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Apostasy in the Church even in America

Joel Osteen pastors the largest church in America located in Houston, Texas. He is a highly published author of three books and in the last year has been selling out appearances all over the US in places like Yankee Stadium in New York and in LA at Dodger Stadium.

But if you ever really listen to him preach or watch one of his sermons from Lakewood Church on TV you will hear a Gospel preached that you may never have heard before. It is a gospel of prosperity, a gospel of positivity, a gospel that never emanated from Jesus.

He may not even mention Jesus all that much. His teaching is flat out apostasy and is leading the church of Jesus down a path towards destruction. He is a New Ager. Read the attached commentary on Mr. Osteen and you draw your own conclusions.

Keep looking up from your redemtioon draws near!

Joel Osteen’s New Age Life Now?

By Brannon Howse
Worldview Weekend

“Whatever you conceive you can achieve.”

With this favorite karma-changing promise, New Agers believe you need only use the “unlimited” power and consciousness of your mind to bring about all your dreams, desires and wishes.

Cloaked in a “Christian” package, Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, bears an uncomfortable and dangerous similarity to this most popular of New Age claims. Sample a few of the Osteen versions:

  • “You will produce what you’re continually seeing in your mind. If you foster an image of defeat and failure, then you’re going to live that kind of life. But if you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.” (page 5)
  • “You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it.” (page 6)
  • “You must look through your ‘eyes of faith’ and start seeing yourself as happy, healthy and whole.” (page 15)
  • “What you will receive is directly connected to how you believe.” (page 22)
  • “We receive what we believe.” (page 72)
  • “Learn how to conceive. Keep the image of what you want to become in front of you. You’re going to become what you believe.” (page 81)

Osteen now travels the country, packing out stadiums with his happy-talk. But I’d like to see Osteen pay a visit to China, preach his “your best life now” drivel, and see how Christians there respond. Let Osteen look into the eyes of Pastor Lei who has been repeatedly arrested and beaten for preaching the Word of God in his church – a church not licensed by the Chinese government. How would the American’s best life work out for Pastor Lei and his congregation? Perhaps their jail time for the Gospel would give them time to assess Rev. Osteen’s claims.

Have these and countless other persecuted Christians been beaten, jailed and murdered because they “received what they believed,” or did these terrible things happen to them because they did not “develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness”?

Were eleven of Jesus’ disciples martyred because, “they received what they believed”? Were the disciples living under a “curse of poverty and defeat” as Osteen says of so many? Here’s a role call of questions I’d like to ask Mr. Osteen. Why is it, Joel, that:

  • Paul and Matthew were beheaded?
  • Barnabas was burned to death?
  • Mark was dragged to death?
  • James, the less, was clubbed to death?
  • Peter, Philip, and Andrew were crucified?
  • Thomas was speared to death?
  • Luke was hung by the neck until dead?
  • Stephen was stoned?

How would these disciples take to the best-life message?

Yes, I know. Joel’s promises sound so much better to American ears than all those warnings of Jesus about being hated by most people for His sake. But it remains that in large measure, Joel’s offering can be described as nothing less than blasphemy. On page 36, he claims, “God has a big dream for your life.” On page 56:

“God sees you as a champion. He believes in you even more than you believe in yourself!”

And on page 110:

“God has confidence in you.”

Osteen does not provide a single Bible verse to back up these statements…because there are none. Nowhere in the Bible do we read that God believes or has confidence in us. He loves us, but does not believe in us. On the contrary, He knows all too well how unbelievably fickle and untrustworthy we humans actually are. It’s not like Joel describes on page 57:

“Believe it or not, that is how God sees you, too. He regards you as a strong, courageous, successful, overcoming person.”

Furthermore, God does not define our success in materialistic terms as Joel does. God is interested in our obedience above all. On page 63, Joel writes:

As long as you are pressing forward, you can hold your head up high, knowing that you are a “work in progress,” and God is in the process of changing you. He’s looking at your last two good moves.

Joel, where in the Bible do you read that God is not looking at our last two bad moves but our last two good moves? Isaiah 64:6 says that even our righteous deeds are like filthy rags or wickedness to God because He is so holy. Even if God did look at our last two good moves, He would still see filthy rags.

Or how about this Osteen gospel gem from page 95:

“Be the best you can be, then you can feel good about yourself.”

Where in the Bible do we find this teaching? What if your best is getting drunk just once a week instead of twice a week? Should you still feel good about yourself?

But wait. I’ve saved Joel’s most outrageous statement for last (drum roll please). On page 144, Joel elevates us to the heavenlies by pointing out that “You may even need to forgive God.”

Whoa! And exactly what would we be forgiving God for? As I recall, forgiveness is for sins – or at least mistakes. But which of those has God made? Not a one according to any Bible I’ve ever read.

Oswald Chambers offers a perspective on the kind of thing the Osteens of the world do to Christians:

“Satan’s great aim is to deflect us from the center. He will allow us to be devoted to the death to any cause, any enterprise, to anything but the Lord Jesus.”

Hebrews 13:9instructs us to not be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings (deflected from the center) but sadly, that is exactly what is happening for many at the hand of Joel Osteen.

Instead of pursuing our best life now, we should pursue the things of the Lord so we can have our best life later. I fear that for many who follow Joel’s false teaching, this life is the best they will get. The false gospel proclaimed by Joel Osteen and accepted as truth by millions may allow many to achieve what they can conceive of the things in this world, but true to Jesus’ promise, they may lose their souls in the pursuit.

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Angels & Demons: They are Real!

Angels and Demons Talk November 7, 2010

 

Angels

Who are they?

Angels are created spiritual beings with moral judgment and high intelligence, but without physical bodies (Hebrews 1:14, Luke 24:39).

They are the messengers of God.

God created higher than humans, some of whom have remained faithful and obedient to God and carry out His will and others of whom disobeyed, lost their holy condition and now oppose and hinder His work.

The Old Testament speaks about the existence of angels over 100 times. Some of these references are:

  • Genesis 18 – Abraham and the angels speak under the tree
  • 2 Samuel 24:16 – Judgment on Israel
  • Isaiah 6:2 – Seraphim
  • Ezekiel 20:1-3 – Cherubim
  • Daniel 9:20-27, 10:13,12:1 – Michael, the Archangel
  • Zechariah 1-6 – Agents of God, Interpreters of visions
  • Psalm 34:7, 89:5,7, 91:11 – They worship God, holy ones

The New Testament mentions angels about 165 times. Some of these references are:

  •  Matthew 1:20, 2:19, Mark 1:13, Luke 1:26-28, 2:1 – Birth of Christ
  • Matthew 2:13-15, Luke 22:43 – Life of Christ
  • Matthew 28:1-6, Luke 24:5-7, John 20:12 – Resurrection of Christ
  • Acts 1:10-11 – Ascension of Christ
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Matthew 13:39-40, 25:31 – Rapture and Second Coming
  • Acts 5:19, 12:5-11 – Helping the Apostles
  • Hebrews 1:14, Jude 6 – Ministering spirits

They span all of human existence. They are mentioned from Genesis all the way to Revelation.

The most extensive passage on them is Hebrews 1:5-2:9.

They were created by Christ (Colossians 1:16) and they were present when the earth was created (Job 38:6-7).

They possess intelligence (Matthew 8:29, 28:5, 2 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Peter 1:12). They possess emotions (Luke 2:13, James 2:19, Revelation 12:17). They have wills (Luke 8:28-31, 2 Timothy 2:26, Jude 6). They are however limited in power, knowledge, and activity (1 Peter 1:11-12, Revelation 7:1) and will be subject to judgment by God (1 Corinthians 6:3, Matthew 25:41).

In most cases man can not see them. However God can open our eyes to them (Numbers 22:30). If we see them, they are usually seen in the form of humans (Genesis 18:2, 16, 22, Luke 24:4). God’s glory shines from them (Luke 2:9, 9:26). They appear to man in dreams and visions (Matthew 1:20, Isaiah 6:1-8, Genesis 19:1-8). They have wings (Isaiah 6:2-6, Ezekiel 1:5-8, Exodus 25:20).

How are they organized?

There are large numbers of angels (Deuteronomy 33:2, Psalm 68:17, Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 5:11). God has organized the elect angels (Ephesians 3:10) and Satan has organized the evil angels (Ephesians 6:12). The first group or organization of angels is cherubim and seraphim. They are mentioned in Isaiah 6:2-7 and Ezekiel 28:14-16. They are the guardians of God’s holiness and are positioned around the throne of God. The second group of angels mentioned are Archangels (Jude 9, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Michael is mentioned are the chief over Israel (Daniel 10:21, 12:1). He is mentioned as leading heaven’s angelic armies against Satan and his horde (Revelation 12:7-8). The third group mentioned are chief princes and powers (Daniel 10:13, Revelation 4:8, 2 Peter 2:11).

What is their ministry?

They are to praise and worship God (Psalm 103:20, Psalm 148:1-2, Isaiah 6:3, Hebrews 1:6, Revelation 5:8-13).

They serve God and are instruments of His judgment (Revelation 22:9, Revelation 7:1, 8:2).

Angels are to help and encourage believers (Hebrews 1:14). They are to communicate and reveal the truth of God to man when assigned the task (Daniel 7:15-27, 8:13-26, Revelation 22:6-8).

They are present at man’s death (Luke 16:22) and are to protect us (Psalm 91:11-12).

They also witness and observe our lives (1 Corinthians 4:9, 1 Timothy 5:21).

Demons

 

 Who are they?

Scripture affirms the reality of demons. Christ Himself cast out demons from people and believed in their existence (Matthew 12:22-29, 15:22-25, Mark 5:1-16). He also gave the disciples authority to cast them out (Matthew 18:1).

There are more than 100 references to demons in the New Testament. All of the New Testament writers mention them except the writer of the book of Hebrews (1 Corinthians 10:20-21, James 2:19, Revelation 9:20).

Scripture indicates that demons are fallen angels who rebelled with Satan against God the Father. Satan is the prince or chief of demons (Matthew 12:24). In the rebellion they lost their privilege of serving God.

They are spirits and are not human (Matthew 17:18, Mark 9:25). There are two groups of fallen angels (Genesis 6:2-4), those who are confined to the abyss from the fall (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6, Luke 8:31, Revelation 9:1-5) and those free to carry out Satan’s plans (Revelation 9:1-3, 11, 14, 16:14).

What do they do?

Demons possess intelligence (Mark 1:24, Matthew 8:29, James 2:19). They possess emotions (Luke 8:28, James 2:18). They possess wills (Luke 8:32).

Because demons are spirit beings, they are generally invisible but on occasion their appearance can be seen (Acts 19:15, Revelation 9:1-12). They knew who Christ was while He was on earth (Mark 1:24) and they know their future judgment (Matthew 8:29). They are able to deceive and promote systems of doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

Their powers are physical strength (Mark 5:3, Acts 19:16), superior intelligence (Acts 16:16), and presence (Luke 8:30). They are limited to time and space like humans.

Demons oppose God and His plan (Revelation 16:13-16, Daniel 10:10-14). Sometimes God will use them to accomplish His plan (Judges 9:23, 1 Samuel 16:14, 2 Corinthians 12:7). They promote idolatry (Leviticus 17:7, Psalm 106:36-38, 1 Corinthians 10:20). They promote false religion (1 John 4:1-4, 1 Timothy 3:16-4:3). They possess people or animals (Mark 5:15-18, John 10:21, Matthew 12:22). They oppose the spiritual progress of God’s people (Ephesians 6:12).

Their destiny has already been determined: the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:2-10).

Satan

Satan is mentioned from Genesis until the end of the book of Revelation. 7 Old Testament books teach his reality (Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah). Every New Testament book affirms and confirms his existence. In 25 of 29 passages in the Gospels that speak of Satan it is Jesus speaking about him (Matthew 13:39, Luke 10:18).

Satan has intelligence (2 Corinthians 11:3), emotions (Revelation 12:17, Luke 22:31), and a will (Isaiah14:12-14, 2 Timothy 2:26). He is a created creature (Ezekiel 28:11-19). He was a cherub (Ezekiel 28:14) and was the highest created being and angel (Ezekiel 28:12). He still retains a great deal of power. He is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).

Satan goes by many names:

  • Satan – used 52 times in Scripture, means adversary (Job 1:7-2:7, Zechariah 3:1, Matthew 4:10)
  • Devil – used 33 times in Scripture, means slanderer (Matthew 4:1, Ephesians 4:27, Revelation 12:9)
  • Serpent – (Genesis 3:1, 2 Corinthians 11:3)
  • Dragon – (Revelation 12:3, 7, 9)
  • Tempter – (Matthew 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:5)
  • Evil One – (John 17:15, 1 John 5:18-19)
  • Accuser – (Revelation 12:11, Job 2:1-3)
  • Deceiver (Revelation 12:9)

Satan was created before Eden was created (Genesis 2:8, Ezekiel 28:13). He possessed unparalleled wisdom and beauty (Ezekiel 28:12). He had unparalleled access to God (Ezekiel 28:13).

Satan sinned from the beginning (1 John 3:8). He was the originator of sin (Genesis 3:1-6, 2 Corinthians 11:3). His sin was pride and arrogance (1 Timothy 3:6). His sin was to also counterfeit the plan of God and His Christ (Isaiah 14:13-14). He has enmity with:

  •  With Christ – Genesis 3:15, Matthew 4:1-11
  • With God the Father – Genesis 3:5, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11, 1 Timothy 4:1-3
  • With the nations – Revelation 20:3, Revelation 13:2-4
  • With believers – 1 Peter 1:6-7, Acts 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 7:5

Satan will meet his ultimate destruction in the Lake of Fire at the end of the millennial reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7-10).

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The Great Lie

An interesting article found on www.raptureready.comby Carl Worline around what the Great Lie mentioned in the New Testament by the apostle Paul concerning the deception that is coming on the whole world to usher in the Tribulation. Enjoy!The Great Lie by Carl WorlineOn November 12, 2010, Universal Pictures will release a new movie entitled Skyline, which deals with alien spacecraft that suck up the humans who look into the bright blue light these spacecraft project, and then vanish.  I believe this movie is more than just the product of the wild imaginations of some cleaver science fiction writers who seek nothing more than to entertain the public and win an academy award for themselves for best picture (but not in that order).  I believe this movie may very well play an important role in end time prophecy.Whether or not intelligent life exists on other worlds is irrelevant in this article and I will not debate the issue here.  What is significant is that reports of unidentified flying objects has been around since the beginning of history with literally millions of people reporting to have seen them, yet official contact with their occupants has (supposedly) never been established.  Our government, as well as governments around the world, have vehemently denied the existence of alien spacecraft.  In fact, the vehemence in which governments have denied their existence builds a strong case for an official worldwide cover-up conspiracy, which makes the possibility of the existence of extra terrestrial life even more believable.

The Rapture of the Church is certain to cause a worldwide panic as an unbelieving public scrambles to explain the disappearance of hundreds of millions of people in an instant.  We also know that the anti-Christ will be revealed and empowered immediately after the Rapture.  2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 tells us that the anti-Christ will tell a lie and that God will send a strong delusion so that all of the unbelievers who are left on the Earth after the Rapture will believe this lie:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all the powers and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.  That they might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

What is this lie?  The Bible doesn’t tell us, but I can certainly make an educated guess.  On September 21, 1987, President Ronald Reagan made what I consider to be a very prophetic statement when he told the Forty Second Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations “How quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.”  I believe this great lie will be that alien beings from another world abducted the millions of people who just vanished.

Chapter 13 of Revelation also tells us that the anti-Christ will tell a lie that will cause the entire world to willingly follow him.  I am at a loss to think of any other lie which the anti-Christ could use that would cause the remaining population of the Earth to forget their differences so quickly and unite with him.

On March 16, 1979, a movie about a nuclear accident and related cover-up was released  by Columbia Pictures entitled The China Syndrome.  That was just 12 days before the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania.  Many dozens of nuclear scientists have since lined up to say that despite the accident at Three Mile Island nuclear power is still safe. Nevertheless, the public has chosen to believe Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas over the legion of scientists who all have the title “PhD after their name.  As a result, the development of nuclear power has all but ceased in the United States as well as many other countries around the world.  The power of Hollywood to influence the masses cannot be underestimated and can easily trump the logic and reason of science.

Before I start to sound too condescending I need to confess that many years ago I attended some Star Trek conventions. I know there is no such thing as the Star Ship Enterprise, the Federation of Planets does not exist, and most of the technology that I witnessed on the show was Hollywood illusion and trickery.  But still, I saw the characters in real life and even shook hands with some them.  For a brief moment the line between reality and fiction seemed to get a bit fuzzy.

The release of a new movie from Hollywood does not, in itself, mean the end of the world is upon us.  However, I cannot help but wonder if it is just me, or is there a lot going on in the UFO community all of a sudden that somehow suspiciously suggests that something big is about to happen.  For example:

  • Almost 400 years after it imprisoned Galileo under threat of torture for challenging the view that the Earth was the center of the universe, the Vatican announced that the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life may be possible.
  • The Popes’ astronomer said that he would baptize an alien from another world if it asked him to.
  • After many decades of silence a group of retired nuclear officers have recently come forward to announce that alien spacecraft visited military installations and disarmed nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • On September 11, 2010 a UFO forced the closure of an airport in Baotau, Mongolia, for approximately 1 hour while other air traffic was diverted to prevent commercial airliners from crashing into it.  On July 7, 2010 the Xiaoshan airport in Hangzhou , China, was closed for approximately 1 hour due to a UFO hovering above it.  There have been a total of 8 reports of major UFO sightings in China during a 4 month period.
  • Astronomers recently announced that they are “100 percent certain” that alien life exists on Earth-like planets.
  • Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, presumably one of the smartest men on the planet, recently felt compelled to declare to the world that he is almost certain that alien life exists in other parts of the universe and that we should avoid contact with such species because it might be devastating to humanity.
  • The United Nations has an Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).  Recent articles in the media both confirm and deny the existence of an ambassador at this office to be the designated representative who makes first contact with intelligent alien life from another planet.

Maybe all of the events which are now occurring are merely a coincidence and my feeling of being bombarded by a preponderance of suggestions about the potential existence of evil alien life as the cause of the impending Rapture of the Church are unfounded.  In less than a month the movie Skyline will be released and millions of moviegoers will witness everyday people being snatched up into alien spacecraft in high definition living color on a wide screen with the most realistic surround sound that our technology can produce.  Will this sow the seeds of suggestion in the minds of millions of people around the world?  I think so.  Is the Rapture closer than most people think?  I am absolutely convinced of that.

 

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