“Oh dear God, are you kidding me?!” I yelled to Noone

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My mother sent me an email containing the following statements, which at first I thought must be a hoax but Mark later told me it’s true.  Am I really the only one who hasn’t  heard of this?

“How would you feel if you
drove  into a town here in the United States and
found that many  of the street signs were in
Arabic only with no English?

Then you look around and discover that many of
the signs on the  businesses were also in Arabic.

Not possible you say? Think again!   Welcome to
Dearborn,  Michigan.

Steve Tarani, author and speaker recounts what
he saw when he rode with a member of the
Detroit  Metro SWAT Police as they drove
around Detroit and into Dearborn:

“The street signs suddenly went from
English to Arabic. There wasn’t a single English word on
any  shop or any street sign.

And in fact, these little yellow
signs  were posted all along the edges. Jeremy
said to me, ‘this is it. We don’t go past this line.’ And I
said to Jeremy, ‘what do you  mean?  You guys are
Detroit Metro. You’re the SWAT team. You can
go anywhere you want. What if you get a call over there?’

He said, ‘this is it, it’s hazardous for our team if we go past
this  line.  I have seen it with my own eyes, witnessed it in the backseat of a car and it is for real.’

‘No-go zones exist in the United States.  Dearborn, Michigan is not the only  place that these settlements exist.  They are spread out over the  country in various cities. There’s an estimate of over 5,000 known terrorist cells in the United States.’

‘However our most persistent and significant threat right now, to us here today this morning, is the homegrown violent extremists.’

Some people try to discount Tarani’s account but I’ve seen too many reports that have come out of  Dearborn that would tend to support his account of the Muslim takeover of the American city.

Christians have been only attacked by Muslims without prosecution. They’ve also been told to stay away from the city’s Islamic festival and even banned from talking to people on the public streets outside the  festival.

The  Muslim influence is so strong in Dearborn that the high schools hold girls only proms because Muslim girls are not allowed to socialize or dance with boys.
These proms are religious based and no one has said anything about a violation of church and  state or tried to stop them.

Christian students are banned from having Christmas parties, prayer meetings or Baccalaureate services, but Muslims are allowed to pray in school and hold  Islamic proms.

You have to ask why organizations like the ACLU,  American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State remain silent about what is happening in Dearborn schools.

Murfreesboro, Tennessee is fast becoming a second Muslim controlled city like Dearborn and there are others on the way.

I have friends in the United Kingdom who have told me of how Muslims have taken over entire cities and areas in their country. What they tell me is that it all started with cities like Dearborn and Murfreesboro and just continues to spread.

One of my friends compared Islam in England to a cancer that continues to spread and contaminate everything it encounters. In time it will spread to the
point that the country dies from it and becomes the home of a religion that teaches hate, bloodshed and sharia law.

Like a cancer, the only way to save the nation is to stop the spread of the  religion of terrorism. Then he told me that in our modern sophisticated world full of freedoms and rights that it’s impossible to stop the spread of Islam without igniting a  worldwide religious war.

Now  realize that Barack Hussein Obama has been actively inviting  Muslims to come to the US.

He is also advocating opening our doors to up to 7 million Syrian Muslim refugees and there is no telling how many terrorists ware hiding among them.

That would be like trying to cure a patient by injecting him  with massive doses of cancer cells.

I  have to honestly say that the future of America is not looking very bright and to be honest, I don’t know what to do to change it other than make others aware of it and encourage everyone to  get on their knees and pray for Christian revival.~”

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children
in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”    Ronald  Reagan

I don’t know about anybody else but this ignites such a rage in my spirit that I am beside myself.  Not since when I escaped my abuser have I felt it boil over so uncontrollably.  At the same time my blood runs cold, sending a shiver of dread down my spine.   I would have bet you a million dollars when I was growing up that nothing could ever make me say that I was ashamed of my country or president!

Today I must say, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think you could pay me a million dollars to say that I believe anything this president or his administration says or does!  From the very first day that he disrespected Israel and President Benjamin Netanyahu I felt a dark shadow of foreboding pass over my soul and I was disgusted beyond belief.

With each step away from God and our Christian values that this country, as a whole, has taken, that disgust has grown and festered, becoming a deeper, fuller loathing for what we have become as a nation.

No longer are we the symbol of democracy, liberty, morality, justice, Christianity, or defenders of freedom for the world.  That once bright beacon has become but a candle light blowing in the wind.  Our image deliberately tarnished, military weakened beyond all comprehension; civilian unity twisted and turned inside out to the level of dissention tantamount to the Civil War times;  suspicion and distrust sown country wide to stop any hope for unification; murder, genocide, mutilation of our future generation has been condoned and financially supported by the very ones who were entrusted to protect them; the atrocities go on and on.  It makes me sick to my stomach, ashamed right down to my soul and carrying a spiritual rage that I need to find a direction for or I think that I might go insane.  Is that what’s called “holy anger”?

I sound like a ranting maniac, don’t I?  Believe me, I’ve raked myself over the coals every which way but loose just trying to figure out if I’ve been bitten by the wild conspiracy bug, which has poisoned my mind to reason and already driven me quite mad!  Just kidding, I’m slightly exaggerating there but you get my drift.

I really don’t think that I’m literally going crazy.  Sometimes I think that maybe my previous encounter with heaven has left me with a type of spiritual awareness, maybe, and I can see/feel the underlying evil workings going on.

Let me give you a very simplified example of what I mean:
Sara and I were watching the movie “Easy A” the other night.  As it was reaching the middle to latter part of the movie I realized that I had become irritated by something.  It hit me like a brick between the eyes when I took a minute of pause and thought a little harder about it.  I pointed it out to Sara and she said it occurred to her as well at another section.  We agreed that every blatantly disrespectful phrase or cuss word had been edited out but every “God damn or Jesus Christ” originally scripted still remained.  I can’t point my finger at this entity or that saying they are the ones conspiring to do this but I can say that there is an underlying evil influencing those that be to accomplish their goal of separating God from His children.

I know that I have thrown a lot out there for you to consider but I would be most appreciative of hearing your thoughts about it.  I had to quit reading a lot of posts on Facebook dealing with these subjects because I was getting so angry and disgruntled that I wanted to go postal, if you can picture that, lol!  But that doesn’t mean my mind was shut down.

This is not an open invitation to argue about it.  I will not respond or post any comments that are left for me with that mind-set.  I would just like to have an honest, respectful exchange of viewpoints on it.  I don’t think there is any doubt what this blog stands for or what I believe.  Those with similar backgrounds and upbringing, those who are Christian in other words, I am actively soliciting your thoughts!

With my love and God bless you all,   Terri

 


PS:  Just wanted to say, for the umpteenth  time, how much I’ve  missed you all!  3>

 

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“Heaven is For Real” the Movie

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I wrote a whole post about this movie after Mark and I watched it about a month ago but did it on my new tablet and promptly lost everything.  So I’m going to do it again from the desktop.

Have you seen this movie?  If you haven’t, I strongly suggest that you do.  It is fabulous and deeply moving in every way.

Here is the official plot summary:

  • Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL brings to the screen the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. The film stars Academy Award® nominee and Emmy® award winning actor Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo and co-stars Kelly Reilly as Sonja Burpo, the real-life couple whose son Colton (newcomer Connor Corum) claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth … things he couldn’t possibly know. Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event.

    Written by Sony Pictures Publicity

The little boy they cast to play the part of Colton was superb, along with the rest of the cast.

I has watched it once before Mark and I watched it together and it got me thinking about my own experience.  It saddened me greatly to realize how far away from my connection to God that I have allowed the world and the enemy to take me.  Just a short time ago, no more than 3 or 4 years, I would have told you it was impossible but here I am.  I don’t pray for the first hour of each day, or read daily in the Bible, or walk around the house praying in tongues.  The only time it seems that I do pray these days is when requested to or someone I know is in need.  I have determined to strive hard this year to correct that situation.  After that, I also realized how much Mark has changed over the last few years as well.

We’ve both been through a lot and, in reality, it’s not surprising to find some bitterness has set into both of us.  Just seeing it in writing really pounds the point home.

Anyway, when we were watching this movie I kept glancing over at Mark through my tears and wondered if it was affecting him as much as it had me.  I was pretty sure it was.  Afterwards I asked if it made him remember more clearly his experience.

He said that whomever did the cinematography for the scene where Colton tells his dad about entering their church and seeing the angels in Heaven did a spot on job.

heavenisforreal-01

I asked what he meant ’cause I thought he didn’t see any angels.  Mark said that he didn’t see the actual angels forms but he saw the lights just exactly as they had depicted them.  I found that not only awesome but also reassuring ’cause I only saw the light as well.

So take it from two “near-deather’s” this is the inspirational movie of the decade to see.

I’m sure I had more to say about it in the first post I did right after viewing it but I don’t remember 😦

Love and blessings to you all, my friends,
Terri

P.S.  Check out also Akiane Kramarik’s (another near-deather mentioned in the movie) painting of Jesus.  To see more on her Pinterest page click on the link:

Prince-of-Peace-Painting

Graciously

2782-536326-492648

In Forward March

in forward march

Fw: Jesus ‘censored’ from Niagara Falls crossing; From Mom

 

WND EXCLUSIVE

JESUS ‘OMITTED’ FROM NIAGARA FALLS CROSSING

‘Are you that uncomfortable typing the name of Christ?’

Published: 20 hours ago

author-imageby JOE KOVACSEmail Archive

Joe Kovacs, author of the forthcoming book (out July 17), “The Divine Secret: The Awesome and Untold Truth About Your Phenomenal Destiny”, as well as the No. 1 best-seller “Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts You’ve Never Been Told,” is executive news editor for WND.More ↓

 

Nik Wallenda crossing Niagara FallsNik Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls

SARASOTA, Fla. – Despite Nik Wallenda’s frequent mentions of God the Father and Jesus during his high-wire crossing of Niagara Falls Friday night, an ABC News blog documenting virtually every moment of the achievement makes no mention of his verbal thanks to the Creator.

Wallenda, 33, the great grandson of legendary tightrope walker Karl Wallenda, walked across Niagara Falls on a high wire, as hundreds watched on TV at a block party in his Florida hometown of Sarasota, Fla., and millions of others tuned in for ABC television coverage.

Wallenda was fitted with a microphone during his tension-filled, 25-minute saunter at 200 feet high, and he could be heard praising God numerous times as he walked the length of four football fields from New York to Canada.

“Praise you, Father God. Praise you, Jesus!” Wallenda said on one occasion.

Not only were his comments audible, but on closed-caption TV sets broadcasting the event at restaurants, each of his words glorifying God were visible.

“Oh, my gosh, it’s an unbelievable view,” Wallenda continued. “You know I am so blessed to be in the position I am to be the first person in the world to be right here.”

His remarks provided a continuous theme of inspiration, as he said, “This is what dreams are made of, people. Pursue your dreams. Never give up. Mine might seem strange, but anybody that’s dealing with any battle – focus on that other side.”

But during the event itself and on an ABC News blog chronicling the astounding event, reporters did not mention Wallenda’s frequent shout-outs to God, and some viewers are taking issue with the omission.

“Not mentioned by the news media, Wallenda prayed throughout the walk, and we could hear him,” says Christian writer Jim Bramlett.

One commenter told ABC News, “How come this blog leaves out the part about him praising Jesus? All the details are complete, except this is noticeably left out. Are you that uncomfortable typing the name of Christ?”

Another wondered, “Why could any (just one) of your ‘correspondents’ not acknowledge Mr. Wallenda’s faith in Jesus and God, throughout his walk??? What is up with that? Really. This wasn’t a stunt. it was a challenge faced by a non-fundamentalist Christian. Why can’t media acknowledge that? Ask Nik about it. I bet he would like answering the question.”

The closest thing to matters of faith cited by ABC’s blog was noting at 10:08 p.m., “The Wallenda family prays together moments before he gets on the wire.”

Later at 10:56 p.m. once the crossing was complete, ABC’s blog noted: “Nik says, “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m grinning from ear to ear. This is something I’ve played over and over in my mind for the past 20 years. It’s surreal. I’m really blessed to be here.”

Before the walk took place, Wallenda was asked how he could be so calm, and he answered it was thanks to prayer, saying “I am the righteousness of God in Christ,” an allusion to 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Despite the apparent omissions by journalists, Bramlett was thrilled with the broadcast, saying, “God used this sensational event to get His name proclaimed across the Earth and for people to see a man trusting in Him doing the seemingly impossible.”

Video coverage from ABC News of the crossing can be seen by clicking image below:

Nik Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls

 

This Week’s Sermon From The Ranch – “Brain Washing” In The Best Possible Way!

(Each Sunday, This Day’s Thought is blessed to share Eric Elder’s sermons from his wonderful ministry, “The Ranch“)
The Ranch: A Place of Healing and Restoration
Brain Washing” In The Best Possible Way!

The Conclusion of Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
By Eric Elder

 

Romans Cover…….

 

Special note:  Today’s the last day of this seriesRomans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind.  But that doesn’t mean it has to be over!  You can now order all 40 lessons from this series in a beautiful paperback book that you can use to review what you’ve learned or to share it with others.  Copies are available simply for a donation of any size to our ministry this month.

 

Also, I’d like to invite you to a special night of “Praise and Feasting” here at Clover Ranch this weekend!  See the two P.S.’s at the end of today’s message for details.  Now here’s the conclusion of our study together…

 

…….

 

My son came home from Bible college a few weeks ago and said some people in his town think that all the kids who go to his school are brainwashed.  My son said, “They’re right!  We are!”

 

Their brains are washed in the best possible way, washed by God Himself, cleansed by His Holy Spirit, and renewed to look more and more like the mind of Christ every day.

 

As we wrap up this study of Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind, I wanted to give you some final thoughts on how to keep your “brain washed” in the best possible way, too.

 

First, I want to encourage you to keep reading the Word of God.

 

My wife has been going through chemotherapy the last few months and spending a lot of time reading and memorizing God’s Word.  Once in awhile she’ll read a newspaper or magazine article about cancer and its devastating effects.  It always reminds her how much more hope and joy she has whenever she reads the Bible!  So she picks up her Bible again and starts reading it instead.  We could all do more of that!

 

As God said to the Israelites:

 

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).

 

Some people might think that reading the Bible all the time is like burying your head in the sand and ignoring the problems in your life.  But there’s a difference between burying your head in the sand and burying your head in God’s Word!  Sand leads to suffocation and death, whereas the Bible leads to fresh air and life!

 

If you want to keep your mind as fresh and clean as possible, keep reading God’s Word as much as possible, every day, many times a day.  A pastor was once asked which version of the Bible was the best.  His answer?  “The one you read the most.”  Amen!

 

Second, I want to encourage you to keep surrounding yourself with other Christ-minded believers so they can “re-mind” you of God’s Word, too.

 

I know that there may be times when you may not feel like going to church.  I know that you may not feel like going to Bible studies and getting to know complete strangers.  I know that once you’ve gotten to know those complete strangers, they may do things that annoy you, or irritate you, or make you wonder why you ever bothered going at all.

 

But for all the potential pitfalls of interacting with others, there’s nothing more powerful than having a Christian brother or sister encourage you in your faith and life.

 

As the writer of Ecclesiastes said:

 

“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

 

Renewing your mind is hard work, but God doesn’t want you to do it alone.  He wants you to rely on Him, and He wants you to rely on His people, the body of Christ, who all share the same head, Jesus Christ.

 

We got a package in the mail last week that made us cry.  It came from a church we used to attend about 20 years ago.  In the package were a stack of cards from the church members and a check from the church.  We were so overwhelmed by this expression of love and care that we couldn’t even open the stack of cards.

 

When we finally did open them, our tears began to flow again-tears of joy and thankfulness for their thoughts and prayers for us during this time in our lives.  It was such a reminder to us of how the body of Christ works to lift us up in our time of need.

 

While it can be hard at times to invest your time in getting to know other Christ-minded believers, it’s an investment that will pay dividends for you and for them for years to come… for all eternity, in fact!

 

So first, if you want to keep renewing your mind, keep reading God’s Word.  Second, keep surrounding yourself with other Christ-minded believers so they can remind you of God’s Word, too.  And third, always remember that God LOVES you, He is FOR you, and He can work ALL THINGS for good in your life!

 

When I started writing this study almost a year ago, I had no idea what the year might hold.  I had no idea how my life was about to change as my wife was diagnosed with cancer.  Yet, as I’ve been rereading the whole book of Romans again this week, and rereading each of my messages from this past year, I’ve been reminded again just how much God loves me, is for me, and can work all things for good in my life, too.

 

And I’m positive that God loves you, is for you, and can work all things for good in your life.  How can I be so sure?  You don’t take my word for it!  You can take His!  Here are just a few reminders again of what Paul said in his letter to the Romans:

 

“But God demonstrates HIS OWN LOVE FOR US in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:3).

 

“If God is FOR us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b).

 

“And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

 

If you’ve read with me this far, I’m sure that you love God and are called according to His purpose, too, so these words apply to you just as much as they applied to the Romans to whom Paul was writing!  Let God’s Word sink deep into your mind today.  Let Him speak words of love, words of support, and words of encouragement to you every day.

 

If you need a good “brain washing,” I’d encourage you to take some time to read and reread the whole book of Romans again (then take some more time to read and reread the whole Bible again!)  There’s nothing better to help you renew your mind than to wash it with the Word of God.  Surround yourself with other Christ-minded believers who can speak God’s Word into your life as well.  And always remember that God LOVES you, is FOR you, and can work ALL THINGS for your good.

 

As I said at the beginning of this study, one of the most powerful forces in the world in an idea.  Revolutions of all kinds have been sparked by mere ideas and even the smallest ideas can grow to either define… or destroy you.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure your ideas are in line with God’s ideas.

 

As Paul encouraged the Romans, let me encourage you:

 

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is -His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

 

Will you pray with me?

 

Father, thank You for speaking to us through this amazing book called Romans.  Thank You for Paul’s faithfulness to write down what he learned from You so he could share it with others.  Help us to be faithful with what we’ve learned so we can apply it to our own lives and to help others apply it to theirs as well.  Wash our minds, cleanse our hearts, and fill us with Your peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Romans CoverP.S. I hope you’ve enjoyed studying the book of Romans with me through these messages this past year.  If you’d like to get a copy of all 40 of these messages (38 lessons plus the introduction and conclusion), I’ve put them all in an 8×10 paperback book that you can get through our ministry simply for a donation of any size.  Reading and rereading these lessons can be a great way to renew your mind, as each lesson points you back to the Word of God.  Each lesson also comes with a set of “Questions for Reflection” that you can use  renew your mind, or to go through them with a small group to help others renew their minds, too.  As I’ve been rereading these messages myself as I’ve been putting together this book, I’ve been amazed how each lesson continues to speak to me again and again as I’m now going through a whole new set of circumstances in my life.  The As Hebrews 4:12 says, the Word of God really is “living and active,” and God can use it to speak to us in fresh ways every time we read it.  To make a donation to our ministry and get a copy of the book as our way of saying thanks, just click the link below.

Make A Donation and Get A Book! 

P.P.S.  I’d also like to invite you to a special night of “Praise and Feasting” here at Clover Ranch this coming Friday, June 1st at 6 pm Central Time.  Ever since our day of “Prayer and Fasting” for Lana and her health, we’ve wanted to have a night of “Praise and Feasting,” to celebrate all that God is doing in our lives.  There’s no charge, and all you have to do is bring yourself, a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on, and a dish to pass (if you’d like to add it to our feast!)  We’ll be spending our time in praise and worship and encouraging one another in our faith.  There are hotels nearby if you’re coming from out of town.  We’d love to see you if you can make it!  Just send me an email at eric@theranch.org and I’d be glad to send you more details and directions.

 

Questions for Reflection
1. Read  Romans 12:1-2.  The term “brainwashing” is often used in a negative way, referring to someone who has been convinced of something that is untrue.  But in light of today’s study, how can “washing your brain” with God’s Word work in your favor?
2. Who are some people in your life who are so filled with God’s Word that it seems to flow out of them whenever they speak?  What could you do to spend more time learning from and growing together with them?
3. Read Romans 8:28-39.  What verses from this passage stick out in your mind that are particularly helpful to you in your life right now?
4. Skim through the book of Romans again, or take an hour or so to read the whole book again.  Write down any words or phrases that God may be wanting to speak to you.  Hold onto those words and let God use them in the days ahead to continually renew your mind.

 

To read more from this series, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind,please visit:

The Romans Study

 

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This Week’s Sermon From The Ranch – Being Wise And Innocent

(Each Sunday, This Day’s Thought is blessed to share Eric Elder’s sermons from his wonderful ministry, “The Ranch“)
The Ranch: A Place of Healing and Restoration
 

Being Wise And Innocent

Lesson 37 from Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
By Eric Elder

 

Once you’ve worked hard to renew your mind, God wants you to keep it renewed.  And one of the best ways to keep it renewed is to be careful of the company you keep.

 

Believe it or not, there are people out there who don’t have your best interests in mind.  They’ll use smooth talk and flattery to try to lead you astray from the teaching you’ve learned-teaching that has helped you in many ways in your life.

 

In the final chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul warns about such people.  Paul says:

 

“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. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:17-19).

 

If you look at this paragraph closely, you’ll find some secrets for how to detect when people are trying to lead you astray for the wrong reason.

 

First, Paul urged the Romans “to watch out for those who those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.”

 

God had taken a great deal of time to teach the Christians in Rome good solid truths about Himself and the Bible, and Paul wanted them to hold onto those truths.  In the same way, God may have taken a great deal of time to teach you some good solid truths about Himself and the Bible, and God wants you to hold onto those truths, too.

 

If someone comes along and tries to teach you about a “new” truth, or “higher” way of looking at God and the Bible, be wise about how you listen to them.  Take what they say back to God and the Bible to see what He says about it in His Word.  While there’s value in keeping an “open mind,” you don’t want keep it so open that all the good teaching you’ve already learned falls out!

 

Be a good student of the Bible, like the people in the city of Berea, who took even what Paul said and examined it carefully according to what they had already learned.  The Bible says:

 

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, 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).

 

Second, Paul gave the Romans some simple advice about what to do when they came across people who were teaching them things that were contrary to what they had learned:  “Keep away from them.”

 

Why?  Because the company you keep matters.  If you don’t choose your friends wisely, Satan will be glad to choose some for you.  Satan knows that one of the best ways to lead you astray is to put people in your life who will pull you over to his side.

 

Paul gave a similar warning in his letter to the Corinthians when he said:

 

“Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33b).

 

How can you know who’s “bad company”?  By studying not just what they’re teaching, but by studying their character as well.  Paul alludes to this when he talked about the motives of those who might try to lead the Romans astray.  Paul said:  “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.”

 

Although it’s not always apparent right away, a little study can go a long way in determining someone’s true motives, whether they’re doing what they’re doing to serve the Lord Christ, or to serve their own appetites.

 

It makes me think of a girl who falls in love with a boy just because he tells her, “You’re beautiful.  I love you.  And I want to do something special to make you happy.”  All his smooth talk and flattery may work in his favor, but it may not work in hers.  If the girl were wise, she would study not only the words that were being spoken, but the motives of the person who is speaking those words.

 

If we’re wise, we’ll do the same: anytime someone tries to speak something into our lives that runs contrary to what we’ve already learned, we need to study not only the words that are being spoken, but the motives of the person who is speaking those words.

 

I think it’s interesting to note that leading up to this warning about “bad characters,” Paul begins the chapter by listing some good ones, people that Paul knew personally in Rome, and what made them noteworthy or admirable. For instance, he said:

 

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe… for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

 

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them… 

 

“Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.

 

“Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you” (Romans 16:1a,2b,5b,6).

 

The list goes on and on, as Paul commends to them person after person:

 

“Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

 

“Greet Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord.

 

“Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.

 

“Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ… 

 

“Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord… 

 

“Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too” (Romans 16:7-10a,12a,13).

 

If you want to learn something about a person, a personal recommendation like this goes a long way.

 

In choosing a doctor one time, Lana and I talked with a friend who worked for a doctor.  Our friend told us that when the doctor she worked for needed a doctor, he chose a particular man in town, having seen his practice long enough and knowing his character was strong enough that he trusted this other doctor with his own life.  Now that was a recommendation that was worth following.

 

Contrast this with another doctor we went to visit who, with his smooth talk and flattery, almost convinced us to come to him.  But  when we went home and looked into his life and practice a little more, we found out that his credentials weren’t quite as good as what he made us believe and that the number of complaints against him by others convinced us to go elsewhere.

 

This isn’t to say that we might not be led astray at times by a personal recommendation, too, but many times, if we’ll take the extra effort to study the person as well as what they’re trying to teach us, we can save ourselves from being led astray.

 

Third, Paul concludes his warning with these words: “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”

 

Paul was full of joy over the obedience of the Romans.  Everyone had heard about it, he said, and he didn’t want anyone to take that away from them.  “Be wise about what is good,” he said, “and innocent about what is evil.”

 

Again, these are similar to words he wrote in his letter to the Corinthians:

 

“In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults” (1 Corinthians 14:20b).

 

Paul wanted the Romans, and the Corinthians, to put their minds to work, being wise about what was good.  At the same time, he wanted them to be like children in regards to evil, having nothing to do with it, and being as innocent as possible.

 

What’s the end result of all of this?  As Paul said at the end of his warning:  “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”

 

With all the work that goes into renewing your mind, be sure to keep it renewed by being wise about what is good, and innocent of evil.  Study the teaching of those around you-and the character of those teaching it-before allowing their teachings into your mind.  As you protect your mind, God will protect you, and keep Satan at bay.

 

Will you pray with me?

 

Father, thank You for reminding us to stay true to what we’ve been taught about You and Your Word.  Help us to study deeply any ideas, and the people behind those ideas, that are presented to us that conflict with what we’ve already heard from You.  Help us be wise and innocent so we can keep our minds pure.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

P.S.  Last week, I mentioned the importance of enlisting others in praying for you.  I wanted to remind you again this week that if you don’t have someone to pray with you, or if you’d just like to get some additional prayers from believers who love to pray, we have a special prayer page set up on our website where you can post your prayer.  Although we’re not able to respond in person to all of the prayer requests that come in, we do have about 275 volunteers who have signed up to receive these prayer requests each day and who are glad to pray for you and your needs.  To post a prayer request, or to read the requests of others and pray for them, too, please visit:
Prayer Requests

 

Questions for Reflection
1. Read Romans 16:1-20.  What are some of the words that Paul uses to describe those whom he trusts in Rome, compared to the words he uses to describe those who might be trying to deceive their minds?
2. Can you think of some times when you’ve been led astray by smooth talkers who’ve been serving their own selfish interests?
3. Can you think of other times when you’ve been blessed by the wisdom and personal recommendations of true friends?
4. What are some ways this week that you can “be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil”?

 

To read more from this series, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind,please visit:

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