Too Many Voices in his Brain

Faith Versus Feelings

Many times, in Christian circles I have heard it said that believers are to walk by faith and not by feelings. But I have noticed that when Christians feel bad or are experiencing depression, they often do follow their feelings – straight to the doctor’s office. They want meds to make them feel better so that they can enjoy life and resist the constant urge to kill themselves. Others, who were born with a dose of overconfidence and optimism may also end up running to the doctor – not to make them feel better but to help them get some rest. They desire drugs to balance their overexcited nerves and bring peace to their souls.

“I know I’m supposed to walk by faith, Doctor, not by feelings. So please, you have to fix my feelings so I can walk by faith.”

The question is, what does Jesus think of this idea? Can you imagine Him sending his disciples to a doctor when they were upset?

“I’m afraid you’ve got a little problem with manic-depression, Peter, jumping out the boat one moment, confident that you can walk on water. The next moment, you’re in a panic, crying out for me to save you as you sink beneath the waves. You need some meds to even out your mood swings!”

Feelings change. They’re like waves of the sea – up one moment, down the next. That’s why Christians shouldn’t live by their feelings. But does that mean we shouldn’t have them?

Many of us have felt God’s presence. We have experienced His touch. Our emotions have been stirred through worship. When we read His Word, it stirs our hearts to action. If you know you should step out in faith but your heart’s not in it, should you look to natural means to fix your feelings?

Or should you seek the LORD with all your heart and believe the promise in Jeremiah 29:13?

Health and Wealth Prosperity

Based on the story in Luke 16:19-31

Health and wealth prosperity – right or wrong? Oh dear, what can I say?

To be politically correct or to accept a worthwhile pay?

Are people really down on wealth or are they down on greed?

For wealth is what you do with it, it’s where you sow your seed.

It isn’t what you have on hand,  it’s where you place your trust.

Faith’s father, Abraham, was rich but he was also just.

Justified by faith, he was a man who welcomed strangers

And fought to save  his nephew Lot from very frightening dangers

God blessed him for his faith, you see, he had a soul that prospered.

He must have had good health as well, because we know he wandered.

He didn’t chase prosperity, he followed after God.

Though far from perfect, in obedience his feet were shod.

He had health, but wasn’t lazy. He had wealth but no big barns.

Poor Lazarus was comforted in this man’s welcoming arms.

Unlike the rich man who refused to share his food with others,

Abraham was glad to treat his fellow men like brothers.

So is it wrong to have good health? Is it wrong to be rich?

It is if you are selfish, if you do not care a stitch

To help your suffering neighbor when you see that he’s in need.

Wealth isn’t wrong, it comes from God. What’s wrong, my friends, is greed!

 

 

Health and Wealth

Based on the story in Luke 16:19-31

Health and wealth – right or wrong? Oh dear, what can I say?

To be politically correct or to accept a worthwhile pay?

Are people really down on wealth or are they down on greed?

For wealth is what you do with it, it’s where you sow your seed.

It isn’t what you have on hand,  it’s where you place your trust.

Faith’s father, Abraham, was rich but he was also just.

Justified by faith, he was a man who welcomed strangers

And fought to save  his nephew Lot from very frightening dangers

God blessed him for his faith, you see, he had a soul that prospered.

He must have been in good shape too, for much, we know, he wandered.

He wasn’t chasing money, he was following after God.

Though far from perfect, in obedience his feet were shod.

He had health, but wasn’t lazy. He had wealth but no big barns.

Poor Lazarus was comforted in this man’s welcoming arms.

Unlike the rich man who refused to share his food with others,

Abraham was glad to treat his fellow men like brothers.

So is it wrong to have good health? Is it wrong to be rich?

It is if you are selfish, if you do not care a stitch

To help your suffering neighbor when you see that he’s in need.

Wealth isn’t wrong, it comes from God. What’s wrong, my friends, is greed!

 

 

Cessationism and the Charismatic Church

Do you long for revival, to have God’s fire burn in you?

Do you want to do more than sit in a church pew?

It has been my experience that ministry opportunities are often few, especially in churches which don’t allow for spiritual gifts such as tongues, prophecy, or miracles.

I believe that the doctrine of cessationism, which says that so-called “charismatic” or “Pentecostal” gifts aren’t for today, causes more things to cease than tongues. It causes hope to cease and the power of God’s Word to lose its relevance. When there’s no expectation that God will step into the meeting place and do something really awesome, then people start to leave. They start to get bored.

“I didn’t come to church for this lukewarm bath!” I can hear them say.

But oh, we must be careful of the wolves in sheep’s clothing, for what Bible-believing Christian isn’t familiar with Jesus’ warning that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven?

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in they name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 8:22-23)

I Corinthians 8:3 tells us that “if any man love God, the same is known of him.”

In other words, it’s not the use of spiritual gifts such as casting out devils or prophecy that Jesus is against. It’s that they never loved him. They never really got to know him. If they prophesied truth, it was not in love. They might have cast out devils, but welcomed bigger devils into their homes. Judas is a prime example of a disciple who went out with all the rest to heal the sick and cast out devils (see Luke chapter 9, verse 2). He was involved in wonderful works, yet he had no true love for Jesus and in the end betrayed him.

Though there may be many who operate in false gifts or prophesy out of their own minds, that doesn’t mean that spiritual gifts have ceased. Take Ahab for example, the fleshly king who had four hundred false prophets prophesy success for him in God’s name (see I Kings chapter 22). There was one man, Micaiah, who had a true gift of prophecy for Ahab, however. He spoke a truthful word and Ahab had him thrown in jail.

If Jehoshaphat,  the godly king of Judah, had ignored Ahab and heeded that word,  he wouldn’t have gone to battle with Ahab and nearly gotten himself killed. True spiritual gifts – in this case, prophecy – can save lives, yet some people insist on preaching against such things. The number of anti-charismatic sites on the web is  astounding.

Spiritual counterfeits cause people to be disillusioned with spiritual gifts, but think on this: Satan is below God, not above him. He can’t counterfeit anything of God that isn’t real. When he couldn’t stop Jesus from casting out devils, he had men accuse Jesus of doing the devil’s work. Now he uses the doctrine of cessationism to accuse Jesus’ followers of the same thing.

After all, if gifts such as tongues and prophecy have ceased from operating in the church, then God can’t be behind them, can he?

I’m not saying we should accept every tongue or prophecy that comes our way, but we need to use discernment because for every four hundred false prophets there’s liable to be at least one true one. The same goes for tongues, as well as for every other spiritual gift. We shouldn’t let Satan scare us away from spiritual gifts that are still for today.

 

 

 

How Can an Introvert’s Voice be Healed?

An introvert’s voice can be hard to hear, especially in group settings. Sometimes introverts may feel as if their voices get drowned out by people with the “gift of gab.” How can an introvert’s voice be healed so that people can hear it? Or does an introvert’s voice even need to be healed? When you’re “slow of speech and tongue” like Moses was, you can feel as if there’s something wrong with you. But sometimes there is a spirit that wants to silence your voice, just like Pharaoh in Moses’ time silenced the Hebrew’s voices through hard labor.

Keep in mind that when Moses was born, the king of Egypt was really into slaughtering Hebrew babies – boy babies only (How prejudiced can you get?). It was like a mass genocide. The Hebrew midwives did what they could to protect the babies, but Pharaoh’s men were everywhere. His law was aimed against the little ones, just like in America today.

Their voices were drowned out, just like an introvert’s voice is often drowned out. No one could hear them. But one baby was kept safe. Pharaoh’s daughter heard Moses’ cries and drew him from the water. His voice got heard. That should be a big encouragement to us all.

Though Pharaoh had closed his eyes and ears to Hebrew babies’ needs and cries, his daughter had eyes to see and ears to hear. Who in your life has eyes to see and ears to hear? Those are the people worth talking to. You won’t find them in the crowd. The more you sweat and cry and strain to make your words heard, the more they will get trampled on, like seeds of faith scattered upon the highway awaiting the crunch of an inflated tire – the tire that says “I’m tired of all this noise!”

Those who lack the gift of gab seek other means of making themselves heard – if not through writing, then sometimes through fighting. That’s what Moses did. One day he slew an Egyptian who was beating up a Hebrew. According to the first known Christian martyr, Steven, Moses thought that his brethren (the Hebrews) would see it and understand that God had hand-picked him to deliver them from slavery in Egypt (see Acts 7:24-25). But they didn’t get it.

Actions often do speak louder than words, but taking matters into one’s own hands can be disastrous to one’s cause. It’s always best to do things God’s way, for He knows how to get people’s attention. Moses complained to God that he wasn’t eloquent, but God gave him signs to do that spoke louder than words.

As for me, in group settings I’m no match against the king of snappy answers or the queen of the sharp tongue. But I do know how to write, and so I use my fingers to speak for me. As for reaching my audience, God opened doors for Moses. He can open doors for me. And He can open up doors for you too. Just write whatever He inspires you to write and don’t give up.

 

 

How Can an Introvert be Heard?

We introverts often find it hard to make ourselves heard, especially in group settings. Sometimes we feel drowned out by people with the “gift of gab.” When you’re “slow of speech and tongue” it can be very frustrating.

Sometimes I wonder if that’s how Moses felt. When he was born, the king of Egypt was really into slaughtering Hebrew babies – boy babies only (How prejudiced can you get?). It was like a mass genocide. The Hebrew midwives did what they could to protect the babies, but Pharaoh’s men were everywhere. His law was aimed against the little ones, just like in America today.

Their voices were drowned out. But one baby was kept safe. Pharaoh’s daughter heard Moses’ cries and drew him from the water. His voice got heard. That should be a big encouragement to us all.

Though Pharaoh had closed his eyes and ears to Hebrew babies’ needs and cries, his daughter had eyes to see and ears to hear. Who in your life has eyes to see and ears to hear? Those are the people worth talking to. You won’t find them in the crowd. The more you sweat and cry and strain to make your words heard, the more they will get trampled on, like seeds of faith scattered upon the highway awaiting the crunch of an inflated tire – the tire that says “I’m tired of all this noise!”

Those who lack the gift of gab seek other means of making themselves heard – if not through writing, then sometimes through fighting. That’s what Moses did. One day he slew an Egyptian who was beating up a Hebrew. According to the first known Christian martyr, Steven, Moses thought that his brethren (the Hebrews) would see it and understand that God had hand-picked him to deliver them from slavery in Egypt (see Acts 7:24-25). But they didn’t get it.

Actions often do speak louder than words, but taking matters into one’s own hands can be disastrous to one’s cause. It’s always best to do things God’s way, for He knows how to get people’s attention. Moses complained to God that he wasn’t eloquent, but God gave him signs to do that spoke louder than words.

As for me, in group settings I’m no match against the king of snappy answers or the queen of the sharp tongue. But I do know how to write, and so I use my fingers to speak for me. As for reaching my audience, God opened doors for Moses. He can open doors for me. And He can open up doors for you too. Just write whatever He inspires you to write and don’t give up.

 

 

Whatever Happened to Civility?

 

Grace and peace to all who happen by this site and read this article. I realize it may not line up with your views. All I ask is your respect. Please don’t blow up like a volcano after reading it, because a lot of people these days have been losing their tempers, and that’s not pretty. Hot-button political issues have a way of setting off hidden landmines, so please tread carefully as you forge ahead..

Let me start by saying I am glad Obama has an “ex” before his title now. As far as I’m concerned, he never was my president. He didn’t value what I valued and he didn’t speak for me. I absolutely hated the policies he pushed. He was not my president, and you can’t convince me otherwise. Nevertheless, I didn’t protest his inauguration. I didn’t scream, yell or picket because I knew it wouldn’t do much good. Besides, I don’t believe that is God’s way of doing things. But although I didn’t consider  him my president, I still prayed for him.

I am delighted that Trump wants to end Obama’s mandatory health care plan. The reason I hate – yes, hate – the plan is that to me it’s not pro-life and it’s certainly not pro-choice. It is a mandate, and – with all due respect – no one tells me what to do with my body. You cannot force me to go to a doctor, get shots, take prescription drugs, or to sign up for a medical plan I do not want. Yes, I realize there are some people who love that plan, but I do not, so please respect my views. Socialism is a “medicine” I don’t want shoved down my throat.

After all, the last time I checked, this was a free country. Unfortunately, our freedoms have been gradually eroding. Anything we say can be used against us, but that doesn’t mean we should remain silent on important issues. Yes, I know, it’s hard these days because no matter what you say you’re bound to offend someone. Even Jesus offended many people, and (as far as I’m concerned) He was perfect! How then can we – Christian or non-Christian – avoid offending people?

Wouldn’t it just be nice if everybody used more tact?

Speaking of tact – or fact, if you will, Trump was not my first choice for president, but he’s in office now. So, as a Christian I will respect him even when I disagree with his policies. Once again I’m not going to scream, yell or picket. Once again I’m going to pray for him. I’m going to pray for wisdom,  pray for peace, and pray for an end to the riots. Yes, I know. Violent protests have become the latest rage, but I hate violence and looting, breaking windows, and vandalizing stores. It’s illegal and those who do those things should be caught and prosecuted. What they’re doing isn’t right. There, I said it.

Call me crazy, but I hate destruction. I want peace – true peace, and I value human life – no matter the sex, race, age, or religious preference. (I’m sure the thought police will gladly rake me over the coals for failing to add a category to that list)

I mean, whatever happened to prayer? Whatever happened to forgiving those who hurt you? And whoever twisted Philippians 4:19 to read “Man shall supply all your needs, and if he doesn’t, then make him pay!”?

Whatever happened to civility?

Praise, Not Punishment, Is the Best Cure

I know what it’s like to hurt inside – I mean, really hurt. Self-hatred has been a big issue for me. I used to think that to make myself feel better I needed to vent. After all, I saw other people vent, people with horrible tempers. Venting got them attention, and I wanted attention.  I wanted to demand that people like me, because I was in so much pain. I was looking to imperfect people for the comfort I desperately needed, but I thought somehow it ought to work. After all, it worked for them. Why shouldn’t it work for me? I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to be heard, but in a good way. But if people wouldn’t be nice to me, then I wanted to be left alone. I figured that if I punched myself or scratched myself or inflicted physical pain upon myself, that the people who were bullying me would see I was suffering enough and show me some sympathy.   Unfortunately, all it did was make them blame me, which in turn made me feel ashamed. Feeling ashamed made me angrier. It was a vicious cycle.

I didn’t understand what was behind this awful cycle until God opened up the scriptures to me and revealed that self-punishment was actually a form of Baal worship. You can see it in I Kings chapter 18 when the true prophet Elijah challenged the Baal worshippers to a contest. Each side was to prepare a sacrifice to but light no fire to it. Then they were each to call upon the name of their god and see which one answered by sending fire.

Elijah let the Baal worshippers go first. And so, they prepared their sacrifice. There were many of them, so it probably didn’t take very long. Then they called upon Baal to answer them, but he didn’t. They shouted louder. No one heard. Then they began to cut themselves – not just a little, but a lot. They cut and slashed until the blood was flowing.

Imagine for a moment the strong longing those worshippers felt. This was a competition. Much was at stake. To gain the people’s approval, they must prove themselves right. Sounds a bit political, doesn’t it? And then, to their chagrin, it didn’t work. They needed the people’s approval and their god was letting them down. Oh, what self-hatred, what anger, what guilt they must have felt inside! When you feel that way, you kind of want to riot. You want to blame someone. But does blaming others ever really make you feel better?

The worshippers’ self-inflicted pain drained them. The blood they lost was spilled in vain. That is what self-punishment is like, I felt God say to me.  It doesn’t help you overcome hurt feelings. All it does is hurt you more.  A merry heart does good like a medicine (Proverbs 17:22) but depression can make you sick. I should know. I’ve been there. The blood you spill will be in vain.

But the blood of Jesus spilled upon the cross was not in vain.

For “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The guilt of being sinners before a holy God is what brings us so much pain. Beating up on yourself won’t make it any better. Being forgiven is what makes us better.

“Be of good cheer,” Jesus told the paralyzed man. “Your sins are forgiven… Rise up and walk.” (see Matthew 9:2-7)

“He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).”

Many things in life can make us sad, but despair is not of God. Man’s wrath does not work the righteousness of God (James 1:20), but “Go so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.” (Revelation 5:12)  He’s the One we need to worship. Lift Him up and praise His name, for He is the one who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Trust in Him and you will find the comfort that you seek, for “Whosoever offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)