freewill vs. Sovereignty of God, Newspaper Articles

Therapy or Theology?

In the last article we seen how Scripture proves God is sovereign in all things, including suffering. We also touched a little on the deistic view of suffering. Yet, we need to take a closer look into deism, for it’s the view of the whole world, which lies in wickedness (1Jn.5:19).  It attempts to put man or “mother nature” in charge and portrays God as a helpless bystander. But Scripture clearly shows that God’s hands are not tied by His laws of nature or even by the so-called “freewill” of man (e.g. Dan.4:35, Eph1:21).

For example, Jonah wasn’t willing to do what God called him to do. Far from it, Jonah tried to run from God and found out that he couldn’t. Why? ….because God always catches up with His own. He never leaves them to themselves, but seeks them and rescues them, which is why God prepared the fish to swallow Jonah and spew him out on land again. God knows how to incline His people to be willing to obey! His hands are NOT tied!!

Even in Ezekiel 2:1-2 we see that God grants His people what He commands, for He knows we’re helpless. Yet, the motto of deism is “God helps those who help themselves,” when Scripture clearly shows the opposite. God helps those who CAN’T help themselves (e.g. Isa.64:6, Lk.18:10-14).  Sin has so corrupted our nature, we must be born again by the Holy Spirit, Who alone can quicken us from being dead in sin and make us alive in Christ (Eph2:1-10).

Much of our suffering (even as Christians) is due to the sin that dwells in the flesh. Many times even depression begins with sin (worry, impatience, doubting God, believing the devils lies), not low self-esteem. Yet, therapeutic deism turns people to therapy, rather than to God for mercy. A Savior can never be truly treasured as long as one thinks they’re basic “goodness” can attain salvation. When in reality the only part we play in salvation is the sinning. God does all the saving and He does it effectually and completely, leaving none of it to us, because “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” “For when we were yet WITHOUT STRENGTH in due time Christ died for the ungodly”(Rom.3:10-12, 5:6). 

Deism is a self-help religion that downplays how terrible sin is and labors to boost self-esteem. But 2 Tim.3:2 shows us that’s the last thing we need. We already love ourselves too much! We’re naturally selfish and every other bad thing. So our greatest need is to have a Savior Who can cover our sins, reconcile us to God and love us more than we could ever love ourselves. We need the blessed assurance that we’re saved from the eternal damnation our sins deserve.

Deism also idolizes the mind by claiming the gospel can be grasped by natural reason, rather than supernatural revelation by God. But “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1Cor.2:14). So the only “freewill” the natural mind has is “freedom” from righteousness, for “when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness” (Rom.6:20). But God never leaves His people to their own fallen “freewill,” but opens their understanding and grants them repentance so they CAN recover themselves from the snare of the devil (2Tim.2:25-26). 

So friend, “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (Jn.8:36). Jesus even delivered someone possessed by a legion of demons, not due to an ability to choose Him with their natural mind, because it wasn’t until AFTER Jesus delivered him that he was even in his right mind to follow Jesus (Mk.5:15). So take comfort fellow-sufferer, one can even be out of their mind and still be saved and delivered by God, who gives the spirit of a sound mind (2Tim1:7) ….because nothing is impossible for God. Sis. Lee Anne—e-mails welcome at gospel4life@live.com

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Theology of Suffering

Recently I was shown a brochure many are finding in their mailboxes these days.  The main subject of this one was why there’s suffering in the world.  I’d also just recently heard a speech on the same subject, by a well-known Christian, Joni Erickson Tada, who’s been quadriplegic most of her life.  She explained how many today push the idea that God is just a distant observer who’s not really personally involved in His creation and that evil and suffering just happens randomly. Ironically, this is also what that brochure was pushing and its called Deism.   But Joni explained what she called the “theology of suffering,” where God allows what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves.  And she said God’s sovereignty in suffering can be better understood if we look to the suffering of Jesus.

For example, in Acts2:23 and 4:28 we see that God determined beforehand what would happen to Jesus.  We also see here how God ordains for His purposes to be brought about by “wicked hands.”  He sovereignly directed their wickedness to fulfill His purposes, even though they didn’t realize it (Prov.20:24, Jer.10:23).  And although the wicked do it from evil motives, God does it sinlessly, for He cannot do evil (Job 34:10-12). 

Even as far back as Genesis 45:5-8 we see God directing the evil actions of the wicked in order to bring about His purposes.  Joseph’s brothers meant evil against him, but Gen. 50:20 says God meant it for good, because He is good and all that He does is good.  In fact, He works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom.8:28).  So we can be comforted in knowing that we can have hope in God, for there is no random, purposeless evil or suffering in this world.

So are the wicked excused because God directs their wickedness to fulfill His purposes?  Absolutely not, because God didn’t cause them to be wicked, He only directed the evil that was already in their heart.  We are all responsible to God no matter what (Rom. 9:20).  And even when God works good from our evil, we cannot take any credit for it.  Yet, if God hadn’t set up everything this way, we’d think we could control everything and even take credit for our own salvation.  But God has set everything up so perfectly, that we might get a glimpse of how beautiful and miraculous His grace and mercy really is.

But personally, even after writing about the sovereignty of God for over 2 years now, I still can’t completely wrap my feeble mind around it.  And it seems that along with every article I’ve written, God in His mercy has often disciplined me thru some very painful depths of suffering to bring me to the end of myself.  Perhaps to save me from the prideful pitfalls that often happen when one tries to proclaim the beauty of God’s sovereignty and salvation.  All I know is that it’s been only in my weaknesses that I’ve truly been able to realize the strength of God’s grace.

And so when it comes to God’s sovereignty, in puddles of tears and pleas for mercy, I have to confess, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Psa. 139:6).  “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out” (Rom.11:33).  So along with Paul I have to say, I am determined to know nothing among you, except Christ and Him crucified (1Cor.2:2).                                                                                                                                                                   Sis. Lee Anne—-much needed prayer and humbling rebukes from God’s people are welcome at gospel4life@live.com

 

freewill vs. Sovereignty of God

So then—How Does God Save to the Uttermost?

In the last article we covered how God saves.  So now let’s cover how God saves to the “uttermost.”  Hebrews 7:25 says, “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”  And “uttermost” means absolute, total and to the most extreme imaginable degree.  Wow!!

So how does God save to the absolute, total and most extreme imaginable degree?  According to Hebrews 7:25, it’s by Jesus ever living to intercede, by pleading the merits of His blood in the presence of God against satan, on behalf of His people.  So, as long as His blood has merit and as long as He “ever liveth,” His people have salvation.  In other words, it can never lose its merit, for “He is able!” His precious blood can never lose its merit based on any inability in Jesus or because of any of His people’s weaknesses.  In fact, He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).

Jesus said, “I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them from My Fathers hand” (Jn.10:28-29).  So how could anyone ever believe salvation can be lost, when it’s based on Jesus’ merits not ours…..Unless of course ones “faith” is in themselves and what they do, instead of in Jesus and what He’s done? 

“Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh” (Gal.3:3)? If we could possibly reach sinless perfection here, then we wouldn’t need to be saved by an act still being performed by the living Savior—His intercession!  Paul knew this and confessed that although he had a will to do good, he couldn’t due to the weakness of the flesh.  So he made it clear that it’s only because of Jesus continually pleading His blood that believers are able to overcome and be brought safely home (Rom.7:18-19, 8:26-39). 

However, God’s people can never boast that He loves them “just the way they are,” for in deep humility and repentance they must admit that God loves them DESPITE who they are.  They’re sinners who’ve had the price of their redemption paid in full by Jesus’ blood.  And it was an actual payment, not a hypothetical one that’s only applied if we “name it and claim it.” We can’t push Jesus aside, seat ourselves on Gods throne and legalistically “plead the blood” as a formula for protection or deliverance.  In fact, Scripture contains no record of phrases like these ever being used by the apostles, prophets or any other believer, because they’re borderline blasphemy.  

Jesus pleads His blood for the sheep (Jn10:15) and even said, “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given Me; for they are Thine” (Jn.17:9).  His prayers for His people cannot fail and He keeps their faith from failing (Luke 22:32).  Jesus’ blood covers ALL the sins of those He died for (past, present and future), including the sin of unbelief.  So that those God has ordained to eternal life are enabled to believe through grace (Acts 13:48, 18:27).  All glory goes to God the Father Who arranged salvation, God the Son Who accomplished it, and God the Holy Spirit Who applies it!!   

So remember friend, God doesn’t begin the work of salvation and expect us to finish it.  The song Amazing Grace doesn’t say, “I’ve kept from losing my salvation thus far,” but it does say, “Twas grace that bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” And if you truly want to sing it in sincerity, you must come “unto Him that is able to keep you from falling”——-for God saves to the uttermost (Jude 24, 25)!!

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

freewill vs. Sovereignty of God

How Does God Save?

How does God save?  Many think He saves by expecting us to perfectly fulfill His laws and commandments.  Then some think He saves by expecting us to follow the pattern Jesus set forth.  But according to His word He saves by His blood and His blood is not laws, commandments, or patterns, but a redeeming price.  We can contribute nothing to it, or else we could boast. God saves by GIVING to us, not by expecting from us. And once God gives, then He can expect us to be able to obey, for it’s His power that works in us (Luke 12:48, Phil.2:13). 

Yet, if we were expected to fulfill all of God’s commands perfectly before we could be saved, then we’d all be doomed.  Can any honest person claim to be able to fulfill God’s ultimate command to be perfect (Matt.5:48)?  Absolutely not!!  James 2:10 makes it clear that we blew that possibility the first time we ever sinned.  But what is impossible for man, is not impossible with God (Mark 10:27).  Although the Bible clearly presents our responsibility to fulfill all of God’s commands, it also clearly shows our inability to do so, until God intervenes (e.g. Ezek.18; 36:22, 26, 27, Rom.8:7, 1Cor.2:14).  For only God can “make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ” (Heb.13:20-21).

 “For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  Because His divine power has GIVEN His people all they need for life and godliness, which would include faith and repentance (2Pet.1:3).  For He saves “not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was GIVEN us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2Tim.1:9).  And “it’s GIVEN on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but to suffer for His sake (Phil.1:29).  So all glory goes to Jesus who came as “God manifest in the flesh” to reconcile His people to Himself, from every tongue, tribe and nation throughout the world (2Cor.5:19, 1Tim.3:16, Rev.5:9).

God saves by GIVING a Savior to His people and by GIVING His people to the Savior.  In John 6:37 Jesus says, “All that the Father GIVETH Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” For they are “justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Rom.3:24, Eph.1:7).

All glory be to God the Father who purposed salvation, God the Son who purchased it and God the Holy Spirit who applies it!!  Praise be to God who has been so merciful, kind and loving to give His grace so freely to those who don’t deserve it, those who have no spiritual strength of their own.  “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6)……….  God saves bad people.

Are you a bad person friend?  Then you’re qualified for a Savior.  And you need one, for you cannot even dare to come to such a holy and righteous God without the Savior whose blood covers all sin, so that you can be “accepted in the Beloved.”  For God never rejects those who repent and believe through the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ (Eph.1:19-20).

So if you’re at the end of your rope because you realize you can never (in your own power) do enough to be acceptable to such a holy God, then I have Good News for you friend.  His grace is enough.  Jesus has already done the redeeming work and He said “it is finished.”  And He’s saying to you now, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will GIVE you rest” (Matt.11:28).                                                                                                                                                                                     Sis. Lee Anne—–readers with questions or comments are free to contact me at gospel4life@live.com

Charismania

A Slave to Sozo vs. A Slave to Righteousness

    I must confess one of the main reasons I ended up in sozo sessions was because of problems with my family.   And  I’m finding that even today, I still have to continue to forgive them over and over again, because they are human and offend in many things, like myself, but at least now I’m going directly to God with my struggles, rather than Sozo counselors, “seers,” mediators, “prophets,” etc.

I must thank the Lord that I never had one of those false “visions of Jesus” one hears so much about concerning Sozo.  I see now that it was only because God was protecting me.  But when the sozo counselors would ask me if I was seeing Jesus in my memory, it was suggesting to me that I should be or else something was wrong with me because I wasn’t seeing Him in my memory.  The worst fear they incited was the thought that I wasn’t really saved.  Although they would act suspicious of me for not having a “Jesus encounter,”  they finally said, “that’s ok, some people don’t THE FIRST FEW TIMES.  I thank God He brought me out before that happened.  But I realize that if people don’t finally go along with them or succumb to this brainwashing, these counselors get nasty and even question one’s salvation.  And truthfully one can be so hard-pressed to perform in these sessions and so desperate for acceptance from them or even from God that they will finally conjure up an experience in their own mind.

I remember that I did tell them I sensed a presence behind me and so they encouraged me to verbalize what He was telling me.  So I basically used my imagination to “hear from God” (BIG MISTAKE)!!  And I told them what I “sensed” Jesus was wanting to tell me.  It was basically just a bunch of self-esteem boosting with nothing biblical. BUT, looking back I believe that “presence” followed me home, because things would get really crazy after those sessions.

It wasn’t until God really began to deal with me concerning the messed up, man-centered theology I ‘d been believing my whole life, that I finally snapped out of  being a slave to sozo and other sins.  God began to lead and guide me to “paths of righteousness for His name sake” (psalm 23).  He prodded me to “search out the old paths where the good way is, and to walk in it, so I could find rest for my soul” (Jer. 6:16).

The old paths are where I found some books by authors such as John Bunyan from the 1600’s who presented the gospel in such a way that Christ alone was exalted, rather than man.  He was also a martyr in the sense that he was imprisoned for twelve years just for preaching the gospel, rather than the “acceptable” religion of his day.

As Divine Providence would have it, one of his books ended up in my hands.  And after reading it I realized I’d never heard the full counsel of God before.  It was the gospel of grace, rather than the works-salvation I’d been exposed to my whole life, not only in local churches but from televangelists, such as Billy Graham who was into the whole “decisional regeneration”—-put your trust in your decision—-not in Christ basically.

Had I known the true doctrines of grace, I would’ve never fallen for so many false doctrines and the wolves that teach them.  Yet, in the Church of Christ I grew up in, and even raised my kids in for years, I was actually being prepared to accept even greater heresy and preparing my kids to do the same.  For when it was pounded into us time and time again, that our destiny depended on us and our “decisions,” rather than God and His choice of us, we became perfect prey for doctrines such as Word of Faith works-salvation —do this, do that, say this, or say that, to “speak your destiny into existence.” 

In sozo sessions one has to speak Jesus’ imagined words into existence basically.  This wallowing in the past and imagining what Jesus is saying to us in the realm of  our subconscious memory, is then supposed to help us forgive and let go of “those things that are hindering us from a deeper walk with God.” Spare me.  I’m so on to that, thanks to God’s gift of true salvation and discernment.

I don’t have to imagine Jesus’ love for me because it’s now a reality because He has given me the faith to believe the truth, by giving me spiritual eyes and ears that Jesus purchased for me when He died for me.  He not only covered my sins with His blood, but He obtained gifts for me that are applied to my heart by the Holy Spirit who has quickened me from the dead, so that I now walk in new life as a new creature in Christ!  And I’m so forever grateful for God’s mercy in doing this, for such an undeserving sinner and apostate as I’ve been.

  Jesus truly did come to call sinners to repentance, not the self-righteous who would rather be slaves to sozo (Rom. 17:23).

Is He pricking your heart too friend? I pray He is, for that means you are His and He will have his way with you just as He did rebellious Jonah and Saul on the road to Damascus.  And He will perform that, which He has begun in you (Phil.1:6).  God bless

Charismania

To the victims of Sozo

First let me say, I’m sorry that you are going through this.  I understand many of the setbacks and delusions, for I’ve been there.  In fact, Sozo has taken many victims captive and unfortunately many families have been destroyed by it.  Personally, the only reason I have been set free is by God’s grace and Him revealing the true gospel to me, which is why I am constantly trying to get the true gospel out.  For many have been led astray by a man-centered gospel that leads to such things as Sozo.

As a result,  Sozo and other such practices promote a false man- centered gospel, because that is their foundational starting point.   In fact, the main reason people end up in the sinking sand of inner healing circles is because they have no solid foundation built upon the Rock of Jesus Christ.  So unfortunately, the disillusionment leads to putting subjective spiritual experiences above the objective word of God, in order to try to fill the void.

True biblical help for victims and those  trying to help others recover from Sozo would be to inspire them to focus solely on Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, for He is  the only mediator between God and man.  Sozo counselors (some unknowingly) try to usurp that position, which belongs only to the Savior of our souls.   And only by Jesus’ blood being applied to our account by the Holy Spirit can we be saved, delivered and healed.  Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient.
Please realize that God’s people do not need extra-biblical experiences to verify their standing with God, for the Holy Spirit witnesses to God’s people that they are His.  “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit (thru His word) that we are the children of God” (Rom.8:16).  If this hasn’t happened, it’s back to square one….the gospel.

I pray God will heal the devastating effects of Sozo that has been inflicted upon these poor souls.  And I know He will answer that prayer according to His promises.
God bless,

Sis Lee Anne—-victims are also free to vent and share with me at gospel4life@live.com

Charismania

Sozo Bits

I seemed to have positive results with Sozo in the beginning.  But as time went on, I got worse and worse and worse.  I remember one session in particular.  Everything seemed to go fine—–until I got home.  It was as if I was in a bedazzled state of mind, as if I couldn’t differienciate between the past and the present.   In fact, I was becoming more and more stuck in the past…..  God’s word says to put the hand to the plow and not look back.  Look what happened to Lot’s wife when she couldn’t quit looking back.  And that’s what I was becoming “a pillar of salt” from so many tears shed over the past, rather than letting by-gones be by-gones.
I was not denying myself, taking up the cross and following Jesus.  Instead I was wanting to lay my problems down, not at the feet of Jesus, but at the feet of self-proclaimed “seers” who promised to have all the answers that would set me free, but brought me into bondage.  Because the sessions would start me on a downward spiral where I would be wallowing in my own self-absorbtion and self-pity, while unknowingly following their guru version of Jesus who only exists within New Age circles. 

And that is what Sozo is, New Age with a “Christian twist,” where the whole focus is on self-esteem, rather than humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God. But the Bible warns that “in the last days perilous times will come, men will be LOVERS OF THEMSELVES…….  Sounds like psycho therapeutic, sozo self-esteem boosting doesn’t it?    hmm.
With such a heavy emphasis on man-centered, false doctrines, participants are subtely led to believe that these sessions are the answer to everything and the answer to everyone elses problems too, rather than the gospel.  The result?  They begin to subtely pressure others they know to go thru the sessions too. 

That also happened to me.  My family and friends even tell me now that I would come off as being extremely arrogant, as if I had reached a higher spiritual level than anyone else, especially higher than those who had never been “sozoed.” And honestly, looking back—- I truly believed that.  I’m so ashamed of that now.
I also developed an extreme hate for my family, although the sozo counselor would lead me to verbally forgive people, it would never stick.  For saying it and even praying it, isn’t what helps us forgive others——it’s the gospel—-period. But sozo is not about the gospel.
One of the biggest deceptions of inner healing ministries is the  doctrine that there are “unconverted areas of the mind,” or  “parts” of us that aren’t saved yet, while some parts supposedly are—-that’s insane!!  And can drive participants insane as  they go thru sessions.  My article on Shabar, an  advanced form of Sozo, which is the next level of Sozo deception, goes into this.  Let me know if you have any questions about it.
The bottom line is that Sozo was never enough.  I had to keep getting those “spiritual highs” and all that “special” attention, for Sozo leads to developing a victim mentality.  And as a result, I became spiritually dependant upon people instead of God.  I began to constantly call the sozo team for their “prophetic insight” rather than going directly to God thru prayer and His word.  But afterall, they had the “latest” word (spare me).

God alone has the final word—–and it stands the test of time.  Sozo counseling doesn’t.

Proverbs 19:21—“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”