Maria Yeager

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Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 2

Well, today I was going to continue to examine evangelical beliefs and how they compare to the teachings of Jesus. But something happened. I heard Trump speak at CPAC, and one statement that he made stood out. I want to start with this since a majority of evangelicals support Trump.

The statement that he made goes against what Jesus taught us in the gospels. He said that if other nations are nice to us, we will be nice to them. If other nations are mean to us, we will return the favor. This is basically saying, “an eye for an eye”. Let’s remember that Jesus taught us otherwise:

“You have heard that is was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.” Matthew 5:38-41

So, basically, even though Trump wants to APPEAR as a good Christian, his own words don’t align with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

On that topic, I saw Mike Pence at the Olympics. I saw how he didn’t acknowledge the North Koreans. Yes, this regime has done some awful things. However, if you look at the above verse (Matthew 5:38-41), did Pence do the right thing according to the Bible? Not necessarily. Let me share this passage (spoken by Jesus), and think about how Pence ignored the North Koreans:

“And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:47

That’s not an easy one to follow, but Jesus did say it. This is what He taught. I have also heard some evangelicals and even other Christians in other religions say that they want a “purer” church…one in which members are only people who believe exactly as they do. This thought process also goes against biblical teaching as evidenced in the above passage (Matthew 5:47).

Let’s look at how some of the evangelicals pray around Trump. Have you seen the pictures of the evangelicals as they lay their hands on Trump as they pray? Have you heard evangelicals say that this man is a wonderful Christian because he prays like this? Let’s look at what Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew:

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them, for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Jesus is teaching us here that just because someone tries to APPEAR good and righteous doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good and righteous. Beware of appearances.

Next, let’s take a look at the tweets that Trump puts out on a daily basis. How many times have you seen Trump call people names? Let’s look at some specific examples:

  1. “Cryin Chuck Schumer”
  2. “Lyin Ted Cruz”
  3. “Crooked Hillary”
  4. “Little Rocket Man”
  5. “Crazy Bernie Sanders”
  6. “Dicky Durbin”
  7. “Liddle Bob Corker”
  8. “Psycho Joe” (Scarborough)
  9. “Sneaky Diane Feinstein”
  10. “Jeff Flake(y)”
  11. “Dumbest man on television” (Don Lemon)
  12. “Pocahontas” (Elizabeth Warren)
  13. “Sleepy Eyes” (Chuck Todd)
  14. “Mentally deranged author” (Michael Wolff)

Then there are the constant insults that he uses over and over again on many different issues: “fake news”, “obstructionists”, “incompetent”, “clueless”, “dummy”, “false”, “phony”, “horrible”, “disaster”, etc.

Many people who support Trump, including some evangelicals, say that they like this because Trump is just “telling it like it is.” But is this the right thing to do according to the Bible? Let’s take a look:

“…for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37

“…every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:17

I think it is very clear in these verses that Trump’s insults and “telling it like it is” is not the right thing to do.

Let me finish today by sharing the following passage. Again, this emphasizes the need to ACT in our attempt to become more Christ-like…not just say the words:

“For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50

Have a great day and God bless!

 

 

 

 

 

Trump, Evangelicals and Ezekiel 22

A few days ago, just by chance, I came across this passage in Ezekiel 22. It terrified me! Although God was talking about another time, this message from God can easily be applied today.  I broke this chapter down piece by piece and analyzed it below. The actual passages are in italics while my comments are not. I feel it is imperative for all of us to read this passage in Ezekiel and think long and hard about what is going on today in the Trump administration. The verse that stood out to me the most is “They do not distinguish between the holy and common, they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and clean.” Evangelical leaders have been on the news this week trying to, as Don Lemon puts it, “twist themselves into pretzels trying to justify Trump’s behavior.” I believe  they are teaching people to see “no difference between the unclean and clean.”

The following is Ezekiel 22:23-31.

23 Again the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.’ 25 There is a conspiracy of her princes[a] within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. 

Think about the tax reform bill. The rich will continue to get benefits, but the middle class and poor will eventually have their taxes increased to pay for the cost of this bill. The young, the poor and the middle class are going to eventually suffer from this bill. So in essence, the rich are going to “take treasure and precious things”. Also know that Paul Ryan wants to cut Medicare and Social Security. Now re-read the passage above. See it?

26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; 

Some evangelicals, including the leaders, say that we cannot judge Trump because “we don’t know his heart”. However, I can assure you that if Obama did half of what Trump has done, those same evangelicals would be pointing their fingers and jumping all over Obama. Now, by making excuses for Trump and basically justifying his immoral behavior while jumping all over others who call Trump out, they are “not distinguishing between the holy and common. They are teaching that “there is no difference between the unclean and clean.”

and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.27

Trump does not go to church and he does not ask for forgiveness. His behavior is the opposite of what Jesus taught us.

Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.

Think of Steve Bannon (white supremacist), Stephen Miller (white supremacist), Paul Manafort (con man out to make quick money), Sarah Sanders (caught in multiple lies over the past year, makes continuous excuses for Trump’s behavior). George Papadopolous and Mike Flynn (both pled guilty and working with Mueller). There are your crooked officials.

 28 Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken.29

Some evangelicals claim that God put Trump into office. I have even seen those that say that “God anointed him”. Some believe that Trump is some kind of prophet because he is moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Franklin Graham, Jerry Fallwell Jr., Tony Perkins and Robert Jeffress are just four of the evangelical leaders that push this teaching. But on the other hand, Trump attacks people on Twitter constantly, degrades women, insults other countries, has extramarital affairs, etc. Trump’s behavior is actually the antithesis of true Christianity. We have to remember that people thought David Koresh and Jim Jones were prophets, and look how that turned out. There are false prophets out there, and we must be able to discern between who is good and who is false. The only way to do that is to read the Bible and listen to God himself. These leaders are not God, and many are false prophets.

The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

Trump failed to properly help out the poor in Puerto Rico. He called poor countries “shithole countries”. He is causing the DACA recipients a lot of distress, and his immigration policies will hurt millions.

30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. 31

I am sure God sees that there are some of us who see through this Trump nonsense.

 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

This should scare everyone. By failing to call out Trump for his immoral behavior, we are setting ourselves up to face God’s wrath. By listening to false prophets, we are setting ourselves up to face God’s wrath. Please, please, I am begging you, please wake up! Consequences are sure to come our way if this Trump nonsense doesn’t stop. Listen to what God tells us in Ezekiel 22: 23-31!

What is True Christianity?

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.

 

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