I really like penguins! I love to watch them walk and I love to watch them swim. I love the cartoon movies staring these cute little creatures and I love it when Kailyn, my 2 year old, waddles around the living room, proclaiming,"Mommy, Kailyn is a penguin"!
Yes, penguins are cute and my daughter makes them cuter, but want to know something about penguins that aren't cute? Well, when the mothers return from hunting in the ocean, they reunite with their babies back on land and then they vomit all their food up and let the babies eat from their regurgitation.
That is seriously gross to me.
The idea of eating something that someone else has already eaten and swallowed makes me queezy. Yuck! But you know, spiritually speaking, many of us do it all the time.
Instead of our own quiet time with the Lord- reading, studying, praying, meditating- we so often rely on the results of other people's quiet time. We're so quick to listen to a podcast while we run or cook dinner. We conveniently listen to sermon's in the background while we are at our desks or driving around the city. We repost other people's statuses, not even taking the time to check and see if the scripture they used is correct or in the right context. Yup, we sometimes, absent-mindedly, take someone else's regurgitation and mistake this as our quality time with Jesus.
"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" ~Acts 17:11
Did you catch that? Scripture says they examined the scripture. They weren't satisfied with just hearing it from someone else, they wanted to be sure for themselves that what they were hearing was the truth. How many of us are so determined? How many of us really take the time to analyze what is true?
Listen, there are millions of marvelous men and women who have been blessed by God to reveal truths and instructions to us. But our relationship with God will never be their relationship with God. When time comes to stand firm (Ephesians 6:14) on the Word of God in the midst of temptation, trials and troubles in this life, we cannot expect to move in the spirit realm by declaring, "Pastor So and So said..." No. We must know in our hearts, in our souls and in our minds, what God says. We must begin to condition ourselves to be women of THE Word, not just women who know some words.
There is nothing wrong with listening and downloading, but lets be "Berean" in our consumption of sermons and teachings. Ask yourself these questions concerning the messages you enjoy listening to.
1) Does The Message Reflect Sound Doctrine?
"There will be false teachers among you who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…” ~2 Peter 2:1
Just because someone uses a Bible verse doesn't mean they are being led by God's Spirit. Even the enemy knows scripture, so while you are mindlessly playing sermons in the background, do yourself a favor to pay attention to what is really being said.
Everyone has an agenda, and sadly, in this generation, there are too many wolves in sheep's clothing. It can be so discouraging when some people use God's Word to make a name and platform for themselves- on your expense. This shouldn't anger us or give us fear, it should make us more vigilant to determine truth from lies. You have to know truth to be able to discern truth. Just because something sounds good doesn't mean it is good. With the right resources and the right speech, any teacher can draw a crowd. So we aren't impressed by large followings or social media likes, we are impressed by truth, sound doctrine and teachings that point to Christ; not an individual or empty promises of self-indulgent "blessings".
Yes, God wants to bless us. Scripture says He has spoken many promises over us and will fulfill each one in us, in His time (Ezekiel 12:28). But when a pastor or teacher continually focuses their messages on natural positives (like wealth, health and fame) then we must question such information. God is good and His goodness overflows into our lives, but Jesus did warn that following Him would put us in difficult places and that righteous people undergo many attacks and troubles (2 Timonth 3:12). God's best for us won't always feel good to us. Remember, God refused to heal the Apostle Paul of his pain in 2 Corinthians 12:8. Paul asked God for healing 3 times, yet never received it- even though he is considered to be one of the greatest ministers of the Gospel.
You see, being loved by God and having a relationship with Him doesn't mean that every experience will benefit our egos. So beware of teachers, sermons and speakers who declare that God's will for your life is positive rainbows and sunshines and feel good music with money in the bank and new shoes on your feet. Sometimes, it's our trials that bring us where God needs us to be. Messages that don't incorporate these truths are red flags for us all!
2) Does this Message Point to Christ or to Self?
Jarrett and I visite