** UPDATED 3/17/2012 ** (SEE BELOW)  Sadly, after attending my church for over 14 1/2 years, circumstances finally came to the point where I knew that it was time for me to leave.  With tears in my eyes I looked around and prayed for the many people who seemed to be spiritually blinded to the unbiblical direction our pastor was headed in since becoming involved with some pastors who were not only drifting from Biblical truth — possibly to be ‘culturally relevant’ — but also with ones who clearly taught heresies.  Maybe they were simply unaware of who these other pastors were, and therefore did not sense any reason to be concerned.  Or maybe it was because of the sad fact that they have not come to the point of realizing the error of placing their trust in man, and the importance of testing men’s (and women’s) words against the truth of God’s Word, as evidenced by the reaction of the people when we had ‘a certain pastor’ fill in for our pastor during his summer break.  (Still praying about if I should post that experience or not). 

Only God knows my former pastor’s heart, but when a pastor chooses to ignore clear warnings from Scripture given to him from other pastors about his choice to become involved with someone who has not openly repented from heretical beliefs and teachings, and instead dismisses these strong warnings from those who stand for Biblical truth, then sadly this is a clear indication of my former pastor’s choice to harden his heart against accepting correction.  Instead it seems that he is trying to put a stamp of approval on his own plans by declaring this is part of “all God has called him to do.”  Sadly, some of the verses that come to mind in the midst of all the controversy are the following”

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  (Galatians 1:10) 

“On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.”        (1 Thessalonians 2:4)

Could it be that my former pastor has deceived himself into believing he is actually doing “all God has called him to do,” when in fact it may actually be his pride that has blinded him from seeing the truth?  Could it also be that his choice to become so deeply involved with these unbiblical pastors on a personal level has caused him to stop testing things in light of Scripture, possibly out of a stronger desire to be accepted by these pastors?  If so, he is already on a downward spiral, and if he continues to ignore the many Scriptural warnings from godly men and especially the truth in God’s Word, then his ministry that God has used for many years to bring Biblical truth to change the hearts and lives of many, sadly, will begin to crumble.  I earnestly pray his spiritually blinded eyes will be opened to see the truth in God’s Word, and that he will repent before this ever comes close to happening!

Today, Feb. 5th, is my second Sunday of seeking Biblical truth and spiritual nourishment (beyond God’s Word) on YouTube, because after searching long and hard on the Internet for the past two weeks, I still cannot find a church without ‘red flags’ violently, or just cautiously flapping in the winds of mysticism or false teachings. 

Here are two preachers I found that strongly stand for Biblical truth, and I pray that, by the grace of God, they will continue to do so, and not ever compromise.

Sometimes we will be faced with a decision to stand for Biblical truth, and it could cost us our friends and much more.  But as a follower of Christ, we must make the decision to follow Him, no matter what the cost:                                       

UPDATED FEB. 13th 2012  Well, yesterday was the beginning of possibly a  very looong search to find the kind of  church I am looking for; a church where the pastor preaches the deep truths presented in God’s Word, such as the Trinity, (although the word ‘Trinity’ is not in the Bible, the truth about this doctrine can clearly be seen if one takes the time to study God’s Word and research this topic, which I now find it necessary to do) and other important Doctrines of the Christian faith.  (Hopefully my search for this kind of church is not in vain). 😦   Sometimes, however, it’s only when we see the departure from the essentials of the Christian faith take place right before our eyes, do we realize the importance of learning and deeply understanding these truths to help us contend for the faith as we must these days, and also so we can help non-Christians grasp the importance of the gospel better.

The first church I chose to attend, turned out to be a very small church; probably much less than one hundred by what was said to me, with only thirty at the most in attendance yesterday. (Yes, I stuck out like a sore thumb).  And although I clearly realize and believe that large numbers do not indicate that it is a church where Biblical truth is taught, and where people are hungering for truth and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ and reaching the lost for Christ, my main focus is on the message that is preached and testing it in light of Scripture. 

Even though I was warmly greeted by the woman at the door as I walked in by myself, and appreciated how she later sat next to me making me feel welcomed and not awkward and alone, and even though I enjoyed singing the great hymns they had, that, for the most part have disappeared from times of worship in many churches today, the message, though not heretical on the essentials, was lacking in depth and substance, and not the kind I was hungering to hear.  (Please forgive me…I don’t want to sound mean).  I almost feel guilty not returning next Sunday, but I must continue on in my search.

My visit to this church, however, led to a visit to my mom, because her home is just a few blocks away from the church, and the time I spent with her–though always a blessing and never a waste–proved to be a ‘Divine appointment,’ and a blessing beyond words!  I am SO glad she told me about this church and that I decided to check it out and visit her afterwards!  I praise God for what I see Him doing in her heart!!  To God be the glory!!

UPDATED 2/20/12 When I arrived at my mom’s house, I first prayed for God to help me to be able to share what had happened at this church in such a way that there would be an opportunity to again share the gospel with her.  I also prayed that God would prepare her heart and give her ears to hear what He would lead me to say to her, and that He would accomplish in her heart what I know that He alone could do; that He would give her a clear understanding of how lost she is without Christ, and enable her to respond to His Holy Spirit and the good news of the gospel, and that she would place her trust in the finished work of Christ alone for her salvation.

When I rang her bell, it was less than a minute before she came to the door and let me in.  She expressed her happiness to see me and said she was hoping that I would stop by so she would know how things went at this new church  that she had told me to try.  I shared with her about the kindness of the woman who greeted me, how thankful and appreciative I was that the songs that were sung were all Biblical old hymns and there weren’t any that caused me to be concerned.  I also told her about the small size of the congregation, but that it wasn’t necessarily something to cause me to rule it out as a possibility.

After I shared with her all that had happened at that church, and how I had analyzed and tested everything in light of Scripture to avoid getting involved with yet another church involved with unbiblical things, she then asked me the following   question that left me amazed and standing in awe of  God…”Tell me again, briefly, what is wrong with the Catholic church?”   To hear her say that filled my heart with joy, and I silently praised God for what I see Him doing in her heart, as well as thanked Him for giving me another opportunity to share the gospel with her!  At the same time in that moment I also prayed for God to help me share the truth with ‘gentleness and with respect,’ because I wanted the main focus to be on Jesus and the good news of the gospel, and not the false teachings of the Catholic church concerning ‘purgatory’ and the ‘sacrifice of the mass.’  Also, for anyone who knows me, it’s quite impossible for me to ‘briefly’ share something so important as the gospel, let alone to ‘briefly’ share the valid concerns that I and many others have concerning the teachings of the Catholic church that leaves so many precious people without hope and without the joy of knowing what the gospel really is.  But ‘to be brief ‘ was my goal, which I then realized would also help me to keep my focus on what was most important for her to know.

Still more to come…need to catch up on a few other things.  If you feel led, please pray for my mom…I would sincerely appreciate it.

Briefly, here’s what we discussed, which will also serve as an outline to help me complete this, Lord willing, by next Monday evening…(**UPDATE **Probably will not be able to finish this part until March 25th).

  • Jesus is called a ‘victim’ during the ‘Sacrifice of the Mass’  (She told me she listened to the mass to hear that).

  • The Catholic church calls Jesus’ sacrifice an ‘unbloody sacrifice’

  • The ‘altar’ in the Catholic church denotes sacrifice

  • What is the gospel?

  • What is grace?

  • How does one get to heaven?

  • Gifts are to be received not earned

  • Mom’s illustration of how she understood ‘getting to heaven’

  • Commandments were given to show us what sin is and how we are all sinners in need of a Savior

  • Did you ever tell a lie?  What does that make you?  Hate anyone?  Steal?

  • What about someone who commits murder? Does God forgive them if they just believe Jesus died for them?

  • Jesus died once for all

  • Paid in full

  • My other two sisters help her with her business matters, I believe God wants me to help her with her spiritual matters

  • With tears in my eyes I told her how I want to be able to see her again

Still searching for another church to try; did not return to the church I attended last week, after remembering something the pastor had said to his congregation during the sermon that did fill me with concern.  He said,  “God is beginning to move in this church in a mighty way…remember the glory cloud?”  This brought to mind the many churches where this type of phenomenon is taking place, such as in the following video.  If you choose to watch it, please observe how these people are acting, and then compare it to the behavior that Moses, Isaiah, and Saul/Paul had when they were in the presence of the Living God.  We are to “…worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”  (Hebrews 12:28)

So just in case that was what he was referring to when he mentioned the ‘glory cloud’ and could possibly have been the reason for the “split” in the church that the woman who had greeted me told me had recently happened, (because I had told her I am searching for a new church because the pastor at the church I was attending for 14 1/2 years started to head in the wrong direction) I decided not to return.  So the following sermon was part of my spiritual nourishment for Sunday, February 19th 2012…

UPDATED 2/26/12    Well, after spending many hours this past week continuing in my search on the Internet for a church that is not involved with ‘mystical experiences’ or ‘culturally relevant preaching,’ by the grace of God I believe I found one today.  This morning I attended a church that I had not even been aware of before I found it on the Internet.  Amazingly, it was the pastor who stood at the door and greeted me as I walked in, which was something I never experienced in all the 14 1/2 years of attending my former church.  The people were very friendly, and at least six people came over and introduced themselves to me and talked with me for a while.  And most importantly, the pastor preached the Word of God in context, without twisting and distorting it to mean something other than what God intended it to mean, and he also exhorted us to examine our lives to make sure we were not allowing sinful patterns of behavior to lead us away from God.  I must admit my former pastor did that as well, but then whenever there is deception, there is also enough truth to make the deception quite difficult to spot.

I will certainly continue to test all that is said in light of Scripture — as we are all supposed to do — as I begin my journey growing more in Christ at my new church, no longer wandering to find a church that I can call home.  Hopefully I will never have to search for another church again!  (More to come…will try to complete by 3/12/12, but it may take longer).

** UPDATED ** 3/17/12  Well, I wish I could say that the reason I have not yet been able to finish this introduction is because I have been outdoors enjoying these unseasonably and unbelievably beautiful, close to 80 degree days that we have been experiencing here this whole week, but unfortunately that is not my reason.  As I mentioned in one of my updates, I received an email from one of the pastors of my former church wondering why I have not been at church in over a month.  So I finally decided to reply and make them aware of the fact that I am no longer attending the church, and went into detail explaining my reasons for leaving after 14 1/2 years. 

I started out by expressing just how blessed I have been from hearing the many Biblically solid sermons my former pastor preached, and how God’s Holy Spirit used many Scriptures to convict me and help me to finally deal with sins and circumstances I had not yet dealt with, and how God placed within me a desire to live my life in a way that glorifies Him daily.   I then shared my concerns, citing Scriptures as well, and explained that because of certain things that have happened, I am no longer attending there, because I feel that I can no longer place my trust in them.  

I received a reply not only from the pastor that sent the email, but also from the assistant pastor.   However, what they said and how they said it, was not very Christ-like.  They not only used some of what I shared to express my thanks to them as weapons against me, but it seemed to me that they also used some of what I said in an attempt to manipulate, degrade, insult, and belittle me, even trying to rule out the possibility that God could actually have given me discernment to see that what they are doing could possibly be against the will of God. 

Because God has healed me and brought me so far from being the damaged person I used to be as a result of the way my former husband (and others) treated me, what they said in their emails did not hurt or offend me in any way.  (Well, maybe just a tiny bit).  If anything, it only confirmed to me even more that I made the right  decision to leave when I did, after attending there for so many years. 

Jesus must remain our only true Shepherd; the main one who will guide and lead us by the power of His Holy Spirit through His written Word, and by giving us wisdom and discernment in these — dare I say — last days, when truth is being distorted, Biblical doctrine is being cast aside as if it were no longer important, and when the preaching of the gospel and Biblical truth is being replaced by doing the will of man over and above the will of God.  Maybe one day I will elaborate or even share what actually happened, but for now what I just said is enough to make a point of the importance of seeking God in His Word first before we begin a ministry or something that may just be a prompting of the flesh and could possibly be entirely against God’s will.

May we never forget that our ideas are only ideas until we test them against the truth of God’s Word to see if they line up with Scripture.  Sometimes pride can blind us to the truth and we may begin to think that every thought we have must be from God, but that is a dangerous belief to embrace. 

The first person who comes to mind concerning this is Benny Hinn.   Okay, I definitely know he is not the best example to use, since most of what he ‘preaches’ is unbiblical to start with, but at one point he taught (but later admitted that he was in error concerning this) that God exists in 9 persons and not just 3, and that God had revealed that to him.  That clearly goes against the revealed truth put forth in Scripture, and should make us realize how very important it is to test our thoughts and plans for ministry, as well as the words and actions of others who claim to speak for God, by ‘testing all things,’ (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and ‘examining the Scriptures daily to see if what is being said is true.’  (Acts 17:11) 

I am presently working on a poem about the sufficient work of Christ on the cross for us, and, Lord willing, hopefully it will be completed and posted within a week or so.  Then I will try to focus on completely finishing up this introduction as well as others I have been wanting to finish. 

 Thank you for stopping by, and thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to read some of my poems and posts. 

God Bless You

~Mary Dalke/Living For His Glory/Living4HisGlory

SCRIPTURES FOR YOU TO REFLECT ON (MAY ADD MORE)

“Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men.  For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.  Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.  I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from among your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on your guard!  Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”  (Acts 20:26-31)

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.  Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” (Romans 16:17,18)

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.”  (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

“If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing.  He has a unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:3-12)

“Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed, and in so doing have wandered from the faith.  Grace be with you.” (1 Timothy 6:21,22)

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.  Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.  Their teaching will spread like gangrene.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.  Therefore do not be partners with them.  For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.  This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  (Ephesians 5:1-16)

“Devote yourselves to prayer being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:2-6)

“It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”                    (3 John 1:3,4)

“To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen.”  (Jude 1:24)

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.  The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what He was telling them.  Therefore, Jesus said again,  “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who ever came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.  He will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.  Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  “I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me–just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father–and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.  They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life–only to take it up again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from My Father.” (John 10:1-18)

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.  He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine.  That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (John 16:13-15)

“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  (Matthew 9:36)

“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)

LIKE SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD

It’s really hard to understand,
What could have happened within the heart of a man,
Who once seemed to embrace God’s Word in every way,
And could discern those who have spiritually gone astray,
From preaching God’s truth that sets men free,
To embracing those who ‘preach’ distorted truths and heresy,
He is blinded to the error of his ways,
Is his deceitful heart seeking instead to receive man’s praise?
After many years of hearing him boldly preach God’s Word, never giving us a reason
to consider we could possibly be deceived,
Our eyes, however, have been abruptly forced opened, now it’s time to take a stand
for truth, sadly it’s time for us to leave,
Hearts heavy with sorrow, as we see chaos divide a church once more,
Our hearts cry out to You in prayer, O Lord, as we obediently walk out our church’s door,
With tear-filled eyes, leaving friends and family in Your hands,
We make the choice to walk in truth, just as Your Word commands,
Like sheep without a shepherd, left wandering to find,
A pastor who will preach God’s Word, we’re leaving compromise behind,
The ‘called out ones’ have heard Your voice, we look to You to lead the way,
May those still left behind have ears to hear and eyes to see the truth,
this, Lord, we earnestly pray,
Enable them to leave their safety zone, let Your peace rule within each heart,
Help them to place their trust in You, give them courage so they can depart,
Like sheep without a shepherd, we will look to Christ alone,
For by His Spirit He will lead us in all truth, till we are safely home.

Copyright©2012 Mary K. Dalke/Living For His Glory/Living4HisGlory All rights reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material on Living4HisGlory’s Blog without expressed permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Exerpts and links to information may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary K. Dalke and Living4HisGlory’s Blog, as well as the author of any of the information at any of the links posted, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible New International Version® 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved. 

Photo obtained from Photobucket-DSCOO9OO-1  Scripture added by Mary K. Dalke on Photobucket.

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