I want to preface something before you read on though this post; I am not, nor do I claim to be perfect. I have made many mistakes, said the wrong things, and do not claim to be anywhere all knowing, or maybe even half knowing. However, I do know this that I can be forgiven, and I am forgiven by God through Christ in asking for forgiveness, repenting, and learn from my mistakes, grow, and improve. I also know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So if I have ever hurt you by my words, or actions, that were not logically merited, please forgive me. If they were logically merited and you were still hurt. Let’s try to work it out and through it as it is aligned in the bible such as in the book of Matthew.
With that preface paragraph, some of what I wish to unfold in this post may offend some, and some may not agree. Some may say I am out of line, and being too overly critical. First of all, this would not surprise me a whole lot as we seem to reside in an overly easily offended society these days. Some people seem to have gotten their skins thinned, or back bones weakened. Furthermore, some have no capability to apply wisdom, or agree to disagree with grace and humility. What I would like for a person to consider is what I am about to write, not accurate? Is it not biblically sound? Are not certain signs of the times rather apparent?
Look about you, around you, on-line, on social media, on the TV. What are you reading, seeing, listening too, and witnessing? Is it fact or fiction? Is it reality or is it delusion? Is it good, sound and moral, or is it manipulation and deception? I read, see and hear that what was once wrong is now right or at the least okay. What was once considered all good, sound and moral, is being said now as divisive, wrong or wicked.
Please, for the love of all or anything good in the world, use discernment, apply wisdom, do your own research. Verify and validate facts, and utilize your bibles! I am amazed, as well as concerned on how many “Christians” go to church to set back and listen to sermons, and teachings without bringing their bibles. They may seem to be on auto pilot. Maybe someone doesn’t want to carry a big bible around at church. I can understand that sometimes, as I do not carry around a big KJV bible either. However, do people not know that their smartphones have free bible apps, and a note taker on them? A person can have a bible with them at all times, simply pull up the app, and make sure to follow along with the sermons, preaching, messages and teachings, and always pray to God for wisdom and discernment.
I have attended and have been a member of a variety of churches. I have also been hurt by the “church.” I have been attracted to churches and pastors by their dynamic messages, emotional sermons, and they way they seem to teach, preach, and lead their lives. However, wisdom dictates that we are not to follow a human being, we are to follow God, and to study to show ourselves approved by rightly reading the bible.
If your pastor is not speaking, preaching and teaching the truth from the Word of God, and in proper context, then what are they speaking, preaching, and teaching? If they are not striving to live out what they say and do in church, the other six days of the week, then that may be a sign of flawed teaching. Look, we all know none of us is perfect, or we should; Christian or non Christian. And we all know, “Judge not lest we be judged” sayings. I get it, I am no ones judge, besides someONE already has that job, and I surely wouldn’t want it. However, we are to lead others in truth and love. We are to disciple others, so in turn they may disciple others. The bible is also full of scriptures that we are to admonish, teach, instruct, correct, and bring the fold back in line with the truth, with wisdom, in love. And sometimes love, also needs to be tough love. Imagine if you have a friend, whom has an addictive nature or past, starts drinking a lot, or doing drugs. He or she starts driving while drinking and on drugs. Maybe he or she starts gambling on a regular basis, blowing near entire paychecks at the casinos. Maybe your brother in law or sister in law starts looking a bit too much at another, speaking of how cute or handsome they are, then they start imagining dating or being married to that other person while being married to your own sister or brother… I think you may get the point here. You would certainly advise this friend or loved one onto a better path. You would caution them, and help prevent them from a path of destruction, right?
So with that being said, I and others have been hurt and misled by the church, particular denominational formats, and not just emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, I have heard true stories of physical harm as well. So I want to encourage any one reading this to make sure you are reading and studying your bible on your own. Do not entirely depend on a pastor, preachers, or evangelists to be the ones giving you the messages. Follow along during the messages in your bibles or your devices with the bible on it. Study on your own, and ask God for discernment and wisdom. And if the church you are attending doesn’t seem to align with the bible, and biblically sound doctrine, then it may be a sign it’s time to speak up, try to make a biblical sound change, or dust your feet off an move on.
As I shared, a variety of pastors, preachers, and evangelists have caught my attention along my journey of faith. They sounded great with their more modern approach, theatrics, attire, and prosperity messages. Whether they were wearing fashionable “skinny jeans” and fitted athletic shirts, or three piece suits, or a harley t-shirt, leather jacket and loose jeans. Remember it matters little on what is on the outside, it matters more on what’s in the heart. The enemy is a master war strategist and he can deceive, and manipulate any wrapper, to help deceive and manipulate you. I have had experience and witnessed these “pastors”, “preachers”, “evangelists” preach division, separatism, and even hate. I have seen cliches, favoritism, and even ostracization on a scale that should never be in a church. I have personally witness a pastor to whom had not formal medical, psychiatric, or psychology education tell his congregation that depression, anxiety and mental illness is of the devil, and that a person with it may be possessed, or lack faith all the while knowing that there was a woman in the congregation whom suffered from a mental break down and depression and still on medication. He was so ill informed and lack enough knowledge to realize 1 in 5 American adults live with or are suffering from a diagnosed mental illness which is 20% of his own congregation.
I have stopped following several pastors, speakers, teachers, and evangelists after seeing, and listening to their messages for a while, all the while researching the scripture on my own. Reading not just single verses, but many in context all the way to the beginning of the chapter to the entire book. Sometimes breaking out the study bible and a variety of concordances. Now do I always get it right myself, no I do not. However, I do pray for discernment and wisdom even when I myself prepare to speak or teach a message, or do a video whether it is a home group bible study, or FAITH in FIVE video, to a deep dive bible study or devotional video.
Remember whom is the “prince of the air “that “walks the earth to and fro to whom he may devour”.? Remember there are ways as written and shown in the bible to detect false prophets and false teachings. Remember, there is only one God, and it’s not any of us. Be read up, prayed up, and ask God in your prayer life for discernment and wisdom. Invest more time reading and studying the bible, not just by yourself, but with your family. Turn off the tv and social media more often and invest attentive, qualify time with your loved ones. Especially the children under your care, and the spouse (your help mate) God has given you.
Don’t be fooled by wolves in sheep’s clothing.