While Muslims bow to the land of Mecca (also known as Qibla) for prayer, Catholics pray to Rome or other pilgrimage locations where miracles appear.
New agers gaze inward to themselves. Wiccans worship the earth.
Maybe star-struck people gaze west to Hollywood, where Scientologists and celebrities are their gods. Others bow at statues.
Modern preachers look at their books or stadium-sized churches, counting the sheep.
Wherever they may look towards for prayer and enlightment, their kingdom is on earth and they still their salvation and a savior upon it. To protect us, the Lord warns us about false gods, tricks and prophets in Matthew 24:24-26:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before.
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
They look everywhere else but to the Heavens, where God says to look:
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21-:28 KJV
He speaks of His Kingdom NOT of this world but something far better and yet to come, something pure and sinless. Instead, most humans focus on social issues and a kingdom on earth that we all must clean up and protect (not wrong in itself, but not eternal). Still others are taught that it’s ‘none of their business’ when God is returning and not to look for it at all – and to keep busy!
The Lord saw that one coming and warned us centuries ago with:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
Many are not taught this basic scripture of hope, but to build upon their ‘best life now’.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The most disturbing and traumatizing deception to keep our hearts here on earth instead of what’s coming next is already within Christianity as a new age type ‘one-ness’. The game has changed drastically, and is disturbing because God’s truth does NOT EVER change!
But the prompting is very subtle, unnoticed, unrealized, unmentioned, and therefore, unchallenged.
INTER-RELATIONSHIPS’ AS PRIMARY FOCUS INSTEAD OF TOTAL RELIANCE ON CHRIST.
Most popular preachers of churches today stretch verses to justify the new modern ‘norm’ and expectancy to what’s most important to keep a church growing (and money), often put before a submissive heart towards God.
Question: What exactly is the deception? After all, the Scripture says:
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:5
Yes, there are many pulpits teaching fluff from this verse to many who don’t read the scriptures themselves nor want the sour taste of accountability for sins gather around, but listen to a lot of ‘positive’ sermons.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Timothy 4:3-4)
This tragically shifts our priorities AWAY FROM CHRIST, replacing it with our relationships with other (imperfect) people and personal prosperity – the concerns of our flesh.
Question: How are they able to deceive a true believer via distractions?
HYPER-BUSY-NESS: We’re kept so busy within the church that we hardly have quiet time with God anymore. That includes a strong emphasis for members to join small groups (usually many of them) and ministries and with strong emphasis that these are as important as worship itself.
JOIN MANY SMALL GROUPS: Churches can control the context of small groups and those who may think individually against the grain of group-think, who belongs to the groups, who is most busy for the church, who’s doing what outside the church, etc.
The emphasis here is MANY, because though we should be about our Father’s business and using our skills, this does not oblige believers to be so hyper-busy with church activities every night (after working too) that you have no balance in life for anything else – including family devotion time.
And that’s a good thing to be doing, right? After all, we’re all parts of a functioning body. Hmmmm……
Question: But doesn’t the scripture say to be busy about the Father’s business?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)
There’s a fine line to cross where it becomes spiritual deception. We should exhibit the inner-change and gifts to the outside world – of course! But constant church/group activities is a strategic and successful distraction to keep us believers away from the Savior, preaching the Great Commission outside the church, and for many it keeps us away from talking with God and listening to that small, still voice.
INTER-FAITH WORSHIP: This deception often flies under the faith radar. It is good to worship with other Christ-followers – and Christians. Yes, now there is a difference in the two terms.
Question: Why two terms and why should there be a difference?
This is something the modern churches have shifted their sermons to teach, unfortunately. Christ-followers are often those who (gasp!) keep their focus on Christ alone, on God’s Word alone, on Grace alone (and not by works), versus those they now define as ‘true Christians’ which are very busy about their churches’ activities, intra-relationships, intra-reliance, intra-gifts, intra-family, etc.
It has come down to that.
Which one defines you is up to you. There is a super-fine line to cross. (see soon-to-come Part 2- They Look to the Pulpit)
Only pray, study and worship with others who worship Jesus, and Him crucified. Keep in mind that other churches/faiths you worship with may have their eyes on worship and faith completely focused on emotions, signs, miracles, earthly prosperities, paraphrased (and watered down) bible versions, justifications of salvation, etc.
Often, the Christ-followers are either tricked into inter-faith services with changed meanings of Christian terms or out-right intimidation to ‘rethink’ their outdated or narrow beliefs by means of group-think. World-think. Too-busy-for-Heaven-think.
Check them out thoroughly before joining hands and hearts in worship and studies.
DON’T WALK ALONE! Another lie I have heard several times in my walk, especially the last 5 years.
What about the Major prophets of the faith? If Daniel had followed the new ‘rules’ of these post-modern pulpits, would he have been called on the carpet for worshipping God, interpreting dreams, prophesying, been able to prove God’s protection against some hungry lions? David would not have accomplished so much in regards to attacks from enemies. Job would have been the original version of the Osteen prophets if he hadn’t gotten sick and poor to rely wholly on God, then blessed thoroughly. Lot would have jumped in with both feet into sinful living if he wasn’t a loner, Nineveh would have been destroyed if no Jonah had come in obedience to warn them. Mary would not have been counted as the perfect mother of Jesus if she was ‘like everyone else’.
There were many ‘loners’ who were walking solo in the faith, used abundantly by God and blessed for it!
But if we’re not keeping our eyes on the Lord and Heavenward in the first place, we may miss that amazing calling and redemption! Look to God for your faith and redemption. Yes, depend on HIM and Him alone, not a church to save you or equally busy friends.
CROSSING THE (HORIZON) LINE
Mecca, and Rome, Athens, Budapest are all mighty cities with incredible places to worship in and full of idols to bow down to, but they are tiny specks on this globe.
As we are buzzing about, the Lord is busy sifting the wheat from the chaff as the ecumenical fans are holding hands within this active movement to finish off a personal God. A very big puzzle with intricately locking pieces is almost complete. The world’s religion has almost been perfected.
Where do you look for your redemption? Up, down or around?
DON’T LOOK DOWN THE WIDE PATH WHERE EVERYONE ELSE IS WALKING AND LOOKING!