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Be all you can be?

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There is an increasingly popular sentiment in the world today that says God wants you to reach for the stars, that you were created without limitations, that you are destined to have it all. In short, utopia can be yours if you will follow the prescribed path to enlightenment.

Unfortunately for the millions of people who have jumped on this pleasant sounding and sensory appealing bandwagon, that isn’t what God desires for us at all.

Borrowed from popular belief ideologies shared by Oprah, Tolle, etc., a new religion of inclusion is  being created from randomly selected portions of scripture and other religious beliefs. Its purpose is simple: to convince their listeners that just as there is good in all religions, so are there many paths to God.

These promoters of this new “path to enlightenment”, which include leading proponents of the modern “feel good” prosperity gospel such as Jakes and Osteen, have in essence created a Christ denying philosophy centered on their man-made religion of self-enrichment and self-worth.

On the surface these philosophies appear to be perfectly harmless. After all, what could be wrong with wanting to enrich ones self-esteem? Or how could desiring “your best life now” be anything but a worthwhile endeavor? And hey, don’t we tell our kids to “reach for the stars”?

Here’s the problem: all of these philosophies, which are really nothing more than a newer version of rehashed Eastern Mysticism, require that a person look within themselves as the key to attaining their stated goals.

They elevate mankind to god-like status, capable of being in complete and total control of one’s own destiny, thus denying our Lord his rightful place as God. In essence, they require belief in Satan’s original lie to Eve that “you will be like God“. Gen. 3:5

Amazing,isn’t it, that we still fall for that same lie after all this time!

Perhaps most heinous of all is that millions of professing Christians are of the belief that these concepts are compatible with Biblical Christianity.

These concepts are, however, diametrically opposite of God’s plan for His creation. From the beginning, God has instructed man to look to Him as the Source of enrichment, enlightenment, inner fulfillment, and self-worth.

Do you see the very clear difference? Today’s path to spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment is built upon man as its own god. Contrast this with the Biblical foundation that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life“, and it becomes easy to see that the train has indeed jumped the tracks.

Of course, all of this is really not new. As a matter of fact, the Bible actually foretold us that these attempts to supplant God with man would happen in the day in which we live. Listen to Paul’s instructions to Timothy:

For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.   II Tim. 4: 3,4  HCSB

Can any of us seriously refute that we are eye witnesses to this today? The model seems to be if you don’t like a particular statement in the Bible, simply replace it with one of your own.

Sort of like having your cake and eating it too!

In reality, what’s sad is not that so many false beliefs are springing up today. As noted above, scripture makes it clear that this would happen in the last days.

No, what is sad is that Christians seem to be void of any discernment between what “thus says the Lord” and what these false teachers are promoting.

Taking it a step further, the saddest part of all is that these popular personalities are teaching another gospel altogether. Listen to what Paul had to say about preaching “another gospel”:

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  Gal. 1:8   NKJV

Accursed? That is a very strong word isn’t it? Well, let’s also add this verse to the mix:

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.   Proverbs 14:12   NKJV

So as we can clearly see, there is a very real danger in looking within ourselves as the answer to all of our problems. As the verse above states, there is a way that seems right to us. The way of self-preservation, or self-sustainment, is the way of the world. Always has been.

The wise however understand that our “help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth”.    Psalms 121:2

Be all you can be? Count me in,but count me among those who understand that for me to be all I can be, Christ must be at the center of it all.

Not me.

Be blessed,

Ron

Continue in the things we have learned

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Unlike so many of you,I had little in the way of church,or religious training while growing up. I could count on both hands the number of times I went to church during those years,so to say I got a late start would be an understatement! Quite the contrast to my wife,the pastor’s daughter, whose earliest memories are of being in church!

During those early years I could never have imagined that one day God’s Word would become the bedrock of my life. Indeed,had God never drawn me to Him and instilled in me a deep hunger to know His Word,my life would have been unimaginably different.

As I gaze upon the events unfolding in the world I can’t help but pause to give God thanks that I am no longer the person I used to be,or the person I could have easily become. At this stage of my life,I now know more assuredly than I ever have before,that He and He alone has kept me from reverting back to that person I once was.

He has a plan for my life. And He has one for you too.

Listening to current events can be disturbing to even the most well grounded among us. For those not familiar with God’s Word,some of these events are actually frightening when you realize their potential implications.To those people,it must seem overwhelming watching the evening news.

The Apostle Paul knew something about this as well and even prophesied about it. In 2nd Timothy 3:2 he described the condition of the world in the latter days as a time when men would be lovers of themselves,boastful,proud,and a whole host of other not too pleasant things,most of which we are seeing unfold right before our eyes.

Yet this great Apostle knew something else about this,which was that irregardless of what was going on around us,we were to continue walking with Christ as though nothing was happening. He explained it this way:

10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,
11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.    II Tim 3:10-15   NKJV   (emphasis mine)

Paul tells us we must continue in the things we have learned,which brings me to the central point of this post. All of us must remind ourselves from time to time that our hope is sealed in Jesus Christ. The things we have learned through our studies of the scriptures have made us wise for salvation,meaning the Word of God will instruct us in all things necessary for our salvation.

Events taking place now in the world,and events to come in the future all have the ability to divert our attention away from the “things we have learned”. Our responsibility is to make certain that does not happen,which we can accomplish by following Paul’s advice to Timothy.

Have a blessed Wednesday,

Ron