False Prophets

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As a kid, my siblings and I were involved in a number of church activities. My favorite was a ministry called AWANA’s. Every Wednesday night my mom and dad would drop my siblings and I off at AWANA’s. Right away the fun began; two hours of learning bible stories, crafts, playing games and my favorite: bible challenges. Each week, our homework was to read through and bring back the completed workbook section, having memorized the weekly verses. The leaders would quiz us on the homework and we would take turns sitting one on one, word for word reciting the verses. You earned patches and emblems to add to your AWANA vest for the work you completed. I have awesome memories sitting with my dad in our kitchen working through verse memorization together. Each week I returned for AWANA’s, I always felt incredibly accomplished when I could recite an entire verse by memory.

AWANA takes its name from 2 Timothy 2:15

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

(Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed).

As much as you or I strive to rightly handle the word of truth, there will always be others in the world who purposefully and wrongfully handle the word of truth. These people are called False Teachers. There are MANY false teachers and false prophets in the world. Some prefer to appeal to the masses, while others simply prey on individuals to mislead.

Televangelist Benny Hinn is one popular example of a false teacher and prophet appealing to the masses. For many years, Benny has appeared on TV claiming to have special God given miraculous abilities to heal people and prophecy the return of Christ. All his attempts to heal and see the future have been proven false. I have seen first hand the work of false teachings.

I traveled to China many years ago. Several of my teammates had met a Chinese Believer who appeared to be solid in His Christian faith. My friends were invited to continue attending a local bible study taught by this man. After a few sessions, one of my friends became unsettled over some discrepancies with this man’s teaching and found them to be unbiblical. One night after the study, this friend of mine approached the man privately with some rather pointed questions regarding his doctrine. The man became angry and a verbal altercation erupted. Many days after the dust settled, the other locals were fully aware of this man’s false doctrine. As a result, he was kicked out of the group and refused further conversations with my friend.

Both examples are real and daily life happenings around the globe. For those of us who walk on solid ground they can be unsettling reminders that our world is being temporarily ruled by the Prince of Darkness, Satan. He will use workers of the flesh to entice you with untruths, in hopes to lead you astray from God. This is why you MUST clothe yourself daily with the words of the Lord in your heart and know truth from untruth.

It remains essential for you to know the truth in order to weed out false teachings. Do not fear these liars, but know what you believe and why you believe it.

1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”

John makes it very clear in 1 John 4:1-3. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

Rest assured, as you begin or continue to share your faith with others, you will encounter those with opposing beliefs. Proceed with respect and love for they have been led astray. The Holy Spirit will give you words to say and He can use you to guide them back to the truth.

For Deaf 316 Ministries’ full Biblical Doctrine, consult the BELIEFS section of our website.

Light of the world

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Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let you light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

This passage in scripture is incredibly powerful. Matthew chapters 5-7 are perfectly titled, “The Sermon on the Mount.” This for obvious reasons was because Jesus gathered with his disciples on a mountain and taught them deep and meaningful truths.

When you accept Jesus Christ into your life as your personal savior, you are given the power of the Holy Spirit. You then become as Jesus says, “the light of the world.” Anytime someone looks at you, they should see the radiance of Christ. Psalm 119:105 further emphasize the words of Christ are a lamp for our feet and light for our path.

Have you ever been at home when a storm hit and you lost power? The darkness can bring about fear and most definitely disarray. Without any light you could easily lose your point of reference. But, consider what happens when you turn on a flashlight or light a candle in the dark. The entire room is illuminated. The vast depth of darkness dwindles and one seemingly small speck of light is enough to bring clarity to orient you. Consider how the darkness represents all of the lost people on this populous planet. The enemy has shielded their eyes and has forced them to live in darkness, yet as you encounter these lost souls, the brilliance you possess because of Christ removes the covering of their gaze and immediately they see the beautiful light of Jesus. They desire to experience the warmth and guidance of the light you have because of the vision it brings to their dark world.

Jesus has given you light for this purpose, to be seen. Often it can be tough to follow Christ in a world that does not understand or accept what you stand for because they do not accept Jesus. Regardless of what others think, you still hold the light. Proudly let its beam pierce through you. You have been elevated such as a city on a hill at night that is seen from afar. In the same way, do not shelter your light. Remember, Jesus was not always accepted, but in His obedience, He was rewarded. You will be rewarded with your willingness to follow Him even when people want to stay hidden in the dark or others claim they do not need your light. Jesus gave you His light to shine, so live boldly with your light burning bright.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
JOHN 15:18

Romans 10:9

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People think it’s complicated to become a believer. Scripture reminds us it is one of the easiest things anyone can do. Today we will focus on an amazing passage of scripture taken from Romans 10.

Romans 10:9 says, “Because, 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.”

There are really only two requirements for salvation; confession and faith.

Let’s pick apart this verse.

 

Confession:

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.”

What I found profoundly awesome about our Lord Jesus Christ is that He is the Master Creator of languages. He can understand any language from the most complex to the simplest of them. He understands the most verbally eloquent as well as the vast intricacies of the 200 sign languages used around the globe.

God wants us to acknowledge His sovereignty as Almighty. He wants purity in confession by means of our voice, whether verbal or non-verbal. He is The King and worthy of acknowledgement.

 

Believe:

“believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Faith in the true depths of your heart is essential for salvation. Many people in our world claim to believe in Christ, but walk their daily path apart from Him. Even the demons in the bible claimed to have belief in the Son of God. Belief leads to real change and a visible lifestyle of humbling yourself unto the Lord.

James 2:19 says, “Even the demons believe and shudder!”

John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. “

What Jesus Christ is offering to you is not just a choice, it’s a chance. Sure, you can make your own decisions and live life however you want, but are you happy? Do the things of this earth make you feel satisfied? Maybe they do. The fruits of the spirit we have talked about before; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control can ONLY be experienced through a relationship with Christ Jesus. Without Him, you are going to walk around like a zombie, a living dead person just waiting to enter into the next life without Him. Confess and believe. It is that simple.

Jump down to Romans 10:13. It says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

EVERYONE.

It does not matter if you have never been in a church.

It does not matter if you have any scripture memorized.

It does not even matter if you have ever opened up a bible.

Confession and belief is all you need to inherit His goodness, direction and saving grace.

Bye Bye Comfort Zone

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When I think about all Jesus has done for me, I want to shout it from the rooftops! Of course, desiring to shout it from the rooftops and actually doing so, can be quite intimidating, especially when you have never done it before. It can be difficult to strike up a conversation with an unbeliever, but it is one of those things in life the more you practice and do it, the more comfortable you feel.

The first time I shared my faith was in Thailand with a girl who did not understand much English. She had many questions and though our conversation was broken and slow, I was surprised at how eager she was to learn of Jesus. It was quite eye opening for me to learn how many people do not know who Jesus is. It was also surprising to know how many are excited to do so. We as Christians hold the single most exciting piece of news in all the world and when we share it, people listen. Do not buy into the lies of the enemy, people need to know the good news of Jesus Christ.

There are three things we must do when sharing our faith; ask, obey and pray.

Let’s take a look at these one at a time.

Ask. God will open amazing doors if we are willing to be aware and ready. We must ask Him to lead the right people into our paths or us to the right people. Life is very spontaneous. We cannot always plan out what is going to happen day to day and minute by minute. If we are willing and open to sit back and be ready to feel His pull to this person or that situation, we will see Him lead us to the right people.

Obey. We may feel God’s leading to a specific person, but if we are not responsive, we are disobedient. Delayed obedience is disobedience. When you feel anxiety creep in where God has made clear an open door for you, consider His words.

2 Timothy 1:7
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

AND

Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Pray. It is so crucial that we understand the power of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus leads our hearts to touch others with His words, we have fulfilled His calling in our lives. Absolutely nothing you or I say or do will convince someone to follow Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to truly prick the hearts of lost sinners and transform their lives into a beautiful gracious story. All we are called to do is follow in obedience and step back as God takes care of the rest. Pray without ceasing for the Holy Spirit to melt the hearts of stone even if you never see the fruit of those you share His glorious gospel with.

1 Chronicles 16:8
“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!”

John 15:16
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

Do not allow fear, excuses or rejections to keep you from completing the work He has asked you to do. Remember if He has asked you, He will guide you. He alone can melt hearts of stone. Be willing to cast aside fear and leave your bubble of comfort so others may not spend an eternity separated from the beautiful God who created you and I.

Luke 12:11-12
“Do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Salt of the Earth

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Today, we are going to look at a passage out of Matthew and how Jesus calls us to flavor the world.

Matthew 5:13 says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

I’m sure you would agree with me that salt makes everything taste better. When you have a meal and it needs just that extra bit of flavor, salt can make a big difference. Salt was also used in biblical times to preserve food from rotting. Are you adding flavor to the lives of those around you? Do you carry around a rotten attitude to decompose like that of the world? When people see you, do they see Jesus? The concept is so simple friends and if we fail in showing Jesus we have failed our task. Have you ever thought about what you want to be remembered for? If someone who does not know you asked someone who did, “What is (insert your name) passionate about?” What would the response be? I sure hope mine would be, “Jesus.” It is incredibly easy for us to get off track and fall into the traps of the world and suddenly without noticing it ourselves, we become just like the world. When there is no distinction between us and those of the world, others will not see Jesus Christ.

Let’s look again at Matthew 5:13. Jesus at this point in scripture is speaking to His disciples. He charges them with this statement, “You are the salt of the earth.” Jesus did not say, “you could be,” “you might be,” “you kind of are.” He cuts to the heart of the matter and with righteous authority states, “You are.” As a believer, we are the ones sprinkled across the globe packed with the same righteous conviction Jesus gave in His command. Do you believe that? Jesus gave His disciples and all those who believe affirmations with His words. As He speaks to them on the mountainside here in Matthew, He speaks with authority. Anytime Jesus speaks with this conviction, we ought to receive it as affirmation and empowerment to our souls. Jesus calls us “salt of the earth,” therefore we are.

The second part of that first affirmation is followed by a question Jesus poses, “but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?” I will use an example to help illustrate this point. I love the ocean. Love would even be an understatement. Pristine waters, lush aquatic life and salty. Now suppose I plan a trip to the beach and when I arrive, jump in with my snorkel, mask and fins, and I notice the water is not salty. At first I am not bothered by this because if it gets in my eyes it will not burn or if it gets in my mouth I will not gag, but then I notice all the dead fish. The creatures in the ocean need the salt to survive. Without the salt, they all perish. The salt preserves their way of life, just as it symbolically preserves ours. If suddenly all the salt was removed from the world’s oceans, which makes up 96.5% of all water found on earth, how could it possibly be salty again? It would be absolutely impossible. If you or I become a believer and suddenly we lose our saltiness, we would be completely rendered useless in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you accept the call of Christ to change your life and you do not follow Him, share Him and live for Him in a way that is visible by others, you are salt-less. When this happens, you communicate to God you do not desire to be like Him or serve Him as His child. He cannot restore one who does not desire to flavor anymore.

Jesus makes clear in the last section of the text, the purpose for those without saltiness. They are, “no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Jesus created you and I for a purpose. Just as salt has a function and a purpose, so do our lives. The hand of Creator God put within you a purpose to be so vibrantly righteous in your lifestyle that when others look at you they see Jesus. If the world looks at you and does not see Jesus, you have not given the Creator credit and do not trust Him to do amazing things with your path. You are no good without Jesus Christ and if you continue to live a life apart from Him, you not only miss out on the tremendous blessings of being a Child of God, but you are no different than those around you. Our world needs hope through Jesus Christ. Be that hope and provide Jesus by the way you serve Him.