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True Disciples Know His Voice and Follow

Disciple_nico-smit-unsplash

The first thing Jesus said to the first ones He called to follow Him was, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19b). This was about more than just relating to them in their current profession. This is basic to following Him. Fishermen catch fish, so how would one catch men?

Fishers of Men

There are similarities in how we catch fish and men, such as using different kinds of bait to catch different kinds of fish. Similarly, we must use different methods to draw different kinds of people. This skill is developed with experience and devotion, and one of the first skills we must also be devoted to as His followers. However, like the first disciples, when we are called to follow Him, we are called to radical change in our lives.

The next thing He said to those He called was, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24b-25, NASB1995). The cross was a well-known instrument of torture and death. Why would anyone want to follow Him if it led to a cross? The only ones who would were those who loved Him and loved truth more than they loved their own lives in this present world.

The definition Jesus gave for being one of His disciples was so severe that, as we read it, we will likely think we do not know anyone who lives like this and that is the point. There are few Christians who are His disciples by His own definition. Many claim to be following Him but they are really following a religion, a doctrine, or others who claim to be His leaders. So, what do we do? We go to His words about following Him and resolve to do them instead of just following what others have said or done.

Know His Voice and Follow

In John 10:27-28, Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” Every true disciple must know and follow His voice for themselves; not just doctrines, other disciples or even other great followers but Him. Of course, lambs may not yet know His voice and may need to follow more mature sheep until they do, but when they mature, they will follow the Shepherd and not just other sheep, no matter how great they are.

In Scripture, we are all sons and daughters. No one is called “grandsons” and “granddaughters.” We are all called to be first generation children of Him, not to just know Him through others. That is why the Shulamite maid in the Song of Solomon, who is a type of the bride of Christ, said to Him:

“Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where do you pasture your flock, where do you make it lie down at noon? For why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?” (Song 1:7)

We should thank the Lord for all the great apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers He has given to build us into what we are called to be as His body; but even the greatest of these can never measure up to the Lord Himself. We must never settle for just knowing Him through anyone else, as those who settle for this do “veil” themselves.

The Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations is to make them disciples of Christ, not our disciples. We may be used to teach and lead them for a time but if our ministry does not lead them into a closer relationship with Him rather than us, we have fallen far short of being the ministry we are called to be. How many have been “led to Christ” when all they ever really got was us?

A “New Breed” of Ministry

As we approach the end of this age, there will be a “new breed” of ministry released that will be true disciples of Christ and help make true disciples of Christ. About this new breed, we will have more to say [in the days ahead].

Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the senior pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church. He is the author of more than forty books, including The Final Quest, A Prophetic History, and Church History. He is also the president of The OAK Initiative, an interdenominational movement that is mobilizing thousands of Christians to be engaged in the great issues of our times, being the salt and light that they are called to be. Rick and his wife, Julie, have five children: Anna, Aaryn, Amber, Ben, and Sam.

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.
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What are some of the most common misconceptions

The typical story we hear repeated is:

“It’s about 2000 years ago, the evening of December 25. Mary rides into Bethlehem on a donkey, urgently needing to deliver her baby. Although it’s an emergency, all the innkeepers turn them away. So they deliver baby Jesus in a stable. Then angels sing to the shepherds. Afterwards, they all join three kings with camels in worshipping the quiet, newborn.”

The problem is, this story may be almost entirely wrong. The events surrounding the birth have been retold so many times and in so many ways—in plays, poetry, books, and movies—that most people have a distorted view of the true events. The only accurate record is found in the Holy Bible, God’s Word.

  • Inn keeper talking to Joseph.

    Did Mary ride a donkey to Bethlehem? Perhaps, but there are various other possibilities. The Bible doesn’t say how she got to Bethlehem. It only says that she came with Joseph.

  • Did Mary arrive in Bethlehem the night she gave birth? The Bible does not suggest this. They could have arrived weeks earlier. God’s Word simply states, “while they were there [in Bethlehem], the days were accomplished that she should be delivered” (Luke 2:6). Arriving in town well before her due date would make more sense.

  • Did Joseph or Mary talk to any innkeepers? Perhaps, but there is no solid, biblical reason to believe that they did. Although innkeepers play a prominent part in many Christmas plays, no innkeeper is actually mentioned in the biblical record of Christ’s birth. Furthermore, it is likely that Mary and Joseph actually stayed in a house with relatives, not behind some kind of Bible-times hotel. (See below)

  • Was Jesus born in a stable? Or a barn? Or a cave? The Bible does not mention any of these three places in connection with Christ’s birth, only a manager. Scripture simply reports that they laid Jesus in a manger because there was no room for him in the guest room. The Greek word used in Scripture is kataluma, and can mean guest-chamber, lodging place or inn.

  • The only other time this word was used in the New Testament, it means a furnished, large, upper story room within a private house. It is translated guest chamber, not inn (Mark 14:14-15). According to our Bible archaeology experts, Jesus was probably born in the house of relatives, but outside (under) the normal living and guest quarters. (Learn more: Was Jesus born in a stable? / What is a manager? / What is an inn?

  • “Away in a manger the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.” Although this is part of a beautiful song, we cannot be sure that Jesus did not cry. The Bible does not report this.

  • Did angels sing to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem? Perhaps, but the Bible doesn’t specifically say that the angels sang. It says that first an angel appeared and spoke, and then appeared “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13).

    Were angels present at the birth? It seems logical to assume that they were, however, Scripture does not report it, and there is no evidence that angels were visible to Mary and Joseph at this time.

  • Did three kings riding camels come to Jesus’ birth? The Bible does not say that any kings or camels visited young Jesus.

    Wise men riding camels.

    It does report wise men (“magi”) came, but it does not say how many. None of the early Church Fathers suggested the magi were kings. Since the word “magi” used in the Bible is plural, there were apparently at least two, and there could have been more—even several more. The Bible simply mentions three costly gifts they presented—gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but this does not necessarily indicate the number of magi. There is also no proof of what country these men came from.

    Baby Jesus presented at Tempe.

    Before the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem, Jesus traveled to and from Jerusalem for presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:21-22).

    Also, the wise men clearly did not visit Jesus when he was still lying in the manger, as is commonly shown on greeting cards and in plays. The magi did not arrive until sometime after Christ’s presentation in the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:22-39).

    Child - Jesus Christ.

    At this time, Scripture calls Jesus a “child,” not a “baby.” It is possible that little Jesus was walking and talking by then. Based on the calculations of King Herod and the magi (Matthew 2:16), Jesus could be two years old or under. 

  • Was Jesus born on December 25, or in December at all? Although it’s not impossible, it seems unlikely. The Bible does not specify a date or month. One problem with December is that it would be unusual for shepherds to be “abiding in the field” at this cold time of year when fields were unproductive. The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. Also, winter would likely be an especially difficult time for pregnant Mary to travel the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem (70 miles).

    “A more probable time would be late September, the time of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, when such travel was commonly accepted. Thus, it is rather commonly believed (though not certain) that Jesus’ birth was around the last of September. The conception of Christ, however, may have taken place in late December of the previous year. Our Christmas celebration may well be recognized as an honored observation of the incarnation of ‘the Word made flesh’ (John 1:14).”

    Jesus and Mary.

    Isn’t the VIRGIN BIRTH of Jesus Christ mythological and scientifically impossible? Answer

    How do we know the Bible is TRUE? Answer

    When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely ACCURATE, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science? Answer

    How can the Bible be INFALLIBLE if it is written by fallible humans? Answer

    “…The probability is that this mighty angel, leading the heavenly host in their praises, was Michael the archangel; this occasion was later commemorated by the early church as Michaelmas (‘Michael sent’), on September 29, the same as the date of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. It would have at least been appropriate for Christ to have been born on such a date, for it was at His birth that ‘the Word was made flesh and dwelt (literally tabernacled) among us’ (John 1:14).

    This would mean, then, that His conception took place in late December. Thus, it might well be that when we today celebrate Christ’s birth at what we call Christmas (i.e., ‘Christ sent’), we are actually celebrating His miraculous conception, the time when the Father sent the Son into the world, in the virgin’s womb.

    This darkest time of the year—the time of the pagan Saturnalia, and the time when the sun (the physical ‘light of the world’) is at its greatest distance from the Holy Land—would surely be an appropriate time for God to send the spiritual ‘light of the world’ into the world as the ‘Savior, which is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11)” [Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible (notes for Luke 2:8,13)].

(The word “Christmas” means “Christ-mass,” a special celebration of the Lord’s supper—called a mass in the Roman Catholic Church and a Communion supper in most Protestant churches.)

  • Why do many Christians celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December, if that is not when he was born?

    The date was chosen by the Roman Catholic Church. Because Rome dominated most of the “Christian” world for centuries, the date became a tradition throughout most of Christendom.

    The original significance of December 25 is that it was a well-known festival day celebrating the annual return of the sun. December 21 is the winter solstice (shortest day of the year and thus a key date on the calendar), and December 25 is the first day that ancients could clearly note that the days were definitely getting longer and the sunlight was returning.

    So, why was December 25 chosen to remember Jesus Christ’s birth with a mass (or Communion supper)? Since no one knows the day of his birth, the Roman Catholic Church felt free to choose this date. The Church wished to replace the pagan festival with a Christian holy day (holiday). The psychology was that is easier to take away an unholy (but traditional) festival from the population, when you can replace it with a good one. Otherwise, the Church thought it would have left a void where there was a long-standing tradition, and risked producing a discontented population and a rapid return to the old ways.


The various misconceptions about Christ’s birth illustrate the need to always test everything we hear against God’s Word, no matter what the source. The Bible is the final authority.

Despite human misconceptions, the actual facts about Jesus are more marvelous than words can express. He was indeed born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem exactly as prophesied many years before. Jesus was conceived in Mary, not by man, but by the Holy Spirit of God. As the apostle John reveals, Jesus existed before the creation of the world (John 1). He is part of the Holy Trinity we know as God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The Son of God came in human form for a purpose—to die as a willing sacrifice in payment for the sins of mankind. He did this to provide eternal salvation as a free gift to all who will accept it and follow Him.

https://christiananswers.net/christmas/mythsaboutchristmas.html

 

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BEST VIDEOS on OMICRON, etc

The fearmongering continues in many Western media outlets on
the ‘Omicron’ variant. Below are some excellent fact-filled videos
from experts to debunk a lot of this fear. But first I want to point
you to one of the best interviews I have ever seen from a top
cardiologist about the whole mess of the last 2 years:

(1) BEST Interview-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zg1j7Zquoc

(2) GREAT ‘Omicron’ Video-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fZmauO_Vbw

(3) ANOTHER Great ‘Omicron’ Video-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWrjX1ty2EU

(4) ANOTHER Very Good ‘Omicron’ Video-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T6C-2FNy8I

God bless you all.

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ENTERING HIS REST

God's rest is not the Jewish Sabbath | Gospel Reflections

(1) Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. (2) For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. New King James Version   

Perhaps the hardest thing for us to do is to keep on track spiritually. Deviating from the path to God’s Kingdom is not that difficult, making it a constant peril. God’s experience with Israel demonstrates that an entire generation died in the wilderness, a stunning witness! A review of the Israelites’ conduct shows that, though they initially promised to obey all God commanded, their faith wavered over time, and they chose not to go into the Promised Land.

What a powerful warning this is to us, who have our eyes open and take God’s Word seriously! One can make a case from the New Testament that many of us will not enter God’s Kingdom because, like Israel, we will fritter away our chance. Does not Jesus warn that only those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13)? Does not Peter warn that even the righteous are scarcely saved (I Peter 4:18)? Does not Jesus also warn that the broad way leads to destruction and many take it (Matthew 7:13)?

Rather than frighten us, this should stir us to push on! God has not left us alone. He who releases us from our bondage and sets us on the path to His Kingdom also empowers us to make it. He gives us gifts (I Corinthians 12:1-11) and access to Him to receive help in time of need (Romans 5:1-2). This access, through prayer, is, without doubt, one of the greatest gifts that He can give a human being. He allows us into the very presence of the sovereign Creator and Lord of all, in whom is all wisdom, power, and love. He can do far more for us than we can even think to ask.

— John W. Ritenbaugh

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Don Stewart :: Can a Christian Be Demon-Possessed?

Though demons can enter and possess any unbeliever, they cannot enter into the body of those who belong to the Lord. There are a number of reasons why this is so.

Greater Is He

The Bible says that the one who indwells believers is greater than the one who is in the world.

You are of God, my little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Delivered

Those who have trusted Christ have been delivered from the possibility of demonic possession. Paul wrote.

in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:2).

The believers do not live anymore under their authority.

He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13,14).

Nothing In Common

Believers have nothing in common with darkness or Satan. The Holy Spirit, and a demonic spirit, cannot co-exist in the same person.

And what agreement has Christ with Belial? or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:15).

No Biblical Example

Finally, there is no example in Scripture of a believer in Jesus Christ being demon-possessed. All cases of demonic possession were with those who were unbelievers.

Passages In Support?

Sometimes the following passages are cited as support of believers being possessed. Paul ordered the church of Corinth to deliver a believer over to Satan.

to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:5).

There is no evidence that the person whom Paul delivered over to Satan became demon-possessed.

Two Others

The Bible speaks of two other individuals who were also delivered over to Satan.

of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered unto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme (1 Timothy 1:20).

As is the case with the believer in Corinth, there is no indication that either of these men was ever demon-possessed.

People Taken Captive

Another passage speaks of people being taken captive by the Devil.

and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will (2 Timothy 2:26).

The people under discussion in this context are not believers. Consequently, there is no Scriptural support for the idea that Christians can become demon-possessed.

What About Stories Of Believers And Demons?

If this is the case, then what about the stories that circulate with respect to believers and demon possession. Examples are provided of believers who exhibit symptoms of demon possession. When people give examples of believers being possessed, there are a number of questions that immediately arise, “Were these victims of demon possession really believers?” “Were they actually possessed with a demon or is there another possible explanation for their behavior?” Since the Bible gives no support that a believer can be possessed by a demon, some other explanation must be in order.

Permanent Indwelling Of Holy Spirit

The issue is clear. It is not whether a professing Christian can be demon-possessed, but rather can a genuine, “born again” Christian become demon-possessed? The Bible teaches that those who have trusted Christ are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

In Him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in Him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13,14).

New Creation

Believers are a new creation in Christ.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Body Temple Of Holy Spirit

The body of the believer is now a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? and you are not your own (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Cannot Separate The Believer From The Lord

The Bible says that such evil powers cannot separate the believer from the love of God.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38,39).

Especially mentioned are the angels and principalities – angelic orders. Not even they can separate the believer from the love of God. All of these things would make demon possession an impossibility for the believer.

Spiritual Balance Needed

Satan and demons are defeated foes, yet they are still very active in this world, causing much harm. Though they cannot possess and control a believer, they can cause a number of problems.

Summary

The Scripture does not teach that a Christian can be possessed by a demon. The believer is “in Christ,”- one of His. Every example in the Bible of a person being demon-possessed concerns an unbeliever – there are no examples of believers being possessed. Furthermore, we must be careful not to rely on stories of believers and demon-possession – many other explanations are possible. The Christian, who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, need not fear demon possession. Yet, demons do attack believers in various ways. Therefore, it would be wrong to say that they cannot have any affect on the Christian.

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