LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH          November 22, 2017     LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING
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The World Wasn’t Worthy of Them . . . Pilgrims
randles

photo: The First Thanksgiving. By Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, 1912-1915.

By Bill Randles

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10)

Every year about this time (Late November), I ponder our Pilgrim forbearers, who left England for Holland and eventually for the “new World” in order to worship God in freedom and perhaps create a Christian colony in an unknown land.

These people were not professional soldiers, nor were they youthful adventurers, seeking to make a fortune. They were normal people, lower to middle class and with families, despised and persecuted within their own societies.

They had  everything to lose, humanly speaking, first as dissenters from the Church of England and then by leaving Holland because they feared their children were becoming worldly in the more permissive Dutch Society. They wanted a heavenly country.

So the congregation in Leiden, Holland pooled their meager resources and sent half of their number to the New World to become a beachhead for the remainder to come later. The farewell was heartbreaking, according to William Bradford’s recollection:

[W]ith mutual embraces and many tears, they took their leaves of one another,—which proved to be the last leave to many of them . . . but they knew they were pilgrims and looked not much on those things, but lifted their eyes to heaven, their dearest country and quieted their spirits (Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation in Modern English, Kindle location 759-760)

They had originally chartered two boats, selling themselves into indentured servitude for seven years to pay for it, but one of those boats proved unseaworthy, so they crowded all 102 of them into a hundred-foot ship called the MayFlower, crewed by 40 men, and made the dangerous journey across the Atlantic to an unknown world.

Why couldn’t these Christians just conform to the Church of England? Why didn’t they just throw up their hands and admit defeat in stemming the tide of worldliness which they felt was swallowing up their children? After all, it would be normal for children to drift from their parent’s faith, right?

God had stirred them. These people hungered and thirsted for something far higher and purer than what their world had to offer them. They wouldn’t just settle for worldly status quo. They were Pilgrims.

Half of them died that first harsh winter. But that didn’t deter them. They buried their dead in the hope of the resurrection, and persevered in building cabins, a church, planting crops, enduring harsh weather, and sending for more likeminded Pilgrims, who would come also seeking worship, and pure and free ways to express their Christianity, in a harsh but rich new land.

Heaven was more real to these people than earth, they feared not death, having met Jesus Christ, the one who holds the Keys of death and of Hades. Having heard Him and following Him, their own world in England and in Holland had become alien to them. They could see there was no way they could make a permanent life there, not without losing their souls.

I think a lot of us have been seeing the same thing these days. We cannot live in a New Age occultic world, a homosexual world, or a Muslim world. We once lived in a Judeo Christian world, flawed yes, but somewhat livable. But it has morphed into this present perverted, corrupt, and violent world which we vex our souls over, every day and every night.

God Himself wants us to see that there is no permanent dwelling place here in the city of destruction and calls us to pilgrimage. We must forsake our Love of the World and all of the things within it. We must long for heaven and for the city whose builder and maker is God.

The Pilgrims of our American founding were wonderful and beautiful Christians to boot. They loved the Word of God, giving us some of history’s greatest Bible scholars and theologians, but in some ways, they were misguided.

America was a gift to them, but it has not ever been nor could it be a “shining city on a Hill”; it is just a resting place. Puritanism was not the replacement of Israel. America could not be the promised land.

The Pilgrims would eventually settle in, farm, prosper, open Harvard and Yale (for the training of ministers), and attain wealth and become the establishment (losing their pilgrim spirit) and eventually apostasies (New England would become the breeding ground of Unitarianism, Masonism, Mormonism, and eventually atheism in America).

The true Christian is always a pilgrim, we can never “fit in” to this world. We are always just passing through, on our way to a better country and city.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

(Used with permission)


LTRP Note: While many who came to “the new world” (America) exploited and did great harm to the native people (the Indians) (as did some Natives harm innocent pilgrims), there were also many true believers in Christ (as described in Bill Randles article above) who did not participate in the exploitation of the Indian people. True born again believers in Jesus Christ, who are indwelt with the Spirit of God, do not murder, vandalize, or abuse other human beings. As we are instructed in God’s Word:

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  (Luke 6:35)

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18)

The Lonely Road by Trevor Baker – The Cost of Following Jesus

LTRP Note: The following lyrics are written by song writer and singer Trevor Baker from his CD The Lonely Road. These lyrics below are to the title song, “The Lonely Road.” If you would like to listen to 30 second clips of this song and the other songs on that CD, click here.

Trevor Baker - The Lonely RoadThe Lonely Road
By Trevor Baker

They say the years
Have come and gone
And things are not the same
And all the ways from yesterday
Have been removed or changed
We say we’ve come so far
We can’t go back
You’d think the if we’re that smart
We’d know more than that

Chorus

I’ll take my chances
I believe the saints of old
They said a time would come like this
When many would grow cold
The Lord Himself gave warnings
So I guess we’ve been told
So I must prepare myself
To walk this lonely road

The world keeps
Growing darker now
The Light’s been left behind
And those who live their life for good
Are harder now to find
It seems that we’ve forgotten
How to blush
And if you raise your voice against it
They say, “what’s the fuss?”
I’d like to think it’s just a phase

There’s saner days ahead
‘Cuz at the rate we’re going now
We might soon raise the dead
‘Cuz they’ve been rollin’ round
For quite some time
And if they came back now
They’d say we’ve lost our minds

Letter to the Editor: Pastor of 50 Years Beholds His Beauty and Dwells in the House of the Lord In the Midst of Changing Times

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.  And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. (Psalm 27:4-6)

Dear Lighthouse Trails,

As a pastor for going on not far from 50 years, I know personally of some I thought to be loyal friends who seem to be set on discrediting the integrity of what God has made of my life. It is sad, but reality.  I never thought 50 years ago that the authority and sufficiency of Scripture would be a challenged concept in my time.

What I am finding as one of the most subtle tools of those who challenge is that they simply remain silent or refuse to address the questions or issues brought up, and if they do, it is to slander character and motive.

I am sure I do not stand alone in these matters, and I know I am not alone when I am in the sanctuary David speaks of in Psalm 27.  That Psalm has become so precious to me.  I have  used it in weddings, funerals, and other messages, noting the powerful truth in that “one thing” put into a three fold cord.  To be always aware of His Presence in our lives (“dwell in the house of the Lord”), to be captivated by His beauty (“behold the beauty of the Lord”), and to be always and only tuned to His Word (“to enquire in His temple”).  Then if I get in deep trouble , He hides me in His sanctuary. In the last verse of this Psalm, we have the word, “wait,” which I have found to mean to literally wrap or twist around. I have taken a thread and shown its weakness and how it is easily snapped with little effort. Then I produce a large tow rope and have another brother help me, and we twist that thread around the rope and then ask anyone to come and break that thread that has now become one with the rope. In weddings, I have taken the rope and asked the bride and groom to each take a thread with their name on a ribbon attached to the thread and twisted it around a large white rope, representing  the strength of the Lord. I placed this into a nice wooden box and give it to them as a wedding gift.

I have done this at funerals  where I placed a white box with a large red ribbon on it near the casket. I left it there during the message and closed by opening the box, in contrast to the other “box,” a coffin. I produced a large white rope with the words of Psalm 27, “wait on the Lord . . . ”  and then followed the illustration showing the widow how she could partake of the strength of the Lord by these three concepts. It was very touching and meaningful.

I pray these simple, yet profound truths can be embraced by you all at Lighthouse trails.

May God continue to use what you are doing.

A servant of the Lord,

Pastor Lyle (USA)

The World Wasn’t Worthy of Them . . . Pilgrims
Letter to the Editor: Concerned About Public Schools Teaching Kids to Practice Mindful Meditation
Letter to the Editor: Pastor of 50 Years Beholds His Beauty and Dwells in the House of the Lord In the Midst of Changing Times
Christian University Graduate Agrees—Celebration of Discipline/Richard Foster Bypass the Cross—As CoD Soon Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary!
Reiki in the Church! – Is Disciples of Christ An Indicator of Things to Come for the Evangelical Church?

What You Need to Tell Your Local Public School Officials About Children and Mindfulness Meditation

Thankful For Those Who Have Stood
Strength From Scripture – David Encouraged Himself in the Lord”
A Thanksgiving Greeting and a Story from Warren B. Smith
NEW BOOKLET: Watchful and Discerning Through It All
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Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company and research project ministry. We work with a group of Christian journalists and authors, all who understand the times in which we live from a biblical perspective. While we hope you will buy and read the books and booklets we have published, watch the DVDs we have produced, and support our ministry, we also provide extensive free research, documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, e-newsletter, and now our subscription based print journal. We pray that the products as well as the online research will be a blessing to the body of Christ and a witness to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, trusting in Him for the salvation of their souls.

 

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Christian University Graduate Agrees—Celebration of Discipline/Richard Foster Bypass the Cross—As CoD Soon Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary!
foster

cover photo: 40th Anniversary edition of Celebration of Discipline to be released in 2018, which is the 40th anniversary of CoD.

Just as Lighthouse Trails was about to issue a post this week about Celebration of Discipline’s (by Richard Foster) 40-year anniversary announcement (that we received by e-mail this month), we received the following e-mail from a Christian university graduate:

Three years ago this past September, I began my studies at Tyndale University in Toronto, Ontario. Right away, for one class, we were asked to study one author in particular whom I had never heard of, Richard Foster and his book Celebration of Discipline. I went online to do research and came across your website, and found your analysis of Foster to be spot on. As I read Foster, I realized he had completely bypassed the role of the Cross in bringing man into relationship with God, and instead substituted what he calls the “spiritual disciplines.” This is of course heresy.

For nearly sixteen years, Lighthouse Trails has tirelessly tried to warn the church about contemplative spirituality and how it entered the church in the first place largely through Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline.

The following is a repost of a prior article we wrote about Celebration of Discipline. It would be a good idea to ask your own pastor if he has ever read Celebration of Discipline and if he has, what does he think. And if he has not read the refutation A Time of Departing and is willing to do so, Lighthouse Trails will gladly send him a complimentary copy of it.

First published in 1978, Celebration of Discipline has had a massive influence on today’s Christianity. Unfortunately, the influence has helped to saturate the church with mystical contemplative prayer and the New Age. Most likely, your pastor has a copy of this book sitting on his library shelves. He may even have it sitting on his desk for easy reach and reference. Richard Foster, a Quaker and the founder of an organization called Renovare (meaning renewal), wrote the book, and even he may have had no idea the impact this book would have. But decades later, it is still being read, and in fact, Christian leaders and organizations continue promoting the book.

Foster said in the book, that we “should all without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer” (p. 13, 1978 ed.). In other books and writings of Foster’s, he makes it very clear that this “contemplative prayer” is the eastern-style mantra meditation to which mystic monk Thomas Merton adhered. In fact, Richard Foster once told Ray Yungen (author of A Time of Departing) that “Thomas Merton tried to awaken God’s people” (at a conference in Salem, OR in the 90s).

Thomas Merton, who said he was “impregnated with Sufism” (Merton and Sufism, p. 69) and wanted to “become as good a Buddhist” as he could be (David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West”), believed that “God’s people” lacked one thing—mysticism, and this is to what they needed “awakening.” Of Merton, Foster says: “Thomas Merton has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood.” (Spiritual Classics, p. 17) And yet, Thomas Merton once told New Age Episcopal priest Matthew Fox that he felt sorry for the hippies in the 60s who were dropping LSD because all they had to do was practice the mystical (contemplative) stream to achieve the same results. (Interview) We couldn’t agree with him more. Both altered states are the same, but we differ from Merton and Foster in conclusions outcome—we know neither leads to God.

Listed under “excellent books on spirituality,” in some editions of Celebration of Discipline, Foster says of panentheist Tilden Edwards’ book Spiritual Friend that it helps “clear away the confusion and invites us to see that we do not have to live the spiritual life in isolation.” And yet, Tilden Edwards, founder of the “Christian”/Buddhist Shalem Institute in Washington, DC, said that contemplative spirituality was the “Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality”(Spiritual Friend, p. 18). On the Shalem Institute website you can find numerous quotes, references, articles, and recommendations to panentheism, universalism, interspirituality, New Age, and Eastern thought.

In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster tells us “we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation” (COD, p.13.) He goes on to say that the “masters of meditation beckon us.” Just prior to that remark, he quotes Carl Jung and Thomas Merton.

Celebration of Discipline has helped to pave the way for Thomas Merton’s panentheistic belief system. It has opened the door for other Christian authors, speakers, and pastors to bring contemplative spirituality into the lives of millions of people. The late Henri Nouwen, a popular contemplative who also followed the teachings of Thomas Merton, made a telling statement towards the end of his life:

I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God (emphasis added – Sabbatical Journey, p. 51).

Essentially, the fruit of years of practicing mysticism by Nouwen was a departure from believing the Cross was the only way to salvation. This is the fruit of contemplative spirituality.

Today, countless ministers and ministries are promoting and endorsing Celebration of Discipline. If they really knew what Foster’s “celebration” was all about, we think many of them would race away from the teachings of Thomas Merton and Richard Foster and back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Note: If your pastor or someone you know has a copy of Celebration of Discipline or quotes Richard Foster, be sure and give him a copy of Ray Yungen’s new booklet A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer. Also, want to know what Spiritual Formation is (and its dangers), read this: Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t

Quotes by Richard Foster:

“Spend some time this week listening to contemplative music designed to quiet you, settle you, deepen you. (Compact discs and tapes from the Taize community, John Michael Talbot, and the Monks of Weston Priory are especially helpful).” Renovare’s Perspective Newsletter

“We now come to the ultimate stage of Christian experience. Divine Union…. Contemplatives sometimes speak of their union with God by the analogy of a log in a fire: the glowing log is so united with the fire that it is fire.” (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 159)

“Christians . . .  have developed two fundamental expressions of Unceasing Prayer. The first . . .  is usually called aspiratory prayer or breath prayer. The most famous of the breath prayers is the Jesus Prayer. It is also possible to discover your own individual breath prayer. . . . Begin praying your breath prayer as often as possible.” (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 122) [LT Note: Remember, Rick Warren promoted breath prayers in The Purpose Driven Life.]

 

Reiki in the Church! – Is Disciples of Christ An Indicator of Things to Come for the Evangelical Church?

reikiThe denomination, Disciples of Christ (aka The Christian Church or The Disciples) is a mainstream "evangelical" group that has ties with the World Council of Churches and is known for its ecumenical efforts. But even though one would expect to find a liberal, emerging viewpoint within the denomination, it came as a surprise to us to learn that the group has some strong ties to the occultic practice called Reiki, which is a form of  New Age “energy healing.” Is this connection to Reiki an indicator of what is to come for the evangelical church?

We know that contemplative spirituality has been in mainstream denominations (e.g., Episcopal, United Methodist, ELCA, etc.) for quite a long time, but now it is impacting the evangelical church in a significant way as well. Sometimes, especially in the early stages of influence, contemplative spirituality can be hard to identify for many people. But when it comes to Reiki, there should be no guess work. Reiki is based on the occultic chakras system where supposedly everything is united by a chi energy that is in all things. Ray Yungen says this about Reiki:

One obtains this power to perform Reiki by being attuned by a Reiki master. This is done in four sessions in which the master activates the chakras, creating an open channel for the energy. The attunement process is not made known for general information, but is held in secrecy for only those being initiated.

One of the main reasons Reiki has become so popular is its apparently pleasurable experience. Those who have experienced Reiki report feeling a powerful sense of warmth and security. (From The Truth About Energy Healing by Yungen, p. 1)

You can read more about Reiki here to understand its occultic New Age nature.

Before Ray Yungen passed away in 2016, he told Lighthouse Trails editors that just as Yoga was now entering the evangelical church, it was just a matter of time before Reiki would also become “normal” activity for evangelicalism. Given the nature of Reiki, this is alarming. Here are some places within the Disciples of Christ (The Christian Church or The Disciples) where Reiki is being promoted and used:

First Christian Church Pomona

First Christian Church Fullerton (October 24th entry)

First Christian Church of Albany, Oregon

Rev. Elaine Andres, a Reiki teacher within the Disciples of Christ denomination

Christian Church in Ohio

Raytown Christian Church (pastor-wife is a Reiki teacher)

Labyrinths in Disciples of Christ? Colorado Springs First Christian Church

We have listed these churches as examples of how Reiki has entered this denomination and not to single out these particular churches.

(*Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.)

 

What You Need to Tell Your Local Public School Officials About Children and Mindfulness Meditation

This month, we received a call from a concerned woman who found out that a local public school was about to introduce mindfulness meditation to children at the school. She called the school and has been granted a 5-minute time slot at an upcoming school meeting to explain why the school should not teach mindfulness meditation to children. During our phone conversation with the concerned woman, we developed a short outline of how to address this issue with school officials. Meditation (and Yoga) will soon be practiced in most public schools in America. Whether you have children at a public school or not, do what you can to help prevent your own local public school from incorporating meditation into the lives of the children. And keep in mind, it’s just a matter of time before Christian schools will be introducing mindfulness meditation and Yoga as well. We know this because the condition of today’s North American Christianity is of such a nature that Christians are being persuaded to go along with the culture; and, of course, with contemplative meditation so prevalent in the church, Christians are being conditioned to accept all forms of New Age meditation.

Our outline on why meditation should not be brought into the schools. 

I. Mindfulness is meditationlittle boy meditating - bigstockphoto.com

a. According to the respected Mayo Clinic, mindfulness is a form of meditation: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356.

II. Mindfulness is therapy

a. According to several professional sources, mindfulness exercises are considered a therapeutic practice. For example, the Journal of Psychosomatic Research and the Clinical Psychology Review associate mindfulness with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (https://www.psychologytoday.com/therapy-types/mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy).

III. Mindfulness is a religious practice.

a. Webster defines the word religion as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”

b. The premise behind mindfulness is that divinity dwells in every human being, and therefore this meditative state that alters one’s mind can be reached by anyone because the divinity within allows for this connection. This belief that everyone has divinity within is a religion within itself but is also the premise of Buddhism and Hinduism (and the New Age).

c. Since public schools in America have made the decision that religion cannot be taught in the public schools, Yoga and meditation have no business being taught in the public schools. This is discriminatory against Christian influence in the schools, which has been banned from American public schools.

IV. Meditation is dangerous, and the schools should not be experimenting on vulnerable children.

a. There are numerous documented reports that meditation can be dangerous, especially for the vulnerable and weak (a category in which children fit). Here are a few articles that discuss this:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/meditation-is-touted-as-a-cure-for-mental-instability-but-can-it-actually-be-bad-for-you-10268291.html

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/3-hidden-dangers-meditation-you-should-know.html

This is probably the best article on the dangers of mindfulness and meditation. It discusses a study done by researchers at Brown University: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4538240/The-dangers-meditation.html.

We recommend printing this outline and also the articles that it links to and giving this to your local public school district officials. And Lighthouse Trails is willing to send a free copy of one of our booklets on meditation to any school district official who would like to read it. Just e-mail us at editors@lighthousetrails.com the name and mailing address of any school official who agrees to receive the booklet.

Some of the dangers and effects of meditation according to the sources listed above:

a. insomnia

b. fear

c. hypersensitivity to light and sound

d. anxiety

e. difficulty eating

f. panic and paranoia

g. psychosis

h. seizures

i. mania

j. visual hallucinations

k. unable to function or work

l. a loss of sense of identity

m. psychotic depression

n.  elevated mood and grandiose delusions

o. unrestrained behaviors (sexual and violence)

p. pain

q. confusion and disorientation

r. feelings of emptiness and ennui (listlessness, dissatisfaction)

s. depersonalization

t. impairment of social relationships

u. cognitive, perceptual and sensory aberrations

v. disempowering

w. causes passiveness and compliance (even when those are negative responses to certain situations)

*It is interesting to note that most of these symptoms are similar to symptoms that occur with the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Is this really what children in the public schools should be put at risk of enduring? There is no way for a teacher to know which children will respond negatively to meditation. Also worth noting in reference to mass shootings, some of these men had a history of long-term meditation habits. This is even mentioned in one of the articles above. When you read some of these symptoms – depersonalization, unrestrained behaviors, psychotic depression, a loss of sense of identity –  we must ask the question, will this huge thrust by American public schools to have all school children meditating end up producing violence and psychotic behavior in our society rather than peace?

Related Resources:

Kyle Odom, the Man Who Shot Idaho Pastor, Says Meditation Started it All

How to Protect Your Child from the New Age and Spiritual Deception by Berit Kjos (a handbook with practical and biblical ideas)

Mindfulness! Heard of It? What Does it Mean, and Where is it Showing Up in Christian Circles?

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

Other Related Information:

Thankful For Those Who Have Stood

thankfulDuring this time, in which we set aside our normal earthly duties to give special thanks to the Lord for His many blessings, may we remember those believers in Jesus Christ who have gone before us and stood for the precious Gospel message. For many, it cost them their lives, but they had the blessed assurance that He for whom they stood, would deliver them and give them eternal life.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. Psalm 116:15-17

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. John 12:24-26

 

Strength From Scripture – David Encouraged Himself in the Lord

By Maria Kneas

David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6)

After fighting the Amalakites, David and his men returned to Ziklag to find that their wives and children had been taken captive by their enemies, and their homes burned. As a result of this tragedy, David’s men turned against him.

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6)

Immediately after this, there was a radical change in David’s men. Instead of stoning him, they followed him and overtook their enemies. They rescued their families and returned with animals and other plunder.

How could David, who was cornered, and about to be stoned to death, turn around and inspire these angry, grieving, tired men to successfully undertake this?

What brought about such a transformation in David and his men?

We can find some keys in the psalms, which record David’s prayer and worship. They show us how David encouraged himself in the Lord, and how we can do the same.

In Psalm 42, David talked to his soul (his mind, his will, and his emotions):

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. (Psalm 42:5)

The term “cast down” is significant. David was a shepherd. A “cast” sheep is one that is unable to get back up on its legs. If the shepherd doesn’t find the sheep and help it get back on its feet, the sheep will die.

David says that his soul is like a cast sheep. He talks to his soul, telling it to get back up on its feet again, to hope in God, and to praise Him.

In Psalm 103, David tells his soul to bless the Lord. Then he reminds himself about God’s mercy and love and faithfulness:

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)

At the end of the psalm, he exhorts all of God’s creatures to bless Him:

Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul. (Psalm 103:20-22)

In Psalm 104, David tells his soul to bless the Lord:

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. (Psalm 104:1)

After that, he praises God for His might and His greatness. In the process, David reminds himself of reasons for blessing the Lord. Look at some of these reasons, and see why David was so compelled to praise the Lord:

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. (verse 2)

Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire. (verse 4)

Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. (verse 5)

He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. (verse 10)

He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. (verse 13)

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man. (verse 14)

The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies. (verse 18)

He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. (verse 19)

The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. (verse 21)

Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. (verse 30)

In Psalm 116, David tells why he loves the Lord, and he exhorts his soul to be at rest. Then he addresses God, giving some reasons for his gratitude:

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. (Psalm 116:7-8)

Psalm 146 is another example of David exhorting his soul to praise God:

Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. (Psalm 146:1-2)

(from Strength for Tough Times by Maria Kneas – encouragement for weary saints)

A Thanksgiving Greeting and a Story from Warren B. Smith

LTRP Note:. Many of our readers know Warren from his books that warn about spiritual deception and the New Age but don’t know that he was a career social worker serving in a variety of positions over the years—including his job as a Travelers Aid social worker at the Greyhound Bus Station and on the streets of San Francisco.

A Thanksgiving Greeting

By Warren B. Smith

This Thanksgiving, may the Lord bless each of you as you gather together with family and friends to give thanks for His many blessings. May we remember too the countless churches, ministries, and Christian agencies that help to serve people who find themselves in need on Thanksgiving and at other times throughout the year.

My very first job as a social worker was with Travelers Aid in San Francisco. I was the night social worker operating out of the lobby of the San Francisco Greyhound Bus Station. From my ground level position, I met many lost and desperate people whose lives were significantly changed—both physically and spiritually—by ministries, churches, and agencies like Travelers Aid. It was often quite amazing to watch how churches and community groups networked to help those who were experiencing hard times in the city. In my particular position, I saw people who had often reached the end of the line and had dead-ended at the Greyhound.

The Greyhound terminal was like a modern-day Jericho Road where broken-down travelers were in urgent need of help. From California dreamers and state hospital runaways to an abused housewife, a stranded grandmother, a suicidal transvestite, and a seventy-three-year-old man still riding the rails—all in San Francisco and earnestly seeking help. Their stories tell the universal story of the wayfaring stranger—the traveler in trouble. The following story from my book Watering the Greyhound Garden is about a southern man who ended up stranded, alone, and without hope at the Greyhound Bus Station. His story serves to remind us to give thanks always for the way God works in our lives. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

“Willis Potter” by Warren B. SmithHomeless Portraiture

My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.—Job 19:14

When I first spoke with Willis Potter, he had been sitting in the Greyhound lobby for nearly three days. He’d caught the attention of our volunteer as he periodically walked past the Travelers Aid booth to go up the stairs to the men’s room on the second floor. A North Carolina native, the seventy-three-year-old man wore wire-rimmed glasses, spoke with a strong southern accent, and walked with a noticeable stoop. His thin, silvery-gray hair framed his high pale forehead and angular facial features. Wearing a coat and tie and neatly shined shoes, Mr. Potter was very proper in his own country kind of way. His manner was gruff, and he would periodically punctuate his sentences with the characteristic phrase, “Don’t ya know.”

“I spent my whole life in Holly Hill, don’t ya know. I was livin’ with my sister there until she died two years ago. Her kinfolk kicked me out after she died. They tried to put me in a home for old fogeys, don’t ya know. But I ran away to New York. I met a Jewish woman there and lived in her home near Coney Island. Then one day we had a fight and I had to leave, don’t ya know. Been travelin’ ever since.” He told me how he’d crisscrossed the country several times over the past two years with his suitcase and three large trunks—but in spite of all his traveling he’d never found a place that felt like home.

“I miss them dogwoods in the spring, don’t ya know. That Carolina countryside is the prettiest dang thing you’d ever want to see.” His eyes seemed to glisten as he pictured the familiar scene in his mind. “But if I went back to Holly Hill they’d just try to stick me back in that home for old fogeys, don’t ya know.”

When I asked Mr. Potter what his plans were, he said, “To die.” I was taken aback by his straightforward pronouncement and asked him to explain.

“I aim to die, blast it! I arrived here at this bus station with $65 and some hoodlum robbed me twenty minutes later, don’t ya know. Social Security doesn’t even know I’m here, and they never get my checks straight anyway. I’m sick of the whole thing. I had a good life, but it was over the day I left Holly Hill. I’m too old and too tired to keep travelin’ around like this. I want to die, and this bus station is as good a place as any.”

“Die right here in the Greyhound?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes, sir. Right here in the Greyhound. Living is too much dang trouble, don’t ya know. I don’t care anymore.” He had made up his mind and that was that. The fact that he wasn’t asking me or anyone else for assistance seemed to underscore the seriousness of his plan. For Mr. Potter, the San Francisco Greyhound bus station was the literal end of the line. While most people in the lobby were waiting for a bus, Mr. Potter was waiting to die.

“Mr. Potter, when was the last time you had something to eat?” I asked.

“Three days ago,” he replied.

“Mr. Potter, you can’t just sit here and die!”

“Watch me,” he said with utter conviction.

I didn’t want to call Adult Protective Services, but he wasn’t leaving me much choice. Before taking that step, however, I made one last appeal by sharing a personal note about the city he now found himself in. I described my traveling out to San Francisco from Connecticut after being discharged from the Army. I was discouraged and depressed, but the city had given me hope and a new start. The people were friendly and open, and before long the city felt like home. I told him the reason I had my job in the bus station was because the people of San Francisco—through agencies such as United Way—wanted Travelers Aid to help people like him. I acknowledged that San Francisco was not Holly Hill, but the city had its own special beauty and charm.

Continuing my plea, I urged Mr. Potter to give Travelers Aid a chance. We could provide him with food and lodging, help straighten out his Social Security, and refer him to the Tenderloin Senior Center for assistance with permanent housing. Instead of putting him in a “home for old fogeys,” they would help him find his own apartment. I could even arrange to have Greyhound keep his trunks until he was settled.

Mr. Potter listened intently to everything I said. Perhaps too tired to offer any further resistance, he reluctantly agreed to work with me. I immediately took him over to the Greyhound coffee shop where he ended his three-day fast with a hamburger and a cherry Coke. After telling Greyhound to hold on to his three trunks, I called Mr. Patel and reserved a room for Mr. Potter at the Coronado. I then accompanied the weary North Carolina native in a cab to the hotel. After walking him to his room, I handed him several food vouchers. I told him to get some rest and that I’d be back the next day.

The following afternoon I led Mr. Potter over to the Senior Center on Leavenworth Street. Travelers Aid would work jointly with the center in assisting him. While they helped him find an apartment, we would continue to meet his immediate needs for food and lodging. We would also make sure that his Social Security payments were properly reinstated.

The Senior Center found him a small furnished apartment two blocks from the bus station in a building designed for seniors who were still able to live independently. The manager was very supportive and allowed Mr. Potter to move in right away, deferring the rent and deposit until his Social Security checks caught up with him. He even advanced Mr. Potter some money for his beloved “chewin’ tobacco.”

I was happy for Mr. Potter and visited him regularly during my dinner breaks. He would tell me tales about his childhood farm and of southern days gone by. Over time, I discovered he had his own unique vocabulary—he talked of his love for “cowpop”(milk) and his penchant for eating “cackleberries”(eggs). He was feisty and rarely smiled, but sometimes I detected a twinkle in his eyes when he delivered one of his characteristic digs at life today compared to “the good ole days.” Mr. Potter liked to tease me by calling San Francisco “Frisco.” I would remind him that San Franciscans never called San Francisco “Frisco.” Referring to the city as “Frisco” was the sure sign of an outsider—and that he was no longer an outsider.

Mr. Potter lived in his apartment for about six months. The last time I saw him he said he was moving out of the Tenderloin. The Senior Center had found him a studio apartment near the ocean in the Richmond District, which he described as “real peaceful.” The Tenderloin was too dangerous, he said, and now he wouldn’t have to be so worried about getting robbed by “hoodlums.” When I left his apartment that day, I was thankful that the man from Holly Hill would be living out the rest of his days in an apartment by the Pacific Ocean rather than in the lobby of the Greyhound bus station. His life had been uniquely shaped in the South, but Mr. Potter—“don’t ya know”—was now a full-fledged San Franciscan.

On behalf of myself and the editors and authors of Lighthouse Trails, may your Thanksgiving day be joyful and filled with God’s many blessings.


NEW BOOKLET: Watchful and Discerning Through It All

NEW BOOKLET:Watchful and Discerning Through It All by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Watchful and Discerning Through It All, click here.


warren

Watchful and Discerning Through It All
By Warren B. Smith

Christian seek not yet repose,
Cast thy dreams of ease away;
Thou art in the midst of foes: Watch and pray.
Watch as if that alone were the issue of the day;
Pray that help may be sent down: Watch and pray.
Charlotte Elliot & William H. Monk

Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Night’s almost here, Far spent is the day.
Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Armor on tight, Keeping the enemy at bay.
Learn to discern, Watch and pray;
Don’t be deceived, Narrow is the way.
If you learn to discern, To watch and pray;
Then close to Jesus You will always stay.
WBS

The following selected verses emphasize the importance of being watchful and discerning.

Watchful

Be Watchful
Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (Revelation 3:2-3)

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings. (2 Corinthians 6:4-5)

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. (Isaiah 21:5-6)

Watch and Pray with Supplication and Perseverance
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

Watch and Pray with Thanksgiving
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)

Watch and be Sober
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:3-6)

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Watch and Pray Regarding Temptation
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

Watch and Stand Fast
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Watch For Grievous Wolves
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31)

Watch in All Things
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)

Watch and Pray Always
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:35-36)

Watch for the Lord
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Mark 13:35-37)

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (Luke 12:37)

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 24:42-44)

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (Revelation 16:15)

Discerning

Ninevites Couldn’t Discern Between Their Right and Left Hands
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand. (Jonah 4:11)

Discernment is a Sign of Maturity
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Discernment is Pleasing to God
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said . . . Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment. Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. (1 Kings 3:5-6, 9-12)

The Word of God Discerns Thoughts and Hearts
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Search the Scriptures Daily
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)

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

Approve Things that are Excellent
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:9-10)

Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Love Instruction, Wisdom, and Knowledge
Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. (Proverbs 12:1)

Holy Spirit Will Teach You All Things
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1 John 2:27)

Trust in the Lord and Acknowledge Him
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Call Unto God
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Pray for Understanding
I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. (Psalm 119:125)

Ask for Wisdom
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Seek God’s Will
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)

Prove God’s Will
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Roman 12:2)

Prove All Things
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Beware of Falling From Your Own Steadfastness
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:17)

Examine Yourselves
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Bring All Thoughts Into Captivity
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Love Not the World
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Abhor that which is Evil
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (Romans 12:9)

Walk Not in the Counsel of the Ungodly
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

Understand the Times
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. (1 Chronicles 12:32)

Discern the Evil of Today
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

Discern Between the Righteous and the Wicked
Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3:16-18)

Discern Between the Sacred and the Profane
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Ezekiel 44:23)

Overcome Evil with Good
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

Be Aware of Satan’s Devices
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Know the Whole World will be Deceived
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (Revelation 18:23)

Take Heed that no Man Deceive You
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (Matthew 24:4)

Beware of Men
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. (Matthew 10:17)

Beware of Men’s Traditions
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Beware of Cunningly Devised Fables
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)

Beware of Science Falsely So-Called
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:19-21)

Beware of Those Who Pervert the Gospel
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

Beware of Evil Men and Seducers
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. (2 Timothy 3:13-14)

Beware of Ungodly Men Who Creep into the Church Unawares
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Beware of False Apostles
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)

Beware of False Christs
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:11)

Beware of Here is Christ, or There; Believe it Not
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:23-25)

Beware of Every Windblown Doctrine
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)

Not Carried About by Strange Doctrines
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. (Hebrews 13:9)

Beware of Those Who do not Endure Sound Doctrine
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Beware of False Doctrine
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12)

Beware of Seducing Spirits and Doctrines of Devils
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

Beware of Another Jesus, Spirit, Gospel
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Test the Spirits
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)

Don’t Meddle with Those Who Are Into Change
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? (Proverbs 24:21-22)

Mark Those Who Cause Divisions
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18)

Remember the Simplicity of Christ
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Abide in the Doctrine of Christ
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:9-11)

Walk in Truth
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4)

Keep the Word
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it. (Luke 11:28)

Count the Cost
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:28)

Be Willing to Suffer
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:29)

Know You Will be Persecuted
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

Know You Will be Hated
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

Know You will be Called Beelzebub/Satan
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. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:24-25)

Be Not Fearful
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Be Not Terrified
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. (Philippians 1:28)

Do Not Give Place to the Devil
Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

Shake the Dust off Your Feet
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (Matthew 10:14)

Gird up Your Mind
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)

Resist the Devil
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Put on the Whole Armour of God
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Hold Fast
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. (Revelation 2:25)

Stand Fast
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. (Proverbs 24:10)

Enter the Strait Gate
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Keep Pressing on
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

The Need for Discernment

Former Moody Bible Church pastor Dr. Harry Ironside wrote an article regarding the importance of discernment titled “Exposing Error: Is it Worthwhile?” It basically echoes and elaborates on what the apostle Paul stated in Galatians 5:9 and Ephesians 5:10-13—that it is incumbent upon believers to expose and repudiate any error (leaven) that arises in one’s life and in the church. Ironside writes:

Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.1

It is not divisive to point out error. We are told in Romans 16:17 to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned.” It is a mandate to be watchful and discerning and to expose error when it is in our midst.

Conclusion

Without a watchful and discerning heart, we are too easily deceived by a crafty adversary. While we rejoice, praise God, give thanks, and remain hopeful through it all, we must be alert to the deception that is all around us. Jesus said—“Take heed that no man deceive you.” Be watchful. Be discerning. Keep looking up. Keep pressing on.

Endnote:
1. Harry Ironside, “Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile?” (public domain; you may view the entire article at www.lighthousetrails.com/ironside-error.pdf).


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