Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Did you hear about the husband and wife who went to a fertility clinic, gave DNA samples, and discovered that they are fraternal twins?
Websites around the world covered their remarkable story. Their biological parents were killed in a car crash when they were infants, and they were eventually adopted out to separate families. Due to a filing error, neither family was told that their adopted child had a twin. The couple met during college and eventually married. Now they are considering the future of their relationship.
Here’s the real news: everything you just read is fake.
A news outlet calling itself the Mississippi Herald told the story. It turns out to be part of a network of fake local news sites that recently began generating hoaxes. At a time when media are supposed to be on the lookout for fake news, this completely false story still ended up on major news websites.
I’ve been reading through Proverbs lately and discovered the only prayer in this amazing book. A man named “Agur son of Jakeh,” otherwise unknown to Scripture or history, was the author of Proverbs 30. In verse 5 he testified that “every word of God proves true.” In response to this fact, he offered his prayer two verses later: “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’” (vv. 7–9).
Agur recognized that both poverty and riches can tempt us into materialism and away from dependence on God, an insight that is obviously relevant in our consumer culture. But the part of his prayer that most impresses me today is his plea for God to “remove far from me falsehood and lying.” “Falsehood” translates an extremely negative Hebrew term that describes deceit, fraudulence, wickedness, and destruction. “Lying” refers to the verbal means by which “falsehood” is conveyed.
I see two important lessons here for us.
One: We cannot determine falsehood without God’s help.
Agur was wise enough to be a contributor to one of the wisest books in all of literature, but even he needed to pray for God to remove falsehood and lying from him. Otherwise, he might not detect their presence and could believe what he should reject.
It is the same for us. Satan is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44) who “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is far better at deceiving us than we are at recognizing his deception. We need God’s wisdom in refusing his lies.
Two: We cannot speak the truth without God’s help.
Agur wanted to avoid deception, but he also wanted to avoid deceiving others. He prayed for divine assistance because that was the only way he could consistently speak the truth.
It is the same for us. Scripture says of humans, “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive” (Romans 3:13). We can consistently speak the truth only with the help of the One who is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
“Remove from me falsehood and lying.” Will you make Agur’s prayer yours today?
The current season of popular show Dancing with the Stars has featured multiple worship songs to which contestants danced.
Two contestants on the show, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and former wrestler and actor Mr. T, are outspoken Christians.
Recently, ChristianHeadlines.com reported on Mr. T’s comments on his battle with cancer. Although he is now cancer-free, in the midst of this trial, he continued to trust God:
“My faith was tested like Job. That’s the message I try to tell other people, just because you believe in God, serve God, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, people gotta realize, it don’t mean things not gonna happen to you,” Mr. T said. “I believed in God when cancer come to me. Now, when I speak, I speak with authority because I’ve been there.”
Biles has also shared how her faith has grounded her when facing tough athletic challenges.
Both Biles and Mr. T recently danced to worship songs on Dancing with the Stars. Biles danced with her partner to Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father.” She said she chose this song not only due to her Christian faith, but also as a tribute to her adopted father (her grandfather) who raised her.
Mr. T and his partner danced to quintessential Christian song “Amazing Grace.” According to Relevant Magazine, the performance even included a full gospel choir.
by Wayne Sutton
“But Pastor Wayne”, she cried as I spoke with her, “the prophet told me to step out in faith, that the time is NOW, and I would walk into a millionaire anointing… But instead I can barely pay my bills and I am so hurt and confused Pastor Wayne.” This precious client is one of many who have left jobs, moved away to foreign lands, and found destruction instead of blessing in their search for their destiny.
I hear and see that pain all too often.
Prophetic cliches and utterances of the flesh that cause “false hope” and birth forth confusion instead of direction, and bring pain instead of healing.
Allow me to ask you a few questions….
Why doesn’t God ever speak, “No, it’s not yet your time. Wait at your job for another 4 years…”
“No, I have not called you to the nations, yet I have called you to your local food pantry to serve my people there…”
“I see your pain, yet my grace is sufficient, and you will not be healed of this pain while upon earth…”
Why don’t we hear those words from God?
Why do the prophetic voices all use the same cliches and word phrases – all the time?
I will give the reasons and prayerfully offer a solution to this chaotic situation.
First, we have too many people wanting to speak a ‘prophetic word’ yet have not been called to the office of a prophet, or have not taken the time to seek and fan into flame (or exercise) their gift under the proper discipleship. Yes, you can call prophesy, that is biblical.
The key to prophecy is to walk in the gift, properly exercise the gift, and to have the words spoken judged by others.
If you are not willing to have your words judged by others, you are not called to prophesy – it’s truly that simple.
Every time I minister over someone prophetically I tell them to judge the words that are spoken, to test them, for that is the biblical response to prophecy. Who is your life do you have to judge the words spoken over you, or the words that you speak into the lives of others?
It is time for the church to grow up and mature in this area.
Secondly, we have too many people that prophesy out of emotional zeal, and the prophetic message is tainted by the words of the flesh, and therefore the words that were spoken out of emotion only give birth to emotional responses.
Now, I can also become very excited when the Lord is speaking to someone through prophecy, yet emotions should never sway the release of the word or give false hope through exaggerations or timelines that do are from the flesh.
Emotions are a gift from God, and they will be activated as the anointing flows through a person. Notice the emotions, and understand the Lord will allow emotions to lead a heart, yet mature in how we release so that we release in wisdom.
There is also another great key to maturing in the church, and that is to seek to hear and release the heart of the father, and this includes less attention the person releasing the prophetic word.
Seek not personal attention and praise from man, yet instead seek to release the heart of God as you minister to others.
It is time for the church to grow up and mature.
Discover the power of personal prophecy and the heart of the Father – pick up our free newsletter and prophetic e-books now at http://www.yourprophecynews.com
by Wayne Sutton
“Wayne, I feel… well. stuck!”
I hear this way too often as a minister and prophetic life coach17.
People all too often get to a place in life where they feel “stuck” and can not seem to find a way out of their daily routine. Have you ever felt that way in your life? Have you ever thought that even among all of your daily activities and actions, your praise and adoration, you still feel like you are not reaching your goals and destiny?
Several years ago the Lord visited me in a dream and spoke a very clear directive over my life.
“Tell my people what they can do, for the world is telling them what they can not.”
Immediately, I was awakened and found myself excitedly seeking just exactly how that looked in my life… Years later I am honored to be able to do what the Lord instructed me to do, and it includes our ministry, our coaching, and yes sometimes simply being a dad and husband.
So how does this affect you?
Allow me to explain…
When someone is sick… they seek a cure.
When someone is dying… they seek a cure.
When someone feels like they are “spinning their wheels” and going nowhere! Yes, they also seek a cure.
“Tell my people what they can do, for the world is telling them what they can not.” For a moment I want you to focus on the last 10 words – “the world is telling them what they can not.” We live in a world of influence, as people are influenced by religion, education systems, their personal peers, and virtually every piece of data that enters our eyes and ears. The world is not lifting people up into their full ability or their God-given destiny. In fact, even some of the top motivational speakers and personal development coaches area ll too often limiting the beliefs of the very people that they should be encouraging.
The cure to “feeling stuck” is two-fold. And we’ll explain both here in this article.
First, to “feel stuck” is just that… a feeling. We have to be careful when dealing with our emotions because many times our heart can lead us astray. We see where an Angel had to some and correct (and reassure) Joseph when Mary came up pregnant and he was trying to figure it out… His emotions or feelings were out of alignment with truth, and the angel had to realign. Then we see Elijah, misled by feelings, hiding in the cave from Jezebel. I could continue with emotions and feelings, but you see the point. Sometimes you may “feel stuck” and be moving in the very direction that God has planned for you day by day. So, allow the Lord to speak into your heart and reassure,or correct, your daily walk.
Second, we sometimes “feel stuck” when we are no longer making progress in an area of life. We were created to create! Your were formed by the great I AM to go forth and form your world. I invite you to ask yourself, to look within your own heart, and seek that place of counsel for your own personal progress in life.
What areas in your life can you make progress by taking some positive action?
The perfect cure?
Seek the counsel of God to realign any feelings or emotions that may not be correct, and secondly examine your won life to discover areas that may need guidance or counsel. To progress in life is often as simple as having someone to walk with you in mentorship and discipleship, and this is why true fellowship in the body of Christ is vital.
We were created for relationships and in those relationships we can grow and truly become “unstuck”‘ in our own life.
*Do you need to progress in your life, and uncover areas that may be holding you back form your destiny and purpose? I urge you to seriously consider One-on-One prophetic ministry and coaching with Wayne Sutton, the founder of TheSecondAdam.TV – once per month you will counsel with Pastor Wayne by telephone or Skype to discover your true prophetic calling! Click here to discover more and sign-up if you are ready. God Bless!
Sally Lloyd-Jones’s “Jesus Storybook Bible” is a favorite in my house for a lot of reasons. But the best part may be the prologue. In it, Jones explains that although the Bible contains laws for moral living, it’s not mainly a book of rules. And although it tells of great men and women of God, it’s not a book of heroes, either. Rather, it’s a story about one Hero in particular.
As Jones puts it, every story in the Bible whispers this Hero’s name. And there’s no time of year when that is more clear, though many of us miss it, than at Holy Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday, running through today (Maundy Thursday), Good Friday, and finally, Easter Sunday, we have the benefit of seeing not only Jesus’ story unfold, but of seeing the culmination of the whole story of Scripture itself.
This was a benefit the Disciples didn’t have. For Christ’s first followers, His words at the Last Supper, His arrest, His trial, and crucifixion were a bewildering defeat. It was only in retrospect, when Jesus opened the Scripture to them, first on the road to Emmaus and later in the upper room, that they understood, and even then, not fully!
Only after Christ’s ascension could a restored Peter stand before Jerusalem and proclaim the punch line of Holy Week: “Let all of the house of Israel therefore know assuredly,” he said, “that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.”
The rest of the New Testament shows how the Holy Spirit continued to reveal Christ’s presence throughout all of Scripture. Paul, for example, sees Jesus in the Bible’s very first chapters, calling Him “the Last Adam,” and contrasts the two men as heads of the human race. One failed and brought death on all His descendants. The other was faithful, bringing life through His death and resurrection.
And if we take the time to read Scripture more carefully, we see how deeply the parallels run. The ways in which Jesus is similar to, and yet better than Adam, are astonishing:
The first Adam yielded to temptation in a garden. The Last Adam beat temptation in a garden. The first man, Adam, sought to become like God. The Last Adam was God who became a man. The first Adam was naked and received clothes. The Last Adam had clothes but was stripped. The first Adam tasted death from a tree. The Last Adam tasted death on a tree. The first Adam hid from the face of God, while the Last Adam begged God not to hide His face.
The first Adam blamed his bride, while the Last Adam took the blame for His bride. The first Adam earned thorns. The Last Adam wore thorns. The first Adam gained a wife when God opened man’s side, but the Last Adam gained a wife when man opened God’s side. The first Adam brought a curse. The Last Adam became a curse. While the first Adam fell by listening when the Serpent said “take and eat,” the Last Adam told His followers, “take and eat, this is my body.”
We celebrate this last event today—Jesus’ final meal with His Disciples, and His new command that we “love one another.” In giving Christians this meal, He sealed His role as Adam’s replacement.
Do you remember how, when Mary Magdalene saw the risen Christ, she mistook Him for a gardener? Through His body and blood, the Last Adam restored what the Forbidden Fruit destroyed, inviting us back to a restored Garden-City in the New Heavens and Earth, where the tree of life grows around the throne of God, free for the taking. That’s what His story, our story, the story—and this week—are all about.
Good Friday is tomorrow, and it’s easy to rush through this dark reminder of our sin, and look forward to Easter. But please, stay here a while. The only way to Sunday is through this week, and the events and the words Jesus spoke before His death are worthy of our reflection.
To help you, your family, and your small group drink deeply of these precious words, my colleagues and I at the Colson Center have put together a PDF booklet of reflections on the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross.
Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll tell you how you can get a free copy of it.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life.
Rachel Dawson | Editor, BibleStudyTools.com | Thursday, April 13, 2017
Growing up in church, I’ve always known how important it is to share my faith with others. As an introvert and a pretty reserved person overall, though, the thought has always been a bit of a daunting one. It can seem so intimidating to start a conversation with someone about God and religion and faith in general, especially when you don’t know where they stand, how they feel, or even how they might have been burned by the church or by Christians.
The thing is, though, sharing your faith with others doesn’t have to be awkward or overwhelming. A relationship with Jesus shouldn’t be something you hide or downplay, either.
Jesus gave his followers a great commission in Scripture– “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) We can’t make disciples if we stay silent. We must share our faith.
So– how do we start?
Richard Hillier shares three helpful thoughts in his article “How to Share Your Faith Without It Being Awkward” for Relevant Magazine:
- “Have an answer ready.” I often run through potential conversations in my head before they happen, just to make sure I’m prepared to answer thoughtfully. This may sound silly, but I hate being caught off guard and would so much rather think things through on the front end than have to scramble in the middle of a clumsy conversation. A question I’m often asked on Monday mornings at work, for example, is “how was your weekend,” so I make sure I know my answer before I head down to the staff kitchen to grab that first cup of coffee. It’s a simple thing, but it helps me feel ready for those conversations when they come. The same is true when talking about my faith– having an answer ready helps me feel ready to talk freely and genuinely instead of messily when those questions arise. “You might worry what questions people will ask or what they’ll assume about you,” Hillier writes. “But as a believer, you love Jesus and He loves you. Have confidence in this. There’s no need to deny or hide anything.” If you’re asked about church, or your beliefs, or how you feel about something happening in the news, Hillier advises to “be straight with them. …Where the conversation will go from there is unknown, and that’s OK.”
- “Be discerning of timing and atmosphere.” A casual chat in the kitchen while grabbing coffee is a great time to bring up that you went to church over the weekend, or that you’re heading to Bible study in the evening, but the middle of a meeting might not be. “Even during a casual night out,” Hillier writes, “ask the Holy Spirit to give you a sensitivity of someone’s need to hear about your faith, for you to offer advice or when to simply speak truth.” Awareness is key here– you don’t want to start a conversation like this off on the wrong foot, so be conscious of how things are going and let the Spirit guide you.
- “Live with love. Work with excellence.” We’ve often heard it said that our actions speak louder than our words, and it’s true that the way we live is a testimony to what we believe and who we follow. “One of our best testimonies at work or out with friends is easy and effective: Love others, love God, work hard, and people will notice,” says Hillier. “There won’t always be times to share your faith in direct conversation, which is exactly why your actions matter.” This is especially true in challenging or competitive circumstances– are you showing respect for others, integrity in your work, care for your neighbors, compassion for your coworkers, and love and grace through your behavior? That will speak volumes about your identity, and will reflect Christ to those around you, whether you are sharing your faith vocally or not.
Sharing your faith doesn’t need to be a daunting endeavor– it really can be as simple as acting thoughtfully, “working and living with excellence” like Hillier says, and being open and available to when the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak.
As 1 Peter 3:15 says in The Message, “Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.”
How do you feel about sharing your faith with friends, neighbors, and coworkers? Do you think it’s awkward or actually fun to do? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Why Time is a Better Gift than Money
Giving is one of those topics I believe every Christian secretly hates to discuss.
Whether we like it or not, money will always play a major part in our daily lives, and between the mortgages, student loans, car repairs, and grocery bills, it can be frustrating to learn that God wants a cut of our ever-diminishing paycheck. What makes the issue of giving even more contentious is the fact that our situation in life is always changing. What do you do when you’re finally within reach of that vacation you’ve been working toward all year? How much should you tithe now that your small business is finally taking off? Above all, how do you give when you don’t make much money?
Todd Dekruyter, of Relevant Magazine, believes Christians need to reconsider their definitions of wealth. In his latest column, Dekruyter encouraged his readers to look past “giving” as simply a code word for money. Though the Bible does call believers to tithe regularly, Christian service can leave a greater impact for the Kingdom of God. Dekruyter writes,
“In addition to giving to your local church, there are many opportunities to make an impact on the community around you. Global missions. Local schools. Crisis pregnancy centers. Children in poverty. Struggling single moms. Refugees fleeing conflict. It’s easy to look at all the needs and opportunities in the world and say, ‘I can’t do it all. I can’t take on this many issues…’”
“God gives each of us individual burdens for specific needs of the Church and the world. Think about your purpose, about the needs and issues that move you to tears. Visualize them. What if there were only three, maybe four, things you could say with your life? Would you want those things to be said on accident, or would you want to pick the ones to be said? Use those priorities to focus your giving.”
Scripture tells us that, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 23:23). For those of us who don’t possess ample wealth, our time may also be used as an offering.
Recently, my home Church spearheaded a movement to get more involved in the local community. One way they pursued this was by volunteering to clean up local parks which had fallen into disrepair. I can still remember the wave of pride I felt when forty members of my congregation showed up to clear trash and rake leaves. Later, the same group organized volunteers to assist in a local homeless outreach event, and after that, they collected supplies for refugee families who had just moved to the area. Dekruyter is right, Christian charity leaves an impact.
I think the reason so many Christians hate the idea of giving is because we can never see past ourselves. Either we only visualize the vacation we didn’t make, the house we can’t afford, or we grow ashamed at our own poverty. We tell ourselves God is displeased with our paltry gifts. Both outlooks skew the true message of Christ. So whenever doubt strikes your heart, read the words of Matthew 25 and remember how God views your giving,
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ ‘Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
What about you? What are your thoughts on generosity and tithing? Be sure to leave a comment in the space below!
Have you ever felt forsaken by God? At one time or another in our Christian walk, each of us have probably empathized with Jesus when he cried out on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Though Jesus bore the ultimate separation from God so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be restored to a right relationship with the Father, Jesus also told His followers that they would suffer and trials would come (John 15:20).
Vaneetha Rendall Risner, a contributor to Pastor John Piper’s Desiring God website, writes about feeling forsaken by God and how, over time, God showed her how He had never forsaken her but was instead growing her faith in Him.
This feeling of being forsaken is an especially apt one to ponder at this time of the year when Good Friday, when Christians commemorate Jesus’ sacrificial work on the cross, is only a couple days away.
The words Jesus cried out to God on the cross are actually a fulfilment of a prophecy written by King David in Psalm 22. David also experienced feeling forsaken by God and penned these words:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2)
What trials have you experienced that have made your heart and soul echo these words? Risner shares her own deep anguish and trials which led to a feeling of being forsaken by God:
“Sobbing by my son’s tiny casket was devastating. Receiving the divorce papers in the mail was beyond heartbreaking. Hearing the doctor say that my body was deteriorating, and then watching it happen, was agonizing.”
Through all the anguish, the pain, the feeling of hopelessness, just as new light dawned Easter morning, showing an empty tomb with a risen Savior, God showed Risner that He was transforming her pain into something beautiful.
As the Psalmist says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
Looking back, Risner realized that the trials she endured deepened her relationship with God and her empathy for others.
“Out of the most crushing pain and terrible despair, God was bringing glorious triumph.”
“Instead of deforming me, my pain strangely deepened me,” she continues. “It increased my capacity for God. And for joy. It made me see the world through different eyes. Eyes of faith and not eyes of hopelessness. It helped me recognize that what I was going through was just a snapshot in time. One day my life will be totally transformed.”
Whether you are feeling forsaken by God right now, or you have overcome a hard season through Christ’s power, let this be an encouragement for you to know He is trustworthy.
And just as He went through the trial of the cross to draw you to Him, He will not let you go now.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).
The LORD said to me, The tent anointing is back—big time.
The LORD said …to read Exodus 34:10: “Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you” (New King James Version).
In the very near future, there’s coming a time when the glory of God will come into services like a cloud. It will be so thick the people in the congregation won’t be able to see one another. When it comes in, everyone in it will receive the miracles they need from God.
Right now we’re just in the beginning of the outpouring that’s been prophesied for years. The dinner bell of the gospel is ringing! As it continues to sound, louder and louder, not only will the sick be healed, the maimed will be made whole, just like they were in Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 15:31).
Before this is over, instead of the news being dominated by violent extremists, people will be talking about Christian extremists. They’ll be marveling over our extreme love, mercy and power. They’ll be running to tents and churches and meeting places all over the world where, in the Name of Jesus, Christians are terrorizing the demons of hell—preaching the gospel with boldness, healing the sick, making the maimed whole and setting the captives free. Big time!