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Am I Bitter?

This past week I’ve heard some teachings on bitterness and the peril in which we place ourselves when we harbor it, feed it, and participate in sharing it with others. As you may know, I always ask the Lord for confirmation on what to share with others, and this one has come up many, many times over the past few weeks.

I have to admit that the first teaching I heard really convicted me because I realized I was doing all three things that I mentioned above – harboring, feeding and participating or sharing bitterness. If I can compare it to something, I would compare bitterness to a spiritual yeast dough. If you give it enough time and the right circumstances it will completely take over the bowl of your soul. I’ve also lately been increasingly distressed by the hateful attitudes, selfishness, and overt lack of concern for others, especially during this time of pandemic. I’ve mentioned more than once for us to put aside our political leanings and to love each other as the beautiful beings our God created and yet, I found myself getting worked up and feeling bitter over what people are saying (political and otherwise), especially when those people claim to be “Christian” brethren when what they’re sharing seems anything but something Jesus would have us share.

For those of you who might not know, I’m considered a charismatic Christian and I have a fabulous Pastor who only moves on the word/command/prompting of God. Lately he’s talked in several sermons and coffee talks about how and what are we doing to keep our Spiritual wellbeing guarded, nurtured, and healthy. He has mentioned several times for us to step out of the fray of world of negative politics, he said-she said bickering, conspiracy theories, social media, etc., as an easy method for managing our mental wellbeing. He’s encouraged us to focus on using this quarantine time wisely – to learn more about God and to press into getting to really know Him better.

It wasn’t until I found myself cursing out loud when talking about the news of the day (if you knew me, you’d think that pretty crazy) that I knew something wasn’t right with my soul. You know what the Bible says: the things that come out of the of mouth come from the heart, and out of the overflow of our hearts, our mouths speak. (Matt 15:18 and Luke 6:45). So, you can imagine that if I heard myself cursing out loud, I must have some pretty toxic overflow going on. About the same time, I heard a teaching on bitterness and, as I listened, I thought, “Hmmmmm… I might have a real issue here.”

That’s when it hit me. The instructor said that when we hear about someone/something and the first thing that comes to our minds is something negative or unlovely, it’s a sign that we need to deal with bitterness. I was convicted. Ephesians 4:29-32 tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” So, it’s pretty clear that outright bitterness must be suppressed. And yet, as followers of Christ, there are times when what we hear sparks righteous outrage that causes us to seek or administer correction. That’s the dilemma we face. I think the whole thing is settled by what you allow into your brain to begin with.

First, recognize how delicate and yet important the line can be between lashing out in bitterness and responding or even correcting with love. On the one hand, correcting is to be done out of love and encouragement. Bitterness, on the other hand, is a root that can destroy people, families, and even whole nations. Did you know that we actually defile ourselves and others by carrying it around? That’s because it is tied not to love, but to hatred. Because of this, we are advised in Hebrews 12:14-15 to pursue peace with all people and to be holy because without holiness no one will see the Lord. It says to see to it that we do not fall short of the grace of God to be sure that “no bitter root grows up” to cause trouble and defile many. These verses go on to remind us of the bitterness of Esau who sold his inheritance rights for a meal and then regretted it and wanted it back. Bitterness. Regret. They’re connected, and they can divide your family, too. So, we should constantly ask ourselves, “Is this thing I want to say out of love or something else.” Just asking that question will help rid us of bitterness.

Moreover, did you know that bitterness is treated like an open door for the enemy to lay siege to us or worse yet, for witchcraft? Why? Because bitterness, which turns people away from God, is sinful. Bitterness rarely acts alone, and often couples itself with judgment, jealousy/envy, unrighteous anger and finally, perhaps the worst yet, pride or self-seeking. If you’ve read the Bible, you’ve definitely heard about pride, as it’s mentioned some dozen times (and they’re always biggies) and implied about four dozen more, and never in a good way. We’ve at least heard that it triggers destruction (see Prov 16:18), and is usually mentioned in connection with judgement of ether Israel or Israel’s enemies. At its core, though, pride means relying on yourself and not relying on God. It’s a way of saying, “I know better,” at least when it comes to the folks that might find their way into your bitterness root camp. So, being prideful has to go if we want to be truly open to the fullness of the blessings and relationship with God. In short, consciously getting rid of pride will help rid us of bitterness.

I mentioned judgment, and that’s another thing that bitterness causes us to do. When we get so angry (like I was) at people that we start to judge them on their spirituality, their integrity, mental capacities/capabilities, that’s never a good thing. Empathy is a good helper when it comes to being non-judgmental. Think about something you’ve done, and then think about all the reasons for why you did it. I’ll bet there are plenty, and nobody else really knows what they are. Well, that’s the way we need to act around others. My husband said he used to get pretty peeved about things that an old friend of his would say, and then he learned that his old friend lost his only son that year to cancer. I think that’s why God makes it pretty simple to actually do the work of Jesus. It really only boils down to a few things, which include loving others and not judging them (for example, see Matthew 7:1-2). Once again, in short, consciously getting rid of any judgmental attitude will help rid us of bitterness.

And let’s not forget unforgiveness. Bitterness and unforgiveness go hand in hand, and yet forgiving others is a hallmark of the Christian faith. Indeed, the Lord’s prayer itself mentions it, and Jesus, when further explaining it, even says, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6: 14-15). This may seem harsh to outsiders, but we followers of Christ understand what we call “the holiness of God,” which is a righteousness that is so extreme that it simply doesn’t allow sin in its presence. When we say God is just, we mean that he is the maximally great expression of justice – perfect justice – and you simply don’t allow anything sinful around that. Does it mean you’re not saved? Absolutely not, but unresolved sin like unforgiveness might be closing your communication to the Holy Spirit and thus to certain blessings; you know, like losing a signal from the supernatural radio. In short, forgiveness of the sort urged by Jesus will help rid us of bitterness.

Finally, Proverbs 10:18 says that whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool. So, I know I need to stop posting things (spreading slander) on Facebook or other places that further my fleshly/worldly cause or justify my political position. I know that I need to remove myself from the fray of the deceit, lies, and overall time-wasting that goes on with that sort of stuff. I know that because it all leads to bitterness.
Now here’s the tough part. Sometimes you absolutely must – with a sense of righteous desire correct the church on something that really matters – say something that someone else might tell you reeks of bitterness. For example, I think some people looked at my last blog and thought “bitterness” simply because likely saw the word “Trump” at the very beginning and thus skipped through it. But my last blog wasn’t done from hatred or bitterness. It was done from love, and a sense that people in the church were propping up idols at the expense of God. It was warning about idol worship in all its forms, with an example that just happens to be in the news every day.

Like I said, it’s tough, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t cross that line between righteous correction and bitter rebuke.

First, stick to the Word. If you’re addressing action that is clearly unbiblical, then you’re on the right track. Along those lines, research it to determine Truth. Again, the Bible will help you immensely in this effort; for example, I didn’t have to go far to see the negative aspects of idol worship. Then try to make sure that whatever correction you give is rooted in love, encouragement, and exhortation. That’s a tall order (which I don’t always do so well), and writing stuff down automatically means that some people will likely take it the wrong way. But we must do our best. Finally, ask God what should be said. If you keep getting the same answer, then you better say it (or pray it; a lot of the time, you can just intercede through prayer rather than actually confront anyone). Sometimes God has you say stuff that just has to be said, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But whatever you say or do, try to visualize Jesus saying or doing it. Jesus – the one person who, if it were in him, could rightfully express the most bitterness – never did, going so far as to ask forgiveness for those who put him to death. If we all develop our empathy, we’re going to start seeing people the way God sees them, and that will automatically make us less bitter.

Ok, now what? I admit that I’ve lapsed into bitterness lately. I’m ashamed that I’ve allowed unwholesome things to take up time and space in my brain. I’m not happy that I was reading everything going on regarding the political situation and the virus, all of which was triggering deep, negative thoughts, including anger toward people I barely knew.

So, I repent of all that. I repent of the bitterness that I allowed to defile my soul. I repent for feeding the agendas of the world and basically repeating the ugly talk that is so prevalent in our world. I repent for showing pride by thinking that I knew what was really happening to someone and what was truly in a persons’ heart. I repent for being unforgiving. Finally, I repent for judging people and I now ask for every negative, unwholesome word that I have spoken against/about people to be taken back and removed from them. I ask for God’s abundant wisdom, mercy, and blessings to be bestowed to those people in place of anything sent their way by me with bitterness as its root. I also pray for all people to know our Lord and accept the free gift of salvation so they can experience the peace that I am re-claiming as well as the love of the one True Living God.

So, Saints, let’s check our hearts, and start paying close attention to our thoughts, words, and deeds. Let’s ask the Lord to reveal any root of bitterness, any related hangers-on (judgment, selfishness, unforgiveness, pride), and any strongholds put in place for bitterness we may have shown in the past. Let’s ask Him to remove that root and instead replace it with mercy, love, humility, and forgiveness. Finally, let’s thank God in faith for doing all these things that we know he will do whenever we humbly seek His guidance.

A Word From God

I hope that everyone is weathering this unusual time, and I pray that everyone is healthy both in body and spirit.

I had a word from the Lord a week or so ago, but I’ve been putting off sharing it due to its somewhat political nature. Frankly, I have an aversion to the politics of this age because it’s been used by the enemy so successfully to divide people. It all reminds me of our civil war and how divided our nation and families were in that particular time. Nevertheless, I’ve been convicted by my lack of obedience since I have received this message, and so here it is. Those of you who are in more charismatic churches know that if someone gets a word, he or she must share it verbatim and not try to clean it up just for the sake of cleaning. I’m not apologizing for the message, but I will simply tell you to open your heart and mind and ask for the Truth to be revealed from the Lord.
What God told me is this:

“Tell my people to stop worshiping Trump. He is just a man and I am God. I am He who knew you from before you were formed in you mothers’ womb. He is a not a man after my heart. The things happening now are to break down the idols you have come to worship that take your focus off of me and the good things I have for you. Trump is your president because your nation picked him. Yes, I use all things to my honor and to show my face – but he is not to be worshipped and set on a pedestal as one who is above me or the laws. Look at his fruit and test him by my Holy Spirit – open your eyes.

Break off/break down your idols that you worship – that which you focus on – money, wealth, politics, vanity, pride – these are not lasting, but I AM. I am the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end. Turn your focus to me and prepare to be blessed immeasurably.

This time you have while you are removed from the busyness of the earthly world is to be used to renew your bonds with me, remember me, spend time with me as you would a long, lost friend. Get to know me and reflect on the good things in your life and know that I orchestrated those times. Look at your growing and learning times and know that I was with you and that I remember your sorrows and heartaches. Know that I have never left you.

Come back to me, rest in my arms, enjoy my peace, stand in my protection, seek my heart for you and your family and see how much better it is than the worldly, fleeting pleasures. Invite me into your home and heart so I can heal your woundedness and prepare you for your True blessings. Also know that I am a jealous God and disobedience and forsaking me angers me. I created you, I created the heavens and the earth, the sun and moon, the stars in the sky, the food you eat. I created you to love me and fellowship with me and yet you have created altars and idols to worship who can’t speak, or bless or save you. Come back to me. I forgive your sins – nothing is too great for me to forgive – just ask me. Put down your pride. I love to heal your brokenness and purge the lies set in you by the enemy.

Stop hating your brothers and sisters because they don’t believe the way you do. Stop taking in everything your people say as truth and look for my Truth. If you don’t see me or my heart in situations or people it is not my Truth. Be careful what you feed your body to be healthy and in the same way be careful of the things you feed your mind. If it is not my Truth it creates a trash heap in your heart where the enemy finds pleasure in exploiting and growing lies, hatred, misinformation, deceit, pride, covetousness, and busyness to blind you from my love.

Come back to me – not for just a moment like you did after 911 where I protected and rescued many – but for your lifetime. Make your time on earth matter by knowing me and loving my people, helping my people not just in a crisis but every day. Come back to me. I Love you.”

A little more revelation from this past week. Know that the words I heard from the Lord, above, are addressing the adoration and admiration of idols, but especially people’s (believers and non-believers) adoration with our current President, as shown especially by comments that he is a man of God and has been chosen by Him apparently to bring people back to God. In fact, the current President is not a “man of God,” as shown clearly by tests gleaned from adherence to scripture and by spiritual fruit, which we have discussed a bit before. But there appears to be more confusion over the President’s particular role given God’s providence over all things.

I suppose this will require a longer explanation in another blog, but for now simply realize that God uses ungodly people to do His will all the time, and His will is not necessarily what you might hope it would be at any given time. For example, in Luke, Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow, whose pleas wore down a man who “neither feared God not cared what people thought.” Luke 18:1-8. Jesus used this particular ungodly man to make a broader point about God’ justice. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon’s Temple and initiated Babylon captivity of the Jews. Cyrus rebuilt the Temple and allowed the Jews to return from Babylon. In each of these things, God’s will was done – and would always have been done – whether or not people agreed with the Kings or even remotely knew their ultimate purpose.

The Bible is clear in stating that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans, 8:28) and those things include both good and bad – godly and ungodly – rulers. But at any given time, we simply don’t know what the “good of those who love him” actually is. Indeed, to build His Kingdom, it’s quite possible that God will use ungodly rulers to force some of the more unpleasant parts of the end times to occur. So, we don’t know why someone is in charge – we only know, given a strong sense of divine providence – that God has everything under control and, in the end, will use it for good of the Kingdom he envisioned at creation. In fact, if you go down the path of saying, “God placed this person on his or her throne to make us a more godly nation,” then you’re stuck in a logic problem of trying to determine why, for instance, God placed any other particular President – or even some dictator – on any particular throne at any particular time. Is one placed there to bring people to God, while another is placed to punish – each for our ultimate good? Or is it the other way around?

The point is that, even with a strong sense of divine providence, we don’t exactly know why a person is allowed to rule. So, again just for now, realize that God’s plan for this particular President might be for something altogether different than to bring our nation “closer to God.” Indeed, simply from the current news surrounding the church, an equally plausible reason appears to facilitate separation of “the sheep from the goats,” the true believers from those who only practice a shallow, if not anorexic belief.

The main point is not to worry, but to allow God to work. And, accordingly, not to try so hard to define and, indeed, prompt that work that we stray from Biblical principles. God will do what He will do, and we may be puzzled by that at any given time. But as for daily living, we have clear guidance: Follow God, relying on His moral law, scripture, and, in some cases, particularized revelation, to make daily decisions – each of which brings glory to God. If you find what you are doing is, instead, practicing a sort-of idol worship, not only by coveting the things of the natural world, but also by constantly standing up for ungodly decisions, ever=defending unscriptural actions, and persistently agreeing with notions that sow hatred and division, then it’s clearly time to turn back toward God.

He Is Risen!

 

Good Friday

For many followers of Jesus, the Stations of the Cross are a powerful form of worship. The traditional stations represent fourteen discreet places along the path (the Via Dolorosa, or “way of suffering”) that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. Around the world, churches set up images of Christ depicted at these points – traditionally, from his being condemned to death to his being placed in the tomb – that allow people to pause to pray and to contemplate what Jesus did for the world.

In Old Jerusalem, the Stations are marked along the Via Dolorosa with metal markers on the walls of various buildings (first picture, above). As you walk the path, you might find large wooden crosses, which people pick up and carry on their pilgrimage (picture two). If you’re hard core, you can grab and carry two (picture three)!

Resurrection Day

So, if you go to Jerusalem, you quickly learn that there are two possible locations for Jesus’ death and burial (and thus, his resurrection). The first is inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which has been the traditional site since the fourth century. It is grand, with much pageantry (pictures one and two), and, as you can see, has long lines just to touch the rock upon which Christ was crucified (Golgotha or Calvary, picture three), a slab upon which Christ was laid after his death (picture four), and the tomb (picture five).

This location is contrasted with what is called the Garden Tomb, which was unearthed in 1867. Unlike the Church, it is quite modest (picture six), accessible (picture seven), and, while not expressly claiming to be “the” tomb, has a tomb that certainly fits the biblical bill (picture eight).

There is pretty compelling evidence also to claim that the adjacent cliff to the Garden Tomb (picture nine) is Golgotha, the place of the crucifixion, including the fact that it was a traditional site for both Hebrew executions and Roman crucifixions due to being so visibly situated along the road to Damascus. But what I find interesting is the fact that if the crucifixion actually happened here – the Garden tomb, where there is currently no pageantry, no lines, and, indeed, is found at the base of a cliff today surrounded by parked busses and trash (picture ten) – then it would likely be fitting for a life that ultimately defied every expectation of a messiah.

I have my own theory, but ultimately the issue isn’t a dealbreaker.

Happy Resurrection Day, Everyone!

Fear or Faith?

I’ve watched the news reports on the Coronavirus over the past several weeks, and I’ve watched the fear growing in our communities and the world. I think it’s great that we have highly educated, highly intelligent people at the World Health Organization and our own Center for Disease Control working on containment and a cure. It’s also great that there are so many resources out on the Internet giving us information about how to prevent getting it ourselves. But I don’t see very much Spiritual information to keep us healthy, so let’s explore that in this blog titled, “Fear and Faith.”

Okay, at its most basic level, faith is complete trust, belief, or confidence. Fear, on the other hand, is the emotion caused when you think something is dangerous. Theoretically, you could have complete faith in something really bad, such as the possibility that a virus will attack you, and then it would be compatible with fear. But when I talk about faith, I’m talking about faith in God. And when I talk about faith in God, then I just don’t think we can operate out of faith and fear at the same time. That’d be like saying that it’s day and night at the same time (it just doesn’t happen, and don’t be trying to argue about eclipses and whatnot). Trust in God means that we fear nothing except being apart from God.

Fear

While God certainly created the emotion of fear, it’s used most often as a tool of the enemy to distract our focus from our worship of our Lord. I lump ordinary worry into this toolbox, too, because fearfulness causes us to worry about what might happen. Once I read where someone said that FEAR means, “False Evidence Appearing Real,” and that’s a pretty good way to look at it. Usually, once we’ve had time to reflect, we can see that what we feared is actually false. But for some reason, we have a tendency to at least initially believe and fear the false evidence. God knows this, which is why In the Bible, virtually every time an angel of the Lord appears to someone (like when the angel appeared to Mary) the first thing the angel says is “do not be afraid.” God knows how powerful fear can be if it’s not used for its proper purpose, and so He wants us to keep it in perspective.

There are several verses in scripture telling us not to fear. Most of us have heard the familiar 23rd Psalm, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil for you are with me.” Similarly, Psalm 46:1-2 states, “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give away and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Psalm 91:4-5 states that with trust in God, “you will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.” Isaiah 41:10 states not to fear simply because God is with us, and in Romans 8:15, Paul writes that as believers we didn’t receive a spirit that makes us “slaves” to fear.

The Bible speaks of the “fear of the Lord,” but don’t take that the wrong way. As Pope Francis correctly stated, “The fear of the Lord, the gift of the Holy Spirit, doesn’t mean being afraid of God, since we know that God is our Father that always loves and forgives us,…[It] is no servile fear, but rather a joyful awareness of God’s grandeur and a grateful realization that only in him do our hearts find true peace.” It’s a reverential respect for our Lord and a fear of displeasing Him so that we strive to walk more intentionally in obedience and repentance.

Faith

Like fear, the Bible has a lot to say about faith and belief – with hundreds of references to both terms. By the way, as a rule of thumb in the Bible (and in life), if something is important enough to mention more than a few times in must be really important. That’s certainly true of faith and belief.

Our entire relationship with our Lord is birthed out of faith and belief and grows from these foundations. If the enemy wants to get us off track, all he really needs to do is to plant a bit of fear, doubt, or unbelief, and that automatically starts to erode our faith. He did it in the garden with Eve when he said, “You will not surely die.” Just a little bit of doubt, and suddenly everything changes. Fear is especially potent because it’s such a strong emotion. “Sure, I believe in God,” one might say, “but I’m really afraid that I might lose my job (or house, or health).” That sentence, and others exactly like it, requires a “but” in the middle of it simply because deep down we know that the two things – fear and faith – are foundationally incompatible.

So, how do we combat fear? Through our recognition of faith. And there are lots of ways to do that. I know from personal experience that the only way I can have a measure of peace in this tumultuous world is to constantly feed my faith through the Word of God. I’m routinely assaulted by outside influences, so I have to remind myself of God’s Word, and I have to be in the Word daily. Reading the Bible strengthens my faith, just as playing a lot of video games might strengthen my thumbs. It’s just a natural byproduct of the action.

But there are other ways to recognize and build faith. My husband spends a lot of time looking up answers to thorny theological/philosophical questions. The more he knows, he says, the stronger his faith becomes. You don’t have to start with such complex topics, though; you can build your faith intellectually by reading other authors’ books, articles, and blogs about faith or their stories of how they built their faith. Other, more “spirit walking” ways include prayer, meditating on the attributes of God, and talking with other followers of Jesus. That fact is – as I wrote before in my book – the more you go looking for God, the more you’ll see God at work. And seeing God at work automatically increases your faith. These days, I look at a car driving down the street and marvel at God’s creation.

Paul talks about faith being a shield (Eph. 6:14) that can deflect all of the arrows of satan, so it’s defensive in the sense that it blocks the lies and fear thrown at us daily to take us out of alignment with God. But faith can also be offensive, giving us the foundation to confidently wield the sword of the Word and spirit-filled prayer. That’s why Jesus said if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. (Matt. 17:20) It’s faith that heals, faith that raises the dead, and faith that protects.

And that’s why our faith in God should cause us to look at this virus – or any virus – differently. Remember, saints, that although we are in the world, we are not of the world, and we are indwelled with the Spirit of the God who created the universe. So, bottom line, is that our faith should erase any fear of disease. Now here’s the hard part: that doesn’t mean that we won’t get a disease. And it doesn’t mean that we won’t die from a disease. It means that we shouldn’t fear it.

Throughout my book, I talk about understanding the supernatural world, but not forgetting to do the natural world things. So, yes, wash your hands! Cover your cough! Don’t sneeze on your friend! Sure, go ahead and buy supplies – you ought to do this anyway, by the way – and try to limit your exposure to places and things that can give you an illness. Do all this “world” stuff. But don’t worry, because your life in this world is only a prelude to the eternal.

Last week our pastor said that he had zero fear of the coronavirus, simply because if he got it, he’d either come through it on this side, surrounded by nurses giving credit to doctors and drugs, or the other side, surrounded by the angels of heaven singing praises to God. Either way, fear simply shouldn’t enter into it.

Faith Not Fear

This isn’t the first big virus, and it won’t be the last. And yes, one day it will be this or something else that takes you home. My personal belief is that God keeps us alive so long as we are completing our calling – the thing that God wanted us to do to grow the Kingdom. I call this a sort-of “spiritual immunity,” and it keeps me constantly working, making sure that when I do get called home I haven’t been called because I gave up. There’s really no time for fear in a life like that.

So, continue using your own spiritual immunity by helping others to see what a follower of Jesus looks like when he or she presented with something people think is fearful. Show them a life without fear. A life with faith. A life walking in the Spirit of God.

Romans 10:17 states, “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” And the word of Christ, in this instance, is saying “do not fear.”

Facebook?!

I woke up this morning with a heaviness and an urgency on my heart concerning the state of our believing body of Christ on social media. Over the past month or two, we’ve been blogging about, “The Power of Our Words,” “Are we awake?”, “Are our eyes open?”, and last week “Roots and Fruits. I had hoped that this would open some eyes and generate healthy Spiritual change, but I now feel the need to address the elephant in the room (or world) – Facebook. My Spirit is truly disturbed by things that I have seen on Facebook for some time. I’ll address those things in no particular order.

1. Is Facebook a reputable news source? NO, and emphatically NO! Please stop using Facebook for world news. I see so many things posted (or typically re-posted) from some site that people think is news, and yet it’s not from any respectable journalistic site, and half the time (or more), it’s not even true! It’s actually quite embarrassing that we, as Americans, are so gullible and lazy that we would just post something that looks like it supports our point of view without fact-checking anything. And, folks, posting false or misleading stuff puts your “friends” in a difficult situation. I mean, what, exactly, are we to do when a friend or relative posts something that’s blatantly false, short of pointing it out and making them feel stupid? Personally, I usually just delete it. Sometimes (If I’m really close to the person), I’ll message them and say it’s false. But realize, Saints, that this sort of reckless sharing of falsity is keeping the world blinded from the Truth of both the natural and the supernatural, and we have enough of that happening on purpose to not let it happen by accident. I know this because once, on 60 Minutes, a guy was being interviewed because he was one of the main instigators of the Pizzagate conspiracy on the web. He admitted to lying about the whole thing on 60 minutes, and so the interviewer asked, “Don’t you think your web viewers will resent the fact that you lied?” And he basically said, “Oh, they’ll never even know I lied, because they don’t ever watch 60 Minutes.” See what we’re up against? People lie to you and assume you’re not ever going to do the work to find out the truth. So, bottom line, Facebook is not news. Don’t treat it like news by posting without doing some serious verification. Better yet, test your posts to see if they’re loving and honor God. If they don’t, then don’t post them.

2. Stop feeding the hate machine! Most of what I see posted is done out of at least subtle hate, and this seriously troubles me. I get it. Everyone has an opinion, and most people don’t care what anyone else’s opinion is, especially these days. But your opinion doesn’t have to include hate. If you’re a follower of Jesus, this should worry you like it worries me, because I often see so-called Christians posting something about God, only to quickly follow that post with something about “hating Republicans” or “shooting liberals.” Stop it! As Joyce Meyer once said, “Just because I sit in my garage, that doesn’t make me a car.” And just because you say you’re a follower of Jesus does not mean you’re following Jesus. Facebook thrives on the constant novelty of posts being shared one after another, most of which contain blatant or even subtle notions of hate. It’s a machine, and its existence is based on the creation and sharing of ever-nastier memes. Every time we share one, we need to seriously ask ourselves, “Is there any part of this that I wouldn’t say to someone in person?” “Is there any part of this that would shock me if I read it in the Bible?” Look, I know that God created hate, but he did so to give us a righteous hatred for things that harm his people. I also know that we’re called sometimes to correct the saints, but when we do that, we do it with love. If you’re not sure if it’s hate – meaning, maybe, you just think it’s funny, or a clever way of showing you don’t like being politically correct – insert your own child or mother into the role of the object of the derision, and pretend it came from someone else. Then you’ll know what to do. Here’s a quick example. I happen to know a guy who posts things about God. Clearly, he’s a believer in God, and professes to believe in Christ. But I just went on his FB feed and saw two posts in addition to the God posts, one saying, “Always carry a knife with you, just in case there’s cheesecake or if someone needs to be stabbed,“ and the other a clear reference to hoping that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will die. Funny? Barely. Hate as their source? For sure. Would you want someone you didn’t know to joke about stabbing your daughter or hoping your mother might die? Of course not. So why re-post? Bottom line, don’t be a part of the hate machine.

3. Stop sowing spiritual confusion. More specifically, when we post things about God or scripture, and then follow those posts with hate, such as posts about “our” political party that are hateful of the “other” political party, we sow spiritual confusion. God’s people should be first and foremost illustrating the persons of God and all things Godly. We’re not perfect, but we should at least be striving to be better each day, constantly asking for guidance and forgiveness when we fall down. When we sow spiritual confusion, though, the world calls us hypocrites, and they’re RIGHT! This is the opposite of what God has in mind for us, for the Bible says that we’re to be the salt and light in the world – we’re called to be clear beacons and not to confuse the world. We’re to be the ambassadors of Christ to those who don’t know him.

4. Don’t be confused by the issue of judging versus correction. Not long ago, I re-posted an article with a picture of so-called “evangelicals” praying over the President. I was disturbed that these people were publicly displaying their work and wanting the world to see how great they were – which completely calls into question their motive. I was also disturbed that they were praying for President Trumps’ world and political agenda instead of praying over him for salvation, Truth, Light and behavior worthy of our Lord. When I posted this, though, I had a seeker ask me about it. He said he thought it was great that people were praying over the President, and he wondered how I, as a Christian, might think that was bad. That began a long conversation over correcting with love versus judging, and that’s a thorny issue for anyone. Mostly, he thought I was judging the President, when I thought I was mostly correcting the church. But that’s almost always too complicated to express on Facebook. Accordingly, after that conversation, I personally decided that I would be extra careful in what I post or re-post, and I have since decided to only “follow,” “like,” or express opinions of things worthy of my Lord so that my behavior or testimony will not turn a seeker away from knowing God or will not lead a believer down a wrong path. When I come to my final days, I do NOT want my legacy to be that I misled His people in any way! This doesn’t mean we can’t lovingly correct the church – my pastor does it, my prophet friends do it, my husband does it, and heck, because my ministry is “arming the saints,” this blog is often concerned with loving correction to better arm people for supernatural battles. Just don’t be surprised if people don’t understand the distinction. I encourage you to pick the most honorable and worthy path to show people the love of our Lord. Maybe it doesn’t involve correcting the church, especially if people mistake it for judging. This political season and our life in this world will pass away, but our belief is based on eternity, so err on the side of avoiding confusion.

5. Don’t be one of satan’s tools! Saints, my own personal opinion is that, whatever good something like Facebook brings to your lives, it also presents an enormous opportunity for the enemy to harness for his purposes of stealing, killing, and destroying God’s people. The Bible states that, “many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Mt 24:11) Satan often uses imitation to deceive, and so he will continue to put up “prophets” that speak to his agenda and deceive believers. They’re false because they don’t speak the Truth. Accordingly, even if a follower of Jesus says he or she is a prophet (I’m one of those people who believes in modern day prophets – if you don’t know why, then that’s another blog!) we should not blindly follow them. Instead, we must continually test what they say. Even if it’s laden with scripture, test it! Ask the Lord to reveal the Truth of who they are. If they’re false, they’ll reveal it with a slip or a slant on the scripture that will prick up your ears. I’ve spent the last two years in fervent prayer asking God to open my eyes to the Truth of what’s happening in the world. God and I have an agreement that I always look for confirmation as to Truth and what He wants me to say so I don’t always go off half-baked or partially correct in my words. Don’t get me wrong – I still stumble, but the more I ask for spiritual awareness, revelation, grounding, and correct words – the less stumbling I do. Bottom line is that because Facebook is used by people for news, because it can be a machine of hate, and because it can sow spiritual confusion, satan will be using it.

6. Facebook is doing deep spiritual damage to the entire world! There’s a not-so-subtle chipping away at our civility and humanity by what goes on with Facebook. I’ve deleted comments from people physically threatening other friends on my feed, and, when I do, they sometimes complain that I’m “not following the first amendment.” And that’s just one blatant example. People think Facebook is anonymous, but everyone reads it. People think it allows them to argue with others, but they’d probably never do that in person. People think it allows them to “keep it real,” or to be “politically incorrect,” but often those phrases are simply justifications for past actions. People think it doesn’t hurt anyone, but we know of kids who have committed suicide over it. And, above all, people think that all of this hatred is allowed as some sort of American “right” of expression. All of these thoughts are wrong. Real people read posts and apply them to themselves, and they can be affected in ways that make the world a much worse place to live. And this happens, folks, millions of times a day, every single day. It causes families to argue, friends to stop speaking, and people to avoid other people altogether. I’ve personally been reluctant to visit even family, for fear that their posts reflect the way they’re going to behave in person. Here’s one small way that we can reverse that trend. My husband has “Facebook rules” that he applies to anyone who wants to comment on any of his posts. Rule number one, which is a good one, is that my husband will never, and I mean NEVER, post anything that is degrading or in opposition to someone on their own feed. That first rule is crucial to the rest of the rules, simply because the other rules apply to people who decide to post demeaning things on my husband’s feed. He claims that since he made that rule – which he’s had to post periodically – people have stopped coming on his feed to trash him. He’s also much, much calmer about what other people post, and he’s convinced that those other people are calmer about what he posts. What he’s done is to subtly insert a notion of mutual respect into Facebook. Now, don’t get me wrong, both his and other people’s feeds might be wrong or crazy, but at least – for those people and for my husband – there are fewer arguments (and thus less hatred) simply because they’re looking at Facebook as a personal opinion site, which they’re required to respect. I know people without that rule who feel compelled to respond and argue with someone else’s post. I also see people afraid to say something simply because they fear someone will come on and pick a fight. Think about creating your own personal rule of mutual respect for posts, no matter how crazy. Hey, it’s a start. The bottom line is that every single thing we say and do either uplifts or chips away at the spirit. We can decide which way it goes.

7. Is there any good in Facebook? Yes, and maybe that’s the problem because it does have benefits. Facebook is a great place to reconnect with friends and family and see what they’re doing in their lives. I love seeing pictures of vacations, time out with family/friends, hobbies, etc. Every morning, Tim reads a pastor’s mini-sermon that only appears on Facebook. He often says, “It’s also great for jokes and birthdays.” And, true enough, I have to admit that I love looking at the funny things that are on Facebook. I only look at it about once a week on the weekends, so that’s why you’ll almost always get delayed responses and well wishes late from me. And I love some of the funny (clean) jokes and videos being shared. My most recent favorite was a video of a dog carrying a plastic sled up a snowy hill and then hopping on it to slide down! I laughed out loud when I saw it, and It makes me giggle just writing it down here!

I know I might be preaching to the choir here, but now’s the time for us to speak for the Truth of what’s being put forth in the world and to stand up against the falsity. I encourage you to consider sharing this blog on your own Facebook page, even if you say, “Look at this crazy post!” More broadly, the Bible talks about a little bit of yeast getting into dough and permeating the whole batch (I Cor 5:6), so think hard about sharing only the kinds of posts that speak of God’s love and respect for others. Share posts about how to view Facebook in a Godly way. Share posts that uplift and edify. Share the Truth.


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