vocatvs atoue non vocatvs Deus aderit
( Bidden or not bidden, God is present. )
I have seen an interesting trend among Christians that alarms and saddens me. I understand that people do get bogged down in everyday trials and tribulations sometimes- that is unavoidable. We are living in vicarious times and problems are bound to get the best of us occasionally. What concerns me though is that many of our sisters and brothers make the assumption that everything they do is sanctioned by God and that he will follow you to the end of the earth. This may or may not be true depending on the status of your heart and what kind of a life you’re leading. Do you desire Him above all else or has he become your "sidekick"?
Some years ago I wrote a short article titled, "The Man in the Caboose". Without giving you the entire writ, it was in essence about the way people are insistent about running their own life- insisting on taking the main controls and treating God like the man in the caboose. (Only around for emergencies and handy for blaming when everything goes wrong.) You see, this attitude assumes that God only jumps in when we get out of control when, as a matter of fact, our control is illusory and we haven’t allowed Him to intervene in our affairs. Prayer is a supplication for God’s intervention in our affairs, attitude and circumstances.
Quite a few years ago I picked up a book when it was new (it was published in 1985) titled The Seduction of Christianity and subtitled "Spiritual Discernment in the Last Days". In it, Mr Hunt and Mr McMahon give a compelling argument against the increasing acceptance of positive and possibility thinking, healing of memories, self-help philosophies and holistic medicine among Bible believing Christians today and how this deception is the beginning of the Apostasy written about in the Bible. They expound on the dangers in accepting these wide-spread beliefs which are presented as though they are a supplement to your faith rather than a contradiction to the clearly stated precedents set down in black and white in the Bible. Nothing about the apostasy appears evil. It appears to offer solutions, often, to problems of which may not be obviously offered in the Bible. (This is why it’s so important to study the word more and more. Those solutions are always there! )
Some very good points and exposés in the book are as follows:
"Not only liberals but conservatives as well are being seduced in overwhelming numbers…What the secular world calls "mind power" many Christians confuse for "faith"."
"Psychological methodologies…such as Scientology, The Forum (formerly EST ), Lifespring, and Silva Mind Control… the ability to exert "mind over matter". Also TM= Transcendental Meditation
"Humility is out and self-esteem is in."
"Not just individual Christians, but churches also now pursue success, and the larger the church the more successful it is considered to be."
"Napoleon Hill’s books are offered at Christian bookstores across the country and recommended by numerous Christian leaders."
"Yet it is Hill’s teachings about the mind that are far more dangerous than his emphasis on wealth."
"…They recommend him and his books highly, which contain occultism that they apparently overlooked."
"…I discovered there is a group of strange beings who maintain a school of wisdom….The school has masters who can disembody themselves and travel instantly to any place they choose….to give knowledge directly, by voice."
"The "Supreme Secret" they authorized Hill to "reveal" to the world has been preserved in occult tradition for thousands of years and reminds one of the serpent’s offer of godhood to Eve: "Anything the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve."
"This is the sorcerer’s counterfeit faith and is the basis for what the secular world calls PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)."
"Far from having the gracious and loving but sovereign God as its object of trust, "power of belief" enables those who have been initiated into its secrets to command forces to obey their thoughts."
"Anyone who imagines that because he thinks certain thoughts or speak certain words God must respond to him in a certain way, has slipped into sorcery, and, if not playing God, is at the very least attempting to manipulate God."
"The only supernatural powers that Christians are to exhibit are called "gifts of the Spirit." (through the Holy Spirit)
"We are not condemning everything else a Christian leader writes or speaks simply because he quotes Napoleon Hill. Yet it is because Hill is mixed in with so much good that his concepts are accepted. This is why we must contend for the purity of the Word of God without addition of the deadly deceptions that slide in unless we are on our guard."
Many of us, myself included, if we are honest about it- have at one time or another accepted ideas as Christian in our mind when they are, in fact, not sourced from the Bible at all. We came to accept them, more than likely, because we heard those ideas expressed in our VERY OWN CHURCH ! The most dangerous part of all this, in my opinion, is that our very prayers may be used in the fashion of using God to get what we want when we ought to be using prayer to find out God’s will. If we love Him like we ought to, we want to please Him because He knows what is right for us. Prayer is the best way to find out what God’s will is for your life and that is where real power lies ~ not in a false belief in your own abilities. When you see that difficulties have become overwhelming and you are tempted to lift up prayers only against circumstances remember that God always listens to and answers prayer. However, we may not get the answer we wanted but we will definitely get the answer we need.
There is a new "Nathaniel Hill" on the block, Eckhard Tolle, author of A New Earth and he has a powerful advocate- Oprah Winfrey. I like Oprah, just like every body in America’s households, but the woman embraces every so-called "light-bearer" that comes across her path. (Come on, you know that’s true!) This book touts the same Eastern "theological" techniques that have been supported by churches whose real bible is "The Science of the Mind." One would be smart to question this so-called new consciousness. It is the same old deception wrapped in a new pretty cover with pretty but mostly untrue and un-Christian ways of thinking.
My most recent encounter with a Christian under serious deception caught me off guard, temporarily, and then I recognized the wrong-thinking and called him on it. This was a man who, among other Christian literary pursuits, operates as a Christian literary agent. In an e-mail to me he wrote: "I and all editors at Christian publishers are frankly suspicious of anyone claiming to have direct communication from God, the Holy Spirit, or Jesus. They are typically the worst-written manuscripts we see, so we know they are not Holy Spirit inspired." He wrote this having not read a word of my book or the detailed e-mail proposal I sent him. I don’t trust his sweeping statement, either. I doubt very much that he speaks for the entire Christian publishing industry!
Jesus said," Do you believe in the Son of God? You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you." He also said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." Additionally, he said the following:
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you."
"Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."
" He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."
"Then if anyone says to you, "Look, here is the Christ!" or "There!" do not believe it."
"Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
"Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." (John 11:41-42) (Before raising Lazarus up from the dead.)
"Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." John 14:20 (It doesn’t get any more personal than that ! )
"I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." (prophets and holy men who lived and died before Christ came)
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves"
All of this may make a person back off, in confusion, wondering if prayer really does avail anything. Prayer like any other practice can be perfected but the most perfect prayer follows the pattern that Jesus set for His disciples when he said what we call The Lord’s Prayer. He did not ask us to say this identical prayer over and over again, it was laid out like a recipe, or a map or a guideline. First, worship him, then, ask for his will, then, present your needs. In finishing, ask for His protection, guidance and wisdom in your daily walk and acknowledge his sovereignty. By following this pattern you are addressing God in a proper manner, giving Him respect, honor and recognizing His glory. If you pray like this you cannot fall into a pattern of using prayer like a magic wand. We are the friends of God if we recognize and accept what Jesus did for us on the cross. We don’t need to pretend otherwise. Blessings to all the true realists- one and all !
Pour mes amis bien-aime’, mes meilleurs embrasses, Le Chateau Demoiselle !
1 John 4:1-4
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
At 4:42 p.m. yesterday ( 6/2/08) this blog reached 14,000 hits and it’s now way past that. Thanks to all visitors, friends and others!
Your religion is what you do when the sermon is over. – A Mom