Posted in devotionals, theology

Avoid Foolish Controversies: By Charles Spurgeon

By Elizabeth Prata

I really liked this one. All of them are good, but this Morning’s Devotional by Charles Spurgeon was especially insightful. I am making it a separate blog. You can get the Morning, Evening, and Faith’s Check-Book devotionals here.

This Morning’s Meditation
C. H. Spurgeon

“Avoid foolish questions.”—Titus 3:9.

OUR days are few, and are far better spent in doing good, than in disputing over matters which are, at best, of minor importance. The old schoolmen did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our Churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions.

After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion no more promotes knowledge than love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field. Questions upon points wherein Scripture is silent; upon mysteries which belong to God alone; upon prophecies of doubtful interpretation; and upon mere modes of observing human ceremonials, are all foolish, and wise men avoid them. Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether; and if we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.

There are, however, some questions which are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid, but fairly and honestly meet, such as these: Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind? Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Am I growing in grace? Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour? Am I looking for the coming of the Lord, and watching as a servant should do who expects his master? What more can I do for Jesus?

Such enquiries as these urgently demand our attention; and if we have been at all given to cavilling, let us now turn our critical abilities to a service so much more profitable. Let us be peace-makers, and endeavour to lead others both by our precept and example, to “avoid foolish questions.”

Portrait of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville

 

Posted in devotionals, theology

Are you done with butterfly hunting?

By Elizabeth Prata

Charles Spurgeon stumbled across Puritan Thomas Manton’s works and was immediately captivated by them. Enchanted, he reformatted some of Manton’s sermons into a devotional form. The result was a book called Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, by Charles Spurgeon, 1883. Here is one of them.

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It is time that I am done with all butterfly-hunting!

“As children catch at butterflies—the gaudy wings melt away in their fingers, and there remains nothing but an ugly worm!”

Such is the end of all earthly ambitions! They cost us a weary pursuit, and if we gain our desire—it is destroyed in the grasping of it!

Alas, poor rich man, who has wealth—but has lost the power to enjoy it!

Alas, poor famous man, who in hunting for honor, has learned its emptiness!

Alas, poor beautiful woman, who in making a conquest of a false heart, has pierced her own with undying sorrow!

A butterfly-hunt takes a child into danger, wearies him, trips him down, and often ends in his missing the pretty insect. If, however, the boy is able to knock down his victim with his hat—he has crushed the beauty for which he undertook the chase, and his victory defeats him!

The parallel is clear to every eye. For my part, let me sooner be the schoolboy, dashing after the painted insect—than his father worrying and wearying to snatch at something more deceptive still.

It is time that I am done with all butterfly-hunting! My years are warning me that I may hope soon to be with Christ Himself, and see greater beauties than this whole creation can set before me. I am now bent on pursuing nothing but that which is eternal and infinite. Keep me to this resolve, I beseech you Lord.

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Toshiba Exif JPEG
EPrata photo
Posted in beth moore, devotionals, discernment, jesus calling, Joyce Meyer

Our roles as woman in the faith part 3: be discerning about our theology. This keeps us strong, AND helps the men in our lives

This is part 3 of a three-part series on woman of the faith and how satan is exploiting our specific vulnerabilities in order to infiltrate the faith with false doctrines.

In part 1 I looked at what the female’s vulnerabilities are, from scripture.

In part 2 I looked at places where satan is operating in order to bring these false doctrines. Women are in the home, and so satan brings the doctrines into the home, as it is stated in 2 Timothy 3:6, “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,

Instead of these false teachers accomplishing their leaven-spreading, via personal visiting inside homes as the scripture indicates was done in biblical days, in today’s world, false teachers come into the home via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and blogs. And unlike the old days when there were designated male teachers and elders matured in the faith over time and learned under an educational setting or from another elder, now anyone can become an instant Christian pundit and theologian, including women. And unlike the old days where in order to listen to these teachers, one had to attend a church or revival speech, buy a book, or go to seminary, now these false teachers’ reach is anytime and anywhere at the click of a button. Of course satan makes hay with this and promotes his doctrines of demons very easily today.

Tickled ears leads to dead faith. Wikimedia commons

One of the most influential false teachers worming her way into homes to seduce women into false beliefs is Joyce Meyer. Joyce Meyer’s reach on social media is astounding. She receives more re-tweets on Twitter than the Miami Heat and CNN Breaking combined.

In this 2012 article titled “How Joyce Meyer Dominates Twitter”,

The pillars of social media are YouTube, Facebook, Disney … and Joyce Meyer Ministries, according to a ranking released this week. Social media analytics group Track Social ranked the top public Twitter brands and found that @JoyceMeyer was retweeted more often than any other brand, topping ESPN, the Miami Heat and CNN. That’s right – Fenton-based Joyce Meyer Ministries was hotter than Jeremy Lin last month.”

Their top 10 ranking of retweets per day:

1. Joyce Meyer Ministries
2. ESPN
3. Joel Osteen Ministries
4. Miami Heat
5. Breaking News
6. NBA
7. CNN Breaking News
8. Los Angeles Lakers
9. Chicago Bulls
10. BBC Breaking News

In 2012 Meyer had 750,000 followers and 11 months later, by November 2013, she had 2.5 Million, by April 2014 it was up to 2.75 million. Do you believe that?!?! I was astounded myself when I read it. Meyer’s message goes out tonearly 3 million people per day. Besides ranking “first in retweets, Joyce Meyer Ministries ranked first in overall social media marketing, first in social engagement and first in social buzz.”

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you,
not sparing the flock; Acts 20:29. Wikimedia Commons

What makes the Joyce Meyer Twitter feed so popular? The account only tweets a handful of times a day, but the tweets’ messages – “We’re never hopeless with God. All things are possible through Him!” – give the direct inspiration that all 750,000-plus followers can share.”

Ear tickling. She has the same thing other false teachers have, a winsome personality, Christian-sounding language, and friendly approach to sin, with rare talk of holiness. Add a mega dose of word faith prosperity and you have a winning combination. Apparently.
We should inculcate a desire for women to increase their knowledge of God’s word and the Lord and to be more competent theologians. ~Mortification of Spin.

This reach should be a God-given blessing. Imagine the power of the Gospel infiltrating millions of homes, and minds! But the Gospel is not the message Joyce Meyer promotes. She tickles ears and presents doctrines of demons, there fore this reach is not a blessing. It is a curse.

The following excerpt is from a pastor who became fed up with the false message of this woman and called her out from the pulpit. I agree with doing that, because many of the congregation read or follow false teachers, without their pastor knowing who is reading what. It is good once in a while to make a blanket warning about the false ones so that the sheep know who the wolves are. In 2012, Pastor Jim Murphy did this in a message called The Subtlety of Satan, (and included Beth Moore in the stuff he planned to root OUT of the Sunday School curricula, bookstore, and library).

Why I Called Out Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer
By Rick Henderson, August 5, 2013
I have been preaching for 20 years. Yesterday I did something that I have never done before in a sermon. I publicly called out false teachers and named them by name. I said,

If you listen to Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, if you take what they teach seriously, it will not be good for you. It will be detrimental to your long-term growth as a follower of Jesus.

And that is why we press upon you so hard, because ultimately these false teachers want your destruction. They will make a shipwreck of your faith. We care about you so deeply we are willing to risk your ire and our friendship to tell you these things.

If a book is on the Christian bestseller list, you probably shouldn’t buy it. ~Todd Pruitt, Mortification of Spin.
Pastor Henderson continued, and I agree with this completely…I haven’t written about Meyer before now because I thought it was so obvious she’s false, but no. I was wrong.

I used to think that their error was so blatantly obvious that they could just be ignored. I was wrong. They are massively growing in popularity in the evangelical world and are seen as credible and helpful. …When I first heard her tell her story I was deeply moved and impressed. She is an amazing example of overcoming hurts and abuse. She will forever have my admiration and respect in that regard. Furthermore, she gives spectacular advice. If my wife or if one of my daughters went to her in a moment of crisis, I believe they would return with magnificently helpful advice. If they went to her for teaching, they would return with deadly heresy.”

And that is how Meyer – and all false teachers – hook you. Satan appeared to be helping Eve in the garden. The false ones use the bible. Of course they will have a bible in their hand, quote it, use it. If they failed to quote the bible it would be obvious they were false. If they quoted Buddha or the Koran, it would be obvious. But they use the bible. It is a matter of HOW they use the bible that makes discernment difficult. Charles Spurgeon said discernment isn’t just detecting between right and wrong it is discerning between right and almost right.

But here is why I thought it would be obvious Meyer is false. Meyer has said,

“God rose up from His throne and said to demon powers tormenting the sinless Son of God, ‘Let Him go.’ Then the resurrection power of Almighty God went through hell and filled Jesus… He was resurrected from the dead – the first born-again man.”

Listen to Meyer actually saying her many heresies here, and here, or go to Pr. Henderson’s link above for the full explanation. More links will follow below.

But in just the 100 words above, Meyer is denying the —
•Location of the atonement, (Meyer says it was the cross AND hell)
•The sufficiency of the cross in the atonement (the cross wasn’t enough, Jesus had to go to hell also)
•Sinlessness of Jesus (you only need to be born again if you’re a sinner, Jesus was never born again, He was sinless. Hebrews 4:15)

And we haven’t even discussed Meyer’s word-faith/prosperity gospel nor her failure in financial accountability with the millions she has raked in.

Husbands, brothers, pastors, your women are vulnerable to satan in massive ways in this technological day and age. Your message from the pulpit is only one of many she listens to each day. You compete with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, mommy blogs, radio while she is commuting, tv preachers while she is folding laundry at home, and the doctrinally disastrous music of her teenage children.

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Miss Auras By Sir John Lavery ca 1900

So what can we do?

Pastors, guard your flock. Actively. Name names. Be aware of the books and other material people are placing in the church library. Do a once-over of the Sunday School curriculum now and then. Apostasy is rising so fast, curricula that were acceptable even five years ago are no longer. I refer you to Jim Murphy’s sermon above, “The Subtlety of Satan.” As Carl Trueman mentions on the radio show linked here and below, (“Extra Special Revelation“), don’t do it in a cavalier manner that offends, but in a way that provokes interest and further questions.

Husbands, guard your wives. Check in with her on her spiritual needs in terms of books and devotionals. Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling devotional is currently sweeping Christian circles and it is a devotional that is not only blasphemous but is rank heresy. Same with Ann Voskamp’s devotional. Same with anything by Beth Moore. And Joyce Meyer. Help her be discerning and select appropriate spiritual material. It is one of the joys of male leadership and one of your duties too. (1 Timothy 3:12).

Women, you don’t HAVE to choose books or devotionals just because a woman wrote them. As a matter of fact, there are many great books and devotionals out there that men wrote and I guarantee they are usually meatier. Randy Alcorn’s “We Shall See God” is great. I contains Spurgeon devotions on heaven intertwined with Alcorn’s devotional thoughts. It is a good way to be introduced to Spurgeon AND eschatology. It’s eating meat but in little bites.

Wives, becoming theologically sharper prepares you to help your husband and also demonstrates your devotion to him and his spiritual well-being. (1 Peter 3:1; Ephesians 5:33).

How can we challenge women to be good theologians? Housewife Theologian Aimee Byrd Aimee Byrd was asked on the Mortification of Spin show

“There are no books telling men how to take out the trash for God but there seem to be a lot of books out there for women on how to get skinny for God, how to do the laundry better. … Theology is a very practical thing. What we believe about God shapes our decisions every single day. Pastors, elders, and the church in general should be encouraging to women to be growing in their theological study.

Byrd (she’s good!!) recommends for women, the Abridged John Owen book “Communion with God.” Rather than the treacle that passes for spiritual meat by Sarah Young of Jesus Calling, if you want to commune with God, this abridged and modernized paperback is a great start. It is also a great way to be introduced to the Puritans.

Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions by Starr Meade is also recommended
There is not a lot of teaching in Jesus Calling about the person of God and the work of Jesus Christ.
~Aimee Byrd

On the 30 minute Mortification of Spin radio show, a recent discussion by Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd revolved around women and their desire to “hear more from God”, Jesus Calling, and why women are falling for these kinds of books and what pastors can do about it.

Men and women, it’s good to ponder the following question: how can the church help women be more discerning? Our church’s Discipling pastor said “Pray for like-minded women.”

Prayer! In addition to requesting wisdom and discernment of God, ask Jesus to increase your discernment. Do we think this isn’t one of the good gifts He wants to give us?! (Matthew 7:11). It is aligned in His will for us to be pure and holy (Titus 2:4-5) so we can honor Him in Spirit and truth. (John 5:23).

Pray for courage. It takes boldness to approach a person who asks you if you have read the latest Joyce Meyer book or done the latest Beth Moore study to disabuse them of the helpfulness of either of those women teachers. It should be done sensitively. You don’t want to make someone feel stupid for having already chosen to read a particular book, follow a certain blog, or taken a specific course. But share we must.

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I hope this three part series has helped you, my sisters. I love my brethren and it wounds me to think of even one of you hurting from having fallen under the sway of a false teacher or a bad doctrine. Please consider these things, test what I’ve said against scripture, and pray for wisdom and discernment for the Spirit to apply what He knows you need to your heart and mind. He is coming soon, our Groom. We honor him by remaining as pure as possible, persevering to the end as holy saints.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (Titus 2:12)