Christian

Rescued From “Word of Faith”

When I was young and “on fire” for God, I was enticed by churches that were alive with enthusiasm and praised God with energy and emotion. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but unfortunately, my enthusiasm led me to the Word of Faith movement.

I learned a lot about the Bible during those years. Sadly, much of what I learned was false, very false. I just didn’t know it. God rescued me from this false teaching about 25 years ago. I am so thankful for His mercy and faithfulness.

Today, I want to talk about a subject that is crucial for us to understand correctly. That is the subject of faith. Because I was taught the wrong definition of faith, it was very difficult to “unlearn” in later years when I realized I had been deceived.

So let’s start with the Biblical definition of faith.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

The rest of Hebrews 11 goes on to explain this in more detail by giving examples of people who were commended for their faith (Noah, Abraham, Sarah, etc.) Verse 13 says,

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”

They trusted God. When we study Hebrews chapter 11, it becomes clear that faith is trusting God to do what He has promised. Period. This is where the Word of Faith doctrine of faith differs from the Biblical definition.

They say that Hebrews 11:1, (“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”) is referring to a force that we can use to gain prosperity and health. This verse is taken out of context and is clearly in conflict with the rest of the chapter.

The supporters of this movement believe that faith works like a mighty power or force. Through faith, we can obtain anything we want — health, wealth, success, whatever. However, this force is only released through the spoken word. As we speak the words of faith, power is discharged to accomplish our desires.”

BereanResearch.org

This is contrary to God’s Word and is rooted in New Age teaching. Hebrews 11:1 is taken out of context and used by Word of Faith preachers to propagate a New Age belief.

The word faith appears 458 times in the New International Version (NIV). So when I realized I had to unlearn my wrong definition of faith and reread the Bible with the correct definition, I faced a monumental task!

My first response upon realizing the deception I had embraced was to reread the New Testament three times. Every time I saw the word faith, I substituted the words trust in God. I based this on the meaning of the Greek word for faith used throughout Hebrews 11.

That word is pistis. It means “firm persuasion … used in the New Testament of faith in God or Christ”. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary)

The relearning process was long and arduous because in all the 458 times I read the word faith in my Bible, the verse now took on a completely different meaning.

This is why discernment is so important. New believers can be easily swept away if sound doctrine is not preached. Why am I writing this? What is the call to action?

#1 Study your Bible so you won’t be deceived by false teachers. The Bible warns us many times about the danger of false teachers.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

#2 Examine the Scriptures to see if what is taught is true. Check everything. There are many times when I have heard a popular “Bible teacher” teach something and I thought, Where does the Bible say that? Many Christians are too trusting, especially when the teacher is popular, well-known, and entertaining.

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” Romans 16:17-18

The Greek word translated as naive is akakos. It means unsuspecting. We don’t like to think of ourselves as naive, but are we unsuspecting? Everyone who claims to be a Christian isn’t automatically teaching Truth! The fact that they draw huge crowds means nothing. The fact that they have written popular books means nothing.

The important thing is, are they teaching Truth? There is only one way to know. Jesus prayed,

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17 (emphasis mine)

In His Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

All Scripture references are from the NIV unless otherwise noted.

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Quote of the Week, 3/8/23

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

Mark Twain

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Gary Fultz on Unsplash

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Christian, God

Like a Roaring Lion

“Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 AMP

We know the enemy is actively working to deceive unbelievers, but he is also working to deceive the Church. It was true in the first century and it is true today. The Bible repeatedly warns us about Satan’s evil strategy to deceive “even the elect”.

“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.” Matthew 24:24-25 NIV

The Bible strongly and clearly warns us that Satan will try to deceive us. We must be on our guard. We must be careful not to believe everything we hear, but instead to be like the Bereans who “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

Imagine that! The Apostle Paul was personally teaching them about Jesus, but still, they checked the Scriptures every day to see if what he said was true! We should be so wise!

 “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people … but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16:17-20 NIV (emphasis mine)

The Amplified Bible says, “They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting…” We like to think we aren’t naive but are we unsuspecting?

The Greek word translated as naive in the NIV is akakos. It means unsuspecting or innocent. Many Christians are led astray by false teaching. Sometimes it’s because they don’t know the Scripture. And sometimes it’s because they are innocent and unsuspecting. In fact, they are often enthusiastic and eager to learn! Remember, leading this assault on truth is Satan.

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 NIV

The Apostle Paul is warning Christians that Satan will try to deceive them just as he deceived Eve.

I am astounded at the level of false teaching flooding the Church today. It was bad in Paul’s day, but it is even worse now. YouTube and Book Publishing have given the wolves in sheep’s clothing the ability to quickly make money and gather a following. Even good, Bible-believing churches are giving a nod to books and Bible studies that are not sound. Satan is behind all of this. He is a liar and there is no truth in him.

We must heed the Bible’s many warnings and carefully examine what is being taught, comparing it to Scripture.

Satan’s strongest defense against spiritual discernment, his ace in the hole, is to make the Christian think he can’t be deceived.

In His Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

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Quote of the Week, 2/15/23

“Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. The Bible was not written to make us comfortable … the Bible will not tolerate sin and the deceptions of the devil just to make us feel better about ourselves… Leading this charge of deception away from the truth is Satan.”

Amir Tsarfati, The Day Approaching

From Amir Tsarfati’s excellent book, The Day Approaching, An Israeli’s Message of Warning and Hope for the Last Days. You can order it here.

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Chris Gallimore on Unsplash, Sea of Galilee

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Do We Want a Golden Calf?

Today, Christians sometimes mix New Age practices with their faith in Christ. This is exactly what the Israelites did after their miraculous deliverance from slavery in Egypt.

We can learn a lot from the Scriptures about Moses, Aaron, and the Golden Calf. Aaron’s bull was a mixture of the true God and the pagan methods of worship that were borrowed from the people around them.

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” Exodus 32:1 NIV

The people don’t like waiting, so they demand an idol who will fit their selfish desires. Aaron is pressured into giving the people the kind of god they want.

“Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” Exodus 32:2-4 NIV

“When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward, they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” Exodus 32:5-6 NIV

Aaron calls this idol “the Lord”. Why? Because he isn’t giving them a new god. He is making God fit the image of God they want. This corruption leads to revelry.

“The Hebrew word rendered indulge in revelry … can refer to words that have sexual implications. Here it implies sexual acts done in the worship of pagan gods. Immorality often accompanies idolatry, even today.” David Jeremiah

“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” Romans 1:22-24 NIV

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corruptThey have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’” Exodus 32:7-8 NIV

Do we mold God into who we want Him to be, rather than seeking out who He truly is through His Word?

When God’s people create an image of God to fit what they want Him to be, (but still call that image “God”, even “Jesus”), are they worshipping the true Jesus, or a counterfeit Jesus? Paul warned Christians concerning false apostles who would preach about a Jesus who is not the real Jesus of the Bible.

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4

“For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold” 2 Timothy 4:3 AMP

Not everything being taught in Christian circles today is “sound doctrine”. There is only one way to recognize false teaching when you hear it, and it is this: You must read and study the Bible for yourself. That means reading the Word of God every day. It means reading the Word of God more than you read books about the Word of God.

When you read a popular Christian author more than you read the Bible, you begin to interpret the Bible through their “lens”. If it is false, it can take years to “unlearn” what you have been taught. On the other hand, if you read and study the Bible for yourself, you will immediately recognize false teaching.

I know this to be true from experience. Having once been deceived myself by the Word of Faith teachers, it took many years for me to recover. Many of the Word of Faith teachings are rooted in New Age beliefs. I could refer you to numerous Bible teachers who can expound on this, but I would rather you recognize false teaching for yourself. That is the most powerful kind of discernment.

When listening to a Bible teacher, do you ever think, “Where is that in the Bible?” or even more importantly, “That’s not what the Bible says!”

Sometimes new Christians, in their excitement of knowing Christ as their Savior, read many books about the Bible. I believe the devil takes advantage of their hunger for God to lead them astray through false, yet entertaining, books that are so widely available today. This is what happened to me.

Lest you think, “I could never be deceived”, think about this:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:21-23 NIV

The only real protection against this is to read and study the Bible for yourself, love the Truth, and follow Jesus. Jesus said,

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 NIV (Emphasis mine)

With Love, Cindy

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian, God

Quote of the Week, 2/8/23

The less familiar we are with the Scriptures, the more vulnerable we become to deception, especially if it is packaged in half-truths.”

STEVE MILLER, Foreshadows, 12 Megaclues That Jesus’ Return Is Nearer Than Ever

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Matthew 24:11 NIV (emphasis mine) Read full chapter

I highly recommend Steve Miller’s excellent book. You can order it here.

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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What Are You Listening To?

Someone I love claims to be an atheist. In our discussions about God, it is obvious to me that he is well-read in pro-atheist apologetics. It is clear where he looks for truth, and it isn’t in the Bible.

I would venture to say that one could find support for just about anything one wants to believe. (I considered listing all the crazy things people believe today, but you probably already know what many of them are.)

What you read and listen to (whether it is true or not) does have a tremendous influence on what you believe. That’s because human beings tend to go along with the crowd. Even science backs this up.

In his article, The Science Behind Why People Follow the Crowd, Henderson says, “One lesson from social psychology is the influence others have on us. Research shows we do not have as much control over our thoughts and behavior as we think.”

Research shows that people are greatly influenced by what those around them think and who they listen to.

But there is only one way to find truth and that is in God’s Word, the Bible. We don’t have to wonder if the beliefs put forth in our culture are true or not. God has given us His Word to teach us.

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 NIV

I am thankful that God has given us His precious Word. The longer I live, the more I understand how important it is to life and godliness. Have you ever, in your lifetime, seen such rampant deception as we see today?

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV

Reading and studying the Bible is a vital discipline for the follower of Christ. Do you consider yourself a mature Christian? Why? On what do you base your claim? One can only become a mature Christian by studying God’s Word. And that requires discipline. In other words, we have to discipline ourselves to study God’s Word.

The foremost of the disciplines is that involving the Word of God and constitutes the reading, study, memorization, and meditation of Scripture. If this discipline is neglected, no other effort to discipline ourselves will be successful because we simply do not have the power to overcome the resistance of the sin nature in which our new natures reside. Nor do we have the power to overcome the resistance of demonic influences whose aim is always to separate us from the only means of spiritual growth, the Word of God.

GotQuestions.org (emphasis mine)

In these times, there is a great need for Christians to have discernment. Discernment comes from knowing God’s Word, the Bible. The more we study God’s Word, the more our ability to discern will grow and develop.

Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? See my page Who Is Jesus?

The Science Behind Why People Follow the Crowd, Rob Henderson

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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Christian

Verses for Meditation, 9/22/22

 “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,[a] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” Romans 16:17-18 ESV (emphasis mine)

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? Read my page Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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Christian, women

Tuesday’s Verse, 2/8/22

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NIV Read full chapter

Lord, We pray for discernment as we learn your ways. May your Word always guide us and keep us on the narrow path. Thank you for giving us your Word. Your Word is Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian, women

Friday’s Verse, 8/13/21

“See to it that there is no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, rather than in accordance with Christ.” Colossians 2:8 NASB Read full chapter

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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