Paul wrote to Timothy in chapter 4: "1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,". All you have to do is simply look around, and see this for yourself! I'm not trying to convince you of something that isn't there, just take a look, and you will see this in full, living color! In departing the "faith", Paul is telling Timothy (as a Christian, and a pastor mind you) that well meaning folks are going to depart from what they know to be right in the latter days! They are going to stop being faithful to the church, stop tithing and giving, both of their money and their time, and when you try to show them what's going on, they will get angry with you, and go even further away! Why?? Well, he also gives him the answer! Because they will "give heed to deceiving spirits, and doctrines of demons". Who is the "father of all lies"? Whose mission is it to deceive you? To lead you astray? Do you know? In their current state of mind, it will be anyone who tries to show them the truth of what is happening! But the truth of the matter is that our adversary, the devil has slipped you a fast one. He has been able to get you away from the doctrine of God, and you are now following a demonic doctrine. You're speaking lies in total hypocrisy, and day by day he is robbing you of the joy God wants you to have. It has happened, and you didn't even realize it!
This world is becoming more and more ungodly and wicked as the days pass. It's like this huge vortex, and it's literally sucking folks away from the doctrine that God has for us. He has told us to "love one another", but do we? We would rather gossip about someone's problems or issues, rather than to come alongside them in prayer. We'd rather see them suffer than to reach out and help. We'd much rather argue and fuss over the least little thing, than we would to even try to see something from another person's point of view. Call me crazy, but this is the prime reason why those who do wander into our churches from time to time, in a desperate search for something to fill the void in their hearts, don't see us as His disciples! He has told us to "love our neighbors as ourselves", but again, do we? Even the good folks who think they have this one right, are way off base here! Think about it now... Most of us, myself included, don't even know all our neighbors, much less love them. And then, to love them like I love myself?? Wow. Just how could I stay ahead of them if I did that!? And on top of all that, He has commanded us...didn't ask nicely or say pretty please, to "love the Lord our God with ALL of our heart, ALL of our minds, and ALL of our strength! Jesus actually called this the greatest commandment! It's #1 on the list, with the second being equally as important folks! In the same manner as He told Peter, "feed my sheep", Jesus told us that IF we truly loved Him, we would keep His commandments. So, if you think you love the Lord, ask yourself if you keep His commandments! I'll give you a minute to ponder that...
So, how did you do in that little examination of your life, huh!? I would almost guarantee that in your misguided efforts to do it, you found yourself comparing what you do, to someone else you know. Or perhaps, and this is reallllyyy sad, you may have found yourself saying that you were as good as anyone else at my church, so I have to be OK!?! And there in lies the whole problem... Do you see it now? Have you departed the faith, perhaps even without knowing it?? Look friends, this 'ol world is just crammed full of all sorts of things. Some are even gift-wrapped like you've never seen before. It's not coming from a red-skinned creature that has horns and holds a pitchfork! No no...these things come in appealing and alluring things that couldn't possibly do you any harm! They're as soft and cuddly as a "wittle bunny wabbit" and some candy and treats of course, on the one day in Christiandom when we should be focused on an old rugged cross, the Savior that gave His life there for my sin and yours, and the empty tomb, indicating that He rose in victory! They are as beautiful as a Douglas Fir, a cedar, or even a pine, all adorned with beautiful decorations, and to boot, a pile of presents underneath it. They are not hideous at all, but they are highly effective in distracting us from the true doctrine of God. They are family members coming to visit, family activities, and oh the big one, children's activities! Ball games, tournaments, dance recitals, choral concerts, shopping trips, birthday, and any other thing you can think of! Right behind those are all the adult activities that just happen to occur on Wednesday evenings and Sundays! Man, am I the only one that sees the pattern here!?
I will get off my soap box by saying it is time that Christians everywhere get up...STAND UP and be counted! Just tonight, I watched my son and his team's game in the semifinal game of the 12U Cal Ripken district tournament get postponed by the weather. I had already seen the bracket, and the winner of this game would advance to play for the championship on Saturday. No other games were set to be played on that field until Saturday. Yet, when the rain began to pour down, it was obvious they could not resume tonight, so the game was rescheduled...initially for Wednesday evening at 6:30! I could not believe it. Right smack dab in the middle of, or just before in some cases, church services. I questioned that move, as I am certain others did as well, and was later told that it was reset for Thursday evening. But that is just how easy we make it for the devil to wreck our lives. I applaud anyone who may have questioned the initial game time, and I congratulate the tournament for resetting the game to Thursday! I also would like to publicly thank them for not scheduling the finale at 10am Sunday morning! Way to lead the way folks! I would also call on these tournament folks to schedule and play these things on Friday evenings and Saturdays. 9 out of 10 of these tournaments could be finished on Saturday evening. There is really no reason for games to be held during church times! NONE! If you absolutely had to play on a Sunday, at least do it in the afternoon! But I bet you could work around that...IF you really wanted to. I don;t know about you. I can't speak for you, or anyone else but me. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! I love you, and the time is drawing near. If you've fallen, you can get up! You must get up! Don't ask why, just GET UP! Blessings!