TRUE VS. FALSE WORSHIP

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1Co 13:1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 
1Co 13:2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 
1Co 13:3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 

Is the ‘love’ spoken of here, love for fellow men, or ‘love’ for God, or both? I should think we have to love God first, before we can properly love our fellow man. Thus, everything we do, if it is to bring forth good and proper fruit, must be founded in true LOVE of God first. Everything we say and preach must emanate from a sincere LOVE of God or else we’re simply making noise!

It’s the same with our worship. Much of what’s called worship in the Church today is nothing more than empty noise, devoid of Holy Spirit anointing, and therefore, devoid of His fruit. I’ve attended quite a few churches over the years, and have seen very little true worship. True worship draws attention to God alone, not the talent of choir members or worship leaders. You can tell the difference between true and false worship if you’re sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit. Those who aren’t sensitive to Him can’t tell the difference, which is one reason very little true worship happens in most churches. There are other reasons as well. Believe it or not, the head minister and worship leader don’t always have enough sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, often preferring their prearranged programs to the Holy Ghost’s moods, movements, and desires. Sadly, I’ve seen and experienced this quenching of the Holy Spirit in nearly every church I’ve attended. As I grew in the knowledge of the Scriptures through my own research and study primarily, and after receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I became extremely sensitive to this phenomenon. It got to the point where I could no longer stand the church’s quenching of God’s Spirit; it was simply too painful for me so I stopped going to church.

Many sincere church members are led to believe they’re worshiping God when all they’re doing is merely mouthing words to the music while their minds wander from their personal concerns to the minister’s new home, to how lovely so-and-so looks in her new dress. Many choir member’s think about how well they’re singing, which isn’t singing unto the Lord, but for men. When worship is about US, it isn’t about Him!

When true worship occurs, a person’s FULL attention is on God alone, and no one else in the room matters! You don’t think or care about who’s watching YOU! You don’t worry about, or care about, the TIME! You don’t care whether you’re hungry, thirsty, or tired! Fact is when you truly worship God, you won’t notice any of these things or other people in the room because all is overshadowed and subdued by God’s holy Presence! When His awesome Presence floods your soul, you want to keep on worshiping Him, as your needs don’t exist in Him. He truly ‘fills all in all’ when allowed and/or invited to do so.

I feel badly for those who have never experienced this kind of worship because it’s the most wonderful spiritual experience one can have this side of Heaven. Once you experience true worship, you’ll never be satisfied with anything less. Much, dare I say most, of what passes for worship these days, is not true worship, but mere ‘noise’ like that of  ‘sounding brass’ and ‘clanging cymbals.’ That type of worship is often just ‘loud’ and DEVOID of true DEVOTION, with an emphasis on SELF (see how great a voice I have; notice ME) not on God and His Holiness. It isn’t given in God’s honor, but to make a ‘show’ for others to admire. Such so called worship is shallow, empty, and a stench in God’s nostrils! ~ Mat 15:8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  Php 3:3  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. **Listen to this powerful sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-Ewozh-cGc

I’m so grateful for the church where I first experienced true worship, wherein the chief pastor coached its members on HOW to truly worship God. It was an experience I’ll never forget and one by which I judge all other worship, or should I say, attempts at worship. Worship is very important to God and He seeks true worshipers. Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. Joh 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

If true worship returned to the Church, Revival would come as the Spirit of God subdues the flesh along with its fleshly works. We would see men saved, filled with the Spirit, delivered from sin, and healed of diseases. The Holy Spirit can and will work miracles and wonders through us, if we allow Him to! Whenever a minister or church member quenches (stops, interrupts, hinders) the Holy Spirit’s workings, be it in the form of verbal gifts like tongues and prophecies, or in the form of deliverance from evil spirits and miraculous healing – he or she SINS against God. Quenching God’s Spirit is a SIN of which the Church at large needs to REPENT. Now is the time for the Church to repent of this sin and turn back to letting God be God and Master over His own HOUSE! Who’s the rightful Head and owner of the Church? Is surely isn’t any man; not the Bishop, not the minister, not the priest, not even the Pope! Let me reiterate, NO MAN ‘stands in the place of God on earth!’ Christ is present with us on earth now through His Holy Spirit and He alone stands in God’s place until Christ returns. There is but ONE MEDIATOR between God and man and that’s the Man Christ Jesus – 1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 

Thus, no mortal man stands in God’s or Christ’s place on earth since Christ is the sole mediator between God and men. This is God’s Word, believe it or not, the choice is yours but if you choose men’s words over God’s, you’ll pay a heavy price, the loss of your soul. 1Th 2:13  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, 1Jn 5:9  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: Luk 11:28  blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Truth is, the Priesthood was transferred from the Levites (temporary priesthood) to Melchisedek, the eternal priesthood of Christ. Thus, Christ became our High Priest, REPLACING ALL OTHERS. We now have no need of priests to be mediators between God and men. Christ is the new High Priest and sole Mediator between God and men. To all Catholics I say, Stop blindly accepting church doctrines (teachings) which say that priests, bishops, and the Pope, take the place of Christ on earth – and start reading/studying the Bible (God’s Word) for yourselves. Stop believing and start questioning everything you’re told. Search the holy Scriptures for yourselves and compare what you’ve been told to what’s written in them. If anyone tells you that the Pope or any other man’s teachings supercede the Bible’s writings, that man (whoever he be) is a LIAR and a traitor to Christ. These statements don’t originate with me, they weren’t birthed in my mind, but are the teachings of the Bible. If the Pope tells you something contrary to God’s Word, who should you believe? You who say you believe the Bible is God’s word, why don’t you do what it tells you to do? The Bible tells us to obey God not men ~

Act 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 
Act 5:13  And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 
Act 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 
Act 5:15  Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 
Act 5:16  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. 
Act 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 
Act 5:18  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 
Act 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 
Act 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 
Act 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 
Act 5:22  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 
Act 5:23  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. 
Act 5:24  Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 
Act 5:25  Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 
Act 5:26  Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. 
Act 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 
Act 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 
Act 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 

Be forewarned, they who don’t do God’s will, won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven ~ Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 

My comments won’t please everyone I realize, but I’m not here to pander to men’s opinions and beliefs. I’m here to tell the TRUTH. Stop worshiping the Pope, priests, ministers, angels, prophets, apostles, etc. Worship the living God and OBEY His words only! Render the fruit of your lips in true worship from a pure heart of love for, and obedience to His Words, adoring only Him. Let’s forget what makes us feel comfortable and start the New Year right by worshiping God the way He wants to be worshiped instead of how we think He wants to be worshiped. Then will the GLORY of God be seen again as it was in the desert of Sinai when He led Israel out of Egypt, and as was seen at Pentecost and in various revivals since. May the Glory of God fall mightily upon His Church again and ignite it with renewed desire to see His glory fill all the earth! 

Debra R. Stout, December 25, 2016

Commercializing Christ’s Birth

 

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Christmas – ‘the happiest time of the year,’ a common refrain heard during the season of what is referred to as the time of Christ’s birth. What makes this holiday the happiest time of the year? Is it the birth of Christ or the exchanging of gifts which we’ve grown accustomed to? Just who or what do we celebrate? I’m sure many would say it’s not the gifts, food or drink, but the sharing of warm moments with family and friends that makes this holiday so special.

While that may be true, I wonder what Christmas would be like if no one exchanged gifts, but just spent time together remembering Christ’s birth? Would everyone still feel it’s the most wonderful time of the year, or, would they feel deprived? It would make for one very interesting experiment if people dared to try it, but I’ve not much hope for that since most are hooked on the excitement and expectation that gift exchanging engenders. Yet there are some brave souls who have pulled back, even disengaged themselves from much of the season’s rituals, alleviating themselves of the stress, and saving a bundle to boot. Right about now, I can almost hear someone screaming, “Scrooge!”

Movies like “Scrooge” are designed to heap guilt on people if they don’t give like they should. Who made up these rules anyway? A myth invented by men, many believe Christmas is based on Christ’s birth and that gift giving is based on the three Wise Men or Magi who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Fact is, there’s no hint in that biblical account, or anywhere else in the Bible, that the actions of the Magi were to be repeated. The Magi’s gifts were for travel expenses such as food and lodging for Jesus and his parent’s journey to Egypt, a one-time event. But who cares, gift exchanging is SO much FUN, right?

If the Magi aren’t used as justification for our ritual gift exchange, it’s jolly old St. Nicholas, aka Santa Claus. At least using St Nick is honest, since gift exchanging began with pagan festivals like Saturnalia and Yule based on the ‘return of the Sun’ at the Winter Solstice. Ancient Roman Saturnalia festivities began on December 17 and concluded on the 24th, when gifts were exchanged. Homes and streets were noisy with banqueting, heavy drinking, and riotous behavior. ‘Gift-giving has its roots in pagan rituals held during the winter. When Christianity folded these rituals into Christmas, the justification for bearing gifts was redirected to the Three Wise Men, the Magi, who gave gifts to the infant Jesus. But in early modern Europe, it also had its roots in Christmas begging. During the holiday seasons, bands of young men, often rowdy, would “wassail” from home to home and demand handouts from the gentry, says Stephen Nissenbaum, author of “The Battle for Christmas.” Christmas involved an exchange between the social classes.’[1]

Another common refrain heard during Christmas, is that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Is He really? When families gather around their trees to open presents, how many talk about Christ’s birth or the Magi, even in Christian homes? Though many attend Sunday and Christmas Eve church services commemorating His birth, when they get home, their focus reverts back to gifts and other holiday trappings. It’s good for families to get together, but how has Christmas become the designated time of year for that to happen? The answer is simply, tradition or custom. But as Jesus once said to some Pharisees, Mar 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…

While Christ’s birth is supposed to be the centerpiece, the commercial aspects of Christmas have pretty much overshadowed Him. Sadly, most of the world has commercialized Christ. Think about that for a moment. If true, this means that Christ is being ‘used’ to sell things to fill the coffers of merchants, and to satisfy man’s lust for material things! Is this not the commercializing or merchandising of Christ? The false notion that we give gifts at Christmas because Magi brought them to baby Jesus, gives people an excuse to spend excessively, get drunk, and overeat – all in the name of honoring Christ’s birth. When did Christ ever teach men to overeat, get drunk, or do anything in excess? He taught moderation in all things, and to give without expectation of a return. Tell me that most don’t expect a gift in return at Christmas, or don’t end up feeling disappointed by what they got, or feel they didn’t get enough. How much is enough anyway?

If we truly wish to honor Christ, shouldn’t we stop commercializing His birth? Why not just admit that we exchange gifts because we WANT to, not because the Magi gave gifts to baby Jesus? Now I know that many, if not most, Christians will balk at these facts, stating emphatically that it doesn’t matter what people did long ago, but only what we do now, and all that matters is our heart’s motivation. Dare we search our hearts to see if our motivation is to honor Christ’s birth, or to satisfy our wants? It can’t be both. Jesus taught denial of self – Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 

Could we not break away just a little from the commercialization and merchandising of Christ? It’s just too much. My mother shared with me that in her childhood days, most people hand made gifts to give to loved ones at Christmas. Their celebration was simple and frugal compared to ours today. It’s despicable how merchants have turned Christ’s birth, a HOLY event which took place in a lowly manger, into a massive commercial behemoth. Should Christians take part in this yearly exploitation of their Savior’s birth?

Besides, giving can occur any time of the year, whenever there is need, and without expectation of getting something in return. Jesus taught people to give to those who can’t pay you back, so that He may reward you at the Resurrection of the Just. Luk 14:12 When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 

Luk 14:13  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 

Luk 14:14  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. 

Jesus also taught, “It’s more blessed (happy, joyous) to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Debra R. Stout, December 15, 2016

Foot Notes:

[1] http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2013/1221/Christmas-How-did-gift-giving-and-caroling-get-started