Judgment or Revival? by Holly Dye

What is this being proclaimed from our pulpits? Never have I heard such a conglomeration of psychology mixed with paganistic beliefs!  These purveyors of false doctrine continue to spew their vile regurgitations of Hellenistic half-truths to the multitudes.

Do our American pastors pray and seek God for their messages? Or do they surf the purpose-driven websites to find their prepackaged sermons? What works this week may not be what works next week. After all, we must stay in tune with our culture.

However, no matter what our culture tells us, the Word of God (the Bible) is still the correct tool to use to discern both good and evil. It is a mirror that reflects our thoughts and intentions. It is a sword that divides truth from error. It is the very breath and life of God that we should judge all our actions by.

If there ever was a time that we must be careful what we listen to, it is today. Seducing spirits and doctrines of devils have invaded the pulpits without much contention from those who should be students of the Scriptures. The sheep continue to swallow this great tasting poison without so much a flinch.

At the same time, we see such troubling things occurring in our country. Government takeover, the fear of the country bankrupting itself, and civil outrage and distrust is rising.

You think there’s going to be a revolution in our country? You think we should be crying out at the injustice that we see? O my friend, a revolution is indeed coming and simultaneously, the same shall come to the church.

A few months ago, while in prayer, I kept hearing the words, “It’s coming”. I began to sense something coming upon this country. The only way I know how to describe it is to say it was like two different waves coming at the exact same time. One wave was terrible, horrifying judgment and the other was immense revival. They were of the same intensity.

I believe we can choose which wave will come upon us. Will it be judgment or revival?

R.T. Kendall, in his article entitled, Judgment at the House of God, had this to say:

What kind of divine judgment are we facing? I believe there are no fewer than five kinds.

1) Retributive judgment. This is God getting even and showing no mercy at all. It happened to Cain and to Sodom and Gomorrah (see Gen. 4:13; 19:28). Eternal punishment is the ultimate display of retributive judgment (see Rev. 14:11).

2) Gracious judgment. Whereas retributive judgment is God’s wrath unveiled “without mixture” (Rev. 14:10, KJV), gracious judgment comes blended with mercy. Painful though it is, it is attached to hope and is designed to lead to unfeigned repentance. Gracious judgment is also given to warn us. It was at the bottom of Jonah getting found out, being thrown overboard and then swallowed up by the fish. It led to his repentance (see Jon. 1-2).

3) Redemptive judgment. Also a mixture, this involves retribution paralleled by a promise. When the children of Israel murmured in their wandering, God sent poisonous snakes that bit the people. But He also ordered Moses to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole so those who looked at it would live (see Num. 21:8-9).

4) Natural judgment. A variation of retributive judgment, this is natural law at work with an emphasis on the consequence of sin. “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

5) Silent judgment. This is the scariest scenario of all, when God appears to do nothing. It follows this premise: The angrier God is, the longer He waits to reveal it. At His angriest, God does nothing. We see this in Romans 1 when God merely “gave them up” to sinful desires and lusts (vv. 24, 26). Silent judgment is when God doesn’t send pain; He doesn’t indicate His anger; He doesn’t even send a warning.

For some 23 years Jonathan Edwards ministered in a church in Northampton, New England. During those years he saw revival twice. Once in 1735 and then again in 1740. This is what he observed when God sent revival to the church:

1. He makes men aware of how great and majestic God is.

2. He convinces men that God is perfectly holy.

3. He impresses upon men that God hates sin. It displeases him. It incurs his wrath.

4. He shows and convinces us that we are sinners.

5. He encourages us to detest sin.

6. He teaches us to be deeply sorry for our sin(s). Sometimes this sorrow is very intense. Some have been known to weep and mourn for days.

7. He causes men to see that the message of the Bible is true.

8. He overwhelms men with the realization that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior and that there is no way to God except through faith in Christ.

9. The spirit impresses upon us that the Lord Jesus has done all that is necessary for our salvation.

10. The Spirit reveals himself to believers as the great comforter.

11. He fills us with an intense desire to live for God.

12. He teaches us to live by faith and not by sight.

13. He teaches us not to trust ourselves but to depend upon God at all times.

14. He fills us with a longing that all Christians will prove both loving and faithful.

15. The Spirit teaches us to deny ourselves.

16. He makes us tenderhearted towards and deeply concerned for those who don’t know Christ.

17. He encourages us to pray that God will do yet greater things.

18. He causes believers to delight in heaven.

19. He fills them with an intense love for other Christians.

20. He teaches us to pray that others will love God better than we do.

21. He makes spiritual things delightful to us.

22. He makes us deeply aware of the importance of doing good to all men.

23. He fills Christians with an assurance that God loves them.

24. He teaches us to love, and makes us ready to obey, all that God commands.

25. He fills men with a desire to read the Bible and to hear his Word taught and preached.

What of it, my friends? Will you choose to get your life right with God and experience a coming revival such as has not been seen for hundreds of years? Or will you go on living your careless existence as if there are no repercussions for your rebellious ways?

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

It’s your choice. Choose wisely.

 

Self Indulgent Shepherds by Holly Dye

In my observance of the church, I have witnessed what can be called effeminate preaching.

Unfamiliar with the word?

Webster’s Dictionary describes effeminate as melting into weakness.

Vincent’s Word Studies describes it as luxurious and dainty.

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say of being effeminate: it denotes those who give themselves up to a soft, luxurious, and indolent way of living; who make self-indulgence the grand object of life; who can endure no hardship, and practice no self-denial in the cause of duty and of God.

Effeminate Preaching is a message given that is too soft or too sensitive. This is done so as not to offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable and hurt their self-esteem. Why would pastors do this? They know their people. They know what they like. They know what they hate and they know just what they will eat. So why the frothy sermons?

To help us understand what these sermons have produced, let’s take a look at a popular YouTube video of a young woman who claims to be a Christian and is being questioned by a street preacher.

The conversation goes like this:

Street Preacher: What is the most important thing to you?

Woman: My family.

Street Preacher: Is that number one for you?

Woman: Honestly, my family…yes.

Street Preacher: What comes in second?

Woman: Fashion.

Street Preacher: So, first family, second fashion. You have your priorities, right?

Woman: Yah, it feels really good. I love fashion.

Street Preacher: What do you believe about peace?

Woman: It would be great…but…is it gonna happen? Probably not.

Street Preacher: Do you have peace?

Woman: I DO! But you know worldwide, its’ probably not gonna happen, but you know, what are ya gonna do?

Street Preacher: Let’s go a little deeper. What about God? What do you believe about God?

Woman: I love God and I love Jesus Christ, my Savior. (Laughing) … I’m just a normal Christian. I’m from Texas. I love God. I love Jesus. I pray every night, you know.

Street Preacher: But, He’s not very important to you, is He?

Woman: He IS…yah.

Street Preacher: He didn’t even come up on your top list.

Woman: I don’t discuss religion. That’s my personal thing.

Street Preacher: So, when Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”, you disobey.

Woman: No. I love God, but do I have sex premaritally? Yes, I do.

Street Preacher: So, you love your sex life more than you love God.

Woman: I love God and I love Jesus and I pray to Him because I love Him and He is what gives me life…but I don’t necessarily believe what the Bible says because it was written by man. Thank you, goodnight guys.

Who helped this young woman form these distorted views? I dare say, her pastor. It’s all too common. Frothy sermons helped her accept a false assurance. My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray… (Jeremiah 50:6)

My husband told me of a conversation at his place of employment. Two people were speaking with him, saying that they had been taught that Judas was in heaven because he did God’s will. They had been taught that. Why had they been force-fed this garbage? I would dare say it’s because the preacher did not want people to be offended. For, if Judas, betraying the Lord, gained an entrance into heaven, then surely you, in your lifestyle, would not be denied a place in God’s kingdom either. When my husband pastored, he had this saying, “Every time the Word of God is preached, a decision must be made.” Why is this? Simply, the true Gospel brings offense. It is contrary to the general populous and you must make a decision to accept it or to reject it. Paul Washer said, “I don’t tell you these things to hurt you…I tell you these things because it’s the truth.”

The goal of preaching the gospel is not to intentionally hurt people, but the result is – it will. Why? It goes against culture. It goes against the world’s system. Truth has been abandoned in our country and traded for what feels good, what looks good and what makes us successful. Does this sound familiar? Take a look at what the apostle John had to say about it. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (I John 2:16) Yet, most of the preaching done in the modern church points us to the world. It’s all about ME, ME, ME!!! No wonder the Lord will spew this type of Christianity out of His mouth! Why do we hear so much about being a “success in life”? In the camp that I have been a part of, success defines God’s approval on you. If you don’t have a large church, if you don’t drive a fine car, if you don’t own a big house, if you don’t have a huge cash flow, then brother, something is wrong with your faith. Because after all, faith only seems needed to possess more things for this life.

I think a song from High School Musical defines this type of church well: “I Want it All”. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain… (Isaiah 56:11) Remember when having moneychangers in the temple made our Lord angry? When did His attitude change over this? I am aware that I am about to knock over some sacred cows when I say this, but what is going on with having these elaborate bookstores in our churches? They began as a simple, innocent way of getting good messages into our hands that maybe we couldn’t find at the bookstore. Then it went up another notch in saying that you could get them at the bookstore, but this was just for your convenience. Now days, you can find just about anything in your church’s bookstore. Designer purses, jewelry, t-shirts, golf shirts, hats, toys…the list for your shopping pleasure is practically endless. This has always been disturbing to me. Why are we about merchandising Christianity? Is this for the profit of the church? Is it to make us feel pride in our church? Heaven help us.

“Men are very much inclined to flatter themselves that God is such a one as themselves…” – Matthew Henry

What we have in America are self-indulgent shepherds. The ignorance that is breeding among the sheep has produced a deformed image of Christ. The grass they have been led to is surely beautiful and green, but laced with poison. They are allowed to stray and bring back beliefs that taint the fold. They are unprotected and wolves have been allowed to come in, dressed in the finest of their wool. Where are the true shepherds? Ah, I see them. They have abandoned the sheep. There they sit in the highest place, dressed in the finest clothes and eating the finest foods. I only pray they don’t choke on that which they have denied God’s flock.

Refocusing Our Eyes     http://hollydye.wordpress.com/

Behold, Your Bondservant by Holly Dye

If your servant comes in from plowing or from taking care of the sheep, would you say, “Welcome! Come on in and have something to eat”? No, you wouldn’t say that. You would say, “Fix me something to eat. Get ready to serve me, so I can have my meal. Then later on you can eat and drink.” Servants don’t deserve special thanks for doing what they are supposed to do. And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.” (Luke 17:7-10)

I think it very interesting that the apostles, though they spoke of our place as sons, empathically referred to themselves as servants…acknowledging Jesus as their Lord.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God (Rom 1:1)

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons (Phil 1:1)

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness (Tit 1:1)

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. (James 1:1)

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ (2Pet 1:1)

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called (Jude 1:1)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John (Rev 1:1)

I also found it interesting that when Christians are mentioned in the book of Revelation, they are referred to as His servants. (Rev. 1:1; 2:20; 7:3; 10:7; 11:18; 15:3; 19:2; 19:5; 22:3; 22:6)

15 times in the New Testament, Christians are referred to as sons; 27 times, they are referred to as servants. What am I trying to say here? That we forsake our sonship and look at our relationship with the Father as bondage? Not at all – but we must ask ourselves, do we really understand what it means to have a Lord?

I think it would then behoove us to look at the word bond-servant. As Americans, we really shy away from the words servant, slave, slavery, because for us, it represents everything that we broke away from as a country. We were founded upon freedom and any talk of bondage is detestable to us, as a nation. Nevertheless, a bond-servant was a slave who had been offered his freedom, but who, of his own volition, chose to remain a slave and serve his master faithfully. The master didn’t force him to stay or to do his bidding, but it was the slave who chose joyfully and willingly to take on the role of slave.

A servant understands that his life no longer belongs to himself. Someone else has ownership of him. Someone paid for him. He no longer has say-so over his life.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1Cor 6:19-20)

We have been given great freedom through Christ Jesus, but in order for Him to have His rightful place as Lord in our lives, we must choose to have the mind of a servant. Jesus, Himself, gave us this example.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil 2:5-8)

It therefore stands to reason that if we are to let the same mind be in us as was in Christ Jesus, and that meant he made himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant, humbling Himself, then should we not follow in His footsteps? Should our lives not mirror our Master’s?

The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. (Mat 10:24-25)

Someone said “in the New Testament, there are over 300 times, Jesus is referred to as Lord; 8 times He is referred to as Savior.” Now, I haven’t counted it myself, but if this be true, we need to really pay attention to it.  Notice Paul made a point that in order to be born again, you had to confess something about Jesus. What was it?

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9)

What is it that you have to confess? Jesus is what ? LORD. This seems to be the very first thing our God wants us to be aware of. To become His, He must be our Lord, our Master…and in turn, we must yield our lives as His servants.

Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. (John 13:13)

It’s no longer about what we want or desire…

It’s no longer about our plans for our future…

It’s no longer about our likes or dislikes…

It’s no longer about our comfort…

or our happiness…

or our contentment…

We must throw ourselves wholly upon our Master and be willing to lay down everything to take up His will for us.

But, here is the most beautiful thing about our Master, our Lord…and that is this, He is not a tyrant. You can trust Him completely. He will not abuse His power over you nor push you to destruction.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matt 11:29-30)

What happenend to that beautiful song we used to sing?

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus // There’s just something about that name // Master, Savior, Jesus // Like the fragrance after the rain // Jesus, Jesus, Jesus // Let all Heaven and earth proclaim // Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away // But there’s something about that name!

MASTER, Savior, Jesus…We say our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but is He your LORD? Is He? Or is He a side-thought? A passing whim? A mythological fantasy in your mind? A lucky charm in your pocket?

He must be ALL or He is nothing to you.

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)

Behold, O Lord, your bond-servant. Be it unto me according to Your will.

Sheep Musings by Holly Dye

Reading John chapter 10, I was vividly reminded why we need to stay close to the Master Shepherd. As sheep, we must be told what to do and where to go, other wise we’ll wander off and get lost. Jesus said the two characteristics of sheep are they will hear His voice and follow it.

In lieu of the deception running rampant among Christian circles, I found the following rather interesting and very accurate.

What are the Characteristics of Sheep?

1. timid, fearful, easily panicked

2. dumb stupid, gullible

3. very vulnerable to fear, frustration, pests, hunger

4. easily influenced by a leader, by the shepherd

5. stampede easily, vulnerable to mob psychology

6. little or no means of self-defense; can only run

7. easily killed by enemies

8. the shepherd is most effective, calming influence

9. jealous, competitive for dominance

10. constantly need fresh water, fresh pasture

11. have very little discernment in choosing food or water

12. best water source is early morning dew

13. perverse, stubborn – will insist on their own way , even eating poisonous plants or drinking dirty water

14. easily “cast” – flipped over on their back, unable to right themselves will die of starvation if not turned over by shepherd; helpless

15. frequently look for easy places to rest

16. don’t like to be sheared, cleaned

17. too much wool can cause sheep to be easily “cast”

18. creatures of habit; get into “ruts”

19. need the most care of all livestock

20. need to be “on the move”; need a pre-determined plan, pattern of grazing

21. totally dependent of shepherd for every need

22. need “rod and staff” guidance

Let’s take a look at John 10:7-14 and see why we need to be very careful as sheep.

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (John 10:7-14)

Who is the thief that Jesus was referring to? For 26 years I have been taught that the thief Jesus is referring to here, is the devil. Guess what folks? That’s not who Jesus was talking about. Look at it in context. He is talking about false teachers. Deceivers. Hirelings. These false teachers don’t come in by the right door, but they come to steal away the sheep from Christ and come to kill and destroy men’s souls with false doctrines.

Matthew Henry said it this way:

The mischievous design of the thief: John_10:10: The thief cometh not with any good intent, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. First, Those whom they steal, whose hearts and affections they steal from Christ and his pastures, they kill and destroy spiritually; for the heresies they privily bring in are damnable. Deceivers of souls are murderers of souls. Those that steal away the scripture by keeping it in an unknown tongue, that steal away the sacraments by maiming them and altering the property of them, that steal away Christ’s ordinances to put their own inventions in the room of them, they kill and destroy; ignorance and idolatry are destructive things. Secondly, Those whom they cannot steal, whom they can neither lead, drive, nor carry away, from the flock of Christ, they aim by persecutions and massacres to kill and destroy corporally. He that will not suffer himself to be robbed is in danger of being slain.

Albert Barnes had this to say of the thief in John 10:10:

The thief has no other design in coming but to plunder. So false teachers have no other end in view but to enrich or aggrandize themselves.

Dear ones, we must be very careful not to pull scripture out of context and whip it around like it is an amulet. Can John 10:10 be used to describe the devil? Well, yes and no. In John 8:44, Jesus said:

 

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. (John 8:44)

 

Jesus said that Satan is a murderer and a liar. So, in actuality, his works produce stealing, killing and destroying. So, why is it wrong to use John 10:10 about the devil? Because we totally miss the point that Jesus is making here, and that is, we must be aware of false teachers. If we are not, we can be deceived by them and fall.

We have majored so much on the love walk that we have totally left off discernment. The love walk that is practiced today is not the love of God. It is a tolerant, self-seeking, anything goes type of walk that lacks godly discernment. How can I say that? It is tolerant in that it embraces other religions for peace. It is self-seeking in that it doesn’t want to confront deception because opposition makes it uncomfortable. And anything goes because well, we all just want to have fun.

Last night, I turned on the TV and came across a very popular church service. The preacher was super positive and very soothing to hear. For some reason, I kept being prompted to watch the congregation. What was I looking for? Then I saw it. As the camera spanned across the crowd, one very important thing was missing. No one had Bibles! So, here they are, being soothed and consoled by this man and no one is checking what he is saying against the scriptures!

Oh Saints of God, I have been utterly grieved and moved to tears for many, many days at the deception that people have swallowed. We must check everything that is being spoken against the Word of God. Popular phrases, Christian clichés, pet Verses…everything must be looked at in context and weighed in the light of Scripture.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Timothy 2:15)