A Letter to All Evangelical Leaders and Members of Congress:
I am writing this letter today with great concern as to what has been happening in this country over the past year. I am deeply concerned over the future of this country and am equally disturbed by the actions and words of some evangelical leaders in the U.S.
Donald Trump has done great damage to this country over the past year, yet Congress fails to do anything about it. This man and Congress have hurt so many people – the Native Americans for taking away their land, the people of Puerto Rico in the extremely poor response to the hurricane disaster, the poor by cutting healthcare, the elderly and disabled by cutting Medicaid, the middle class if the tax plan is passed (eventually taxes will go up), and others.
In addition, Donald Trump attacks people on almost a daily basis. His Twitter feed is causing great distress not only to me but to so many people. Our stress level is sky high. We are sick and tired of hearing about “fake news”. We have had it with the constant name-calling: Lil Bob Corker, Rocket Man, Crooked Hillary, etc. We’ve also had enough of his constant lies every. single. day. I am 52 years old, and I have never in my life witnessed such immoral and unethical behavior. The public is sick to death of it!
Something needs to be done fast regarding Donald Trump. This man and his administration are doing so much damage to this great democracy. Many people feel that he is destroying this country, and I have heard many people say that they are thinking about leaving the United States if this keeps up. I have been Republican my entire life, but this year I officially changed to Independent. I also know those who have done the same thing. I read an article the other day that says even James Comey has changed from Republican to Independent. We don’t want to be associated with the Republican party as it is today. This is not what we stand for.
This tax plan will hurt so many people. It will hurt the disabled like my sister who was born with spina bifida and cannot walk. Her husband has neuroblastoma. They both work six days a week but together make under $75,000 a year. This plan will hurt the elderly. Many are on social security and make nowhere near $75,000 per year. What about those in nursing homes? Typically, these patients aren’t allowed to have more than $2000 in the bank. What’s going to happen to them? Some of the vets come back home without limbs and/or with PTSD. What’s going to happen to them? I personally know of a woman whose husband left her, and she had two kids. She came to work in the lab where I worked, worked for two weeks, and then quit because she was losing money because childcare costs were so high. She wanted to work and cried when she left saying, “I don’t know what I am going to do”.
One problem lies in the pharmaceutical industry. I worked for Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer) for several years when I was younger. This company made a truckload of money. Salaries of the executives were crazy high. I know the salaries of some of the executives in these pharmaceutical companies are in the millions. Yet some people, particularly the elderly, cannot afford their medication. How is this just?? May I remind you of the Epi-Pen controversy – how the company increased the cost of this life-saving medication by 500% while the guy at the top made millions?? My parents even witnessed a woman sell her dishes at an antique store to pay for her medication. She was in tears. Congress needs to immediately confront this problem. There is no job out there that warrants a salary in the millions, especially when that salary results in people not being able to get life-saving medication.
The pharmaceutical issue is just one problem, but it is a big one. This is what Congress should be working on to help the American people…. not a tax plan that will hurt those who are already struggling and who actually voted Trump into office.
Now to the evangelical leaders – we are disgusted and appalled that some of the biggest evangelical leaders seem to overlook Trump’s actions and behaviors. His behavior is the exact opposite of how Jesus taught us to live.
Jesus told us to help the poor. Trump is trying to take healthcare away from the poor. He failed to help those struggling in Puerto Rico. He is taking land from the Native Americans.
Jesus told us to keep the commandments. Trump lies every single day. He made lewd comments about women on the Access Hollywood bus. He has cheated on his wives. Members of his administration and transition team are now under indictment. He supports Roy Moore, a man accused of sexual assault.
Jesus warned us against greed. Trump constantly talks about how great the economy is doing since he took office. He seems to be solely focused on money. He is taking land from the Native Americans so he can make more money. This tax plan is going to help Trump by giving him more tax breaks. He and Congress are going to increase taxes on the middle class while giving corporations and the rich big tax breaks so they can make more money. Jesus told us, “You cannot serve both God and money.”
I see many evangelical leaders overlooking Trump’s behavior by saying that since he believes in Jesus, his sins are forgiven. There is just one problem with that. They are missing the whole concept of repentance. Trump himself has said that he doesn’t ask for forgiveness, and he continues to sin constantly. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them”. Trump’s “fruits” are constant sin and immoral and unethical, non-Christian behavior. In addition, he is hurting so many people with his policies. His “fruits” do not indicate a true Christian man.
I also see dripping hypocrisy coming from the evangelicals. I see a lot of finger pointing at everyone else while they stay quiet about Trump’s behavior. One recent example is the sexual harassment claims. They yell about all the Democrats who are accused of sexual harassment, but they stay quiet about Roy Moore and Trump. In fact, they even support these two people. Remember, Jesus warned us repeatedly about hypocrisy. These evangelicals need to go back to the gospels and re-read those passages.
I would also like to ask the evangelicals this question – Why in the world would Trump, right at Christmas, recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and put lives at risk including American lives? He did it at Christmas! He is putting the birthplace of Christ right in the line of fire at Christmas. Think about that.
To the evangelical leaders: Please read the book of Jude and pray about this. I want to point out one important passage in that book – “They are an ungodly people that pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality…”. I see this happening today. I see evangelicals justifying Trump’s behavior by perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality. If a person TRULY repents and TRULY accepts Jesus, he/she will turn from away from their life of sin. Yes, they will make mistakes because we are all human and we all sin. But they will not live in CONSTANT sin like Trump does.
This is an embarrassing time for the United States. We are on the verge of losing our democracy. Please, Congress, I beg you to think about what you are doing. I beg you to please do something about Donald Trump and his administration. And please, to all the evangelical leaders, please pray and re-think what you are teaching to those who follow you. The hypocrisy and the misunderstanding of true repentance is damaging this great religion. I am seeing people leave Christianity because of the hypocrisy. I love Christ too much to stay silent about this issue.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Have you ever gone through something horrible and thought “Why me?” Have you ever wondered why God allows us to walk through the “valley of death”?
I’ve certainly been there. And I’m quite sure you have too.
But I have also learned that no matter what we go through, somehow good always seems to come from it. One example in my life is my ordeal with adenomyosis. While I cried my way through some of the most painful nights of my life, I questioned why God was putting me through it. But today, I can look back and see why He put me through it – to help other women who are suffering through adenomyosis today. I have written one book on the subject and am working on a second book. I sell about one book per day, and I get constant “thank you” messages from women desperate to find help for this terrible medical disorder.
As many of my readers know, I don’t like Trump. Since Trump took office, I have heard over and over again from some on the far-right that “God put Trump in office”. I don’t believe this. Why? Because God gave us free will. He doesn’t dictate what we are to do in this life. He invites us to follow Him, but He doesn’t dictate. If he put Trump into office, then He also put Obama in office, and those on the far-right aren’t going to like that much…haha! Also, if God puts someone in office, why would we have elections? The truth is that we, the American people, voted Trump into office, and God ALLOWED it to happen.
Now, I don’t presume to know what God is thinking. But what I have witnessed this year personally is that those on the far-right are not nearly as Christian as they say. I see a lot of people (not all, but some) point their fingers at the left and calling them evil. However, the behavior of these same far-righters is not at all Christian. In fact, some of these far-righters turn around and do exactly what they tell others not to do. Hypocrisy has become blatantly clear in some on the far-right.
So, what if God allowed Trump to get into office in order to shine a light onto the hypocrisy in the far-right evangelical movement? What if He allowed Trump to become President in order to show the hypocrisy and non-Christian behavior in the Republican party? Like I said, I don’t presume to know what God is thinking. What I do know is that God works in mysterious ways, and many times, he will use something meant to hurt us for good. After all, in the Bible, it says “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
I used to be Republican, but I am now just completely embarrassed and disgusted by the Republicans. What I now see is some on the far-right that loves to point fingers at other while acting in a non-Christian manner. I see white-washed tombs. Jesus said “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” This means some love to talk all about Jesus but they live in continual sin, and this is hypocritical. These people are all talk, but there is nothing Christian inside them. That’s why I have always said that words aren’t enough. You have to truly believe in Jesus in your heart, and your actions will follow. If you truly believe in Jesus, you will turn away from sin…not to say that you won’t ever sin again (we are all human), but you won’t live in continual sin.
I don’t agree with some of what the Democrats believe, but I now see that the Democrats actually act on helping the poor and welcoming the stranger. The Democratic party welcomes immigrants and is outraged when Trump and his administration didn’t adequately respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico. The Democrats are ACTING in a Christian manner regarding these issues. Jesus said “By their fruits you will know them” meaning that by ACTIONS, you will know them. I see more Christian actions this year from Democrats than Republicans.
For me, God opened my eyes this year. He opened my eyes to hypocrisy. I now understand the meaning of “white-washed tombs”. I now know that I can’t vote for a candidate based only on one issue – by doing that, we can end up in the situation we are in today. I have learned that pro-life addresses life at ALL stages, not just the unborn. Those who voted for Trump based solely on the abortion issue are knee-deep in hypocrisy as well. Why? Because they fight for the unborn, but once they are born (and many will have disabilities because a lot of abortions are done because of medical issues), they want to take healthcare away, specifically by cutting coverage for pre-existing conditions. So, we bring these children into the world, but the Republicans don’t want to take care of them once they get here. See the hypocrisy?
I think we should look back on this rough year and listen to what God is trying to show us. I listened and learned. Will you?
To Christians Who Support Donald Trump:
Why do you support this man?
Do you not realize that by supporting him and not calling him out on his bad behavior hurts Christianity?
People who are watching, including children, are witnessing hypocrisy. Is this really what you want to teach your children? Do you not realize that others are leaving the church because of the hypocrisy?
I don’t understand. Being a Christian myself, I am befuddled as how to someone who is a true Christian can support this man. A lot of people are confused. Please explain it to us.
Explain how you can look past the remarks that were made on the bus when Trump said that he “grabs them by the p****. Jesus tells us to follow the commandments. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is one of them. Trump was a married man. He even said he “tried to **** her”, referring to Nancy O’Dell who was also married. This behavior is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught us.
Explain how you seem to be able to look past all the lies Trump has told since he has been in office. He has lied over 1000 times since he took office, starting with the size of the crowds at the inauguration. Here are some other Trump statements that have been proven false:
Trump: “And I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.”
Truth: Nixon beat him by a wide margin. Trump was on the cover 11 times, and Nixon was on it 55 times.
Trump: “So, look, when President Obama was there [Chicago] two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.”
Truth: On the day that Obama made this speech, there were no gun homicide victims in Chicago.
Trump: “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.”
Truth: 746 people were detained. The Delta outage occurred two days later.
Trump: “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!”
Truth: The New York Times never apologized.
Trump: “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.”
Truth: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush won by bigger margins in the Electoral College.
Trump: “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”
Truth: There was no terror attack in Sweden that night. The next day, confusion set in as no one knew what Trump was talking about.
Trump: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
Truth: There was no evidence that Trump Tower was ever wiretapped.
Trump: “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.”
Truth: The cost cuts were already planned before Trump ever became President.
Trump: “I like Steve [Bannon], but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.”
Truth: Trump knew Steve Bannon since 2011.
Trump: “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”
Truth: The FBI was investigating Russian interference into the election before Trump ever took office (before Clinton’s loss).
Trump: On June 27, 2017, Trump, referring to CNN, said,“Ratings way down!”
Truth: At the time, CNN’s ratings were at a five-year high.
Trump: On July 17, 2017, Trump said, “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever.”
Truth: Clinton, Carter, Truman and FDR had all signed more bills than Trump at the same point.
Trump: “It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem”
Truth: The NFL never made this demand.
These are just a few of over 1000 lies that Trump has told. Jesus told us that Satan is the father of lies:
“You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” John 8:44
So how do you justify Trump’s lies?
How about his lack of concern for others who are different? What about the botched immigration mess that occurred not long after he took office? All those poor people in distress because they couldn’t get back in the country? What about all the people in Puerto Rico who suffered without the basic necessities of life, having to wait a full week before Trump took any action to help them?
Let’s think about this. In the Bible, it says:
“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:34
“Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.'” Acts 10:34
How do you justify the hate that Trump spreads? What about the horrible comments that he made after the Charolottesville attacks? What about all the name-calling on his Twitter feed? Here are just a few examples:
“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”
“With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have “tanked,” in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”
“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now?”
“…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”
There are so many more including the constant attacks on the media and on anyone who disagrees with him.
Where in the Bible does it say that it’s OK to call people names? Where does it say that it’s OK to verbally attack anyone that disagrees or has a different opinion or view? Can’t find it? That’s because it isn’t in the Bible. Jesus said:
“ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
How do you justify all this behavior? Why would you say that Trump is a true Christian and that his behavior is OK with God? How can you say that? Have you read the Bible?
Please explain it to us.
I recently saw a post by Franklin Graham that said he was thankful that Trump was in office because he tells the truth. Truth?? Franklin Graham, hate to tell you this, but Trump has nothing to do with the truth. The fact is that Trump is the antithesis of Christianity. As Jesus told us, “Satan is the father of lies”. Trump has lied more than 1000 times since taking office.
That’s the truth.
In a previous post, I talked about judgement. I explained that only God can judge, and man cannot. Today, I would like to look at a few Bible passages that delve into this topic even further.
How many times have you heard someone claim that only their religion is going to heaven? How many times have you heard someone say that an entire class of people are going to hell? I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard it quite a bit. There are many different religions/groups that actually believe that their way is the only way to heaven. But there are passages in the Bible that refute this line of thinking. Let’s look at a few:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16
Let’s look at that again:
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.”
It should be clear from that statement that those who are saved ARE NOT only from one religion or any one specific group of people. Let’s look at another passage:
“He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” John 11:51-52
As you can see in that verse, the children of God are “scattered”. It says in this passage that Jesus would die “not only for that nation”.
Do you need more proof? Here’s more:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters…” Isaiah 56:4-5
“And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.” Isaiah 56:6-7
“I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land.” Ezekiel 34:12-13
We have to remember that God is love. His love knows no bounds. He knows our hearts and souls, and no human being can claim to have that ability. No human being can possibly know even a tiny amount of what God knows. Anyone, including well-known preachers, cannot determine which human beings are going to heaven or hell. If a preacher does this, he/she is trying to play God, and that is sacrilege. This is why the statement “Do not judge lest ye be judged” is in the Bible. It is a stark reminder that only God knows all and ONLY HE can make the judgement as to whether or not someone is saved.
It’s not about race, denomination, or any other belief system….it’s about what is in your heart and soul, and your actions reflect what is truly in your heart. In short, any person in any race, religion or any other belief system has an opportunity to enter heaven. EVERYONE is a creation of God, and it’s up to each of us to choose. It’s up to us to listen to the good shepherd.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:3-5
Today, I want to address what my counselor refers to as “dichotomous thinking” or “black-and-white thinking”. This means that a person’s beliefs are absolute – there are no “gray areas”. Today, I talked to my counselor about Trump and how everything seems to be all-or-nothing with him. For example, he says that he’s drawn the biggest crowds ever at a certain event. Then he turns around and attacks someone saying that person is the worst ever. Nothing is ever in the middle. Nothing is ever mediocre in his mind. This is called “dichotomous thinking”.
I’ve seen this kind of thinking before…probably everyone has at one point.
I would like to look at a few examples of this kind of thinking in Christianity and how it does not fall in line with what Jesus taught us. Many years ago, I took part in a discussion about how people get to heaven. This group insisted that the only way to heaven was to accept Jesus as their Savior. I asked the question, “What if a person lives somewhere that is desolate and never heard of Jesus? Say he is a really good person…lived a Christ-like life…but never accepted Jesus because he never heard of him?” Someone immediately responded: “He’s going to hell. Period. He didn’t accept Jesus.” That answer just tore at my soul. If God is love, then how could He turn His back on someone who never heard of Jesus?
During the last year of my marriage, my now ex-husband insisted that he was going to heaven. Period. No ifs, ands or butts. I don’t know where he came up with this…I suspect it was either his family or his mistress (he was having an affair at the time that I wasn’t aware of). When I suggested that Jesus was the judge and not us, he told me that I was wrong. Completely wrong. Later, after I found out about the affair and confronted him, I told him that he was breaking a commandment….a clear commandment that Jesus specifically addresses in the New Testament. His response was “that sounds too judgemental to me”.
Now there are several issues here. In the first case, “dichotomous thinking” is very clear. Besides the fact that we are not the judge (see What is True Christianity, Part I, where I address that issue in detail), biblically, the person’s insistence that the man in question was going to hell can be rebutted. A few verses in John address both situations above. Let’s look at the first situation. Meditate on the following verse:
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause'”.” John 15:22-24
Think about that for a minute. “If I had not come…they would not have sin.” Jesus makes it clear in that passage that if a person didn’t know about Him, they would not be held to the same standard as Christians who do know about Him.
Now, let’s look at the second situation where my ex did know about Jesus.
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.'” John 15:22-24
As you can see, once you know about Jesus, you are held to a higher standard. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, not wallow in it. These two situations also show how dichotomous thinking can get people in trouble. There ARE gray areas in life.
Once we TRULY accept Jesus, our hearts and souls will change and we will not continue to live in sin. This is not to say that we won’t make mistakes…we will as we are human. But God’s mercy is not to be abused. God’s mercy does not mean that we can continue to live waist deep in sin. If you have proclaimed Jesus as your Savior but still are immersed in constant sin, you truly haven’t accepted Him. Examine your heart and soul and see if you have TRULY allowed Jesus into your heart.
Today, I would like to talk about all the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Wow, the pictures on the news are just awful and heartbreaking. I’m sure most of you have seen the picture of the nursing home residents as they sat in water up to their waists. There was some suspicion that the picture was fake, but Snopes.com has confirmed this picture and story to be true. Thankfully, these elderly victims of Hurricane Harvey have been rescued and are now clean, dry and safe in a new location.
I was completely dismayed when I read a news article this morning that Joel Osteen, the leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, did NOT open the doors of his facility to refugees. This mega church can hold over 16,000 people. I was furious, but I wanted to get the entire true story before writing this blog. I once again checked Snopes.com.
The truth of this story is reported as a “Mixture” of true and false per Snopes. It is true that he did not open his church doors immediately citing flooding in the building. However, many different people went to the church to take pictures, and there was no flooding seen in and around the church. In addition, the police and other emergency personnel had not received any calls for help in that general area. Was there flooding in the building? We will never know for sure, but according to pictures, videos and reports from emergency personnel, there is no reason to think there was any problem at Lakewood Church.
Because Mr. Osteen didn’t open the doors to his church, he was hammered on social media. Hundreds of people went on the attack asking why a Christian preacher like himself wouldn’t open doors to the needy. Snopes attempted to contact the church, but as of the writing of this blog, there has been no response. Then things changed. This morning, days after the hurricane first hit and AFTER people spoke up about this issue, Joel Osteen sent out a message via his website that they would be opening the doors to Harvey refugees.
What took him so long? In my opinion, he only opened his doors because he was pressured by the public into doing so. That’s what it looks like to me. Am I impressed that Mr. Osteen opened the doors to his mega church this morning? Nope. I am thankful, but I am not impressed. Too little, too late.
We as Christians are supposed to help those in need. The Bible addresses this over and over again:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Luke 6:38
“Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:27
“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” Romans 12:13
“Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
There are so many other verses just like these in the Bible – these are just a few. The lesson here is that Joel Osteen, in the spirit of true Christianity, should have opened the doors of Lakewood Church immediately…not waiting days and after mounting public pressure.
I point this out because, as I said in the first blog of this series, I see a section of so-called Christianity that is being misled. Is Mr. Osteen a terrible Christian? I can’t say that. Like I said yesterday, we are not the judge. We don’t know Mr. Osteen’s heart – only God knows that. But I can point out instances where pastors don’t live up to true Christian values that are taught to us by God. Watch for behavioral patterns in these pastors. If they say something or act in a way that is inconsistent with biblical teaching, question it. Satan is very sly and will use tactics that many people will miss. This is why it is so important to pick up the Bible and read it yourself. Get immersed in God’s Word. Know the truth. Then and only then will you be able to see the real truth in others. Remember, too, that false prophets are out there. Meditate on this verse:
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ – do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
It’s funny how God gets His message across to those who believe in Him.
Yesterday, I wrote a long blog on a subject that has really been bothering me, but I didn’t publish it. It was way too long, and I went off on tangents, so the whole thing was messy. I decided to think about the subject a little bit more. I decided to write a week’s worth of short blogs.
The subject has to do with Christianity. You see, over the course of my life, I have run into so many people who focus mostly on John 3:16. They believe that all they have to do is to say “Jesus is My Savior” and they are guaranteed entrance into heaven. These people believe that it doesn’t matter what they do or how they act – they can sin all they want to, but it doesn’t matter. They say the words, “Jesus is My Savior” and they believe that is all that needs to be done.
I’ve thought for a long time how people like this came to believe this way. I thought that maybe the idea that they don’t have to follow the Ten Commandments was appealing because it means it would be easier to get into heaven. Well, yeah, if you can still get to heaven even if you continue to live in sin, wouldn’t you want to believe that – I mean that makes things a lot easier doesn’t it? Sad thing is, it just plain isn’t true, and Jesus himself said so. I will explain this in greater detail below.
Another concern that crossed my mind – are these people just listening to their preacher every Sunday? Do they ever just open up the Bible and read it themselves? Hmmm…well, that is a possibility.
Yesterday, part of what I wrote had to do with the suggestion for everyone to open up their Bible and read it. Especially read the entire New Testament. It puts John 3:16 into context.
Interestingly, my mom told me this morning that today (August 28) is the feast day of St. Augustine. This saint was born in 354 AD and had a rather wild childhood, and he even left Christianity for a while. One day, as he wept under a fig tree, he prayed and asked God for help. Suddenly, St. Augustine heard a child’s voice say “Tolle Lege” over and over again. “Tolle Lege” translated means “take up and read”. He picked up a scroll and read Romans 13:13-14 which changed his soul, and he was converted. In St. Augustine’s own words:
“By a light, as it were, of security infused into my heart – all the gloom of doubt vanished away.”
Interesting that today is St. Augustine’s feast day – the same day that I have written this blog about reading the Bible! God works in mysterious ways.
I am concerned about today’s Christianity. I believe a section of it has taken a wrong turn. I have heard preachers, some very well-known, that make statements that I know are not biblically based. So, I am going to write short blogs over the course of a week and address some of these statements and ideas made not only by evangelical preachers but also their followers.
Several months ago, someone who I knew said to me, “I guess you think you know more than Franklin Graham?” She was upset because I had challenged her on some of her beliefs. My answer to her was “yes”. Why? Because I listen to God, not man, and I told her this. About a year ago, after hearing some of these disturbing remarks by the religious right, I decided to sit down and read the New Testament from beginning to end. Although John 3:16 is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, it must be taken in context with what is said in the rest of the New Testament.
The truth is this: No one is automatically guaranteed access into heaven. I know that is probably going to shock a lot of people, but just stay with me for a minute and meditate on this verse actually stated by Jesus himself in the gospel of Matthew: “NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, LORD, LORD, WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” Matthew 7:21. It doesn’t get clearer than that! But He goes on, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me you evildoers.‘”Matthew 7:22-23. Go back and read those verses again….and again. This puts John 3:16 into perspective, doesn’t it? Yes, we can say that we believe in Jesus, but in the end, Jesus is the judge, not us. If we know for sure who is going to heaven as some evangelicals would have you believe, there would be no need for God. ONLY GOD knows what is in the hearts of men. Human beings CANNOT say whether someone is going to heaven or hell, and that includes preachers. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, and I think he made it very clear in these verses that you can’t fool Him. He knows our heart. Franklin Graham, Jerry Fallwell, Andrew Wommack, and others DON’T know what is truly in our hearts and therefore cannot judge. No human being can judge another. Remember, Jesus also said, “Do not judge, lest ye be judged”.
This drives home the point that by focusing on just one or two verses in the Bible, you can easily be misled. My advice to everyone is “Tolle Lege” (Take Up and Read). Don’t rely only on your preacher during Sunday service to teach you about God. Pick up your Bible and read it. It is the only way to true peace and to the absolute Truth.