Watch this link below of Priscilla Shirer’s video on circles. https://youtu.be/yEgiyC2Oz_Q 

Now, Priscilla knows Mark Batterson and has even shared a stage with Mark Batterson in conferences as you can see in this photo below.   

Priscilla also enjoys going to listen to Mark Batterson preach as we see with this tweet, she sends out saying: “Show me your prayer life…and I’ll show you your future.” @MarkBatterson teaching us on prayer this AM.”https://twitter.com/PriscillaSh…/status/894961322734919680 

So, I wonder if Priscilla even has a problem with Mark’s teaching of it. I am very troubled by the fact that Tim Challies felt he should make that statement. 

Am I the only one that thinks what they all teach is the same? Believing that circles make a difference in your prayer life to receive answered prayers. Mark believes it makes the impossible happen in your life,  Nancy believes it gets us revivals and awakenings to the World and Janet says she felt something when she stepped inside of it and it changes you. Priscilla talks of what God wants to do through us and to pray in the circle for a revival of our hearts of the things of God.  

But doesn’t this sound like they are practicing man-made traditions? They are all following the lead of a man long ago. God says in Mark 7: 1-13~” Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!  For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’  But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God) then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” 

This is a great example that God shows us about how man loves to have traditions of things passed down form long ago. Even just washing hands or pots is seen as man-made traditions that God doesn’t care for or call all us to practice. God says people honor Him with their lips, but their heart is far from Him. That should cause great concern in the things we practice even something as simple as circle making or hand washing. 

Priscilla has even written a reply to her fans about the photos they have sent to her showing her the circles they made. Many have used very different things to make the circles. In the link below it shows pictures of women inside circles made of socks, chalk, balls, and even kids (the circle was made from the kids laying down, head to toe with other kids while the mom stood inside to pray). Now that seems to be someone that is very sold on the idea otherwise, she’s making light of the practice that Priscilla has taken seriously or she wouldn’t have taught it. 

Now, I wouldn’t say that making a circle is wrong or standing in a circle is a bad thing or even washing hands or a pot are taboo. It’s when they put a lot of focus on them and connect it to God. They are causing people to feel there is an importance to this action.  

Many people miss the danger of this practice because they make it sound so good and biblical. People have said things like, “the circle is a reminder to youto ask God to start by helping you”, sound good, doesn’t it? What about this, “the circle helps people to start by looking at their own lives“, yeah this sounds good too. The circle teaches a good biblical principle on how to pray”, or “The circle thing is only a way of drawing attention to revivals“. How do any of those sound bad? They don’t but when you stop to truly think about what it is, they are teaching you and what they are asking you to do it should cause you to worry, especially when it’s not in Scriptures. 

What I would like to point out is how easy it is to be deceived by false teachers that use slick words or actions to get you to believe in and participate stuff like Circle Making. How have others gotten caught up in it? Well, from their carefully spoken words. In Priscilla’s reply to her followers, she tells them that, “you have made it priority to create a circle in which to stand and pray”.  

Your circle – no matter what it looks like, how long it has stayed intact or who has gotten into it with you – matters!” 

She so subtly speaks to the women that because they make the circles priority and telling the women the circles matter it makes them feel special. Mark, Nancy and Priscilla all know how to convince people to believe in this just by how they talk. They say things that are exciting like do this or that and wonderful things will happen, God is going to do great things through you. This is why they all tell the story about the man that prayed on the outskirts of town and got what he prayed for so why not you?  

If you find yourself in a conference like that then just ask questions about the things they are saying. Do you think circles make a difference in your prayers? Do you believe they matter? Do they make God realize how serious you are? Do we need reminders like that? Are they reminders or just acts of works? If I do this then God will answer kind of belief. After all, isn’t that what Honi did as he prayed for rain?   

I just have to say, NO! We shouldn’t be making circles, or squares, or ovals priority at all. Priscilla Shirer is wrong; God needs to be priority in our lives, not Circle Making. And NO, Priscilla, Circle Making doesn’t matter. What matters is our salvation, the condition of our hearts, and our desire for the Lord and for His Word and Truth, not circles.  

All any of those teachers taught their audience is how to either pray for rain, a dream, a revival, and that it is a priority and that it matters. Where’s the Word of God? Did God teach us to pray this way? How does Circle Making bring us closer to God, or even help us know the Gospel or convict us to repent of our sins? You see, false teachers know how to “talk the talk” because they know how to speak as a seasoned scholar and knows all the right words to use. They can quote scriptures better than most people you know but we need to realize just because a person can quote scriptures doesn’t mean they are biblical because Satan knows the Bible better than anyone on earth and he’s working on us just like he did with Jesus. Satan used scriptures to try and tempt Jesus and he will do it to tempt and deceive us too. This is why we must test, test, test!  

1 Thessalonians 5:21 ESV~ But test everything; hold fast what is good. 

So  we see how Mark, Nancy, and Priscilla say to pray but how does God tell us to pray? 

The Bible says in Luke 5:16 that Jesus often went away to be by Himself and pray. Matthew 6:5-6 says ~“When you pray, go into your room. Close the door and pray to your Father, who can’t be seen. He will reward you. Your Father sees what is done secretly.” Matthew 6:9-13~ “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”’ 

Amen 

Through the Narrow: Paul David Tripp’n – By Gina Cook

Sadly, it seems, Paul David Tripp has gone full woke.

Tripp has been a well-respected evangelical teacher and author for decades. He is lauded as a trusted Christian voice on topics such as marriage and parenting. He has written many books, including “Age of Opportunity” and “Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family”. Many Christians appreciate his work and teachings, saying that Tripp has truly helped them in their Christian walk. He has definitely taught some solid biblical material. Any real gospel good he may have done, we can praise the Lord for. God can use anyone and every one for His glory. We can be thankful for any true proclamation of Christ one does. 

In Philippians 1:15-18 we read, “Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,”

We may not know the intentions of Tripp’s heart but when the truth of Christ is proclaimed we rejoice. Just as much when error is taught, we warn.

Before Paul David Tripp went full woke, there were warning signs, although ever so slight. I want to briefly touch up on some of those, for the main reason of showing how smaller warning signs can possibly mean big problems later down the road. 

My introduction to Paul David Tripp was watching the video of him talking about how funny it was that his kids kept saying the “s” word (yes, the one that rhymes with “fit”). This happened right after he explained to his family it was not one of those words that really meant anything to God, it was just culturally impolite. His intention was to teach that “wholesome communication is all about the intention of the speaker” as well as the context. As long as the intentions and context are right, it won’t really matter what “culturally impolite” words you say. He goes on to say there could be a context where saying “s***” can give someone grace and then there are contexts where it may not be edifying so therefore he wouldn’t say it.” 

Yes, I agree the issue lies in the heart. God is clear that sin originates in the heart, and God’s focus is on our heart’s intentions. I also understand, whatever sin lies within the heart, will eventually come to fruition in word and deed.

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good: and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45

“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” Matthew 15:18-19 (See also Acts 8:22and Hebrews 4:12).

I also agree there are words and phrases that are just wrong culturally and there are words and phrases that are wrong biblically. Where I have a big problem, is the idea that “s***” can be used in an edifying way, that it “gives someone grace” and can be for “redemptive good”- his own words. I used to cuss, cuss a lot, before my salvation 16 years ago. After my salvation, I knew talking like I did was not of Christ. I’ve never needed to go back to cussing for someone else’s redemptive good, even though I’ve been around people who cuss. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16) – not any worldly speech. 

After hearing him on that video (Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcuj0nK7beM) I took his words as saying we are to look at our intentions and as long as they are good and as long as we believe it’s used in a proper context, use the “culturally impolite” words. The problem with this is the fact these words are…. “culturally impolite” words. Yes, Mr. Tripp, to the culture it’s seen as ill-mannered and that is why the world uses it. That’s why I used to cuss. Its very use is to communicate a crudeness, insensitivity, and a perceived rebellion against “good”. To say there is a place for a Christian to use this, is a small step in a direction towards doing whatever we believe will be for “redemptive good”. This is a direction he has seemed to follow right into dark and dangerous waters. It seems “culture” is a slope he has continued to slip on more and more as time goes on. 

In a video recorded in 2015, Tripp talks about homosexuality and how we must be careful not to label people as homosexuals because it’s not biblical to do so. Problem is, the Bible actually does label people by the name of the sin they live by. For example: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. 

This shaming of those who use these terms is done, first of all, label Bible-obeying Christians as haters because they refuse to embrace the “new and improved” ways of looking at sin, love and being gracious. In the video, he says, “This is the grief of my heart. We need to stop being haters. I think that it is biblically wrong, immoral to treat any human being as a sin on two legs. To use it as a title, he’s a homosexual. We don’t say he’s a pride. He’s a greed. We just don’t do that and yet we’ve given ourselves the liberty of treating this area like we treat no other area. So we’ve led with condemnation rather than leading with grace.”

(Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20fVkkCyfcA&t=15s ) 

Tripp is wrong on so many levels here. First, he is saying that the very thing God does is not leading with grace. He also implies that true Christians have the bad habit of condemning homosexuals. In truth, many have shown grace to homosexuals, even if they call them an actual homosexual. I mean, many homosexuals call themselves homosexuals. I have a gay family member and this is a term I’ve heard her say. When examining the bad fruit of others, as we are called to do in Scripture such as John 7:24, we carefully deem perpetual liars as liars, thieves as thieves, murderers as murderers, and so forth. The woke crowd works tirelessly to downplay the sin, such as homosexuality, in order to appease the culture and save face. They desire to both serve Christ and serve culture. That doesn’t work. They work tirelessly to redefine terms and create new labels, not for the sake of truth but for the sake of self-preservation. 

That leads me to mention the most recent and what I believe to be the most disturbing comments from Paul Tripp. It comes from this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CIZ1Omllk8

In the video Paul starts out wanting to address his white brothers and sisters.

Whoa, stop right there!

That is a good sign that what comes next is going to be some serious woke talk. When a Christian teacher wants to address believers of certain skin colors in order to help them with a particular spiritual truth, that is when you know the teacher is taking a big step out of the bounds of the Scripture to scrape around to find spiritual guidance in cultural deserts. Instead of the true and unadulterated Gospel, we get schooled on how we are to view ourselves in the light of today’s definitions of social injustices. It’s a sign they like to lump people of the same skin color or gender into one big group of ideas and experiences and of a particular guilt and sin, which is at the heart of being woke, of social justice, and of Critical Race Theory ideology.

Tripp then goes ahead to talk about his experiences, while sprinkling in mentions of the Gospel. So again, this is only for white people to hear he says. All colors need to hear spiritual truth, wouldn’t one agree? 

He then talks about his experience in attending a predominately black church, with a black pastor. He says that “it (attending this church) has been a transforming experience for us because we have listened to the experiences of brothers and sisters that we’ve come to love dearly as our family….. we’ve heard of experiences of injustice that have made us weep; weep in a way that doesn’t allow us to be silent any longer…..we have been exposed and we have been convicted.” He then says how much this church of his preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “up one side and down the other”. 

He continues with how amazing his pastor, Dr. Eric Mason, is on preaching such profound messages on Scripture. They changed his life, he says. I’ll mention more on his pastor in a moment, but these comments seem to be an attempt to give shelter to his pastor and his known woke ideologies.

Tripp then uses Scripture to try and “ground this thinking in Scripture”. The first passage he wants to take his white brothers and sisters to is Amos 6:4-6. 

“Those who recline on beds of ivory
And sprawl on their couches,
And eat lambs from the flock
And calves from the midst of the stall,
Who improvise to the sound of the harp,
And like David have composed songs for themselves,
Who drink wine from sacrificial bowls
While they anoint themselves with the finest of oils,
Yet they have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph.” 

He explains his reason for pointing this passage out by saying to white brothers and sisters, “you have so much time on your hands that you invent musical instruments to entertain yourselves, now I don’t know if you are catching on to what is going on here but if you’re lying on an ivory bed and you’re drinking wine out of big bowls and you’re inventing musical instruments because you have the time to do that then you are an affluent privileged person…..It’s a reminder that we do not have the ability to not be concerned about what doesn’t touch us. You see, love your neighbor as yourself means I will give myself to concerns about things that are distant from my experiences because I want that person to be loved as I would love myself.”

Wow. Apparently, according to Tripp, whites are the only ones who have to be reminded of this, even though the context of this passage has nothing to do with light skin-tones or likely being guilty of something because of skin color. Also, I know I’m not lying around on ivory beds, drinking wine out of bowls, and inventing musical instruments. What does he mean by this because it doesn’t seem he’s meaning the actual context of the passage? Just rich and creative whites who have nothing much to do during the day are needing to hear his message? Who is he really talking about? So all whites, some whites? Nothing is really explained here by him, and that is probably by design. We know, by listening to woke language these days, all whites are privileged. 

Second passage he takes his white brothers and sisters to is Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”

He goes into explaining his reason for quoting this passage by saying, “Jesus calls justice mercy and faithfulness- this is our Savior, this is the hero of the story, this is the epicenter, this is One into Whom we are being formed to His likeness, this is the One that says the weightier matters of the law are justice, mercy and faithfulness – you see, here’s God’s plan- until we are on the other side, in the new heavens and new earth where perfect justice with reign in righteousness forever, here’s the plan: we are called to be God’s ambassadors- and that means that God makes His invisible justice visible by sending people of justice to stand for, to defend people who are experiencing injustice. Life between the already and the not yet is ambassadorial. I’m always and in every way called to represent the method, the message, and the character of the King. And justice is close to the heart of our Savior King….Change in this area of racial injustice, which has so marked our culture, so marked the unique experience of blacks in America from1619 to 2020. If change is going to take place, change takes action. Action requires compassion and compassion requires information.”

First of all, what justice are we really talking about here? The “justice’ of social justice/ wokeness and biblical justice doesn’t mean the same thing. There is only one kind of justice.

God’s justice is on His terms, to His standard and for all people of color and nations. It’s the same standard for everyone. What is justice to these social justice warriors? Social justice is focused solely on black oppression and white guilt. What I find most troubling about his use of this passage is that it actually addresses the sin of looking only at the externals, focusing on insignificant details and neglecting the matter of weightier spiritual things; matters of the heart. That is incredibly duplicitous of him.

Tripp continues on to correct his white brothers and sisters on how to handle other’s experiences:

“I say all the time that human beings made in the image of God do not live life based on the facts of their experience but on their interpretation of the facts. So if you are hearing about the experience of another person from a distance and you hear words that are similar to the words you use and you don’t unpack that person’s experience so you really understand what they are saying/what they are experiencing you will interpret those things out of your own experience.” Ok, experience alone means diddly squat when it comes to understanding spiritual, God-honoring truth, what does God’s Word say? Experiences can fool us. God’s Word must define our experiences, not other’s experiences. He goes on, “and you will hear the words but it’s sort of like this, you will add 2 and 2 together and get 5 because you will put your experience on that person’s experience and what always happens when we do that is we end up minimizing the reality of that other person’s experience because we just haven’t come to understand it.”

Experiences can lie to us. People of the same color can share opposite experiences that contradict one another. 

Another thing, how does one know how to rightfully unpack and really understand someone’s personal experience, as Tripp instructs us to do? Well, I’ll tell you how. According to social justice warriors, they will just let you know what you are to understand. We can’t know what we can’t know about anyone, including ourselves, until they tell us. We can’t go just to Scripture to get spiritual insight or help with true injustice -we must be woke to their experiences, to zip it and listen.

He continues, “But what I want to say to you this is what motivates me to say please care enough about this issue of racial injustice to become informed. I want to ask you to do four things. First, just get out your phone or your iPad or your computer and Google “the Bible” and “justice” and read the volume of passages on this issue. This is one of your bible’s dominant themes.”

Ok, stop right there. I have one word. Hermeneutics. 

He doesn’t try to clarify how important it is to know what justice really means in the Bible. He sets up the narrative of social injustices before instructing us to go into the Scripture to seek out verses on justice, so that they will interpret those verses through cultural/social justice lenses.

He continues by saying, “Second thing I want to do is recommend three resources that have been produced by people who are committed to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s why I’m recommending these resources. I think they’re each helpful in different ways. The first is a 17-minute video done by Phil Vischer who is the creator of Veggie Tales, called Race in America. It is a brilliant video…there’s no opinion whatsoever, this video is fact, after fact, after fact that is a bit mind-blowing characterizing the black experience of America.”

So here’s the video he is referring to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGUwcs9qJXY

This is NOT a helpful source, by the way, and it most definitely sews in opinion and twists facts for a particular narrative. Vischer goes into black and white household wealth percentages, bad laws back in plantation times, segregation, real estate/mortgages that discriminated against blacks, criminalizing drug use, militarizing police force which gave them needless weapons for use, and because of all this, more blacks are in prison and now have less hope to escape prison time for their drug use, because of whites. He talks of a black man who kept getting pulled over, for minor infractions, and then the 49th time he was pulled over he got shot. Nothing was said about the details or him being shot by a Latino cop, by the way. I knew that only because I looked it up for myself. 

A biblically solid overview of Vischer’s video can be listened to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8qEcVqBRFY&t=1509s

Tripp says, “The second resource is by my pastor Eric Mason. It’s called “Woke Church”. Now I’m aware that woke language has become very controversial and some of you will react against that just because of the title. It’s an extremely helpful book actually and you may not agree with everything you read in the book but even if you can’t find your way to read the whole book at least read the brilliant forwards by John Perkins and Ligon Duncan. Those together are incredible. I would plead with you to read the whole book. The third resource is by Jemar Tisby. He’s an historian and it’s called “The Color of Compromise” and it just traces the history of the complicity of the Church of Jesus Christ and this issue.”

Let’s talk about his pastor for a bit. Not only did he write a book called “Woke Church” where he simply tries to slip in anti-Christian teachings and call them Christian, making clear he is contradicting himself at every turn, but he also stoke the racial flames with comments such as, “I fear that with all of the multiethnic congregations being former, we will lose the focus on engaging the systemic needs of blacks.” And “I fear that if we partner with whites that they will find a way to subjugate blacks and make us dependent on them in a way that kills our freedom of a truly black led institution.” (Page 100). 
I’ll point out, Paul Tripp is white and is attending Mason’s church. Awkward. 

Some great links that dive deep into the issues with Mason’s book and some of his false teachings:

https://founders.org/reviews/you-dont-need-to-be-woke-to-be-biblical-a-review-of-eric-masons-woke-church/

https://youtu.be/YCeaO7Nz3uk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImCKtrW2U1c&t=1152s

And if you think you can stomach hearing more garbage from Mason’s own lips, things like, “Whiteness has caused blindness of heart” and “”What about the black people that aren’t saved? Are they under a curse?’ No. They’re under white foolishness” check out this link:

https://twitter.com/WokePreacherTV/status/1300412953624219650?s=20

Regarding the book by Jemar Tisby, “The Color of Compromise”, Tripp’s third recommendation, this is a troubling recommendation that encourages more of the same. You can learn more about why it shouldn’t be recommended at these following links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adVBz9vl9mkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEjV_Msc8Fw

https://slowtowrite.com/the-color-of-compromise/

Tripp ends his video with this, “The white church does not have the liberty of being silent in the face of any cultural inequity no matter what it is. And we shouldn’t be silent in this one too. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the reason my heart is exercised at this moment is because of that Genesis to Revelation message. I think we can do better. I think it’s time to speak and to act, to live as ambassadors of the One Who is perfectly holy in justice. God help us, may we do that.” 

Again, this is addressed to the WHITE church. I thought Christ said, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:27-29. 
There is no white church in God’s eyes. It’s THE Church. The woke narrative is designed to divide. It’s designed to lay guilt where there is none and ignore the actual sins that are needing to be addressed. It doesn’t address hearts, only groups. It twists Scripture and puts words in God’s mouth.

Tripp says it’s time to act and speak now. Apparently, to him, white Christians haven’t been ambassadors of Christ, sharing the Gospel that is the power of God for salvation like they should. It would seem, he believes white Christians haven’t been doing a good job loving people of all colors and cultures, living for Christ, and serving their brothers and sisters. 

I recommend watching these commentaries on Paul David Tripp’s video. They are sound and thorough:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWxp2ELVhbg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLYdH5TtifU&t=29s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEnoH7-TBSs&t=4955s

Sadly Paul David Tripp has bought into the woke narrative. He has believed the lie that there is something more we can add to the Gospel

His progression to full woke-ness seems to have had beginnings in believing that we can divorce intentions from actual words and believing we can help bring redemptive good by utilizing worldly means and terms. When lines keep being blurred, the ways of culture is increasingly embraced and new labels and redefined terms are part of teachings; when guilt is placed where Christ never laid it and focus is put where Christ never put it, we must beware. 

Pray for Paul David Tripp to stand up on the Gospel truth alone and to stop buying into the woke culture. Pray for all of those following in his footsteps and supporting this dangerous movement, those in his own church. It’s a delusion, deceptive and divisive. We are to stand on the Rock, on the Word of God and not build upon the shifting sands of culture. 

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:14-16

Above is an article written by Gina Cook, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford

Through the Narrow: Are We Supposed to Talk About it Or Not? – By Tami Dykes

Growing up I always heard the saying “Don’t mix religion and politics”. I never understood that much till I became older but even as a grown adult I notice how people tend to avoid mixing the two. In school, we could learn all about politics but not so much religion but I found it most interesting that many people that are religious will not speak very freely of their views on politics. You might hear a Christian speak about it a little if they felt it wasn’t a hot topic or maybe only to a few people they trusted but to me it’s been so obvious that even I kept tight-lipped about my views for many years until I questioned why I felt this way. Why did I feel I wasn’t supposed to be open about my political views? What’s so wrong with talking about them? Is it because it’s not proper for a woman to do so or was it because I’m a Christian and it’s never proper for any Christian to talk about politics? I still don’t understand why I feel its taboo to speak of politics as a Christian but I started voicing my opinion anyway. As I spoke out on why I believed something to be bad or good for our country, I learned quickly that many are either not willing to talk about it or they are and they go at it very aggressively. There are only a few people that will engage in a conversation with me whether they agree or disagree. I prefer to keep respectful of each other and talk nicely even when we don’t agree but maybe that’s why so many are tight-lipped. Some just get too angry and can’t be respectful allowing people to have different opinions. As a Christian, we cannot forget Col 4:6“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Getting in discussions is not a bad thing; it’s when we get in heated arguments that might lead to hurt feelings. Just keep in mind that it shouldn’t be about our voice but about God’s truth, not about our opinions in government politics but what God says about His laws and teachings on those subjects. My truth is not important but His truth is and that needs to be what guides us Christians and keeps us speaking in love. There isn’t any reason that can’t happen. If no one is convincing the other then it shouldn’t matter in the end. Speak in love and move on.    

I have also had discussions with people who claim to be Christian who holds to very unchristian lifestyles or beliefs. This causes great concern for me about them and drives my desire to hopefully point them back to Christ. I’ve read articles where a person will say they are a Christian but they don’t believe God cares if they cuss because it’s just words or that they feel they can be Christian and support abortion – stuff like that.   

My goal of this article is not to tell Christians who to vote for or to get into a heated debate with them but simply to point the Christians back to Christ when trying to face all the worldly emotions and trials of today and remind them what’s right in God’s eyes.   

First, let me warn you as a Christian you will be persecuted for your love of Christ and your beliefs. I’ve heard many people say, who weren’t Christian, how they lost friends just because they support something a friend of theirs didn’t and so it destroyed their friendship. If today’s policies are a dividing line that even non-Christians are being bullied on or losing friends over then we as Christians will be judged on that and more because we love Christ. So, brace yourself and chose today who you will serve God or man?! You will lose friends, friends you’ve been close to for years but they are showing their true colors if they make you choose between God or the world. I’ve been told because of my preferred choices with policies that I’m hateful and not Christian because I don’t support something they do. They see something as loving and good to support when I discern it as sounding loving only on the outside or in name only but underneath all the fuzzy feelings is a disguised agenda of something very wrong and dark. As you look into them, we can find the truth of what some groups are about.    

What is a Christian to do and what’s our role in voting? Well, we all need to vote but you need to do your research on the policies and on the candidates. Look into them and see what they push for and if it’s proper for a true Christian to support and vote in favor of.  

Let’s start with the purpose of government? Did God ordain government? Yes, He did!    

Romans 13:1–2“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”    

1 Peter 2:13–14“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.”    

So what does this mean for a Christian? It means recognizing Biblical rolls in politics for God-ordained governing authority, instituted by God to stand up for the innocent and persecuted.    

 God created those authorities to rule over us and as Christian, we are to obey them. In a perfect world, we would have a government that would rule over us yet be fair to all but even if they aren’t fair, we are still called to obey them. The only reason not to obey would be if the government wanted us to go against our Christian beliefs and if the government made it law to practice something that goes directly against God. An example that comes to mind is the story of “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego”. Because they refused to bow down and serve and worship the golden image of a god the King had made, King Nebuchadnezzar sentenced the three to death in the furnace. We are to be obedient to the governing authority and yet can refuse when they command Christians to do things that make us go against our faith and love for Christ.    

So, what is God’s purpose in politics? Plainly put, to accomplish His perfect will for the world.  God can work through all governing bodies whether good or bad to do what He wants in government. Knowing this we still should not rely on the government for our happiness but to rely on God and His Word. We can not kid ourselves and think politics are as equally important as Christian values. Politics isn’t how Christians change hearts but only through God’s precious Word do we reach the lost. However, God has and does use those in the government to reach others through His words for His purpose such as in the Book of Daniel when God allowed Daniel to interpret the kings’ dream.      

Daniel 2:48-49“Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.”    

Daniel always knew it was God that ruled and was never afraid to say so.    

Daniel 2:21~“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;”    

Is it ok for Christians to voice their belief on certain elect leaders who best demonstrate good moral principles? Yes!    

Voicing our beliefs is good when pointing out the strong points of a candidate. Some Christians think because God is in control of the government we don’t need to vote. No, that doesn’t mean we don’t vote. As Christians, we have a responsibility to exercise our right to vote and to do what we can to bring into power perhaps the most moral person who adheres to more of the biblical principles. We should vote for those policies and leaders that reflect good values. If they are not ashamed to pray and speak about God then this is something to keep in mind. We also need to be praying for them to be God-fearing leaders.  

1 Timothy 2:1–4~ ”First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”    

The world has been influenced by sin and suffering and when we don’t stand up for the things that are Biblical then we will suffer. If we don’t stand against bad leaders then we will suffer as said in these following verses.    

Proverbs 14:34~ “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”    

1 Samuel 12:13–16“And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the Lord has set a king over you. If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. Now, therefore, stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.”    

So many people today do not want anything to do with God and this goes for many leaders as well. When more people vote that don’t care about God then godly morals will not be a priority to them. They will be ok with voting for someone that could violate the Bible’s commands in all areas. When Christians don’t speak up about the rights and wrong of policies and don’t vote then we really can’t complain. We need to make sure to vote and be good examples to others and warn others of policies that go against Biblical principles. Whatever leader is voted in will have the power over our freedom which means we as Christians could someday find ourselves at the mercy of a leader that wouldn’t allow us to worship or share the gospel. Many countries don’t have the freedom to worship and Christians in those countries are being persecuted but we are blessed for now because we still have the freedom to worship and pray in our churches.   

Hopefully, Christians don’t need to be told this but I’ll say it anyway, we do not look at or judge a candidate by the color of their skin or their gender but by their heart, morals, and polices. John 7:24“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” 1 Samuel 16:7“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  Skin color and gender isn’t what make neighborhoods safer or brings in more jobs. It’s the condition of the person’s heart, and desire to do something about those things and accomplishing it.    

God desires that the government enforcing laws to practice justice and to be fair and He has allowed the leaders of the government to have authority and hold order in society over the people in a Godly way (Romans 13:1-7).  

It’s truly not about just supporting this party over that party or voting for Republican or Democrat out of the devotion of one over the other but instead WHAT agenda they are pushing for. We need to look at the Bible to see what God says about the political issues on the ballets.  

One issue that is on the ballot every 4 years it seems is the issue of “LIFE”. Not just any life but that of the unborn baby created by God. God has a lot to say about that. Would God want us Christians to support abortion? Of course not! We must realize abortion is not about the woman’s body. The baby isn’t part of her body but instead, the baby is “IN” her body. It isn’t about her right to choose because if she wants to choose then she should have chosen not to have sex if she didn’t want children. In the horrible case of rape, the choice was forced on her and if she becomes pregnant is she allowed to kill the fetus? Well, is it because something horrible happened to her it’s moral now? What’s that mean for the baby? In many cases it means death. Evil brings on evil in the case of rape and abortion. Abortion is seen as getting a tooth pulled, make the pain go away, no big deal but for the baby, it becomes life or death. Instead, we need to point to God and teach the truth of what abortion means. In a case of rape, we need to show how to forgive and not act on fear or hate but love for life. https://www.gotquestions.org/Planned-Parenthood.html  

Any time there is talk of abortion the name “Planned Parenthood” is always mentioned. Many think that Planned Parenthood is a health department of sorts but it is not exactly providing the type of health care most people think.    

Should Christians support Planned Parenthood? No, Proverbs 6:16–19There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”    

There just can’t be any reason for Christian to support an organization that profits from the killing and murder of unborn babies. God is the one that creates all life. This organization is so evil and practices such as horrifying radical procedures that they perform abortions in every stage, even up to the day they are born.  

Recently there was a Bill that was trying to be passed called “Born Alive Bill”. It says: “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: This bill establishes requirements for the degree of care a health care practitioner must exercise in the event a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion. A health care practitioner who is present must (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to another child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) immediately admit the child to a hospital. The bill also requires a health care practitioner or other employee to immediately report any failure to comply with this requirement to law enforcement.” So far, the bill has not been able to pass which means that if a baby does survive an abortion the doctors are not to assist it. This is just evil. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/130   

Continuing on in the Planned Parenthood subject, we find the selling of baby parts. Below is a 2020 video of the U.S. Federal District Court of Northern California “PLANNED PARENTHOOD TESTIMONY ON SELLING BABY PARTS UNSEALED, NEW VIDEOS RELEASED”.  

We have heard over and over the justification of how abortion is NOT killing a baby because it’s not a life yet and instead it’s just a mass of cells or a blob as I’ve heard it put, so why do they say they harvest body parts if it’s not a baby? They have prices on body parts such as lungs, brain or hearts, etc.  

https://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/2020/05/planned-parenthood-testimony-on-selling-baby-parts-unsealed-new-videos-released/  

Another disturbing undercover video that has been done concerning the Planned Parenthood was one in which a man was undercover as a pimp or trafficker of women and children asking those at Planned Parenthood if he could get his “sex workers” medical help and told them that some were not from this country and some were underage. Now, by law, Planned Parenthood should have reported this activity to the authorities to provide those women and children protection but they didn’t do it but instead helped the pimp hide the crimes. The link to the video is below. 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=381&v=Jd3Z82xpcmA&feature=emb_title  

Let’s move on to the policies that a candidate may have about “Black Lives Matter”. Is this something a Christian should support? No! I knew even before I researched BLM that it wasn’t biblical or Christian. How they talked and the things that angered them told me the truth of who they were. They got very upset along with followers of the movement every time someone said, “All lives mattered”. I myself was reprimanded for saying that by people that called themselves Christian. I was privately told by a person that I wasn’t being a very loving Christian and being hurtful by expressing that I couldn’t support BLM. Also two different women I knew on two different occasions, felt it necessary to go onto my own personal page and apologize to any black friends on my list that I might have offended for not supporting BLM. I did delete their comments because I believe I am being as loving as I know to be by warning others of what this movement is truly about and sharing truth. Nothing I said was hurtful or mean, just truth and sometimes people don’t like the truth.   

BLM isn’t something Christians should support. We cannot and should not support the BLM movement. I’m sure there are those out there reading this wondering why it’s not Christian to support BLM. Well, let me just first say that God couldn’t care less about our skin color or appearance but instead, He cares about what is in our hearts.  1 Samuel 16:7“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”    

What IS in the hearts of the BLM people? All I’ve seen has been hate and destruction and murder by them. 

On the Black Lives Matter website, I found these statements!    

~”We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement”    

~”We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual”. Patrisse Cullors the Executive Director and Board President of BLM identifies as queer.    

~In a 2015 interview, Patrisse Cullors stated that she and another co-founders “are trained Marxists.”    

Black Lives Matter has been falsely claiming that cops are purposely hunting down black men and killing them, not true.  Sense George Floyd’s death, crime has skyrocketed because BLM has been saying to get rid of law enforcement which has sparked much hate and destruction and riots all over the U.S which in turn has led to attacks and killings of police, burn down of buildings, and the murder of innocent children.  

Fox News has reported that “June 29 to July 5, there were 85 shooting incidents and 27 murders in Chicago alone, with most occurring on the city’s predominantly African American South Side. Over the 28-day period ending July 5, there were 388 shootings in Chicago citywide — an increase of 76 percent compared to the same period in 2019 — and 95 murders.  Over the July Fourth holiday weekend, 44 people were shot in New York City and at least eight were killed. When the number of police on the streets is reduced — a consequence of defunding or the even more absurd abolition of police departments — it’s inevitable that more Black and other lives will be lost as a result of increased crime.”    

Black Lives Matter promotes a lot of violence and so many of their own supporters have killed other people because they disagree. We all see it on TV of the mob rioters wearing Black Lives Matter shirts. They are mad about the deaths of black men by cops but they completely ignore the deaths of so many others including children that have died as a result of their protests. One lady in Indiana was shot by a BLM supporter for just saying, ‘All Lives Matter’, and a man in a pro-Trump rally was gunned down and killed in the street of Portland by BLM supporters.    

Fox News: “In Atlanta, there were 31 confirmed shooting victims and five deaths over the holiday weekend, including an 8-year-old girl named Secoreia Turner. She was killed while riding in a car with her mother by a “group of armed individuals who had blocked the entrance” to a parking lot, police said.”  

 Black lives matter also wants to completely abolish prisons, jails, and police. Why? We need a God-ordained governing authority, instituted by God to stand up for the innocent and persecuted. I will not kneel for BLM because that’s showing devotion and solidarity to them. Why would I do that? I can’t agree with what they stand for or the actions they have taken. I can’t devote myself to them and kneel as if they are my king or my God. I will only bow to my Lord Jesus Christ. BLM support Marxists. I’ve had someone ask, “What’s wrong with being a Marxist, so what? Well, before you dismiss this title they claim to be, you best do yourself a favor and look it up. What are Marxists?    

Marxism teaches that the best system of government is one in which wealth is distributed equally, there is no private property (ownership of productive entities is shared by everyone), and every citizen gives selflessly to the collective. The purported goal of Marxism is a government-run utopia in which the needs of each individual are always provided for. Ideally, the strong work hard, the inventive create technological marvels, the doctors heal, the artists delight the community with beauty, and anyone who is weak or poor or in need can draw on society’s combined resources as their needs demand. When this idealistic model is attempted in the real world, it is called “socialism,” “communism,” “statism,” “liberalism,” or “progressivism,” depending on the degree to which the model is explored and implemented.”    

“Thus far, Marxism has never worked in real life—and, without exception, in the places where Marxism has been the governmental model, Christians have been persecuted. That’s because there’s a foundational difference between Marxism and Christianity, a deep divide that cannot be bridged. There are several aspects of Marxism, as a philosophy, that put it at odds with the Christian faith.”    

“The Bible assumes the existence of private property and issues commands to respect it: injunctions such as “You shall not steal” (Deuteronomy 5:19) are meaningless without private property. The Bible honors work and teaches that individuals are responsible to support themselves: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The redistribution of wealth mandated by Marxism destroys accountability and the biblical work ethic. Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:14–30 clearly teaches our responsibility to serve God with our (private) resources. There is no way to reconcile Marxism with the parable of the talents.”    

“Marxism is ultimately about material things; Christianity is ultimately about spiritual things.”    

“There’s a reason why, in Marxist states such as Communist China and Vietnam and the old Soviet Union, Christians are always persecuted—the ideas espoused by Marxism are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ. The differences are irreconcilable.”    

The above paragraphs are taken from https://www.gotquestions.org/Marxism-Christian.html  

Christians, again, do your homework and start looking into it. I will not ever support a foundation that wants to disrupt the nuclear family. Why do they want that? Asks yourself, how is that a humble goal for families to support and shoot for? I will not support queer affirming networks that are against heterosexuals. Why would I support that? It goes against God’s design for marriage between a man and a woman! It’s a disgusting insult and violation of God’s law. It also goes against who I am personally along with millions of others.    

In the link below is a video of a man that goes through audio made between the founder of BLM Patrisse Cullors is a zoom conversation with another woman named Melina Abdullah, Co-Founder, BLM Los Angeles. They both discuss what is believed to be witchcraft.   

Melina says they “become very intimate with the spirits”    

Patrisse says “I started to feel personally connected and responsible and accountable to them, both from a deeply political place but also from a deeply spiral place. In my tradition, you offer things that you’re loved one who passed would want, whether it’s things like honey or tobacco, things like that.”  “It’s a very important practice. Hashtags for us are way more than a hashtag. It is literally almost resurrecting spirits so they can work through us to get the work that we need to get done”,  

(I notice she says the words “literally almost” together. I find this interesting because “literally is equal to exactly” and “almost is equal to not quite”. To put them side by side in a sentence that talks of ‘resurrection of spirits’ makes me wonder if she wasn’t sure she should just come out and say they are conjuring up demons. Just something that crossed my mind.)  

Melina says, “The first thing we do when we hear of a murder is, we come out, we pray, we pour out libation”. (libation: a drink poured out as an offering to a deity. Deity means, a god.)“When we say the names, we speak their names, we say their name we do that all the time. You kinda evoke that spirit and those spirits actually become present with you.   

They are discussing how saying the dead person’s name, was an appeal to that spirit of the deceased to rise up and work through them. I remember hearing them constantly say the phrase at protests, “Say their names, say their names” when speaking of the black people that died by the hands of cops. I never thought anything about it till now.   

I want to make something clear to Christians out there that may not know this because maybe you are new to the faith or coming out of a false religion that teaches this stuff but these ladies are not talking to people that died. They are not conjuring up spirits of those ancestors long ago and they are not asking those killed by cops to come and work in them. They are calling on demons and messing with the dark forces of evil. God doesn’t allow spirits of dead people to pop in and out of living people. The demons can do this to the unsaved and have and if these ladies are crossing over into black magic and witchcraft then they are messing with demons that will destroy their lives both physically and spiritually. Christians need to run as far away as they can from any support of BLM. Videos of the ladies below if you want to fact check.  

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xGJSEoirF90  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udEnerFMVaY  

The best advice on BLM is said by John MacArthur here, only 9 mins long: https://youtu.be/ZkVrYk2eFtQ   

Christian, if you want kindness in our country and people to care about the country then vote for people that love the country. Vote for the person that respects and helps veterans that fought for the USA. Vote for the person that wants to improve our country by making it stronger. When people start burning flags and shaming our country those people will vote for leaders that will also want to destroy it too and we will lose the land of the free. We may not have a candidate that’s a Christian to pick from but we need to look for one with good morals.  Do they show kindness and love to others or are they supporting violence and encouraging people to chase others out of restaurants and stores that have opposing views?  I read about protesters getting so angry, physically hurting, and attacking others for wearing a shirt or hat or waving a flag or sign supporting a different candidate and it’s so disturbing, that’s not something I would want to be connected to. Those people have every right to publicly support who they choose. As for us Christians, we do not hurt others like that. What party is the party of freedom and the party of kindness? 

If you want the freedom of speech then vote for the candidate that wants it too and not someone that thinks it’s ok that you get beat for saying “All Lives Matter” or for fining or firing people for saying the wrong pronoun or even being arrested for making a Facebook post. Freedom of speech is good and we need it even though there are those that exercise it in the form of hate speech. This means others will have the right to say what they want (as cruel or hateful as it might be). Without a free country, we do not have freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech, we can’t be free to say what we know to be true. Oddly enough freedom of speech is already being attacked here in some states. One teacher lost her job for refusing to call a student by their preferred pronoun. We all know about the baker that was taken to court and sued for refusing to bake a gender wedding cake that went against his religion and beliefs. We even have a first grader that was sent to the principal’s office for accidentally calling a friend by the wrong pronoun. The child didn’t know the other kid changed their gender over the summer.    

Then we have the subject of the freedom to worship, freedom of religion. In many countries, they do not have the right to worship how they want. Many Christian are persecuted for their faith. Pay attention to each candidate, do they tell us no church? Do they say we will be fined or have jail time if we worship? Do they themselves make a point to take God out of the Government? The link below shows John MacArthur being targeted by the State of California for having worship serves when they have told him to shut down. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2639426876374527&extid=t78Wkcvlka3dPbTS    

https://youtu.be/mzRhYPMJopE  

As a Christian, should we be against open borders? Well, this can sound mean if we say yes but let me explain. It’s not that we don’t want foreigners coming to our country we just don’t want them coming in illegally. It seems those who don’t want to follow the law and go through the proper channels are the criminals. The criminals know they will be caught so this is why they want open borders. It’s way easier to sneak in. When we keep them from coming in just anytime, they want then we also keep our country safe from unwanted gang members, drugs and sex trafficking, and even viruses. This is also why we need strong military and police.    

https://www.gotquestions.org/war-Bible.html  

As Christians should we be for war or against the war when it is needed? Well, we should never just want war but shouldn’t be against it when we need to defend ourselves. God speaks of war many times in the Bible. God has said when He commands war in the Bible against wicked people that His people are to go and “completely destroy those wicked people” and make war until they are completely wiped out (1 Samuel 15:18). God is not against war and has called for it Himself on many occasions. We as Christians should pray for our country to be at peace but if it’s not possible because we are being attacked and harmed then we should pray that the Lord help us, guide us and go before us in that war. Below are several verses that show God commanding war and providing protections and telling His people not to fear. However, we need to also see that God doesn’t mess around in war either. We read that in these battles He commands some incredibly harsh actions to be taken but even more so there will be some very disturbing battles at His second coming. The second coming will be extremely violent.    

Numbers 31:1–7“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward, you shall be gathered to your people.” So, Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the Lord’s vengeance on Midian. You shall send a thousand from each of the tribes of Israel to the war.” So, there were provided, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand from each tribe, together with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, with the vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. They warred against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every male.”  

Deuteronomy 20:1–4“When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’    

1 Samuel 15:3“Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”    

Joshua 4:13“About 40,000 ready for war passed over before the Lord for battle, to the plains of Jericho.”    

There are many in the world today that want to get rid of authority. They want to get rid of the military, cops, and make people bound to them such as BLM and Antifa. The law enforcement and military are God-ordained and put in place for a reason but Christians already know that God is our ultimate authority. This next verse even says how we need to show submission to the authorities that are appointed by God and those who resist will incur judgment and wrath.  So, be respectful for the sake of conscience but mostly to avoid God’s wrath.    

Romans 13:1-7“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”    

Got Questions say: “Therefore, a Christian involved in law enforcement or police work is doing a good and godly thing. The police officer who enforces the just law of the land should consider himself or herself God’s servant and, toward the lawbreaker, an agent of God’s wrath sent to keep the peace. One of the most important jobs of every police officer is the restraint of evil in society—a dangerous career, a noble calling, and a profession congruent with a biblical desire for justice and righteousness.” https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-law-enforcement.html  

How should Christians view the right to bear arms? Is this a biblical issue? Well, there is nothing unbiblical in owning a gun but the Bible does not outlaw or condone the possession of weapons. The believers in the Word do have the right to defend themselves and loved ones when threatened. In the verse below we see Jesus tells them to sell their cloak to buy a sword. For Christians, we should always consider the Lord’s laws in what is right and wrong and strive to glorify the Lord in our actions. (1 Corinthians 10:31).   

Luke 22:35–38“And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”    

It just seems there is just no standard of right or wrong anymore, and bad behaviors with no accountability. Today we see so much hatred, destruction, and yes, even murder on the streets. Christians, stay focused on God and don’t be pulled into the emotions of all those that are doing these things. I will end with this verse and say, be kind to others.    

Titus 3:1-11~ “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”    

Through the Narrow: Salvation Party – By Gina Cook

Years ago I was invited to attend a “salvation party” for a young lady who had just made a profession of faith in Christ. I’ll call her “Anne”.  It was the first time I had heard of such a party.  Out of profound curiosity and my heart for Anne, I went.  We gathered at a local restaurant, with cake and gifts in tow.

I noticed the people most excited were the ones throwing the party, the ones who had witnessed to her.  Anne sat appearing unsure and distant.  

One could think she was just an introvert who didn’t like the fuss of a party, or that it was a bit too silly for her taste- I would have agreed with her.  Perhaps she was thinking what I was thinking….is she…. saved?  I silently prayed for her and tossed around in my head the question, “how did anyone really know she was saved when she was saved a few days ago?”  I mean, salvation is worthy of celebration, don’t get me wrong, yet she had just come to faith and from what I was hearing and seeing from her there was no fruit, no evidence, and most noticeably, no joy. 

Sadly, a brief amount of time later, she fully returned to her old lifestyle with limited interest of anything Christian.  I would gather with the ladies who had been ministering to Anne and would hear concerns of how she was hard to get a hold of, not desiring to go to church, any church, and no longer interested to meet with them for Bible study.  It all seemed to be too much for Anne.

I may not have been entirely surprised but my heart hurt. After the gentle urging from those who had been discipling her and celebrating her salvation, she withdrew further and pushed every single Christian out of her life.  It was growing apparent that her salvation wasn’t true.  I can imagine the embarrassment she might have felt- leading these people to believe she was saved, having a party and investing so much time in her, being told she shouldn’t question her salvation, being embraced and encouraged as a Christian, not having those convictions herself and not being able to honestly walk the walk– I would imagine she just wanted to run and hide. 

I decided to bring it up with the few that encouraged her salvation party and asked why they were so sure Anne was saved.  They quickly responded with, “she said she believed in Jesus!”  “She asked for forgiveness!” “She was remorseful and sincere!”

But did she really WANT Jesus?  Was it true repentance?  Did they convince her or was she convicted? 

I believe it’s important to clarify that we don’t have to doubt a profession of faith from someone and tell them we cant believe it until they start showing consistent fruit.  That’s not supported in Scripture.  The problem is the premature celebrations and confident declarations of what has happened in someone else’s heart, especially when not looking at the glaring inconsistencies in their behavior.  We prayerfully hope for the genuineness of their faith while discipling them, loving them and reminding them to examine themselves.  

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5

In Scripture, we read about people being saved, and with fervor for the Lord and His Word, they follow Him.  They desire to know His Word, to know Him, and obey Him.  We also read false followers can look the part at first but then drop the half-hearted desire to follow Christ as soon as the road gets a little bumpy or when the world lures them back into the cesspool of empty pleasures and promises.  

john-newton-quote-zeal-without-knowledge-is-like-expedition-to-a-man

“These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.  In a similar way, these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;  and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.  And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:15-19

I remember telling those who loudly proclaimed of Anne’s salvation, no one should have to be convinced this hard to follow Christ and to read his Word if they are truly saved. No true Christian will bolt and hide from anything truly Christian.  No true Christian will have to be taken by the hand and pulled into church.

Even though the lady lacked good fruit, they still refused for a while to believe that they may have been presumptuous.  “Perhaps”, they said, “she needs to just be encouraged more in her salvation.”  Sadly, they already did that to her when they shouldn’t have.  Now she was running harder away from Christ.

A few years later, I saw “Anne” standing up in front of a church to give her testimony and to be baptized.  It seemed those ladies had been able to reach her again and “encourage” her.  I hoped perhaps she had finally come to faith and repentance.  Yet as soon as she opened her mouth, my heart sank.  I noticed in her testimony she seemed to be looking for Jesus and a feeling of salvation in her baptism.  Not sure how this passed the test of the leadership when they met with her prior, that’s another story for another day.  And just like before, she vanished shortly after.  The ladies tried again to encourage her in her salvation.  She was being pulled by Christians, without being led by the Holy Spirit.  

Sadly this lady wasn’t the first person I saw being prematurely lauded as a Christian.  In a Bible study I had been a part of for years, a new lady came in and listened to the Gospel.  She cried as it was presented to her.  The study leader decided to lead her in the sinners prayer, doing the “repeat after me” thing. 

The lady repeated the prayer with such emotion that it moved me, I must admit but after the prayer, the leader declared she was now saved.  The way it was said was off-putting.  “Welcome to the family!” He exclaimed. 

She was overjoyed.  After a few times of coming back to the study, we noticed the joy soon faded and she quickly darted fast and far away from anything truly Christian.  My heart sank as the months/years went by and she seemingly sprinted harder from the Lord.  

I wish those two women were the only false conversions I’ve witnessed over the years. It’s heartbreaking to see one profess then slip away, yet it’s even more heartbreaking to see it being encouraged by Christians who should know better.  They seem so eager to see these precious souls saved and to share with the world all about it that they fail to realize they may have encouraged a false convert to believe something that wasn’t true. 

You’ll find in most evangelical churches every single child in a particular family are baptized.  Like clockwork, each of their children around the age of five wanted Jesus.  First off, what small child in church doesn’t say that?  You are likely not to find one.  The parents continually remind them that they are Christian and to take communion despite very little, if any, fruit.  Then in their teen years they are given emotional highs in youth programs and camps and being told those highs, those tears, are the work of God in their hearts.  Christ is this super amazing cool Lord.  Three weeks later or so, no more highs and no more interest in Christ.  It saddens me to see the leadership getting in front of the church shortly after these kids make an emotionally driven profession and proclaiming they are in Christ, HAULLELUIA!  

Such exuberant and immediate declarations without a stitch of real fruit.  

One church leader used passages such as Acts 2:40-42 to explain why they believe we are to immediately celebrate professions and declare them saved:  

“And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.  They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” 

Actually, that passage makes my point exactly.  Notice the phrase, “Continually devoting”.  

A Christian will drop the world and follow Christ.  The will devote themselves to Him.  They will not have to be forced to worship the Lord, to care about His Word, to gather with other believers or to desire to live for Him.  They will be devoted to the truth.  They will desire to be baptized out of obedience.  They will devote to the Gospel.  Sure, they will need from other Christians direction, clarity, and encouragement to know better how to live for Christ, but they will be willing and ready. 

It’s also important to note what was going on at the beginning of the Church age, with Apostles uniquely moved by the Holy Spirit, isn’t exactly how it’s going to look, or necessarily should look, in the Church today.  

If a person knows the Gospel, seems to really desire to follow and obey Him and wants to baptized, that’s wonderful.  They should be baptized under the leadership of a sound church and be spurred on to good works.

There is no way we can read the heart of any person, we are not God (1 Kings 8:39 and Acts 15:8) but there is fruit that should show, especially in time.  There needs to be fruit of a changed life, changed perspective on sin, changed relationship goals, changed motives…etc.  When the people in Scripture came to true faith, they devoted themselves to the ways of Christ.  They didn’t need to be continually convinced and coerced to follow Him. The fervor to serve Him was evident.  They picked up their cross.  They grew in love and good works.  They had hope and joy.

So why do some church leaders feel compelled to decree and declare a professor’s salvation?  Why, when some of these professing Christians show no real fruit or when giving warning signs, christians around them sweep it under the rug and dismiss them, excusing it without question or discussion?  

Some pastors seem to hear the supposed salvation successes and frequent baptisms in other churches, as well as, reading passages such as the one above and believe that is what they are supposed to be experiencing in their own ministry.  Perhaps it stems from not seeing people saved and transformed so instead of trusting God and just being faithful with the preaching of the Word, they want to force the round peg in the square hole. They want Acts 2:41-42 to be their experience so bad that they neglect to remember the obvious – salvation comes when the Lord chooses it to.  It’s all to be done in His timing and in His way.  

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”  Ephesians 2:8.

“for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

Some leaders are weak in their own faith and begin to wonder where God is when the land seems barren.  They are desperate to see movement, to see life.  Many times they fabricate conversions without even knowing it.

With that all said, we have to remember we can’t always know if someone is a false convert.  Judas Iscariot fooled the other eleven (John 13:21-22),  Simon fooled Philip for a time with his deep interest and desiring to be baptized (Acts 8:9-24).  

Matthew 13:28-30 explains that it can be impossible to tell the difference.  Tares look almost identical to the wheat until the head matures.  That’s the devil’s scheme – to plant tares in the Church and grow discord.

The most sufficient way to protect against tares is Truth.  The whole, hard, sufficient, and unwavering Truth.  Be diligent, discerning, and dogmatic.  Truth reveals hearts.

“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.  And He was saying, “For this reason, I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father. As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. John 6:60-68

The tares will not count the cost, will not stick around to follow Christ into the difficult places.  

“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19. 

We don’t get to declare the hearts of those who make a profession.  We aren’t to be their conviction.  Their salvation is between them and the Lord.  We encourage what the Scripture says about salvation, we urge them to go to Lord in repentance and faith and we trust the Lord to save whomever He saves.  And fruit matters.  Simply professing means nothing, especially when there is no cost. 

If we play the role of persuader and declarer we may very well encourage tares to ignore the constant nagging in their conscience that there is a problem with their relationship with the Lord.  The embarrassment of admitting the truth to all those who celebrated their salvation in a “rebirthday party” could prove to be their biggest stumbling block.

Have joy in someone’s profession of faith but know only the Lord can see the heart. Everyone must work out their salvation.  

Copy of It is only by retiring from the public view and getting alone with God that we can learn our own nothingness. A.W. Pink-3

Above is an article written by Gina Cook, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford

 

Through the Narrow: What Did They Think? – By Tami Dykes


Now, the first thing you should know is, I’m no Scientist or Scholar so just remember that when reading this. I am going to take you through my own research in studying the questions that I’ve had about the creation of the World.

I got to pondering God’s work in creation and what some of the writers might have been wondering. How could ancient writers of the Bible know so much about creation if they were just ordinary men? How could they have written about them in such detail and accuracy without the aid of the Lord truly telling them what to write?

We can look around and know there is a God that created all that we see but the details in which the ancient writers describe things can only be known because God told them.

In Romans 1:20~ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Psalm 19:1 ~ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

After reading that, I wondered, did any of the writers of the Bible ever think that what they were writing sounded crazy? Maybe they were a tad confused about the facts on certain stories and didn’t grasp what they were writing down, like in Genesis, with the creation of the Earth? How could they know the Earth was round or flat? Could they have been writing things down and thinking, “Uummm, this can’t be right”. 

They had no way of testing many things to prove it right or wrong. No one could have known back then if the Earth was round or flat. I decided to do some research on all this and see how many things were described in Scriptures that were proven true only in recent years.

*Is the Earth Round?

So, what about the Earth being round or flat? Click on this link below we see it’s been a lifelong belief for centuries.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth

‘The flat Earth model is an archaic conception of Earth’s shape as a plane or disk. Many ancient cultures subscribed to a flat Earth cosmography, including Greece until the classical period, the Bronze Age and Iron Age civilizations of the Near East until the Hellenistic period, India until the Gupta period (early centuries AD), and China until the 17th century.”

“The Israelites also imagined the Earth to be a disc floating on water with an arched firmament above it that separated the Earth from the heavens.[13] The sky was a solid dome with the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars embedded in it.[14]”

The image above is an Imago Mundi Babylonian map, the oldest known world map, 6th century BC Babylonia

https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/the-universe-confirms-the-bible/

“Curiously, many astronomy textbooks credit Pythagoras (c. 570–500 B.C.) with being the first person to assert that the earth is round.1 However, the biblical passages are older than this. Isaiah is generally acknowledged to have been written in the 700s B.C. and Job is thought to have been written around 2000 B.C. The secular astronomers before the time of Pythagoras must have thought the Bible was wrong about its teaching of a round earth, yet the Bible was exactly right. It was the secular science of the day that needed to be corrected.”

https://youtu.be/313icHT2XF8

This video above talks of the earlier beliefs of a flat Earth and how the idea grew to become around Earth. Although this is not a video that is based on Christian views or writings it does show how many believed the Earth thousands of years ago to be flat and then later changed the belief it to be round. God described how the Earth was round but 1,000 of years ago the world described how it was flat.  

In Ray Comforts’ book, “How to Know God Exists,” Ray says, “The Book of Isaiah was written between 740 and 680 B.C. This is at least 300 years before Aristotle suggested, in his book, “On the Heavens”, that the earth might be a sphere. It was another 2,000 years later (at a time when science believed that the earth was flat) that the Scriptures inspired Christopher Columbus to sail around the world.

Even though many started to believe the Earth was round back then they still had no way of proving it till resent years.

Isaiah 40:22 says, “It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth”.

Now, some that believed in the flat Earth believed that this verse was talking of a flat circular Earth, kinda like a frisbee.

Again in Ray Comforts book, “How to know God Exists”, Ray talks of the earth floating in space: “At a time when it was believed that the earth sat on a large animal or a giant (1500 B.C.), the Bible spoke of the earth’s free float in space: “He…hangs the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7)“.

Ray points out how Scriptures say the Earth floats in space when most believed odd ideas of something holding it up. It is clear today Scriptures is correct and the Earth is in fact just floating in space and “hangs on nothing”, just as the Bible teaches. We’ve proven it true through technology and inventing rockets to go into space and take pictures to show it is not propped up or carried by any animal and most importantly that it is a circle (a spiracle orb).

We see further that Genesis hints to spherical Earth in this following verse because it says “light separates day from the night”.

In Genesis 1:4~ And God said, “let there be light in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,”

Imagine for a second, if the Earth was flat and floating like a frisbee in water, slowly floating in a circular motion, to my understanding we wouldn’t have both day and night but we would just have day forever or night forever. Flat Earthers believe that we have night because the sun goes behind the mountains. Today, we know that’s not true just simply by flying in an airplane far above the mountains. For example, staying within the borders of America, flying just a few states away, shows how we can start out flying in the daytime and it turns dark after a couple of hours because the obvious happened, it became night time not because a mountain was in the way of the sun and blocked it and not because the flat Earth flipped upside down but because it’s an orb and it rotated away from the sun.

Revelation 7:1~ After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth…”

Revelations talks of four corners of the Earth which became another reason to cause many to believe the Earth to be flat, with corners. However, in examining this verse closer we see that John was only using symbolic speech to describe the “four directions” just as we see on maps and compasses with north, south, east, and west. It’s not much of an argument though in proving the Earth to be round in my opinion. 

As I pondered the directions mentioned, another verse came to mind, the verse that talked about God’s forgiveness because that one talks of directions as well. I looked it up and realized this verse makes the point of a round Earth…for me at least. The verse Psalm 103:12 uses two of the cardinal directions. It reads, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

When we look at that verse it is speaking of a span of distance that is infinite. North and south only go so far till it stops. If you start out flying from the North Pole southward and just keep flying south eventually you would reach the South Pole and once there all of a sudden you would be flying north until of course, you reach the North Pole again. However, if you were to travel east going around the Earth and keep going in that eastward direction you would always be going east. It would never stop and the same with the west, you will forever be going west and it would never stop. 

The purpose of that verse is to show us that the forgiveness of God is forever, it doesn’t stop which is why in His infinite wisdom He chose to say, “as far as the east is from the west” and not “as far as the north is from the south”. This way we can know for certain we have been restored to the Lord. 

Now, looking at this verse to support whether the Earth is round or flat we see that because God uses the directions to make the case for how far He removes our transgressions from us, then it does make a strong case for a spiracle Earth. If the Earth was flat then saying “as far as the east is to the west” wouldn’t be very far because it would eventually stop at the edge of the Earth just as the other directions would. With a flat earth, you can obviously see by the image below that for God to tell us that He forgives us as far as the east is to the west would not make much sense.

It wasn’t until modern times that we could know for sure the Earth was round because we were able to send rockets into space and see it was in fact round and see that it rotated, and see that nothing was holding it up. The Bible was right.

*The Creation of Light on The Earth

Genesis 1:3-5~ And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

 Take note here that God hadn’t created the Sun, Moon, or Stars yet until the 4th day. The darkness was mentioned from the start of creation (in Genesis) as God says, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep.” Nothing is said about where the light was brought from or anything about the darkness even, only that God spoke light into existence and then separated it from the darkness. 

In Job 38:18-20, God Challenges Job… “Have you surveyed the extent of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. Where is the way to the home of light? Do you know where darkness resides, so you can lead it back to its border? Do you know the paths to its home?”…of course Job couldn’t have known any of this.

I can’t help but imagine how confused the writer was when writing this because God had them record as one of the first things created was light yet when they write about the fourth day God sounds like He repeated Himself and talks of light again. This time saying, “let there be lights in the expanse to separate the day from the night”. Here God is explaining that the light will come from the Sun and the Moon. 

So, my thought is, did they ever wonder where the light came from on the first day? They knew God spoke and said, “let there be light” but from where did it come from? Or in God’s Words, as God questions Job by saying, “Where is the way to the home of light?” The answer: From God Himself. For the first three days of creation, He was the light just as it says in John 8:12~ “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

God will also be the source of light for the new Earth as well, as said in Revelation 22:5~ “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever”

*The Creation of Stars

Genesis 1:14-19~ “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.”

When we look into the night sky depending on if it’s a clear night or not, we can only see so many stars with our naked eye. With a telescope we are able to see much more however the people back then didn’t have telescopes. Telescopes weren’t invented yet as this link below explains.

“The telescope traces back to early makers of eyeglasses and lenses. In the 1400s, glasses were used widely across Europe. These lenses were not powerful, not polished, and not clear. Due to their imperfections, they were not useful for astronomic observation.”

https://nineplanets.org/questions/who-invented-the-telescope/

Psalm 147:4 tells us that “He counts the number of the stars, He calls them all by name.” 

How great is God to be able to count the stars and name them, what fear that should produce in us out of respect and aw?

I can just see them looking up at the night sky counting as many stars as they possibly could (which some claimed the human eye can view about 1,000 ) and then looking at the sand and knowing they couldn’t possibly count each piece of sand and that there were way more sand particles than what they saw in stars. When compared to each other, the two probably don’t even seem equal. Did that make any sense to them? Today we could see the planets and galaxies and so many other billions of stars and comets and other things through telescopes. I’m sure, for them, knowing that Scriptures say in Jeremiah 33:22, “host of heaven can’t be numbered, or the sand of the sea measured” made them wish they had a way of seeing all those stars.

Another interesting fact God points out about stars is in 1 Corinthians 15:41 ~ “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory

This verse uses the example of stars all being different. I’m sure this had to be perplexing for them as they looked at the stars from Earth, all the stars look like sparkly spots in the sky, without a telescope, how could they have known the stars could be so different in size or color? But it’s recorded in Scriptures and again this wasn’t a known fact until modern times.

*The Wind Having Weight

Scriptures tell us wind has weight in Job 28:25~ “When he gave to the wind its weight…”

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains Job 28:25 this way: “To make the weight for the winds – That is, to weigh the winds and to measure the waters – things that it would seem most difficult to do. The idea here seems to be, that God had made all things by measure and by rule. Even the winds – so fleeting and imponderable – he had adjusted and balanced in the most exact manner as if he had “weighed” them when he made them. The air has “weight,” but it is not probable that this fact was known in the time of Job, or that he adverted to it here. It is rather the idea suggested above, that the God who had formed everything by exact rule and who had the power to govern the winds in the most exact manner, must be qualified to impart wisdom.”

When this was written in Job it was not discovered or understood yet how wind or air had weight. 

*Creation of Water in Scriptures

We read about another question that God asks Job 37:16 ~ “Dost thou know the balancing of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?”

Good question! Did Job know how the clouds balanced in the sky? Probably not. I wonder what they knew about the clouds as far as how the clouds held water? Clouds can look so different from one day to the next but, just like what we see today, I’m sure they understood rain came from clouds but how it worked was probably a whole different question. Did they understand that very small droplets of water make up clouds and when they remain small, they float but if they join together with other droplets, they get heavier and become rain? Did they know that wind and temperature play a part in the reason it rains a lot or a little? They didn’t have the technology we do today so I’m sure that they had questions about it.

 More in the following link below.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-clouds-float-when/

Genesis 1:6-8 tells us: “God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.”

Below, explains what this verse is saying…

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary “Second Day.

firmament—an expanse: a name given to the atmosphere from its appearing to an observer to be the vault of heaven, supporting the weight of the watery clouds. By the creation of an atmosphere, the lighter parts of the waters which overspread the earth’s surface were drawn up and suspended in the visible heavens, while the larger and heavier mass remained below.

So how could they have understood any of this back then? I’m guessing they didn’t. The balancing of the clouds was not known until modern times when we had the ability and equipment to study it.

* Springs of The Sea

Genesis 1:9-13~ “And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 

Job 38:16-18~ “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.”

We see here that God asks if Job ever journeyed to those places and if he comprehends everything God has done and if Job even knows of all those things. I guess it’s possible some of those things Job could have known about or read about because it was talked about in Genisis with the flood such as the phrase “springs of the deep” but there is no way he could have seen it with his own eyes to verify it, there is no way he could have walked in the “recesses of the deep” or went to see the “springs of the sea”. Most everyone knows today the ocean is very deep and very dark. Job didn’t have any way to go to any of them. It wasn’t as if he could swim down to the ocean floor to investigate it because he wouldn’t be able to hold his breath very long to go all the way to the seafloor.  Also, the floor of the ocean is extremely dark so how could he even see the floor or observe anything down there once there. Not to mention the pressure at the bottom of the sea is deadly to humans, Job would not have been able to survive that alone. It’s only been just recently that humans could explore the seafloor thanks to a specially made submarine and confirm that there are springs in the seafloor but even then, we still do not know all there is to know about the sea. Back in Jobs day, there was no way for Job to have experienced any of that personally, it would have been impossible. So, I just wonder again how odd this must have sounded for Job.

*The Earth Will Not Be Moved

Psalm 93:1~ The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

I will end with these scriptures below where God tells us the Earth will not be moved. I know the Earth moves…it turns on its axis as it rotates around the sun. Again, we know this to be true because we have the technology and pictures that show it does but I still just wonder what the writers thought about these verses. God is saying in these verses that nothing is going to happen to the world we live on and noting will cause it to fall apart or knock it out of orbit. This should be comforting to us because when I was much younger my fear was that someday a meteorite could hit us and knock the Earth off its axis sending it flying through space or shake it so badly that we would stop rotating or something to that effect. Yeah, the imagination of a young kid! Below I have scriptures and meaning of each of the verses I quote that shows that God is telling us the Earth is securely in place.

(Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains Psalm 93:1~ “The world also is established – Is firm; is on a solid foundation. It cannot be shaken or destroyed by natural convulsions, or by the power of man. That it cannot be moved – Moved out of its place; overthrown; destroyed. This seems to have been spoken in view of some impending calamity as if everything were to be swept away. The psalmist consoles himself with the thought that the world was firmly established; that no storm or tempest could be so violent as to remove it out of its place. The ground of consolation is the essential stability of what God has ordained.”)

*Psalm 104:5~ He set the earth on its foundations so that it should never be moved.

(Benson Commentary on  Psalm 104:5~ Who laid the foundations of the earth who hath founded the earth upon its own bases, or foundations, that is, upon itself, or its own center of gravity, by which it is self-balanced, and by which it stands as fast and immovable as if it were built upon the strongest foundation imaginable, which is a most stupendous work of divine wisdom and power; that it should not be removed — Out of its proper place; forever — Or, till the end of time, when it must give way to the new earth.)

*Psalm 96:10~ Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.

(Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains Psalm 96:10~ The world also shall be established … – Under the reign of God. The meaning is that the world is fixed or immovable. It has its place, and it cannot be moved out of it. The government of God is fixed and stable. It is not temporary, changing, vacillating, like the dynasties of the earth, but is steadfast and abiding, and is well represented by the earth – so fixed and firm that nothing can move it from its place.)

*Ecclesiastes 1:4~ A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.

(Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains Ecclesiastes 1:4 ~… “but the earth abideth for ever; for a long time, until the dissolution of all things; and then, though that and all in it will be burnt up, yet it will rather be changed than destroyed; the form of it will be altered, when the substance of it will continue; it will not be annihilated, but renewed and refined.”)

God makes sure we know the Earth’s foundation is so strong and solid that nothing can move it. What I found interesting was this video below that shows how Jupiter serves as a shield against danger to Earth. It says, “Without a massive gravity rich planet like Jupiter nearby to draw away asteroids, Earth would be more like an interstellar dartboard”. Not saying Jupiter is the only reason Earth is stable because we know God does this but it’s just amazing how God designed it all to have the planets where they are. I suggest you watch this 5 min video below that shares why the Earth that God created is so amazing and even overwhelming.

https://www.prageru.com/video/does-science-argue-for-or-against-god/

I hope this causes others to seek God more and to see His glory in all of His creations. To stand in Aw with respect to God in all that He has done. I realize that there are those out there that just don’t believe or have faith in God. With that said, there is still no excuse for them because everyone is shown God’s invisible attributes and power in all that has been created. It boils down to faith.

Romans 1:19-20~ since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Through the Narrow: Is a Nap in Order? – By Gina Cook

These past few months I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned some things about myself through quarantine, recovery from COVID-19, and watching what little news I could tolerate about all societal chaos. I realized more and more that resting is necessary. Spiritually resting in the Lord’s power and Word, of course, mentally resting from the onslaught of opinions and “news”, emotionally resting from the concerns and burdens we just love to bear and physically resting before we sicken ourselves unnecessarily.

As much as I have learned about my own issues with resting, especially spiritually, there is something else I’ve learned, something alarming I’ve noticed.  It’s the unrestrained, restless behavior of many of my professing sisters (brothers too).  Triggered and tossed about publicly, professing sisters are showcasing one of the reasons why we need to listen to God on verses such as these: 

“Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools.  Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.” Ecclesiastes 7:9-10

I get it, things are troubling.  We long for former days.  The stakes seem high now, the question marks are bigger and the lies are more abundant.  Pandemics are scary.  The world is increasingly hostile towards the ways of God and His people, more hostile towards any solid and wholesome way of life- more hostile towards anything decent.  It can make us restless and distracted.

These days, as a Christian, I tend to look at my social media feed with one eye open.  It’s tough to read.  As I feel my blood boil or angst start to set in, I’m often reminded of this:

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:5-7

I also think of these verses:

Philippians 2:14-16: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” 

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8.

Before having the “rona” I admit I felt the anxiety of a deadly virus and also the confusion and doubt about whether or not it’s really that deadly. As everyone knows, the news is more confusing than it is clarifying. Although unsure of what to think, we sanitized, wore masks, and prayed they worked. Being we live with my in-laws my teenage daughter took leave from her public job so that she wouldn’t get the virus and bring it home to them. My husband and I stayed home. Our church shut its doors and did sermons online. We were dedicated to trying to keep the virus out of our home.

Then we got it.  

How?  Who really knows for sure?  The important thing is-God is in control, we are ok now, and we are grateful.  We did what we could, sensibly, and trusted the Lord through it all.  Trusting and resting in the Lord and His will is everything.  It’s the calm in the middle of the storm and the sure footing on solid rock.  

It’s easy to tell when one is fixated on the world and all that it broadcasts, when the world is influencing them to lose their peace.  Emotional rants, desperate pleas, frantic responses, fear-filled warnings, angry emoji’s on repeat, bowing to the world, name-calling, expressing with cuss words, guilt-tripping, focusing on temporary freedoms and comforts, making non-Christian people be either your enemy or a savior depending on their political position or beliefs on wearing masks and isolating.. and then the frequent ALL CAPS.  

There is a healthy amount of rest and ease we should seek.  We need to chill without becoming complacent or unconcerned.  We should call out sin and warn others of false teachings and dangerous movements but we can’t do any good being anxious or fearful, belligerent or insulting in the process.  There is far too much emotional manipulation from the world, we don’t need to join that party.

I understand the temptation.  For us Christians, there may be times ….

When our comforts are yanked from us or threatened, we cry for their return and preservation.

When the rebellious hearts of this world mock blessings, we get angry.  

When the lost of this world step on our flowers, we grumble and point.

When the foolish spew unrelenting mendacities around us, we drown them in truth until they plead for mercy. 

When the haters of this world want to revile and slander us, we are offended and we return the favor fiercely. 

We may ask, “Why is this happening? Where’s justice? What about our rights?  How can we continue on?”

What we should be asking is…what rights or comforts do we need now in order to live for eternity? Is my main focus supposed to be on health and national/personal freedom? Praying for those things is good and acceptable, focusing onand getting our hope from them – that’s a major problem.

My late grandfather used to say, “I only have the right to be thankful.”  I’m not sure he was even a believer but I do know his little phrase packs a biblical punch.  Do we really have the right to anything else? Think about it.  Do we understand who we actually are and what we really deserve?  Have you taken a close look at your own sinfulness?

Paul got it.  “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)

Jesus instructed the disciples, “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” (Luke 17:10)

Who has convinced you of anything otherwise?

Remember what the Lord said in Matthew 5:38-44? ““You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

Is that only after you ridicule and slander them first?  NO

I’m seeing Christian leaders stoke the fire of emotion, slowly turning the focus away from the Gospel and putting it on political wars, societal and cultural restructuring, making the church more sensitive to the world’s cries, or the rights we “just can’t afford to lose”.  

The disciples of Jesus yearned for Him to put an end to the corruption and persecution in their society.  They believed He would set things right at that time, politically.  Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  He didn’t overturn the governments.  He focused rather on saving and bringing souls home to His heavenly kingdom.  That’s what He came for.

People surrounded Him constantly to be healed.  He in His grace healed several.  Yet He didn’t take away all sicknesses or even most of them.  It was never really about those things.  He kept the focus where the focus must be.  

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:36-37.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28: 19-20.

The more people hear the Gospel, the more people will be saved.  When people are saved their hearts are changed and they proclaim the Gospel to others.  Hope and joy are found.  Peace with God is given.  Lifestyles and families are impacted.  Love and respect is practiced and seen.  Most importantly, the Lord is glorified.

We read the Word and we are reminded we are to be unlike the world, to show the love of Christ, to die to self, to focus on Him and His promises and commands and that we are owed nothing from the Lord.  We have been given such blessing beyond measure, all undeserved. 

So why are many of my professing sisters having toddler fits all over social media as if they deserve blessing; as if they have rights to have what they want?  Why are they making many lost people look more held-together then they are?  Is it because, maybe, this world is where their hope really lies?  Is it because church leaders are leading them on to think such nonsense is the work of the Lord?  Do they understand what the Lord really wants?

If the Lord chooses not to answer our prayers or give us worldly comforts and freedoms, are we good with that?  Can you rest in His wisdom?  Can you look at the bigger eternal picture?

Sisters, let’s move on with the Gospel.  This world has no hope without the Gospel.  The work and the Word of the Lord change the hearts of people, not us, and definitely not our fits or anxiety.  

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2.

“If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? Romans 8:31b-33a

No one wants or should desire persecution or for freedom to end, yet to focus on those things as if Christ can’t be glorified or served in persecuted and oppressive situations is foolishness. Look at the world in Biblical times, when persecution, disease and death were daily sorrows. The Church still grew. God was glorified more and the people still found something to rejoice about. Can we still have joy in serving the Lord today?

And what do we do differently if every comfort in this world goes away?  Nothing.  

Love God.  Share the Word. Pray. Love others more than yourself, even your enemies.

As a mother of five, when my little children threw fits, became hysterical, refused to listen, screamed to have something, or became grumpy and snarky….discipline or a nap were in order.  They needed to think about what they were actually doing.  They needed to rest and collect themselves before they found themselves in more trouble.  

My Christian sisters, be an adult, a mature adult.  Grow in Christ and realize when you need to rest in His ways more and concern yourself with what concerns Him, not what you think concerns Him.  Study the Word to know.  Be thankful and have joy in your salvation.  Don’t grumble over the sins of others, share the Gospel instead.  Remember, the lost can’t have rest as we can.  They need salvation.  That should be more than enough to motivate us with the Gospel. 

““THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION

AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, 

AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’; 

AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, 

‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’” (Hebrews 3:10-11)

If you can’t rest in the sovereignty of God, get a grip, be salt and light in a dark world and pick your battles wisely, then get off of social media, stop watching the world, surround yourself with more sound fellowship and teaching, and please get on your knees and in the Word.  

And maybe take a nap? Just not too long. There is much work to be done for the Lord.

Above is an article written by Gina Cook, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford

Through the Narrow: Should Christians Talk to Satan? By Tami Dykes

Christians have been lied to about the devil and Hell.

We have been told over and over that Hell is Satan’s dwelling place. He lives there and just comes around to bother us sometimes or sends his demons to mess with us. It has been suggested that the devil spends time with those that are in Hell tormenting them and allowing demons to torment them as well.

The link below is from the movie “War Room”, and we see where the wife (played by Priscilla Shirer) decides she’s had enough of the devil and goes after him. She becomes mad enough about the devil messing things up in her life that she gives the devil a firm scolding and yells at him for a good while.

She starts out with her explaining to him, “I don’t know where you are, devil, but I know you can hear me.” Well, the devil is not omnipresent and he cannot be everywhere at once as God can. I don’t know about you but to me, that seems like a frightening thought to think about, out of all the places on earth the devil chooses to be to cause destruction, he chooses you and your house to do it. Yikes!

But because he can only be in one place in time how does she know she is talking to him and that he hears her? Her assumption makes her believe that he is there and can hear her and yet she goes about scolding him as if she’s an authority to him and he might just be standing in shock that she’s on to him now. She says, “You have played with my mind and had your way long enough. No more. You are done. Jesus is the Lord of this house and that means there is no place for you here anymore.” thinking it’s something he wouldn’t know unless she announces it and now that she has he can’t play those games anymore and has to leave. She seems to think that Christians stand in some devil proof zone and they are promised no more demonic attacks or problems. The problems aren’t the same after salvation, but they are still going to come. The devil still tempts and causes deception in the lives of both the lost and saved; this is why we need to stand on the Word of God. We do not become free from the devil’s lies and destruction the minute we are saved. In fact, we can expect it just as much as a Christian, just as Job was targeted by the devil. 

She then appears to chase him out of her house as she storms outside. She continues to remind him that he can’t have her marriage, daughter, or husband. We learn quickly, “when reading the Word” that marriage was designed by God and God does have set rules for the husband and set rules for the wife. God gives clear instructions on how we are to be in a marriage and the devil seeks to divide the husband and wife and destroy the marriage. Christian marriages are not off-limits to the devil.

The devil can cause trouble with anyone, and anything the devil does is always known by God. God can choose to allowed or not allowed the devil to play with people but it’s always for His own glory and purpose. At the same time we see it is God that can provide the protection and keep the devil at bay if He sees fit, just as it was done for Job in Job 1:10~ “Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land”.

In the movie the lady character tells the devil he is done (although, in reality, the devil will never be done or stop till our Lord throws him into the lake of fire) and she storms back into the house only to come back out a few seconds later to talk more to the devil. Here was where I’m like, “Serious, she’s gonna keep talking to him.” She comes back out and says, “And another thing…” like the devil is still standing outside all wide-eyed and in shock.  Just so you all know, the devil couldn’t care less what you have to say or that you’re mad at him.

She ends up telling the devil to “Go back to Hell where he belongs”. The problem with that is the devil didn’t come from Hell as if it was his personal apartment where he lives and besides, it contradicts the Word of God.

Voddie-Baucham-Quote

That’s a very unbiblical teaching and a most ridiculous belief about the devil and Hell that there is. As I’ve mentioned the devil does not live in Hell or control it how he wishes. Instead, the devil is going to be the one tormented in Hell, not in charge of it, because it is God that is in charge of Hell.

What we learn from Scriptures is that God created Hell and it’s only God that has the AUTHORITY to put Satan in Hell, not us. In Matthew 25:41 and 2 Peter 2:4, God says that Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. It’s God that cast demons into Hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment.

Scriptures also, say that the demons cry out in fear of the Lord and do not want Him to torment them. Matthew 8:29~ And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

Luke 12:5~But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

Matthew 10:28 says, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Proverbs 14:27~ The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

That tells me that we should fear God because He is the Authority overall.

J.C.-Ryle-Quote

But common sense says that even if it’s true that Christians can command and send the devil to Hell then who is letting him out or how is he getting out? If people all over the world are practicing this and they believe they are sending the devil “back” to Hell then he is being sent there over and over by different people all the time. Not to mention that most people will say, “In Jesus’ name.” So does this mean saying “in the name of Jesus” isn’t strong enough to keep the devil in Hell? 

It says in 1 Peter 5:8 “the devil prowls around seeking someone to devour”. In Job 1:7 it tells us when God asked where the devil was and he told God he was going to and fro on the earth and walking up and down on it. This devil isn’t in Hell seeking to devour people; he’s on earth seeking to devour people.

Another thing that should be obvious is we should never address the devil ever! Why do people insist on talking to the devil when things go wrong? Because they were taught to do that.  It’s not biblical and so very dangerous. 

Addressing Satan is the worst thing you can do and yelling at him does nothing.

But ask yourself, “Why in the world would I want to address the enemy of God anyway or any demon for that matter?” That’s just giving the devil what he wants, YOUR attention!! Your attention is off of God and on him and now he is robbing you of your time spent with God. Think about it, something goes wrong and we start talking to the devil about how mad we are or how hurt we are and how he is not going to have control anymore. Does this make sense? Your time could be spent praying to God and asking Him for help but instead, it’s spent yelling at the devil.

God tells us in James 4:7-8 to “submit to God and resist the devil“.

We all need to be in prayer for all things but when we are addressing Satan then you have stopped your prayer and turned your back on God to talk with Satan.  This movie teaches people they can address Satan and that’s wrong.  

In the part of the movie where the wife (played by Priscilla Shirer) losses her cool and starts getting upset and yells at the devil and it appears that she is chasing him outside, I want to know, how does she know she got him outside? How does she know that her yelling did anything? But the worst part is that anyone would be talking to God one day and then the next start talking to Satan? Seems to me that would be an insult to God. Think about that, we pray to our Lord for many things. We go to God for help, to praise Him, to thank Him but one day you feel you are being spiritually attacked so instead of going to God (who has the power to help you and protect you) we start talking to the devil instead like we are his parent and he’s in trouble. Why? He doesn’t care what we think. He isn’t going to all the sudden become remorseful and sad because we yelled at him. The devil isn’t going to be afraid of you and apologize for upsetting you. He is getting exactly what he wants, your attention off of God, and getting you all stressed and angry. We shouldn’t address the devil at all, ever. We only need to address God. 

Satan is very active and he does prowl around and he will until the 1000 year reign of Christ where an angel (the warrior archangel Michael) binds him and he will be thrown into the bottomless pit as said in Revelation 20:1–3~ “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be released for a little while.” 

The word archangel means “angel of the highest rank.”  Michael binds the devil, not a human. The archangel Michael has spiritual combat with the devil during the millennial reign of Christ. The Bible also speaks of Michael protecting people as well, in Daniel 12:1 so if we are so tough that we think we can bind Satan and kick him out of our house on our own, why would God need angels protecting us, ministering to us and guiding us?

I mention in an earlier article I wrote, “Steven Furtick’s Heretical Views on Satan & Sovereignty”, (you can find it here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi7xqALAz0h/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link )

That we humans are weaker than angels and below them in power and knowledge. (2 Peter 2:11, Jude 1:9) so there is no way we can take on Satan and his demons and there is no way he stands in fear of us. That’s just pride-fullness.

Binding Satan is not within our power. Scriptures say in Acts 19:13-16~ “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

This from Got Questions:

“Jesus had earlier given His apostles specific authority over demons (Mark 3:15). Paul, as an apostle, had received that authority as well (see 2 Corinthians 12:12).”

“..Demons recognize valid authority, and they fear God (see James 2:19). It’s important to note that the authority over demons belongs only to Jesus (see Luke 8:28, 31) and to those to whom Jesus gave it. The demon in Acts 19 says that it knows Jesus and Paul (one of Jesus’ chosen apostles). It refused to recognize any other authority in Ephesus. The demon’s question “who are you?” is chilling in its implications to the seven sons of Sceva and their total lack of authority.”

This is what God wants us to do instead in Eph 6: 10-18~ Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. …13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you maybe able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand firm.

James 4:7-8 says “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

That being said, there was one part in the move I agree with and that was when the old woman named Miss Clara says to the wife, “Do your fighting in prayer.” That’s exactly what we need to do. Not address the devil but address God in prayer. Not yell at the devil but run to God in prayer. Not send the devil back to Hell but bring God into it and let God fight the battle. We can’t!

Turning away from God to speak to the devil just because you feel you are strong enough and more powerful than the devil is unbiblical. Just because someone told you that you could do that because you are a Christian is a lie. God is the only one that can fight the devil and protect you. Just stay with God and don’t waste your time talking to the devil.

We all need to stop talking to him, stop yelling at him, stop commanding him to go back to Hell, and don’t give him any more of your time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkobFVAVlf8

Through the Narrow: Perfection vs. Purity – By Gina Cook

I’ve grown to expect a handful of commonly leaned on and knee-jerk responses when talking to a churched unbeliever or sometimes just an immature believer.  There is one in particular I will hear from people of all backgrounds and denominations when they are made aware of the sins being unaddressed in their church.  I hear it when I answer their questions on why ecumenicalism is unbiblical or why I will no longer attend the friendly Baptist Church that fully embraces New Age and NAR teachings and practices.  It’s the response I get when I don’t approve of a woman “pastor” or if I have questions regarding the widely applauded church that paints houses of single mothers and serves hotdogs downtown for the homeless but keeps neglecting to preach the whole and the true Gospel message to anyone.  It’s the the response I get when I express concern over a church’s encouragement of fluffy false doctrine in the women’s ministry or their seal of approval on unbiblical doctrine in Sunday school classes.  It’s the response I hear when I don’t attend a legalistic church that neglects the the commandment of God, to hold to the tradition of men.  

It’s the usually hasty and reproving response, “But no church is perfect”.

First of all, that is true.  No church is perfect.  Hopefully, there is not a person on earth that believes a church full of imperfect people on this earth can have a perfect church congregation.  It amazes me how many people actually believe it necessary to remind me and others that there are no perfect churches to attend.  So I’d like to clarify right now- I agree, there is no perfect church congregation today.  

As most would agree, perfection is found in only One, and He is God.  Christ Jesus the Lord, fully God and fully man, is our perfect Lord.  What would the Perfect One say about “no church is perfect” therefore ease up?  Would He simply agree?  Would He encourage the ignoring of sin and say the focus is to be on just His forgiveness?  Would He say, “If they are proclaiming My name and doing good deeds, that’s good enough?”  Thankfully we have the letters from Him to seven literal churches back in the beginning of the Church Age, and it’s not only sobering but it’s very helpful to understand the standards God has for all churches today.  

When reading Revelation chapters 2 and 3 I notice modern churches today sound a lot like the churches in these verses.  I also see how very serious the Lord is about what the churches did, taught, and believed.  We read in these chapters that the Lord definitely didn’t speak to these seven churches in the same tone or manner, nor did He allow them to have any excuse for whatever sin they may have been fostering.

The first letter we read is to the church of Ephesus (2:1-7), a strong, laboring, and discerning church.  It sounds like they could site wolves a mile away and would obediently shut the gate doors before those false teachers could enter and corrupt their church.  This church loved the Gospel and protected it.  They resisted the lures of false doctrine.  At the beginning of the letter, Christ gave an encouraging introduction and said, “The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.” (Verses 1-3). 

But the encouragement then quickly turned to rebuke and warning. “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” (Verses 4 and 5).

This particular church had spent so much time in battle for the Lord they forgot about their love for the Lord.  Things become mechanical, albeit zealous, but nonetheless without the love and adoration for the Lord that they had at the beginning of their salvation.  Did Jesus tell them, “Well, no church is perfect?  No worries as long as you are preaching the Gospel because I forgave you of your sins already and even though I don’t like your lack of love towards Me these days, you are my children and truly doing great on everything else?”

No.  He actually said, “I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.”  Churches that love the Gospel, share it, and protect their church from wolves, are not necessarily right where they should be. Christ was willing to shut the whole church down.  And He eventually did because seemingly they did not repent.  Wow.  That should cause us to sit up straight and pay close attention!  Do not forsake your first Love, the One that is our reason and our hope.  Do the deeds that are born out of fervent love for the Savior.  Stale, cool churches that just go through the motions are not pleasing to the Lord.  

The church of Pergamum is on the flipside.  Christ’s words to them started out with a severe tone.  It is not a comforting introduction at all.  “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:” (Verse 12) Quickly turning to Revelation 19:15 we read, “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”  This church’s letter started out with a tone of judgment.

Going on in the letter, Christ gives some good news, “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”  So this church had believers holding fast to their faith and His Name, His Gospel.  Why would He warn about judging this church?  Verses 14-16, “But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.”

I didn’t notice Christ slip in a “but I know no church is perfect, it’s ok, you are at least preaching the Gospel.  You’re trying.  You’re passionate and loving and teach my Word, that’s honorable enough.”

This church didn’t prevent immorality and false doctrine from entering their gates, nor did they protect their church from their influences.  They were too focused on one primary issue- expressing the love for the Lord and His Gospel, but failed to give much attention to another crucial primary issue-being faithful about keeping out pagan and false teachings.  That is true for so many churches today.  

I remember hearing a pastor say “as long as they just focus on Gospel issues, the false teaching concerns will take care of themselves.”  Unsurprisingly he also often stated, “No church is perfect” when being confronted by the false teachings running rampant in his church.  With that attitude, it would be easy for the church to slowly succumb to more and more sin, even sexual immorality among its members.  Today we hear pastors and church leaders yielding to sexual sins, supporting homosexual marriages and premarital sex, etc. It’s shocking until you realize this has been an issue since the beginning.  Churches are filled with false converts who were bottle-fed on hyper-grace and no real spiritual accountability.  Churches are also filled with weak brothers and sisters who don’t understand the dangers they are tolerating. 

The church of Thyatira-Revelation 2:18-29 was a small but growing and serving church that had faith and love.  It was a persevering church in charity and service but did not persevere in discernment. 

“I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” (Verses 19-20)

It was corrupted by being too tolerant of false teachings and immorality.  Their love and faith were undisciplined and lacked wisdom.  It was assaulted within its own walls, in a severe way.  It allowed a woman, who prophesied and preached, to enter in and cleverly bring sexual immorality and false doctrine/religion.  A little leaven leavened the whole lump. An increasingly common type of church today – one that tolerates at least one sin because of a trusted and influential insider.  Sins like idolatry, homosexuality, sexual immorality, unity with false religions, false prophets/prophetesses, women preachers, etc.  We hear of pastors being tolerant of different gospels, a different “jesus”, and different religions, basically allowing idolatry in the grossest forms to take root within their walls.  Praying to anyone but the Lord, venerating the dead, false prophesies, summoning spirits…not uncommon to find within congregations that profess Christ.  

What did Christ tell the Church in Thyatira?  It’s ok as long as you know my Gospel and serve? Not exactly.  In verses 21-23 we read, “I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”  “Her children” were those who followed after the unrepentant immoral woman they allowed in their church.  This is a serious and unwavering warning.  This was a corrupted church that needed to repent very quickly. 

Another, the church at Sardis, the dead church.  Christ said in 3:1, “He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

Dead.  Blind, worldly, never persecuted, and deeply fraudulent.  Mere men looked at this church and its history perhaps and believed they were of Christ- “that you have a name that you are alive”.  It was not alive- only boasted that it was- only appeared to be to some.  Whatever deeds they had done were insufficient, empty and not from a true heart for the Lord.  Their lack of repentance and faith was going to soon usher in Christ’s destruction of their church.  “So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you (Verses 2-3).  

Finally, the church of Laodicea, the lukewarm church.  It was a church of apostates that believed they served Jesus.  This church happened to make Him sick, “‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (Verses 15-16).  They would have been better off rejecting the Lord altogether or truly being saved and zealous in serving Him.  They were the dreadful in-between.  They were self-righteous hypocrites who thought they had God and were in no real spiritual need.  There was nothing in their church to commend.  The Lord told them, “You do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,” (Verse 17).  They were in desperate need to repent, all of them.  How many churches today look very holy, polished, and confident in themselves and their “jesus” today, all the while being self-deceived and receiving no real salvation?  Many sadly.  

It’s important to note that Christ didn’t always come with some sort of rebuke or condemnation to a church.  The churches Philadelphia and Smyrna received only encouragement and commendation.  They were faithful and persecuted; tested and true; loving and persevering.  They of course were not perfect, Christ didn’t say they had to be, but there is a certain level of faithfulness, discernment, love, and toil that Christ commands churches to exercise, as well as, individual believers.  Just because believers are saved, doesn’t mean they are given license to sit back, twiddle thumbs and let the rest go, “under grace”.  Nor does it give permission to only focus on being loving and Gospel-sharing.  It definitely doesn’t give us Christians any license to forget where we’ve come from and our beloved Lord and Savior for what He’s done for us.

It’s easy to overlook the seriousness of the Lord.  Especially in this lax modern church age.  We need to remember that He is not just strongly warning the unbelievers.

It seems we easily dismiss that the Lord will kill believers who refuse to obey and repent – Acts 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 11:27-31 and James 5:19-20.  It’s never good if we refuse to take the ways of the Lord serious enough.  He has already made it clear.  There are no excuses we can cling to.  We are not to sin so that grace may increase (Romans 6:1).

“but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?” 1 Peter 4:16-18.  The Lord is always ready and willing to chasten and purify His Church.

Why do so many, when confronted with a pattern of sin in their church or any unbiblical teachings/practices in the ministry, quickly proclaim “there is no perfect church” as if they are saying stop being picky?  Perhaps pastors and church leaders say this to make less of their negligent and disorderly shepherding.  Perhaps people in the congregation say this believing they are not allowed to question.  Perhaps they are just not good with any confrontation, even healthy and righteous confrontation.  If a leader or pastor in a church readily throws up their fists and snaps back with “no church is perfect” after kindly being confronted with sinful patterns in the church, beware of them.  Question them.  Be diligent not only in your own walk but to look closely at where your church is really at in their obedience, discernment, love, and toil.  It matters greatly to the Lord.  

Christ does not expect a perfect church but He expects a pure one, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2-3

And don’t forget, the world is watching.  Do we practice what we preach?  Do we live out obediently what we proclaim to believe in the Bible?  Are we ok with being half-hearted, lukewarm, ignorant, loveless, weak, deed-doing immature little hearers only?  I’ve heard unbelievers question some wayward churches saying, “I thought your Bible said this is a sin, so why is your church ok with it?”  How awful to hear the world rightly question the integrity of churches and their faithfulness to the Lord they claim to serve.

Fellow believer, I hope we all remember that we are to personally be gracious to one another and be diligent about holding to the truth in our own walk as well as not being afraid to kindly hold others accountable to the truth, even leaders of the church.  We are to remember where we’ve come from and have joy and love for our Savior.  We are called to be watchful, diligent, and unwavering regarding keeping out wolves and their teachings, whether inside or outside the church walls. We are to pray for our church leaders, for the repentance of sin within the church as we pray for our own repentance and humility.  Even though believers have the hope of salvation that can never be undone or taken from us, even though we are “partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” and we have a glorious eternity ahead of us, we do not want to grieve the Lord today in our sin and attitude towards sin, whether it’s ours or someone else’s.  

Let us be like the Bereans, learning the Word and testing even faithful pastors and preachers to see if they are sound in what they say and encourage.  Before stubbornly defending what may only be a sandy foundation that our family, feelings and traditions have laid down, make sure it’s the Rock we are to stand firmly on.  

I’ll end with the encouragement the Lord ended His letter to the church of Philadelphia with; an encouragement to all believers: 

“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.  He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:10-13

Above is an article written by Gina Cook, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford

Through the Narrow: Gods Law is the Same Outside the Building Too – By Tami Dykes

I had heard the argument that women should NOT have authority over men and preach inside a church because of 1 Timothy 2:11-14 however, if it’s outside a church setting, it’s ok. 

The belief is that women are not to speaking or have authority over men because of this verse, 1 Timothy 2:11-14~ “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” 

Then following that up with 1 Tim 3:14-15~ “I tell you this so you know how to conduct yourself in the house of God.”  

Then saying it’s referring to how we are to be inside a church….not outside the church. So, inside a church, women and men are told how to conduct themselves but outside a church it’s different. To my understanding, this verse is supposed to prove as long as it’s NOT in a church setting women should be okay to preach to men because Priscilla did with her husband outside the church. 

So the question is, why women couldn’t do the same as Priscilla today with others as long as it’s outside the church like at conferences or other buildings. Women that preach to crowds that are not associated with a church is no different than Priscilla preaching in their tiny group of three. Can’t it be any number of people? Why is a small group okay in the Bible but more than that it’s not? 

I made the statement that it was in their home privately not publicly and just because Priscilla was helping explain things to Apollos isn’t a reason for women to preach outside a church. To use this weak argument regarding Pricilla can’t possibly be an example of preaching to groups with men because she didn’t preach to groups of men. She privately counseled one-man alongside another man. She was helping to explain Christ with her husband, under her husband’s authority, that’s all. There was no position of authority in that situation for Priscilla. She has no leadership over Apollos. God made it clear that a lady is not to preach the Word and act as a leader of the body of Christ

—————————————

To prove further that this is not just my understanding of these verses I’ll point out some web sites and individuals that I believe are sound and biblical and teach the same things.

Michelle Lesley: In this link, she says: “When people try to use her (Priscilla) as an argument for female preachers, teachers, and authority, they usually go to Acts 18:26 which says that she and her husband took Apollos aside and fully explained the gospel to him. This was a private meeting among the three of them, likely in their home over a meal or other casual circumstances, not preaching or teaching in the church. Additionally, the Bible makes absolutely no mention of how much, if any, of the actual “explaining” Priscilla did. It’s quite possible she just sat by as Aquila did the majority of the explaining and contributed only here and there or when Aquila forgot something.” 

(We cannot assume women can preach to an assembly of men just because Priscilla helped alongside her husband with one individual man understand the Gospel better. If so, that would mean Priscilla could’ve then got up onto a platform somewhere and started preaching God’s Word to a group of men and women. Her preaching to a mixed audience as the authority of God’s Word is not the same as her going alongside her husband and helping another man understand God’s Word.) 

Also from Michelle Lesley: “Would the Holy Spirit have led Paul in Romans 16 to praise women who were rebelling against His word in 1 Timothy 2? Have you ever known God, anywhere in Scripture, to praise people who unrepentantly break His word?” 

“Would it make any sense, logically, for Paul to praise in Romans 16 women who were habitually and rebelliously disobeying his instructions in 1 Timothy 2?”

 “The “church” is the gathered body of believers for “worship” and “biblical instruction”. 

 “So whenever believers are gathered for those purposes – whether we call it Sunday School or worship service or a Christian conference, and whether it’s in a sanctuary, Sunday School classroom, or conference center – that’s the church, and the Scriptural mandate for women not to teach or hold authority over men applies.”

(This tells me that it’s not the building that’s the focus here. Michelle points out that It’s what’s taking place with the person preaching. The Bible isn’t saying that only in the church building we can’t allow women to preach or have authority over a man, but outside the church building as well. It’s the preaching of a sermon to the congregation anywhere, it’s being the leader over the body of believers, and it’s the leading of worship and giving biblical teachings to a mixed group. That is what is forbidden for women to do whether in a church building or a religious conference in a hotel. If they are Christian in the family of God then they are to behave as such 24/7 no matter where they are. 

When we are in a mixed Bible study group women can speak up to give a thought, ask a question, or read a scriptures verse that’s ok because they are not leading the study. They are not the authority but instead, a man leads the study. The Bible doesn’t say women can’t share inside a Bible study but we are not to publicly hold spiritual authority over a man in the church as a leader. We can share the gospel to the lost and are called to share the gospel but that’s ministering to them that are lost, not holding authority over them as their leader. Everyone is called to share the gospel.)

——————————————————-

Got Questions: “In this case, Paul seems to be saying that the ekklesia—the body of believers, “the church”—is the structure that holds up and holds forth the gospel to the world. For that reason, the conduct of the body and its selection of leaders is critically important.”

“So, in 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul is NOT referring to “the church” as the source of truth or the creator of truth. He’s saying “the church” is what holds up and holds firm the truth in the world.”

“The church,” that is, the entire population of Christian believers, bears the earthly responsibility of holding up the truth of the gospel. The ultimate basis of that truth is Christ, not the proclamations or infallibility of members of that body. Paul is calling on believers to care for the structure that “supports” or “props up” our message to the world. First Timothy 3:15 cannot be taken to mean that the church itself is the source or standard for truth.” 

https://www.gotquestions.org/church-pillar-foundation-truth.html

(So, I learn here that we as Christians in the family of God are to keep truth no matter where we are and what we are doing. We hold to the truth, “prop up” the truth to the world.

Our Christian conduct is to be consistent with who we are and whose name we bare no matter if we are in church service in our church or a conference an hour away or if we are at a family reunion or grocery shopping we are to demonstrate the pillars and foundation of truth. We are the family of God at all times not just “in” church.)

—————————————————

Click on the link below for the meaning of the verse.

https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/1-timothy-3-15

*”‘The household of God‘ refers to all who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ”

*”The household of God are the believers who make up the Body of Christ”

*”The household of God is the men and women who are positioned in Christ”

———————————————————–

John MacArthur: He is talking on 1 Timothy 3:15~ “if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

“The word “house,” look at that in verse 15, is Oikos. It could be translated “house,” because it can refer to the building itself. But here it is best to understand it as “household.” It is not speaking of a building; it is speaking of a family. We take it that way because it’s used three other times in the chapter; and in each case, it’s used that way.” 

“In verse 4, “one that rules well his own house” doesn’t mean he rules the mud and the brick and whatever it was that made the house, it doesn’t mean that. It means he rules the people in the house in the substance of the family. Verse 5, the same word is used again, “rule his own house,” and it refers to his household, his people, his possessions. In verse 12, it is used again of the deacon who rules their children – who rule their children and their own houses. And again, it’s the idea of the house as a household, as a family, as a group of people. Second Timothy 1:16, Titus 1:11 uses the same word in the same way.”

“So, we can assume then, basically, pretty safely, that Paul uses Oikos, not in the metaphor of a building here, but the metaphor of a family. And what he is saying is, “You need to know how to behave yourself as a member of the household of God. You belong to the divine family, and that places upon you a tremendous responsibility for conduct when you look at yourself as belonging to God.” These things are for Timothy, but not just for Timothy. That’s why chapter 4:11 says, “These things, Timothy, you are to command and to teach.”

“So the whole epistle then is instruction on how to behave as the family of God: proper Christian behavior in the family. And order starts with the leadership, that’s why he specifically identifies Timothy. Verses 14 to 16 are written like a personal note to Timothy, just like verses 18 to 20 in chapter 1 were. He ended the first section, chapter 1 discussion of the false teaching, with a personal word to Timothy. He ends the second section, chapters 2 and 3, with another personal word to Timothy, calling Timothy to accountability to follow through on what he has just instructed. And first of all, he says, “You have to know how to conduct yourself so that everyone else can know how to conduct themselves in the matter of living in the family of God.”

“Now that puts Christian conduct and Christian behavior at a high level, doesn’t it? We are called to this kind of behavior to be consistent with who we are. You remember Ephesians 5:1 says, “Walk in love as dear children of God.” We are dear children of God, and so we are to walk as Christ who is God walked, and He walked in love. We are to behave in a way consistent with our family identification.”

“The second thing he says, and this is so interesting, verse 15, we are told how it is necessary to behave oneself in the household of God, and then it says, “which is” – and I want to give you the proper Greek translation – “the living God’s church,” – and I translate it that way for a better emphasis consistent with the text – “the living God’s church.” There is not a definite article with the church, so “the church of the living God” adds a word. But it is the living God’s church. And any time the article is not there, we look for stress on the character or nature of something. And so, it is a church which by nature is the living God’s church. We are then, note this, not only the household of God, but we are the living God’s church. We are His family. We are His assembly. Ekklēsia means His group of called-out ones.”

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/54-27/the-heart-of-the-churchs-mission-and-message-part-1

(We are His assembly! This teaches us that women are not to have “spiritual authority” over men in church publicly or anywhere in the gathering body of believers. Not just in your church are women not to have spiritual authority over a man but also in other settings of religious worship and teachings as well. 

A public religious conference with a mixed audience holds the same rules because we are “in the family of the living God” all the days of our lives everywhere we go. 

If a woman is advertising to the public that she is holding a Bible study or religious assembly in a park or large hotel. The people that attend go to study her book or learn the Word of God from her then she has placed herself as an authority to the gathering body of believers)

——————————————————–

Also, from MacArthur: 

“And somebody else says, “Well, what about missions? What about missions? We need missionaries, what would we do without women missionaries?” God bless women missionaries, but I don’t think women being on the mission field necessarily have the right to violate the Word of God. Paul was a missionary. He had a lot of missionaries traveling with him. And if ever there was a great need for the expanding church to have leadership, it was then, and the pragmatic argument, if it ever was valid would have been valid there, and Paul would have thought, “Well, we don’t have many men but a great host of women keep coming to faith, so maybe we’ll just kind of stick those women in there till we get some men. Wouldn’t be bad to have a few women teachers and preachers and elders.” But no, I mean, look at it this way, God wrote on a wall a message to Belshazzar, but it isn’t His pattern to use walls. God doesn’t do that.  God doesn’t violate His principles for expediency’s sake. People say, “What about the shortage of men?” Well if there’s a shortage of men, Jesus gave us the answer, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth,” what? “Laborers into His harvest.” 

“Elisabeth Elliot, who most of us know as a marvelous instrument of God in the expansion of the Kingdom, the wonderful wife of the martyred Jim Elliot. After the massacre of her husband and the several other missionaries in Ecuador, she was the only biblically trained person left who could speak the Auca language, the only one left. But so convinced was Elizabeth Elliot in her heart that she could not violate the Word of God that she took one of the Auca men and weekly taught that man a sermon so that he could preach it in the church on the Lord ’s Day. Much like Aquila and Priscilla, she would not step up to the preaching but she did not mind instructing the preacher.”

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/54-17/gods-high-calling-for-women-part-4

—————————————————-

Josh Buice:

“The word ‘teach’, “διδάσκω,” according to Thomas Schreiner, has in mind the public teaching and involves the authoritative transmission of tradition about Christ and the Scriptures (1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 3:16; James 3:1). “

“While women are permitted to discuss biblical theology in a mixed group setting such as a Sunday school class, women teaching children or other women (Titus 2), or in a private setting such as with Apollos’ instruction that was gleaned from meeting with Priscilla and Aquila—biblical teaching, when among the church as a whole or a mixed audience should be led by men. It seems clear that Paul was addressing an issue that was taking place in the life of the church and needed to be corrected.”

“When it comes to teaching men in our present day, we have the conference culture that often stretches these complementarian boundaries. This is a dangerous practice since conferences are designed to strengthen the church and to in many ways model what the local church should be promoting in their local assemblies—ie., expository preaching, sound biblical theology, and other important, if not essential, practices. Therefore, to have women stand and open the Bible and teach a group of men in a conference setting is not beneficial to the Church represented in the conference from many different local churches. Such stretching of the boundaries is a common practice in our day and we should be cautious when we see women teachers invited to speak to a mixed audience.”

“The last thing that we should do in the local church is to discourage women who have the gift of teaching to suppress their gifts. They should labor to teach, explain, and expound the meaning of the Bible on an ongoing basis in the life of the church and the context of religious conference settings—but there are still boundaries to observe in the process. The Church of Jesus Christ needs faithful women who bloom with the glory of God’s design for women and teach, instruct, and make disciples. Paul never suggested that women should not teach, but that they should merely refrain from teaching men and having authority over them.” 

(This discusses the practice of women teaching scriptures in conferences. Known today as the conference culture women think it’s completely fine to preach the message to a mixed audience because they are officially not in a church building. Again it’s not the building that’s the church, it’s the people.

But as was pointed out in the write-up and worth repeating is that in Christian conferences it should be understood that the conferences are done to strengthen the church and should display what that local church encourages in the gathering of believers. No matter where we are, we need to behave as believers and stand on the truth in and outside the church. We don’t stop being Christian the minute we leave the church building.

My children don’t stop being my children when they leave our house. They are always my children no matter where they are. We are family always and they should behave in ways that represent who they are in our family. Believers are the family of God at all times. )

————————————— 

Bible study tools:

 “Church” is the translation of the Greek term ekklesia, and is used in the New Testament to identify the community of believers in Jesus Christ. It means “assembly,” “congregation,” or “meeting.” A similar term was used in the Old Testament referring to experiences such as “the day of the assembly,” “the Lord’s congregation,” or “meeting before the Lord.”

“Thus, when Jesus declares: “I will build my church” (Mt 16:18), it did not come as something unfamiliar to the common listener. Shortly after, in the New Testament, the word is confined strictly to refer to the congregation of believers in Jesus Christ.”

“It is worth mentioning that in the New Testament, no synagogue, temple, chapel, tabernacle, building, or any other meeting place was ever called a “church.” The term always referred to the Christian assembly and, in the New Testament, it was used for both the local community of believers and the overall collection of Christians.”

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-is-the-church-according-to-the-bible.html

(So, from the link above if we use the words they give as a church in a sentence we will understand what God is meaning. “Church” literally means “assembly,” “congregation,” or “meeting.”

Women are not to preach or teach in the “church”…women are not to preach or teach in “assemblies”…women are not to preach or teach in “congregations”…women are not to preach or teach in “meetings”. It wasn’t talking about a building or a location but the group of people that was being preached to. Women cannot preach as the authority of a conference or of an assembly of people or a meeting of believing people. Women shouldn’t even be included as a lineup of a group of preachers advertised for a Christian seminar to give a message from the Word of God. They will still be standing in authority over men but in this case, it’s just standing in authority with other men. They are still violating God’s Word.)

————————————— 

Susan Heck says: “It has nothing to do with culture but with the order of creation.”, “There is nothing wrong with a man learning from a woman but not in the local assembly.”

1 Timothy 2:8-15~ Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submissionI do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety.

1 Corinthians 11:3~ But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 11:7-9~ For a man ought not to cover his head since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

2 Corinthians 11:3~ But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

(These verses make it very, very clear in why women are not to preach in public assemblies to a mixed audience. Susan Heck points out so many verses in her woman’s study that helps us women understand why a woman is not the head, she is not the authority, and she is not the master of men when it comes to preaching inside or outside the church.)

—————————————

gracechurch.org:

“From the very beginning, women fulfilled a vital role in the Christian church (Acts 1:12–14; 9:36–42; 16:13–15; 17:1–4, 10–12; 18:1–2, 18, 24–28; Rom. 16; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 1:5; 4:19), but not one of leadership. The apostles were all men; the chief missionary activity was done by men; the writing of the New Testament was the work of men, and leadership in the churches was entrusted to men.”

“Although the Apostle Paul respected women and worked side by side with them for the furtherance of the gospel (Rom. 16; Phil. 4:3), he appointed no female elders or pastors. In his letters, he urged that men were to be the leaders in the church and that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12). Therefore, although women are spiritual equals with men and the ministry of women is essential to the body of Christ, women are excluded from leadership over men in the church.”

https://www.gracechurch.org/about/distinctives/role-of-women

(It’s not hard to understand that in the Bible men are to be the leaders in the church, but also the leaders of their household at all times no matter where they were and that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12). )

May this give women great peace about their role and allow them to learn what God has designed us to do. It’s a great responsibility to be the leader of the body of believers and we as women can be thankful, we are not carrying that huge responsibility.

Through the Narrow: Born this Way? – By Tami Dykes

Born this Way?


   If someone says they were born with a greater susceptibility to abuse others because they have rage and feelings of anger, does this make it OK for them to give in to those desires? Should they be able to beat their spouse or child because they believe they were born with those strong feelings of anger and the desire to lash out and physically hurt others? I mean, if they can’t help it then they shouldn’t be held accountable, right? How about adulterers? What spouse thinks this is a reasonable excuse for their husband or wife to cheat on them? They were just born that way, they can’t help it! How about being an alcoholic? Can a person be born an alcoholic? Should we all be OK if our loved ones become a raging alcoholic and making bad choices because they were born with a greater susceptibility to alcoholism, or addiction? Let’s go further, what about rapists or pedophiles? Who in their right mind would be OK if they got raped or if a pedophile hurt their child? Would people just say, “Well, it’s not their fault, it’s who they are, they were born that way, they can’t help it”? 

If a person has any of these traits I mentioned, is that who they are at birth? Do people actually become homosexual or alcoholics or rapists or pedophiles or murderers or psychopaths in the womb? If so, are they saying God created us this way on purpose? Did He design us to sin since it was Him that created us? No! God did not create us that way on purpose and we are not born this way, it’s not biological! We cannot have those tendencies in the womb. This is a result of the fall of man, period! Yes, we are born into sin, we have a sinful nature but that doesn’t mean there is DNA that makes us become any of that. We live in a fallen world, the evil one’s world. Satan is called the “prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2. It is written in John 12:31 that he is the “ruler of this world”. God’s infinite wisdom has allowed Satan to work in this world under certain boundaries God has given him. We have influences in our lives that are of the flesh and the world. We are all born into this world with families that are “already living in sin”.

Our parents, family, friends, teachers even education systems and media all take part in polluting us by influencing our way of thinking and teaching us many ungodly beliefs. Schools have been trying to get students to think that the homosexual lifestyle is normal but nowadays they go so far as to keep it from the parents allowing them to indoctrinate the children with whatever they want. Below I have three links that I try to share when talking about schools that support LGBTQ beliefs. The first link is in 2018, “Pennsylvania school district, after roughly 2,800 students were forced to watch LGBT videos during LGBT “Unity Week” in April, parents and conservative activists asked the district to provide links to the videos, so they could see what their children had watched.” Second and third are in 2018, “A proposal that would let students in Delaware as young as 5 choose their own race and gender-identity – without approval from their parents”. “Drafted by Delaware Gov. John Carney, the anti-discrimination policy states that children from K-12 can choose their own name, identify with whatever race or gender they feel most comfortable with, and even access hormone blockers necessary to transition without the consent of their parents.” These children are being hurt by this. Think about what they are doing, hormone blockers? To a young child? And not tell their parents?

Links to the subjects below:

https://www.dailywire.com/news/32639/school-district-refuses-permit-parents-see-lgbt-hank-berrien

https://dailycaller.com/2018/02/04/policy-let-kids-choose-gender-race-without-parents-knowledge/

https://www.foxnews.com/us/delaware-may-let-students-choose-their-race-gender-without-parental-consent

Most of the world has welcomed the homosexual lifestyle with open arms and the media has welcomed them into the spotlight. The world has been forced to make room in the entertainment industry for them through the News, TV shows, movies, and commercials so much that it has become accepted and even normal in some cases. The boldest step was where they would have story time at local libraries with men that dressed in drag, and also had men in drag dancing for children. It’s a sad thing to be reading on Facebook as the news presents it as something brave and great to inspire kids. We certainly can’t get away from it when watching TV. You can be watching a show for 30 minutes and then all of a sudden the next scene is a “make your eyes bleed” scene with a homosexual couple that makes you want to cry. 

It frustrated me so much, trying in vain, to find a show that doesn’t support homosexuality. It seemed it was on every channel even commercials. We usually watch black and white shows that are relatively safe from that stuff but to try and find something in today’s entertainment is not easy. I like watching doctor shows and found one that seemed safe but I soon found out there was an openly gay couple on there that everyone in the show was happy for. Another TV show that has openly gay homosexuals that flaunt their behavior all over the place that is not shocking for me to see was Saturday Night Live. They are just everywhere and completely excepted and loved. No one thinks anything of this kind of lifestyle anymore, they have all become desensitized to the sin. Today, it’s considered hateful to not support homosexuality even in churches but I’m here to say, GOD, DOES NOT SUPPORT IT!!! And that is a frightening truth for them whether they believe in God or not.

Many that struggle with homosexuality want to convince people that it’s loving and Christian to accept this because “they were born that way” and can’t help it. Common sense says at birth, a baby doesn’t know anything about abuse, rape, adultery, addictions, homosexuality or being a criminal and we are not born with those specific desires either. “Satan is the major influence on the ideas, opinions, goals, hopes, and views of the majority of people. His influence also encompasses the world’s philosophies, education, and media. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions”. (Taken from Got Questions) Sadly, I just recently read in two different articles that NOW pedophiles are jumping on the bandwagon with the homosexuals to defend their right to live how they want and actually using the excuses of “they were born this way, they can’t help it, and they deserve love too” concept. They hope to be accepted by society and allowed to live out their desires with no judgment. How they would love it if they could convince the world of this as the homosexuals have. The world should never be OK with any of those lifestyles. The link below on a video showing how real and sick this belief is:

https://www.kwch.com/content/misc/Candidate-for-Congress-wants-to-legalize-incest-484391761.html

I don’t think people even know everything God says on this so bear with me and just take a moment to read the following verses.

Galatians 5:19-21~ “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God”. 

Leviticus 20:13~ “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them”. 

Leviticus 18:22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable”.

(Can you read this one any other way than it talking about a homosexual relationship?)  

Romans 1:26-27~ “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error”.

(This one points out both females and males having homosexual relationships.)

1 Corinthians 6:9~ “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality…” 

(Sodom and Gomorrah was a town of homosexuals and God destroyed it completely.) 

Genesis 19:4, 5 says “the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” 

(The Hebrew word translated “know” (yada) in Genesis 19:5 (KJV) means “intimate relations.”)  

Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV) ~ “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abominations unto the Lord thy God.”  

(We also see the word effeminate in scriptures. I looked it up to see the meaning and found that an “effeminate” man is one who has rejected his masculinity and identifies as a female.)  

R.C. Sproul Quote

God gives us the freedom to choose how we behave and the things we do. Ask yourself, “Are we choosing out of our sinful nature or out of the blessings of grace?” What we do know is there are consequences to our choices, blessings or curses. All of us can give in to our sins and temptations. Anyone of us can commit the worst act of sin. This is why God tells us to deny ourselves and follow Him. If, as a Christian, I choose to believe that homosexuality is not wrong because they were born that way and they can’t help it then do I really, truly believe in God or His Scriptures? If that’s the case I need to ask myself, “Am I truly a Christian?” At that point, I have become Lukewarm. If we claim to be Christian then we should believe in Jesus and His Word. If I say I love Jesus, then I should love and believe in what scripture says from cover to cover. If instead, I say, homosexuality is a sin and God says it is unnatural and shameful and detestable and that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God and they shall surely be put to death I am simply agreeing with God. I didn’t write the Scriptures, God did, and I am merely agreeing and believe in what God says. I also believe we should boldly warn those that think that lifestyle is OK with God.

 If you live that way you are in sin and separated from God and He says sin cannot go unpunished and without believing in Jesus and His Salvation there is no hope for you. God is a God of love but also wrath and He says what He means.   Homosexuals can say whatever they want but it doesn’t make it true. They can say that they were born that way but if that is true then they are saying God created a person to sin and that is against God’s character. Again, God says homosexuality is a sin and it keeps them from the Kingdom of Heaven, so why would He purposely create a person that way if it is a sin and keeps them from Heaven? He wouldn’t! James 1:13 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.”

2 Peter 3:9 ~ “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perishbut everyone to come to repentance.” God is patient and has a sincere desire to hold back His wrath for those who will hear His voice, repent of their evil ways and be saved. God does not create a person with homosexual desires. The Bible tells us that people become homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27) and ultimately because of their own choice. Again, we are born into sin because of the fall but we are NOT created to sin. Remember the people in our lives and our influences in life play a part in what we believe.  Ezekiel 33:11~ “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?”

Sadly, there are many churches today that make identifying as homosexual or same-sex attracted acceptable as long as you don’t act on it. If a person says they are a homosexual Christian but they just don’t practice that lifestyle, is this ok? I recently had seen a video of a religious leader talking about his homosexuality. He described it as having a sexual, romantic and deep emotional attraction to people of the same sex. He says he chooses to describe himself this way because sexuality is not a matter of identity. Well, I disagree and this is why I believe it is a matter of identity when you purposely and publicly want to be identified as that and when you give yourself the title of “homosexual Christian” or “same-sex attracted Christian”.

Just because a homosexual doesn’t act on their sin doesn’t mean it’s been dealt with, repented of and gone. If they are choosing and telling people this is who they are and how they want others to see them because they are proud of it then this is not dealing with that sin. It’s still very much a proud title of their sin inside them. They are still struggling with that sin in their hearts. Not acting on that sin is NOT ENOUGH! That sin needs and should be destroyed to the point it’s completely repulsive to them, it should sicken them every day. If it doesn’t then they are still enjoying that sin. They still desire it! That makes them in great danger of acting on it and sinning purposely. For example, have you ever been told by someone at work or church, “Hi, I’m a Christian and addicted to drugs” or “Hi, I’m a Christian and an adulterer”…no, people do not identify themselves as their sinful desires. Should we then be ok if someone tells us, “Hello, I’m a homosexual but don’t worry, I don’t act on my desires, I’m a Christian”? No, that would still concern me and rightly so and what if someone also said, “Oh, I’m attracted to children but don’t worry, I don’t act on my desires, I’m a Christian”. That wouldn’t be enough for me to trust them around my kids or to believe they are truly changed. Scriptures say we are to hate our lives not look at ourselves as some hero that fights a battle every day.

Would anyone want to be identified and a thief or murderer? No, it’s just not enough to not act on it, it should be destroyed in their heart, and it should sicken them to the core because it’s evil! Colossians 3:5~ Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. We are to strive daily to identify as Christ-like, not as sin like. If God has truly freed you and you are now a new creation in Christ why in the world would you insist on telling everyone you’re a Christian that’s a homosexual that doesn’t act on their desires? I’m not saying, a saved new creation can’t be tempted. Christians are tempted many times with different sins but it shames them, it sickens them and they are quick to turn to God, repent and focus on Scriptures but you don’t keep wearing your sinful desires as a name tag. You wouldn’t want to identify or support that life choice because it’s sin.

No one would act like they’re proud to be a rapist or a raging alcoholic and chose to be called that. If people in the church are announcing they are homosexual but they are saved because they don’t act on their desires tell me they are still in that sin because they want to be identified as same-sex attracted and they are proud of their identity as gay. They wear it as a badge of honor. Pride is never a good idea! According to Psalm 10:4~ In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Proverbs 16:18-19 tells us that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.”

Galatians 2:20~ I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

(We should see that it is no longer us that lives but Christ if we are truly saved. We should never identify with sin but only with Christ)

Ephesians 4:22-24~To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

(Any person, much less a preacher, should understand that choosing to call yourself gay or choosing to identify as same-sex attraction is NOT putting off your old self but instead hanging on to it. He is hanging on to those desires which are deceitful. If a person is choosing to be identified as a person that is attracted to the same sex then how is that a renewed mind? How is that way of thinking truly showing a desire to be righteous and holy in the likeness of God?)

Romans 6:6 ~We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

(If a person desires to be identified as gay or choose to be called same-sex attracted then they are still enslaved to that sin. I say that because that verse says, “that the body of sin might be brought to nothing”….for this man his body and desires of his body is STILL something. He is still involved with his old self and it’s still very much something to him instead of nothing.)

Ephesians 5:8 ~For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Ephesians 5:11~Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

When people want to identify as same-sex attracted they are hanging on to that darkness that they associated with their entire life. For true Christians, we want to find our identity in Christ…not in our flesh. To identify as our sin, that contradicts being identified in Christ. We need to die to our flesh. God wants us to warn on these things and share the truth. We are commanded to love and forgive one another but we are not to tolerate and condone sin. Remember there is freedom from sin and that’s through Jesus Christ. May you hunger for God’s truth and freedom from your sin.


Above is an article written by Tami Dykes, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday, accept for this week as I was unable to post yesterday. Both are published authors, and you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford