freewill vs. Sovereignty of God, Newspaper Articles

Are You Sitting on a High Horse?

Scan0025 Theological Thoughts

     While attending summer revivals with my family, I’ve pondered some theological thoughts that have inspired me to write about this painting I’ve finished and titled “Are You Sitting on a High Horse?” By painting a depiction of the Lamb of God in the background I wanted to portray how many of us, even as Christians have the tendency to sit on the “high horse” of freewill with its prideful appearance of natural ability and strength, while God’s sovereign free grace gets placed in the background of our lives.  One way this happens is when we refer to our salvation in first person (e.g. I went to the altar, I said this prayer, I made a decision for Christ, I invited Jesus into my heart, I got baptized, I did this or that …….THEN God saved me) rather than second person (e.g. God first loved me, God’s word convinced me I was a sinner in need of a Saviour, God changed my heart and granted me the grace to repent, believe and obey the gospel, God secured my salvation in Jesus……BEFORE I could’ve had anything to do with it). 

     The former makes God’s grace sound cheap, as if it’s only effective if we do something first, or that it only enables us to attain our own salvation. Yet the latter, “praises the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6) by emphasizing the miracle of what Jesus already attained by His death, burial and resurrection to secure the eternal plan of redemption by which God has determined to save, through Christ, sinners whom He has chosen and how He freely bestows the grace necessary for them to respond in faith and repentance. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Eph.2:8).

    Freewill can only act in harmony with its nature (Rom.8:7-9). For example, in the natural scheme of things, we can choose to either walk or run but we can’t choose to flap our wings and fly. Our nature prevents us from doing so. Likewise, freewill is limited by our fallen nature. Before the Fall, mankind had freewill to either obey or disobey God. But now, the will is only “free” in the sense that it still has the natural ability to disobey God and of trying to attain salvation thru works (Rom.10:3). So by nature, our will isn’t truly free to obey the gospel until God first intervenes with free grace to enable us to become partakers of the divine nature (2Pet.1:4). “For it is God who works in you to will and to do” (Phil.2:13).

    So friend, pray God will grant you free grace, so you’ll be able to truly repent, believe and obey the gospel. For your natural inability to repent enough, believe enough or be good enough is no barrier to His ability to change all that and save you from hell. His grace is enough. And though God resists the proud, He gives grace to the humble and poor in spirit, (1Pet.5:5) for He often refines them in the furnace of affliction to remind them they can never earn it (Isaiah 48:9-11). God in His mercy has already provided the means of salvation in Jesus’ blood atonement and He supplies the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to apply the merits of that sacrifice, while regenerating the dead spirit that was held captive by sin.    

  God’s free grace also helps overcome the external compulsion to sin, which still makes our position one of major accountability. At the same time, believers have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ who intercedes for us in our weaknesses and saves us to the uttermost (Heb.7:25, 12:2). He is the author and finisher of our faith, (Phil.1:6) not by violating our will, but by changing our heart so that our will is free to obey Him in spirit and in truth rather than legalistic bondage.  Because being seated in heavenly places by God’s free grace is far better any day, than being seated on the high horse of freewill by our own works.  For “The horse is prepared against the day of battle; but safety is of the Lord” (Prov. 21:31).

Sis Lee Anne —–Readers w/ questions or comments are free to contact me at gospel4life@live.com

 

discernment column, Newspaper Articles

Truth Shines Brightest Against Backdrop of Error (Last of Discernment Series)

Theological Thoughts

    Philippians 4:8 says our thoughts are to be upon that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. These are all a perfect description of the gospel, which represents the hope of believers, the exaltation of Christ and ultimately the glory of God. However, mixing the gospel with worldly views only shows a lack of belief and esteem for the authority and sufficiency of God’s word. Truth mixed with error is no longer truth at all (1John2:21) but becomes false, dishonest, unjust, impure, ugly and a bad report, which in turn brings false hope, the exaltation of mankind and blasphemy toward God.  So, just as it was forbidden to sow with mingled seed under the old covenant, (Lev. 19:19) it is still forbidden for Christians to sow seeds of the gospel mixed with worldly philosophies and opinions of man.

    But sadly, many today are deceived into believing one can “chew up the meat and spit out the bones,” when it comes to bad theology.  But this philosophy for promoting false doctrine or allowing it to go unchecked is found nowhere in Scripture.  In fact, we see just the opposite with warnings such as “teach no other doctrine” (1Tim.1:3), for “a little leaven, leavens the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6) “we cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils, or be partakers of the Lords table and of the devils table (1Cor.10:21).  We are to “avoid those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to doctrine” (Rom.16:17) for there can be no unity between God’s people apart from the truth.  Even common sense tells us not to even attempt to eat meat mixed with bones to avoid chipping teeth or choking to death.  But more importantly God’s word warns us to abstain from all appearance of evil to avoid being destroyed by it (2Thess.5:22). 

     So dear friend, commit yourself to “casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor.10:4) and “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph.5:11).  For exposing darkness and proclaiming the gospel are actually two aspects of the same task, which may be one reason this discernment series has proven the old adage true, that truth shines brightest against the backdrop of error.

Sis Lee Anne

 

Charismania, discernment column, Newspaper Articles

Discernment Column #5 on Kundalini

Theological Thoughts

Kundalini:  defined as a universal “life force” that lies dormant until charged with “energy” thru occult practices such as yoga, purification rituals, meditation, or the touch of a guru, supposedly removing “defense mechanisms” that hinder “serpent power.”

Kundalini Syndrome:  unexplained illnesses, mental collapse, psychosis, neuromuscular damage, uncontrollable laughter and body movements, wild emotionalism, trances, inner visions, sounds, and psychic perceptions. It also mimics fibromyalgia and Schizophrenia. And though it lacks biblical resources for dealing with it, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) even recognizes it as a “Spiritual Emergency.” Yet, it is entering American churches thru “Christianized” yoga, soaking prayer, contemplative meditation, third-wave Pentecostalism, inner healing and deliverance ministries.

It’s a spiritual emergency when theological thoughts are being replaced by serpent “power thoughts,” where mind-numbing indoctrination is hammered home repeatedly until the “defense mechanism” of truth is removed.  Just as Sozo/Shabar counseling (last month’s topic) claims to peel away “protective mechanisms” or “parts” of a person’s personality that “hinder deliverance,” the signs and wonders movement as a whole is dismantling personalities at an alarming rate.  Christians are being pressured to worship God in a pagan way with universal appeal, which is an abomination to God (Deut. 12: 30-31).  Perhaps this is why we are seeing glimpses of God’s judgment upon counterfeit Christianity where He is allowing the rise of Kundalini with all of its wild manifestations to enter compromised churches. This would explain why these Kundalini outbreaks resemble the same delusions sent by God throughout His word (e.g. Isaiah 29:9-10).  Even in Isaiah 66:4 God says when people choose to worship Him their own way or the way pagans worship their gods, He will then choose their delusions. Also 2 Thess. 2:9- 12 confirms that power, signs and lying wonders will deceive many in the last days because God Himself sends strong delusion upon those who don’t receive a love of the truth. This also explains the increase of those who follow signs and wonders instead of Jesus.

Many believe these signs are proof they’re ushering in God’s kingdom, when they may actually be ushering in the kingdom of Antichrist. If so, Rev.17:17 say’s God will put it into their hearts to give their kingdom over to the beast. But until then, many antichrists are going out into the world as substitute “anointed ones.” In Hinduism, the impartation of this anointing is called Shaktipat, where a guru lays hands on someone until Kundalini occurs. The same happens in churches where leaders impart “anointing’s” in Jesus’ name by channeling “power” or “energy” thru mind/body experiences. That’s why the signs and wonders movement highly endorses the New Age friendly “Message Bible,” which adds the word “energy” 40 times. For example, in Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:28 it changes the word “pray” to “the energies of prayer” insinuating it’s no longer God who answers prayer or anoints with the Holy Spirit, but prayer itself or the one praying supposedly generates “the energy” or “the anointing.”

Other verses false teachers use to condone kundalini outbreaks are taken from Acts chapter two, where they claim the disciples were accused of drunkenness because they were “drunk in the spirit,” which is blasphemous. For by reading the chapter in context one can see the disciples were mocked due to “speaking the wonderful works of God” in different languages to all the different tribes present that day.  Peter, also of sound, sober mind, delivered one of the most powerful gospel proclamations ever!  In fact, the whole scenario shows that all of God’s gifts are a demonstration of the power of the gospel initiated by Him alone thru the Holy Spirit, not manifestations of “serpent power” initiated by man thru a “bartender” spirit.

Sadly, when Christians in this movement become convicted and begin to question, leaders twist verses such as Matt. 7:8-11 to discourage their discernment. If that doesn’t work they’re spiritually abused and even accused of demon possession, when it’s actually unbiblical practices that are attracting demonic activity. Scripture is clear, the Holy Spirit cannot co-habit with a demon (e.g. 1Cor. 6:19, Col. 1:13, 2:10). There’s no biblical account of demons being cast out of believers! Yet, Christians involved in this movement are becoming demonically oppressed.  So friend, remember that a universal “life force” is the broad way available even to vessels of destruction, but life in Jesus is the narrow way available only to vessels of mercy. So pray God will grant you mercy, discernment and the “protective mechanism” of truth, so you may be counted worthy to escape this devastating deception.

Sis Lee Anne Ferguson—–Readers with questions or comments are free to contact me at gospel4life@live.com

Charismania, discernment column, Newspaper Articles

Discernment Column (4) on Shabar Ministry

Theological Thoughts

 

Shabar Mantras: defined as “instruments” or “tools” of thought; used during occult meditation, along with “positive confessions” in order to identify with “Christ-consciousness” and transcend every obstacle

Shabar Ministry: an advanced form of Sozo (last month’s topic) that uses inner healing “tools” that have parallel implications within the occult. Yet, it is secretly slipping into many mainline churches and organizations such as Crisis Pregnancy Centers; promoted as “Christian counseling” under the Hebrew guise Shabar, which means broken. For those being targeted are the broken-hearted.

In Shabar Ministry, theological thoughts are distorted by “instruments of thought,” where contrived confessions and strange “tools” such as metaphorical doors, walls, and Father Ladders are used to supposedly help the broken-hearted realize their “identity in Christ.”  However, the hidden theology behind the Shabar “identity in Christ” cliché is not as innocent as it sounds, for it is the heretical doctrine of Identification rooted in Gnosticism, which claims one can transcend all obstacles by realizing they are an actualincarnation of Christ.  So in believing they can literally “be Jesus” to people, Shabar leaders assume God’s role in the lives of the broken by promoting a system filled with occult concepts, where a team of mediators or “seers” are set over those perceived to be lower on the spiritual ladder.  As a result, vulnerable people who originally come for help, end up feeding into the team’s desperate need to feel superior by subjecting themselves to a humiliating process of sharing every private detail of their life, while the spiritually elite interprets them.

Consequently, fear and spiritual dependency keeps many bound to this group.  And like basic Sozo and all other occult practices, Shabar sessions require mental passivity in order to seek truth experientially through guided imagery, visualization and mystic mediators who facilitate “Jesus encounters,” as participants are supposedly led into a regressive, subconscious journey to the past. Yet, in reality this is where an altered state of consciousness is subtly induced and many become inoculated with an unbiblical view of Jesus, so that they become totally resistant to truth.  This is due to the subtle form of divination that takes place while participating in an unbiblical process involving human mediators and the spiritual realm, which is an abomination to God (Deut.18:9-14, 1Tim. 2:5).

Also parallel to secular psychology, Shabar leaders insinuate that those who don’t realize their identity in Christ have “Dissociative Identity Disorder,” for any problems or sins a person has in the present are blamed on past “generational curses,” or traumas that allegedly caused “double-mindedness” (split personality) or so-called “parts,” which are said to be “unconverted areas of the mind.”  The Shabar team supposedly “converts” them by integrating the parts.  But ironically, Hebrew anthropology views mankind as being holistic: spirit, soul and body (1Thess. 5:23) and in need of redemption, rather than the gnostic view of man being merely a sum of “parts” in need of “integration.” In fact, this psycho-mystical process for becoming converted and whole is completely foreign to Scripture, for it teaches one can only be made whole in Christ by being regenerated, not integrated.  Furthermore, Strong’s Concordance rightly defines double-mindedness as having no fixed beliefs, which ironically describes the inner healing childishness of being carried about with every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14) devoid of any absolutes.  Strikingly comparable to Jeremiah 2:13, the inner healing movement is forsaking the fountain of living waters for broken (shabar) cisterns that can hold no water.

So remember dear friend, the “good fruits” that the Pharisees thought they had were not  “fruits worthy of repentance,” for they came from a bad tree that was not made good by God, reminiscent of the bad tree in the Garden with the fruit that was “pleasant to the eyes,” but just a superficial illusion.  So it is today with the many cults that claim to have proof of their validity because of the supposed good fruits they produce.  Therefore, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) for if Jesus is portrayed as an inner healing tool or if His unique nature and Deity is downplayed, denied or usurped by those who exalt themselves— Run!!— And warn others, for this is the work of the spirit of antichrist warned about in1John 4:1-6.  But know too, that by being born-again (regenerated) by the Holy Spirit you really can be “integrated” into God’s kingdom, where Jesus forever heals the broken-hearted (Luke 4:18).

Sis Lee Anne

Charismania, discernment column, Newspaper Articles

Discernment Column (article 3) on Sozo

THEOLOGICAL THOUGHTS

Theophostic Prayer:  founded in 1996 by Ed Smith, a Southern Baptist pastor in Campbellsville, KY, who had to adjust his inner healing ideas and pull his suspect training manuals off the market (although he formerly claimed they were revealed by God). This was due to the theological and legal challenges he faced when False Memory Syndrome (FMS) was occurring with clients. Yet, the original hypnotically suggestive approach used in Theophostics is now resurfacing in many evangelical churches and organizations disguised as “Sozo Prayer.”

 

Sozo:  the Greek word for save, heal or deliver

 

     It’s a crucial time for God’s people when theological thoughts are being distorted by Theophostic thoughts, where a victim mentality is fostered by emphasizing a need for inner healing of memories and self-esteem boosting rather than the need to be humbled under the mighty hand of God, leave the past behind, take up one’s cross and follow Jesus. But in an attempt to Christianize a man-made system based on false psycho-therapeutic theories of memory, Theophostic thought is invading Christendom under the guise of “Sozo Prayer.” Like all other occult practices, sozo sessions require mental passivity in order to seek truth experientially through guided imagery, visualization and spirit encounters, which is why “Soaking Prayer” (last month’s topic) is commonly used in preparation for sozo sessions. Human mediators are also required, who facilitate “visions of Jesus” so He can supposedly “speak into the pain” to help people forgive the past. But in reality this is where “experiential truth” subtly begins to replace gospel truth and the authority of Scripture.

     Ironically, by trying to put God in a Theophostic box, many are going “off the map,” for Scripture never gives us a pattern for a sozo session and when it comes to forgiving and overcoming the past it only gives us reminders of the gospel (e.g. Col 3:13). For by remembering that although we have sinned against God and deserve hell, He loves us so much, He made a way for reconciliation by sending His Son to shed His blood on our behalf, which is sufficient to humble us into forgiving others. But instead of explaining this simple truth and our need to be granted faith and repentance, sozo sessions put emotional needs above spiritual needs with the help of a different spirit, a different Jesus and a psycho-mystical gospel. For by trying to manipulate Jesus in falsely assuming He will cooperate with an unbiblical process outside of God’s sanction and protection, puts sozo participants into direct contact with occult “spirit guides,” demonic imposters who often pose as Jesus in order to confirm lies that have been implanted through the hypnotically suggestive approach used in sozo sessions.

     This is where discernment is crucial for recognizing the difference between man-initiated encounters and the biblical pattern that confirms; true encounters with God are always initiated and facilitated by Him alone. In fact, the only scriptural references for man-initiated encounters are instances of divination, which is a severe offence and abomination to the Lord, (Lev.20:6, Deut.18:9-14, Jer.14:14, Acts 16:16, etc.). And Ezekiel 13:6-8 perfectly describes sozo sessions, where God condemns conjuring up vain visions of lying divinations while claiming they are from Him and causing people to hope in false confirmation. Colossians 2:18 also speaks against intruding into things not seen and being vainly puffed up by the fleshly mind. For although our God-given imagination can be used to express worship and petition to God, it is never to be used as a way to hear from God, which leads to rank superstition and creates an idol in the mind.

     Jesus, the only mediator between God and man (1Ti.2:5), has not left us to occult devices in times of suffering, for He ever lives to intercede for all who come to God by Him and saves them to the uttermost (Heb.7:25), which exposes the inner healing lie that suggests there are still parts of us that need to be saved by a sozo encounter. For God’s people already have access to pure rivers of living water that flow unto salvation so that they need not drown in a polluted river of “recovered memories,” where undercurrents of spiritual bondage lead to FMS, broken families, fear, depression and a shipwrecked faith. Sadly, damages are so severe that many sozo advocates are now having participants to sign a disclaimer so they will not be held legally liable. So dear friend, due to the fact that Sozo Prayer has made its way to our local area, pray God will grant you a love for the truth (2Thess.2:10), so you will not be deceived and may He grant you the grace, discernment, wisdom and courage needed to walk in Jesus’ steps in becoming an advocate for those who are spiritually abused. 

Sis. Lee Anne 

 

 

Charismania, discernment column, Newspaper Articles

Discernment Column (article 2)

“as we have received mercy……..

we faint not, but have renounced ….

 the hidden things of                                       dishonesty”    2Cor.4:1,2                                               

Theological Thoughts 

Biblical theology: anhonest understanding of God based upon His Word, revealed by the Holy Spirit to those who are His

Occult means hidden; dishonest views of God, based on metaphysics, revealed by “spirit guides” to those who are “enlightened”

Yoga: defined as a “yoking” or “union;” an occult catalyst for unequally yoking and uniting with Christianity

     Today theological thoughts are being distorted by “New Thought,” a movement that mixes occult concepts with Christian terminology, to try to infiltrate and corrupt Christianity from within, rather than direct opposition. We see this with yoga meditation slipping into many evangelical churches under the guise of “Soaking Prayer,” where the subconscious mind is “soaked” in repetitive music or “Word” mantras in order to “connect” to God.  Like yoga, this practice induces a mild trance that subtly dulls reasoning abilities so “new thoughts” can be implanted.  Perhaps this is one reason Jesus commands in Matt.6:7 not to use vain repetitions in prayer as the heathen do.  For “tapping into God” subconsciously, undermines actually knowing God thru His Word and consciously communing with Him in worship and biblical prayer (humble, sincere appeals and requests, with thanksgiving) Phil.4:6. In fact, these mystical man-mediated “connections” to God shipwrecks faith in Christ-mediated reconciliation with God.  

     A move away from the moral to the mystical always presents another way to God that dilutes the fact that only Jesus’ blood can make us near Eph.2:13, and that God is near all who call upon Him in truth Ps.145:18.  For the “connection” mystics seek is not in truth, but in error, seeking to be “as God,” as an actual possessor of His divine nature, despite the fact that God says He will not give His glory to another Isa.42:8. Yet, those who are saved reflect His glory and are partakers of the divine nature by His gift of grace thru faith in Jesus 2Pet.1:4. For His grace is sufficient to draw us to Him without occult techniques that cause altered states of consciousness and spiritual bondage, or else Christ died in vain Gal.2:21.

     The same old lie in the Garden of Eden that seemed good with the promise to “be as gods” is still alive today disguised as a new thought, for in this regard “there is no new thing under the sun” Eccl.1:9. We still reap what we sow, despite good intentions and its still forbidden fruit to mix mercy with merit, grace with works, or truth with error.  So dear friend, ask God to grant you love for the truth, so that you may be saved 2Thess.2:10 and given the grace needed to renounce the hidden things of dishonesty.                      Sister Lee Anne —–

Charismania, discernment column, Newspaper Articles

Discernment Column (article 1)

Theological Thoughts

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God”—–. “rightly dividing the word of truth”  2 Tim. 2:15

Theology: the study of God that recognizes all His works as being systematic and orderly, revealing that theology is to the Bible what science is to nature, proving God’s word to be a consistent, harmonious system of Christian belief and practice

We live in a day where theological thoughts are subtly being distracted by a worldly system of non-thought. Our vocabulary is even being dumbed down for the sake of “texting,” or other forms of empty chatter, when God says our conversation is only worthy of the gospel, Phil 1:27. Yet, desensitized by media, opinions, doctrines of men, and legalistic do’s and don’ts, our mind may become passive to the point of just believing whatever we are told, rather than going to God’s word ourselves. In fact, lack of reasoning is why so many are ending up in cults today. “The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” Prov. 14:15

Acts 17: 11-12 tells us of Apostle Paul’s encounter with noble minded Bereans. These men and women were not only ready to receive God’s word, but they also searched the Scriptures daily for themselves, to see if all they were being told was true. Not only does this scenario show us that women are to be involved in theological matters too, but that we all need to “test the spirits” with sound doctrine and discernment to keep from being deceived by “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils,” which are sadly shipwrecking the faith of many today, 1 Tim. 4:1.

The Bereans applied themselves to know the truth, as God was drawing them thru His word and by His grace granting them belief in Jesus, with the Holy Spirit enabling them to respond in faith.

 So dear friend, by God’s grace search the Scriptures daily and ask Him for firm belief in Jesus, so that you too may respond in true faith and repentance. For now is the day of salvation!