One thing you will learn about me if you stick with me long enough is that I love to read. I mean LOVE. It’s not unusual for me to be reading two or three books at a time. I am a book addict. There I said it. But please don’t start an intervention just yet…I’ve learned so much from the things I’ve read and I know that I still have lots more to cram into the ol’ cabeza.
However, one thing I’ve learned in all my reading is that you can’t believe everything everybody says and you can’t count on everyone who calls themselves Christian to give you the plain Biblical truth. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you when it comes to listening to someone preach/teach the Word or reading self-help, inspirational or whatever category they put Jesus in nowadays, it’s this…always go see for yourself. Most books have scripture references either in parenthesis at the end of the sentences, at the end of the chapters, or at the back of the book. I strongly encourage you to look up those references as you read (including those in this blog). The same goes for listening to any pastor, teacher, prophet, or friend. Always go see for yourself what the scriptures say and make sure that it lines up.
See, what happens sometimes is that folks are looking for a scripture to back up their own opinion about something and so they end up taking a scripture out of context, either unintentionally or on purpose, and then you missed what that piece of scripture really was saying if you don’t go take a look for yourself.
Also (forgive me if I step on your toes) there are a few evangelists out there spreading what’s called the “prosperity gospel.” The gospel that says that God wants you to prosper, and have stuff, and live happily ever after…all you have to do is name it and claim it! (Apparently God doesn’t have anything better to do that stand around heaven waiting for our demands to come up the pipes.) You know, it’s true that God wants to bless you immensely and He wants you to be full of joy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean He wants you to have the biggest house on the block or a bank account full of money. God’s greatest treasures don’t reside in our wallets…the Word says they are being stored up in heaven. And well, you know…truth is, you can’t take it with you anyway. Now I’m not saying we can’t have stuff. Stuff is great! But God is better. Wouldn’t we rather our efforts go toward warming the heart of our heavenly Father than stressing ourselves silly trying to achieve success according the world’s impossible standards?
Now please don’t misunderstand me and think that I’m saying you shouldn’t read books or listen to sermons. Oh my no…on the contrary! Book addict here…remember?? But I encourage you to not always take someone else’s word for it. And not just because of the possibility of being misled, but also because studying the scriptures can be amazing. Granted all the begats…this one begat this one and that one begat that one…can be, well, less than interesting but that’s only a small part in all the rich promises and prophecies, teaching and guidance, and love and mercy that you’ll find in the Word. The scriptures are the very out-breathed character and love of God equipping us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16). His Word is truth. If what you’ve heard or read doesn’t line up with God’s word, it’s false teaching.
Seems like this blog’s been a bit of a soapbox (and a long one at that), but there is a method to my madness. See, I really think we are in the short rows of this age (that’s “near the end” for those of you who don’t speak Southern). Terrible times are a’coming (2 Timothy 3:1-5) and we need to know what Truth is so that we are not deceived.
John gives us these words of warning in 1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit,
But test the spirits to see whether they are from God,
Because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Satan has set up all sorts of traps in the path of the wicked and he will sidetrack us if we are not careful to guard our souls (Proverbs 22:5). And the closer we get to the end of the age, the more Satan will pump up his game. So be watchful. Spend time in the Word. Seek God’s truth in all things. Oh and if you’ve read any good books lately, let me know… 😉