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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Woman to Woman: Dealing with Problems

A good friend invited me to a Pelvic Floor Disorder seminar recently. And, being the good friend that I am, I accepted. It wasn’t hard to accept the invitation at all. I have always been interested in medical information and in sharing what I learn. As a child, I remember sneaking into my parent’s bedroom to look at the black and white pics in the old medical book my parents owned. I was fascinated with the rare and unusual diseases pictured in the book. Now, as an adult, I read medical books before I go to sleep – okay, not every night! I subscribe to some of the most prominent journals available, such as the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, the John Hopkins Medical Letter Health after 50, the Harvard Health Letter, and Neurology Today. And, if any physician is reading this, I even own my own copy of Lange’s Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013!!!

Photo Credit: The Greene Family
My Bookshelves!

In-between all my “medical reading”, I have been trying to look at every situation I encounter as an opportunity from God. Hence, I went to the Pelvic Floor Disorder seminar all psyched up to learn some Godly truths from a uro-gynecologist, a pelvic floor physical therapist, and a bowel doctor!!! So please indulge me as I combine my love for the medical field and my love for Jesus Christ in this unusual blog.

Some problems, both medical and spiritual, resolve themselves. However, when they don’t, we are left with the quandary of how to best resolve them. Do we ignore symptoms? Do we put off getting help? Or, do we go to the best source possible to remedy our difficulties? When comparing medical problems with spiritual problems, there are ways to get on the right track.

With medical problems:
  • Admit you have a problem;
  • Go to a physician who specializes in your problem;
  • Be totally open and honest when talking to your physician;
  • Find out the treatment options available to you; and
  • Make the changes necessary to remedy your illness or disease.
With spiritual problems:
  • Admit you have a problem;
  • Go to Jesus Christ who understands your concerns;
  • Be totally open and honest when talking to the Lord;
  • Read your Bible, pray, and ask the Lord for wisdom in treating your problem; and
  • Make the changes necessary to get your life back on track.
Sometimes we become so stressed with our problems, we end up approaching them in negative ways. We may experience:

1. An inability to control our actions;
2. An inability to handle extreme pressure and stress;
3. An inability to give all to God;
4. An inability to slow down; or
5. Difficulty in making a needed decision.


1. Inability to control ourselves and we do what we don’t want to do. 
[Incontinence]¹ - See definition below.

Many people feel a loss of self-sufficiency and weariness when they encounter a problem that is difficult to handle on their own, such as incontinence. 

We try to handle the symptoms on our own, but sometimes they don't improve and we end up creating a worse situation for ourselves. As with incontinence, a competent physician can help us to know the truth about what is going on medically. 

Likewise, when we feel we can’t control problems, like unemployment, excessive drinking or gossiping, we need to go the source – Jesus Christ – and He will help us. Trusting Jesus Christ in every detail of our life is essential. God may use many sources to help us with the issues we can’t handle, such as counselors, mentors, pastors, or family members. Spending time in his presence seeking, praying, reading His Word and listening to Him is the key.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate . . . So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Romans 7:15

2. Inability to handle extreme pressure and stress. 
[Prolapse]² - See definition below.

Pressure hurts. Ask anyone who is dealing with any kind of medical prolapse, such as a cystocele, urethrocele, uterine prolapse, vaginal vault prolapse, prolapse vaginal vault, rectocele, or an enterocele. 

Pretending our problems are not creating stress and pressure is unwise and unhealthy. As women, we sometimes don’t want others to know how much stress we are experiencing even though we might be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. If you have ever had a broken heart, you know the feeling. Your heart physically hurts. You don’t know what to do. You just want to forget about everything, crawl in a ball, and try to get through one day at a time.

If we find ourselves in this mode, either physically or emotionally, it is imperative we talk to someone. Medically, we talk to a doctor. While friends, family, and even counselors help, we need to talk to God about what is really going on. Often, when we are experiencing the most stress and pressure, we stop spending time in prayer and Bible study. At these times, taking control and surrendering ourselves to the Lord, we experience a new type of freedom and release from pressure. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

3. Inability to give all to God; thus we suffer excruciating pain and hurt. 
[Urinary Retention]³ - See definition below.

Medically, the inability to urinate can really hurt — so much so that we may not be able to concentrate on anything else. When I was a teenager, I encountered this awful “inability to empty disorder.” I was in so much pain. At 10:00 a.m. my mother was able to get a doctor’s appointment for me, but when she told me it wasn’t until 3:00 that afternoon, I thought I was going to die. Then, I thought I would doubly-die when I went to the doctor and he–let me stress HE–gave me a prescription for some pills “that should help before I went to bed.” Couldn’t he see and feel my unfathomable agony, my excruciating pain, and my dire anguish? At the moment of my deepest need, I could not see any hope. But, hope did come. The pills allowed relief, but way too slowly for my liking. But, today when I read Proverbs 13:12, I am reminded of my suffering that day. I now understand that when hope is deferred, the tree of life is around the corner. But, we must patiently wait for it. 

God is our tree of life. He is never apathetic to what we are going through. Yes, we may be in misery and despair in our affliction. We may be experiencing a major issue and we need a rapid-fire fix. Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, once told the Lord he was fatigued and that he wanted to just quit and die. Like Elijah, when we encounter situations like this, the only thing that will help us is to empty ourselves to God. God wants us to talk to him, even plead with Him, when we are totally overwhelmed and experiencing turmoil.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

4. Inability to slow down from our going, going, going lifestyle.
[Overactive Bladder] - See definition below.

Someone with an overactive bladder is continually seeking out where the nearest restroom is. Making restroom facilities a refuge can make us mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually tired. Most friends, family, and acquaintances have no idea what someone encountering this problem deals with and especially the humiliation of not being able to make it to a bathroom destination.

How well I know! As a child, having this disorder along with having shy bladder or bashful bladder, I can totally relate to the feeling. It is so tiring, stressful, and embarrassing.

On a spiritual sense, a going, going, going person gets so involved doing "things," there is barely time to think. Hopping from one meeting to the next; one good deed to the next; answering one phone call after another; dropping kids from one place to the next, these individuals are wiped out from overworking. In the work field, they are called workaholics. At home, they might be called perfectionists. Either way, when we go, go, go, the quality of our life is affected - usually negatively. If you find yourself too busy to pray and read the Bible, you are way busier than God wants you to be. 

Medically, while this disorder may not need an immediate solution, spiritually it does! Those who do not spend time with God and God’s Word, lose the deep, quiet relationship Jesus wants with them. To keep a solid relationship with our Lord, we must take time out to refresh ourselves with Him.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10

Kerrville, Texas

5. Difficulty in making a needed decision. 
[Fistula] - See definition below.

Most fistulas require surgery to correct them. Yes, we need a physician to help with this problem. Spiritually, many people are dealing with major or life and death conditions and a decision needs to be made pronto, i.e. suicidal thoughts; drug overdose; alcoholic blackouts. 

You may be dealing right now with something ONLY the power of God can help you with. Never believe that God leaves you powerless to deal with your problems on your own. God will give you the strength, but you must turn to the one and only Jesus Christ who is willing and waiting to help you. 

If you haven’t made a full commitment to follow Him, I encourage you to do that today. By confessing your faults and sins, and asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, you will not walk this journey we call life alone, but you will have someone to help you with whatever you are facing right now. Take an honest look at your life and decide for Christ. Only you can make that decision – not your parents, your spouse, or your friends. Surrendering your life to his will is the best decision you can ever make.

As with any medical disorder or issue, we may visit a primary care doctor only to be referred to a specialist. However, regarding our spiritual life, there is no PRIMARY CARE GOD, there is only the powerful God of the Trinity. As with all our problems, let’s turn to the Lord first for help and make Him our first course of action. He knows the big picture of our life. He knows what is going on in our lives. And, He knows what we must go through to achieve His plans for our lives.

Blessings Always,

Bible Verses:
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32

Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. Psalm 28:2

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26

Jesus, I know that sometimes I don't handle my problems and difficulties in the way that pleases you. I just want to leave my problems with you and depend on you to guide me into your perfect ways. Give me wisdom and lead me by your Holy Spirit to those who can help me to see my life from your perspective. I love you. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

¹ Incontinence is the inability of the body to control the evacuation functions or urination or defecation.

² Prolapse is the falling down or slipping of a body part from its usual position or relations.

³ Urinary retention is the inability to empty the bladder completely.

 Overactive bladder is a condition that is characterized by a sudden, involuntary contraction of the muscle in the wall of the urinary bladder resulting in a sudden unstoppable need to urinate.

 A fistula is an abnormal connection between an organ, vessel, or intestine and another structure.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Old Testament Bible Trivia Quiz

I don't think I look like a nerd, but I think I am. Back in college, I thought about becoming a librarian, but I was totally turned off when I thought I might have to wear my hair in a bun, wear straight gray wool skirts, wear pumps, and grace my face with thick old glasses. But, after I "grew" up, I did become a librarian! I have always liked little trivia facts, research, and making worksheets, so it was no surprise to me that when in the summer of 2014 I decided to read the Bible through and write down questions I had as I perused the Bible. 

Doing what I love to do, I made up a little Old Testament quiz from my summer reading just for you. Give it a try. See how much Bible trivia you know. And remember, I would have received a 10% or less if I would have taken this quiz before my "summer reading initiative." But, isn't that what summer reading programs are for  to learn something? Answers and explanations follow the quiz.

Photo Credit: The Greene Family
The Bible Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

1. Who is referred to as “knock out gorgeous” in the Book of Samuel?
a. Mephibosheth
b. Uzzah
c. Absolom
d. David

2. What disease did King Asa most likely have in his old age?
        a. diabetes
        b. Achilles tendon rupture
        c. peripheral artery disease
        d. lymphedema

3. Who is the son of DoDo?
        a. Abishai
        b. Benaiah
        c. Shammah
        d. Eleazar

4. What was the sign that Hezekiah would live longer?
        a. the siege of Jerusalem
        b. a sundial
        c. Sennacherib’s fall
        d. a vision from God

5. What does precept by precept mean?
        a. studying the Bible book by book
        b. ranking biblical words by alphabetic order
        c. studying the Bible line by line
        d. dismantling the meaning of words

6. What were cisterns used for in the Old Testament?
        a. storing gold and silver
        b. hiding those with leprosy
        c. storing wine
        d. hiding fugitives and prisoners

7. Why did Job call himself a “friend of ostriches?” 
        a. ostriches have inspired cultures for years
        b. ostriches like desolate places
        c. ostriches can go without drinking for days
        d. ostriches have very large eyes

8. Why did the Canaanites and the Perizzites cut off Adonibezek’s thumbs and his big toes?
        a. because he had done the same to 60 civilians
        b. to show their kingdoms had been divided
        c. because he had done the same to 70 kings
        d. because a painful journey was upon them

9. What is a parapet?
        a. an extension of a wall at the edge of a roof
        b. a parrot residing in the Middle East region
        c. a sandal popular in Old Testament times
        d. a lampstand used in making the tabernacle

10. God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding
        a. like the knowledge of good and evil
        b. like the Lion of Judah
        c. like the stars in the heaven
        d. like the sand on the seashore

1.    c
2.    a
3.    d
4.    b
5.    c
6.    d
7.    b
8.    c
9.    a
10.  d

More for the Inquiring Minds . . .

The Bible: A double-edged sword
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

1. The Bible infers Absolom was knock-out gorgeous.

Bible Verse: Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 2 Samuel 14:25

2. Many scholars today say King Asa most likely had diabetes in his old age. Some even say it could be the first record of diabetic gangrene.

Bible Verse: But in his old age he was diseased in his feet. 1 Kings 15:23

3.  DoDo’s son was Eleazar.

Bible Verse: And next to him amoung the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. 2 Samuel 23:9

4. Through a sundial, Hezekiah was given a sign he would live longer.

Bible Verse: Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps by which it had declined. Isaiah 38:8

5. Precept upon precept means studying the Word of God line by line.

Bible Verse: To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little. Isaiah 28:9-10

6. During Biblical times cisterns were used to store water They were also used as hiding places for fugitives and burial places. The prophet Jeremiah was held as a prisoner in Malchaiah's muddy cistern, where he was eventually pulled out with ropes.

Bible Verse: So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. Jeremiah 38:6

7. Clark’s Commentary says, “both the jackal and the female ostrich are remarkable for their mournful cry, and for their attachment to desolate places.”

Bible Verse: I am a brother of jackals and a companion of ostriches. Job 30:29

8. The Canaanites and the Perizzites cut off Adonibezek’s thumbs and his big toes because he had done the same to seventy kings, whom he made to gather their food under his table. This is your Bible states, “The cutting off of the thumbs makes work with the hands impossible. The cutting off of the big toes makes walking difficult. The act reduced the king to a state of dependency on others.”

Bible Verse:
Adoni-bezek fled, but they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes. 7 And Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me.” And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. Judges 1:6-7

9. A parapet is a barrier which is an extension of the wall at the edge of a roof, balcony, or other structure.

Bible Verse: Moses was telling them, “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.” Deuteronomy 22:8

10. The answer is the sand on the seashore. Matthew Poole’s Commentary says, “Even as the sand that is on the sea-shore; which cannot be numbered or measured; and which, though it be so vast and comprehensive, yet consists of the smallest parts: and so it may note that Solomon’s wisdom was both vast, reaching to all things; and most accurate, searching and discerning every small thing.”

Bible Verse: And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore. 1 Kings 4:29

And, to continue the story from the beginning of this blog, one day when working in my high school library, I looked down and there I was — wearing a straight gray wool skirt, pumps, and black glasses. The only thing missing was the bun which I sometimes wear now as a "retired" librarian. 

So maybe, I really am a full-fledged nerd after all! If so, I love it. It's exactly how God made me! Be yourself. Be the person God intends you to be!

Be blessed,
Patti Greene

Bible Verses: See Above.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making me in your image. I may be differently from everyone else, but it is a blessing to know I am exactly how you want me to be. Let me use my talents and gifts for your glory. Take away my fears as I pursue Your calling upon my life. I love You Lord Jesus. Amen.

Feel free to comment or share this blog. It is for you I write.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Disobedience: A Sure Way to Suffer

On October 31st, 2015, a Russian plane (Flight 9268) crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 people aboard. In this case, the tragic consequences were not of their own doing. But, this current news item reminded me of a time when the people of Judah chose consequences rather than repenting of their sin. The people’s continual disobedience led to the destruction of Jerusalem and their eventual exile into Egypt where God punished them with war, hunger, and disease. By not listening to God, only a very few survivors came back to live in Judah. (Jeremiah 44:11-14). But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let's start.

Khufu Pyramid, Egypt
Public Domain: Library of Congress

God is fair. He loves everyone and does not want any harm or affliction to come upon them (2 Peter 3:9). However, God wants his creation to love him in return (1 John 5:3). Many nations have disregarded God’s love and His desire to bless them. And when nations or people reject the Lord and His commandments, suffering comes upon them (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). Before Jeremiah, the Northern Kingdom which consisted of 10 tribes was destroyed by the Assyrians. Thus Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah which consisted of the two remaining tribes. Jeremiah was present when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 586 BC. Jeremiah states over and over again that without people repenting and turning to God, consequences will befall them.

During the time of Jeremiah’s unpopular message, the people and leaders were actively participating in many sinful behaviors such as idol worship, sacrificing their own children to the gods, stealing, adultery, and more. The people had two choices they could have pursued – To be obedient to God and receive his blessings or continue in their sin and await judgment. They were totally steeped in sin and they decided to remain in it. Jeremiah comes upon this scene, and for almost 50 years, he pursues his calling to warn the people that if they did not turn to God and worship Him that God would judge them. And, for all those years, he saw very limited, almost non-existent, change in their lives.

Jeremiah was treated horribly during his ministry.

The people did not listen to him. (Jeremiah 7:25)
They wanted to kill him. (Jeremiah 11:19, 21-23)
He was beaten. (Jeremiah 20:2)
He was put into the king’s prison. (Jeremiah 32:1-5)
He was put into a muddy cistern and left to starve to death. (Jeremiah 38:6-10)

However, being encouraged by the Lord throughout the book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah continued his call to preach the message with sadness and tears; thus, his name “the weeping prophet.”

God had sent many prophets to the people of Judah calling for their repentance and he had given them grace over and over. But, God had finally had enough.

He even asks Jeremiah to stop praying for the people. When I first read this many years ago in the Bible, I was shocked to hear that God actually told someone to stop praying for people. But, it is in the Bible.

“As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.” (Jeremiah 7:16)

“Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.” (Jeremiah 11: 14)

“The LORD said to me: ‘Do not pray for the welfare of this people. Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.’” (Jeremiah 14:11-12)

Sounds like God had enough of their sinful behavior, doesn’t it? In this case, it seems that prayer was delaying the judgment and God was ready to act. It is interesting to note that God did not tell Jeremiah to stop preaching the message of repentance. God was ready to judge!

Darkness of Sin
Lion Sands Safari, South Africa

At this interval, God is ready to judge sin. This happens in our lives too. God gives us chance after chance to repent. But, at some point, he says, “Enough is enough.” And, that is a scary place to be.

God decided to use the Babylonians to punish their sin and assign consequences to their behavior. The Babylonians destroy Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple in 586 BC. At this point, the people of Judah, who are living in the midst of the destruction, ask Jeremiah to ask the Lord if they should leave and go to Egypt or stay in Jerusalem. The people promised they would obey God whether God says to go or stay. Jeremiah did not respond right away. He prayed for 10 days. Finally, he told the people what he heard from God.

“At the end of ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Then he summoned Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces who were with him, and all the people from the least to the greatest, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your plea for mercy before him: If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you. Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land. But if you say, ‘We will not remain in this land,’ disobeying the voice of the Lord your God and saying, ‘No, we will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war or hear the sound of the trumpet or be hungry for bread, and we will dwell there,’ then hear the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: If you set your faces to enter Egypt and go to live there, then the sword that you fear shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow close after you to Egypt, and there you shall die. All the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to live there shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. They shall have no remnant or survivor from the disaster that I will bring upon them.”

And, after all this, it is amazing what the people said. The insolent men said to Jeremiah, ”You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there.’” (Jeremiah 43:2) This reminds me of the time my youngest son kept asking me if Santa Claus was real. I kept saying, "Do you really want to know." He said, "Yes!" This continual bantering went back and forth until I finally decided to tell him Santa Claus wasn't real. His immediate response was, "I don't believe you!" Sometimes people just believe what they want to believe and there is nothing you can do about it. The people of Judah chose not to obey the voice of God and they went to Egypt. Jeremiah was also forced to go to Egypt even though it was against God’s desire. The consequence for the people’s disobedience was again judgment from God as promised in the form of destruction of their homeland and their chosen exile to Egypt. But, let’s remember that God’s real desire for his people was to be obedient so he could shower them with blessings — not suffering and trials.

How is this story relevant for us today? This story talks about the nation of Judah. However, if we continue in our disobedience after many warnings and exhortations, we can end up in a very dangerous situation suffering the terrible consequences of sin. In the midst of sin, we are losing his blessings and our relationship with him. God may wait many years for our repentance while we live lives of deceit, immorality, drunkenness, corruption, dishonesty, and lies. Let’s not let that happen. Allow God to rule your life NOW. Return to the Lord today and/or accept His love and acceptance by confessing your sins, and asking Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior.

While the passengers on Flight 9268 were unaware of their ultimate and unfortunate demise, we are given the opportunity to change our lives and choose to live in God’s blessings. Let’s act today.

Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15)

Patti Greene

Bible Verses:

For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19

But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. The LORD will send you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. Deuteronomy 28:15-20

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


Dear Heavenly Father, let me recognize the times you are drawing me back to you. Let me understand that you want my total obedience — not just my appearances in church or my good works. Let me hear deeper truths from you. Allow your presence to permeate my life. Lord, lead this nation to walk in your presence. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
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Thursday, November 5, 2015

False Prophets

In The Billy Graham Christian Worker's Handbook, Graham states, “All the way through the Bible we are warned against false prophets and false teachers. And even Jesus warned us of false prophets when He said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.” ¹ [Matthew 7:15] We are warned of false prophets in many Bible books, such as Deuteronomy, 1 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Matthew, Acts, and 2 Peter – just to name a few.

Who are false prophets?
But who are the false prophets we read about in the Bible? Authors Jean Fischer and Tracy Sumner have put together one of the easiest definition and explanation of a false prophet I have seen. They describe a false prophet as, “A liar. A false prophet says that a message is from God when it’s not. If a person says God gave him/her a message, and that message leads you away from God or what His Word says, that person is a false prophet. The Bible says that many false prophets are in the world. We need to watch out for them.” ²

Photograph Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Characteristics of false prophets
Most false prophets have many characteristics that set them apart from others. While not every false prophet may possess all of the following, many do. Most false prophets in today’s age are:
  • Very convincing. They have an uncanny ability to convince others that they have been given the sole truth from God.
  • Very personable. They are usually very well-liked and are adept in social skills and social situations.
  • Smart. They have to be quite smart in order to debate, win arguments, and convince others. Look back at Biblical times. Many of the false teachers then were highly educated religious leaders of their day.
  • Very possessive of their followers.
  • Very motivated. Their motivations may stem from various needs, such as their desire to be popular or esteemed in the eyes of others, their desire to approval, or even their desire for money.
  • Very adept in manipulating Scripture for their purposes.
  • Teachers of false doctrines.

What do false prophets do?
False prophets lead people astray. Ultimately, they will lead an unbeliever from hearing God’s truth about eternal life and believers will be led away from the holy and blessed life the Lord wants for them. False prophets may perform signs and wonders; bring heresies into the church; and deceive others. The apostle Paul warned people not to be deceived by the false teachings of his day in Thessalonians. He proved his seriousness about making the church a pure place for believers when he removed two false teachers, Hymenaeus and Alexander, from the church and handed them over to Satan so they would learn not to blaspheme. [1Timothy1:19-20]

Satan is a deceiver. He has many disguises. Many are deceived by the doctrines and teachings of the day. So, we must present ourselves as diligent servants for the Lord and test the spirits.

Questions asked
Questions have been asked by people from all walks of life and through many generations, such as:
  • Who are the false teachers of today?
  • Why do false teachers exist?
  • Why do people believe false prophets expound God’s truth?
  • Who are we to judge others and label them as false prophets?
  • Doesn’t the Bible tell us not to judge others?

These are all excellent questions, so let’s see how we can tell who false prophet is by looking at what the Scriptures say.

Verses about false prophets
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.

How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.

And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

And from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.

For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Why is it imperative we recognize false prophets?
We must recognize them because there are many voices vying for our attention. We must learn to discern the right voices from the wrong ones. We can do that by allowing every word we hear be filtered through God’s Word. If what one says or writes does not align with Scriptures, it is not of God. No one is perfect, but by looking into the character of a person, we can get a peek into their integrity, i.e. do they lie? do they commit adultery? When we recognize false prophets, we will know what to avoid and we can guide others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Where will you find false prophets?
You will find false prophets everywhere – in the church, in seminaries, in institutions of higher learning, on the radio, on TV, in cities, in towns, in cities, in poor countries, or in rich countries. You may find them predicting the end of times or healing people. All over the world, they are deceiving people and leading them away from the pure Word of God. They want men and women to worship them instead of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Photograph Location: Brussels, Belgium

My opinion
I will not attempt to list false prophets in this blog. Not because I can’t whip out a few names I believe are false teachers, but because the Bible has so many references pertaining to how one can discern those who teach false doctrines that I desire you to delve into the Word of God yourself and distinguish those who lead others in Truth and those who don’t.

In my opinion, if a solid, mature believer expresses doubts about a person’s sincerity or believers one may be a false teacher, it may be wise to evaluate the person in question, pray about it, and seek God’s understanding of the matter. We must be wise in our thinking. Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver.” We must test the spirits ourselves. Even in Acts 17:10-11, we find the Bereans testing the apostle Paul to be sure they were following the teachings of a Godly man who was sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit. Never feel bad about questioning a spiritual leader, seminary professor, or Bible study teachers. Just as false prophets had penetrated the churches in Jesus’ time, they have also penetrated the walls of our churches and institutions today.

My desire for you, my friends, is that you will never be misled into believing in false prophets or false teachings. Satan will disguise himself as an angel of light. Just because someone is called Reverend, Pastor, or Brother, does not mean the solid truth of Jesus Christ is within them. It is essential for us to seek out the mind of God on all matters.

Jeremiah, a prophet of God
Jeremiah was called to bring a very convicting message to the people of his day. He was to tell the people to repent or doom will come upon the nation and city of Jerusalem. All the while, false prophets were exhorting the people with messages of deliverance and peace which sounded a lot better than what Jeremiah was declaring. [Jeremiah 14:11-16, Jeremiah 23:9-40, Jeremiah 28:1-17] But, the false prophets were wrong and Jeremiah’s teaching was right.

Let us follow the right spirit. Let’s acquaint ourselves with God’s Word so thoroughly that nothing will lead us astray. False prophets do exist today and they will continue to exist until the end of time.

God bless you.
Patti Greene

Bible Verses:
See Above.

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your Holy Scripture. Thank you for never leaving me alone to figure out questions, doubts, or concerns. As I seek to be discerning about the things of God, let me pray and hear your teachings to guide and protect me from situations that are not OF YOU. Let me recognize false prophets and false teachings and give me the courage to avoid them by only immersing myself in You and Your Word. And thank you for the pastors, leaders, and parents who are teaching the truth of God to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

¹ Graham, Billy. The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook. Ed. Charles G. Ward. Charlotte, NC: World Wide Publications, 2001.
² Fishcher, Jean and Tracy M. Sumner. Big Bible Guide: Kids’ Bible Dictionary & Handbook. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2013.

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