Thoughts to Ponder

But it has helped a lot of people!

When I speak out about something which I think is wrong, such as I have in the past about Bondage Breakers, or Theophostic prayer, etc... I often hear from people who tell me that they were either helped by one of these programs or they know someone who was. I am usually told that I don't know what I am talking about because so and so was in terrible distress and this or that helped them. I have even been told that I was blaspheming the Holy Spirit because I spoke out about something that a very Christ centered Christian was involved in. The assumption being that no Christ centered Christian would ever be fooled and involved in anything unbiblical. I guess that means this person did not think I was Christ centered or I would not have spoken out like I did.

When I addressed the idea being promoted that Christians should forgive God for all the things they have believed He did to them and that they have held against Him, I was told, this very thing was what gave one woman a closer relationship with God. It does not seem to matter to her or anyone else that to forgive God is blasphemy. How can a person blaspheme God and then have a closer better relationship with Him?

My answer is that a person can't. They may think they do. They may think that 'the air' between them and God has been cleared by them forgiving Him, but they are being fooled by the father of lies! (Isaiah 48:8-11 NIV) You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. {9} For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. {10} See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. {11} For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. Look at the last two sentences of this passage: How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another! Does this sound like God will draw closer to you if you forgive Him of the things you hold against Him, knowing full well that He has done nothing wrong? Hello, wake up and smell the coffee!! You don't play games with God and expect Him to play along.

(Job 40:6-8 NIV) Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm: {7} "Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. {8} "Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Here again God shows that He will not be intimidated by mere man. So is it right for us to condemn God to make ourselves feel better?

Take a look at this passage: (Jeremiah 17:5-9 NIV) This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. {6} He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. {7} "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. {8} He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." {9} The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Who can understand the human heart? Surly not Freud and the boys. Only God can know a person's heart and know how to deal with it. Only God can be trusted. If we put our trust in man's wisdom we are walking away from God and His ways. You can't have it both ways.

I know many people who have gone to counseling and who have been through the 7 Steps to Freedom, or Theophostic prayer, etc... You know what they all have in common? They still have their issues to deal with. You can go to a person who just went through one of these programs and ask them how it was and they will tell you how much it helped them. But keep talking to them. Let them talk for about 10 minutes and you will start to hear about all those deep hurts and problems which they are still dealing with. Why is that? It is because they have not been helped, they trusted in man's healing and understanding. As God says; they are like a bush in the wastelands, they don't see prosperity when it comes.

So why do these people feel better if they are not really any better off? I am sure I will upset many people by my answer to that, but so be it: I believe the reason people feel better when they forgive God or go through one of these other programs is that Satan wants them to think it worked for them.

You might wonder why Satan would care, well I think that is easy. What Satan cares about most is that you keep your eyes off of Christ. If Satan can convince you that you are now closer to God because you forgave Him, great, that will keep you from really getting closer to Him by humbling yourself. If you feel better about yourself and even start praying more and reading your Bible more, who cares? Satan knows that there is something between you and God and it is what will keep you from getting anything substantial from His Word. That thing which is between you and God is SELF. By the very act of forgiving Him you are saying you are more important than He is in your life. You can read His Word all day long, but how can the Holy Spirit speak to you if you won't listen?

All these programs have the same faults, they take away the sufficiency of Christ and replace it with the wisdom of man. They convince people that their problems are due to low self image, or low self-esteem, or the lies that they have believed, or the trauma they received at the hand of another person.

When God commissioned Jeremiah look what Jeremiah said: (Jeremiah 1:6 NIV) "Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." Today that would be considered low self-esteem and Jeremiah would be counseled to take something like "Search for Significance." Poor Jeremiah, that book had not been written yet. What is God going to do? Will God tell him how important he is to God? Let's see what God said: (Jeremiah 1:7-8 NIV) But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. {8} Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. I am glad Freud is not alive to read this devotional, he would be so upset at the treatment poor Jeremiah received from God! God did not tell Jeremiah how important he was, or that his thoughts were wrong. No, God told him to go where He told him and say what He told him to say. God's message to Jeremiah was not about Jeremiah it was about God. God said Jeremiah did not have to be afraid because He; God would rescue him.

God did not tell Jeremiah to go back and deal with the issues that caused him to feel inferior. God did not ask for forgiveness from Jeremiah, He did not even ask Jeremiah to do this; He commanded Jeremiah to do His will.

Let's look at Hosea. He was another of God's prophets. (Hosea 1:2 NIV) When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD." Wow, how did Hosea deal with this? Did he forgive God for asking him to do that? Did he tell God that he was willing but this would probably ruin his self-esteem and he would have to go for counseling afterwards? No here is what we read next: (Hosea 1:3 NIV) So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

We run after man's wisdom, we look for easy ways out, but this is what God says: (1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV) For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. We should throw all of man's wisdom in the dung heap and get our Bibles out and read them. We should come humbly before God and ask for His help. He loves us and He wants what is good for us, but we stand in the way by trying to do it our way.

I will not apologize for claiming these things are wrong, no matter who promotes them. I am not trying to disparage anyone, nor am I trying to call anyone's walk with Christ into question, but I am saying that people can be and are mislead. They take their eyes off of Christ and the next thing you know they are off the path and in the weeds.

If Christ centered, Spirit lead Christians never made mistakes then this verse would make no sense: (Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV) My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, {12} because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. So how do we know what is good and what is bad; what is God's wisdom and what is man's? You go by God's Word. If you go humbly to God and ask Him for wisdom and discernment and then follow that up with daily reading of His Word, you will be in a good position to recognize false teaching when it comes. Don't be fooled there is lots of false teaching out there. That should not surprise anyone who has read God's Word: (2 Peter 2:1-2 NIV) But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. {2} Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

(2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV) For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. {4} They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

(2 Corinthians 11:2-4 NIV) I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. {3} But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. {4} For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

(1 John 2:26 NIV) I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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