The Hard Truth About Mike Bickle and IHOP — Pirate Christian Media

The Hard Truth About Mike Bickle and IHOP — Pirate Christian Media

Source: The Hard Truth About Mike Bickle and IHOP — Pirate Christian Media

This is a great  interview/discussion about IHOP. I am already aware of most of what is discussed due to my own research through the years. There are also some very interesting links on the same page.

The Bible , the Constitution, and the Law Regarding Immigration Bans

I came across a really good article that discussed the the Bible, the Constitution, and the law regarding the President’s temporary ban on immigration from certain countries. Below is the Biblical argument supporting such a ban from that article.

Trump’s Directive: Biblical, Constitutional, and Legal

By: Bryan Fischer

The cacophony from the political and religious left over Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban has been not only clanging but irrational and unhinged. Most of them seem on the verge of some kind of mental or emotional breakdown. 

Trump’s travel restrictions halt the refugee program for a time until better vetting procedures can be implemented and halt immigration for a time from countries which are noted hotbeds of Islamic unrest. 

To the degree that there is anything rational about the frenzied opposition to Trump’s directive, it is the accusation that it is un-Christian, unconstitutional, and illegal. Such opposition is wrong on all three counts. 

First, the charge that an immigration ban is unbiblical. Because of the immediate and implacable hostility of the people of Ammon and Moab when Israel came out of Egypt, God himself forbade the nation of Israel to accept any immigrants from either of these people groups to “the tenth generation” (Deuteronomy 23:3). Since a biblical generation is 40 years, this was in essence a permanent ban. 

So the benchmark established by God is this: if a people group manifests an unremitting hostility to another nation, that nation has the moral right to forbid entrance to immigrants from that people group in the interests of its own security and peace. Was God saying that every Ammonite and Moabite was evil beyond redemption? No, but since it was virtually impossible to tell which Ammonites or Moabites Israel needed to worry about and which ones they didn’t, God’s directive was to be careful with them all. 

Immigration exceptions were made for those who were properly and satisfactorily vetted. Ruth, for instance, was a Moabite but was not only allowed to enter Israel but to become a part of the line that led to the Savior of the world. 

It should be noted that Ruth was embraced as an immigrant because of her willingness to reject the religious practices of her native land and completely assimilate to her newly adopted homeland. “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:17). 

Second, to the charge that Trump’s directive is unconstitutional. This assertion is categorically and resoundingly false. The Constitution grants to Congress unilateral and unquestioned authority to set whatever immigration restrictions it wishes, according to Article I, Section 9. According to that section of the Constitution, Congress is free to limit “migration” to persons that “it shall think proper to admit.” 

There is, you will note, not even a prohibition against the use of a “religious” test, which is nothing more than an ideological test. First Amendment guarantees apply only to legal American residents, not to people who have never set foot in the United States. 

If Congress thinks it is not “proper to admit” individuals whose religion orders them to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them” (Surah 9:5), it is perfectly free to do so. We have denied immigration to Communists since 1952 on the grounds that communist ideology is incompatible with American values. So is the ideology of Islam. 

There is absolutely no constitutional right whatsoever to immigrate to the United States. The U.S., like every other sovereign nation in the world, has the moral right to reserve immigration to those who will be an asset and refuse it to those who won’t. 

Congress restricted immigration to the Chinese for 10 years in the late 19th century in order to preserve demographic balance. In the 1920s, Congress established quotas based on national origin to preserve the diverse but harmonious unity we enjoyed. 

Third, as to the charge that Trump’s directive is illegal. As Andy McCarthy reminds us, 

Federal immigration law also includes Section 1182(f) which states: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate” (emphasis added).

This is the very section of the law that Trump cited in his directive. He applied it specifically to seven countries of particular jihadi unrest and danger: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. These are countries which have already been designated by the Obama administration as “countries of concern.” 

It’s worthy of note that this is NOT exactly a “Muslim ban,” since the directive does not apply to 87% of the Muslim world. Even some countries which ought to be on the list (Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) aren’t. 

It should not be forgotten for a moment that President Obama himself banned immigration from Iraq for six months in 2011 for national security reasons. Where were the howls of outrage about religious liberty and Islamophobia back then? And let’s remember that Democrat president Jimmy Carter completely banned immigration from Iran in 1980 during the hostage crisis. Where was the screeching then about the Constitution? The silence of the left was deafening on both occasions. 

McCarthy sums it up this way: “[T]here is no doubt that the executive order temporarily banning entry from specified Muslim-majority countries is both well within President Trump’s constitutional authority and consistent with statutory law.” 

So Trump’s directive is biblical, constitutional, legal, and designed to protect America’s security. There is nothing here for American citizens and patriots to dislike and everything to approve.

Nothing more needs to be said by yours truly.

How Do I Meditate on The Word Of God?

by Jack Wellman

How do we meditate on the Word of God?  The Bible instructs Christians to meditate on the Word but how are we supposed to meditate on the Word of God and what does it mean to meditate?

A Secular Definition of Meditation

When you look in the dictionary and see what the word meditate means, you can get dozens of differing definitions. I will try to give a general definition based upon what most people think meditation is and then what God means by His command to have us meditate on the Word of God.  Most dictionaries define meditation as:  Intentional contemplation on the author’s work with the express purpose of  reflecting upon it, contemplative thinking, the revolving of a subject in the mind or a self-directed practice of calming the mind and body.

Other definitions are a clearing of the mind, an emptying of thoughts, having a mind that is open.  The thing that I don’t like about this kind of meditation is that a clear, open mind is one that is subject to spiritual attack or evil influence from demons or wicked spirits.  The problem with an open mind is that it often needs to be closed down for repairs!   What is called Transcendental Meditation for example is a technique that is derived from Hindu traditions that promote deep relaxation through the use of a mantra. However a mantra’s different for differing belief systems like Buddhism, Hinduism, and New Age ideas and so its definition depends upon the group’s beliefs and is dependent upon the context of it.   Some of this is practiced even in the work place, at Yoga classes, and in many Eastern religions.  This is not what the Bible means by meditating on the Word of God.

Meditating on the Word

Our church elder said that meditating on the Word of God is a lost art in the church today. He is absolutely right.  We lose out on so much when we simply read over the Word and don’t meditate on it. Part of what the Psalmist says where we are to “hide your Word” in our heart is simply meditating on it.  Yes, memorizing Scripture may be part of this hiding the Word, but there is so much power even in one verse…in one word…that we don’t tap that power when we read right past it.  The Scriptures often tell us to do this both day and night and so you can never meditate on it if you are not reading it…both day and night.

Benefits of Meditating on the Word

Here are a few verses that tell us that we should meditate on the Word of God, why we should meditate on it and what the benefits are:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

If we meditate on God’s Law, and I don’t mean the Mosaic Law, then we will “be careful to do all that is written in it.” You can’t obey what you do not know.  And God promises to “make your way prosperous” and you’ll have “good success” if you meditate on it.  Meditating and memorizing Scripture is like “hiding His Word” in your heart.  When you are tempted, you can more easily resist sinning because you already know the precepts, statues, and Laws of God.

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

We will love the law of God only if we meditate on its meaning.  It is not so much “don’t do this” but “do this and suffer” and “don’t do this and prosper.” God doesn’t want us to hurt ourselves or others and that is why we must love His law and meditate on it.   God loves His own law so much that the biggest chapter in the Bible is dedicated to the law in Psalm 119; it must be of high importance to God.  If it is that important to God (and it is) then it must be for us as well.

May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.” Psalm 104:34

God is well pleased when we meditate on His divine Word.  The Psalmist wrote that rejoicing in the Lord is tied to meditating on His Word.  Imagine you get a letter from your loved one.  You have been separated from him or her for a long time.  You love re-reading it…reflecting on the words, and so you will rejoice in this letter and your loved one and you will meditate on certain lines, would you not?  The same applies to God’s Word.  It is the greatest love letter ever written!

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Psalm 119:15

I love this verse.  Here the writer is fixing his eyes on God’s ways.  He is meditating on the precepts of God for they are always true, faithful, and good.  To “fix” your eyes is to meditate on specific things and these things (like precepts) are in the written Word of God.  Try fixing your eyes on one verse today.  You’ll be amazed at how the Holy Spirit will enlighten your mind to it.

My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.Psalm 49:3

Here is a cause and effect verse.  Our mouth can speak wisdom only because the meditation of our hearts on His Word gives us understanding.  This is not a subjective, human wisdom but the wisdom of God Himself because when our hearts mediate on His truth (which is objective), what we say will be wise because it is the wisdom of God.  By the way, the seat of the intellect in the Jewish idiom is the “heart” and so when you read the word heart, you can understand that it is talking about the mind.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Although Paul didn’t use the word “meditate”, the intent is the same thing when he said to “think about these things.”  When we think on “these things” we are pondering them, we are reflecting on them, and we are contemplating (meditating) on them.

My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.” Psalm 119:148

Many of the strongest Christians have the most worn out Bibles and you have probably heard that a Christian whose Bible is coming apart has it most together.  This verse speaks of meditating on the Word before “the watches of the night” or late at night, perhaps before bedtime.  They are meditating on God’s promises and that helps to keep a believer’s hope strong.  His promises are all revealed in Scripture and what better thing to meditate on than those promises which are sure, true, and can not be broken.

Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes.” Psalm 119:24

clip_image002The writer here ties together our ability to not be discouraged or fearful even while our enemies are plotting against us.  How many times have we laid awake at night, unable to sleep or “turn it off“, worrying about our problems (even if they are people)?  We can sleep in peace by meditating on the Word before we go to bed.  I have known fewer solutions to my sleeplessness than to open the Bible and read His Word for I realize that even that bad things will work out for my best (Romans 8:28).  That is another of God’s promises.

Conclusion

We have read from Scripture that there is so much good that can come from meditating on the Word of God.  The shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  I tried to meditate on this shortest of verses and found it to be one of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible.  I thought of why Jesus wept, what He was weeping for, who He was weeping over, and how He showed such depth of emotion in His love.  By asking who, what, why, where, when, and how over a single verse, the Holy Spirit can speak to us through the written Word because the Holy Spirit is the Author of the Word (2 Peter 1:21).  I thought of His humanity, the suffering that He saw, the lost sheep of Israel who would have nothing to do with Him, the depravity of mankind, the compassion that He had.  What must Jesus have been thinking (meditating) on when He wept?

It must grieve the heart of God to know that many will be called but few will be chosen.  Many have heard of Jesus but few will trust in Him.  The path to destruction is broad but the way of life is narrow and winding and few are they that find it.  That makes me want to weep too.  For all those who refuse to believe, those who will not come to saving faith, I meditate on their eternal, future fate.  That makes me want to share the gospel all the more.  I want to be about my Father’s business in rescuing the perishing.  The Bible is full of God’s desire that no one will perish (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4, Ezekiel 18:23).  Meditate on what breaks God’s heart and your heart will be broken too.  Meditate on the Word of God and you will hide it in your heart (memorize it).  Then you will have the Word in you to be able to resist when temptation comes.  You can meditate on God’s desire to save those who are headed for the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 21).

This week, choose one verse to meditate on.  I choose John 11:35 (“Jesus wept“).  I wanted to align my heart with Jesus’ heart.  Take one line from the Word of God and memorize it, think about it, ponder it, reflect upon it, and then God “will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).  That is a promise from God.  There is nothing more certain in all the universe than a promise of God.  Just meditate on that for a while.

“Today I Will Listen for the Voice of God”

That sounds like an admirable goal for any Christian, doesn’t it? I first saw it on a Facebook post by ‘Jesus Savior Beliefnet’. I’ve seen it a couple of times with different pictures in the background. It’s part of a ‘Christian’ oriented advertisement inviting the reader to ‘Live a Daily Life in The Presence” and offering a free streaming DVD from which you could learn more about ‘Living in the Presence’.

Curious, I signed up for the DVD. I was provided the login/password ‘LiveIn/ThePresence’ after providing some information about myself. I logged in and began the video stream. The presentation is the first episode, with more to follow, designed to teach you how to ‘live in the presence’ of God 24/7. The main menu offered five numbered sessions with a small segment about ‘spiritual journaling’ before the first session and after the fifth session. The remainder of this post is a summary of the contents of the DVD, including the spiritual journaling segments and the five main ‘sessions’.

My first impulse was to take a peek at the spiritual journaling beginning and ending segments. Since they ‘bookended’ the sessions it seemed to me significant to the overall purpose of the DVD’s teaching. I was not disappointed.

The segment at the beginning “Introduction to Journaling” presented four steps/keys to spiritual journaling.

1. Quiet yourself down.

2. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

3. Turn to spontaneity.

4. Write down what you envision, hear, and perceive.

The final segment was called “A Brief Guide to Journaling” first explained that spiritual journaling is different than ordinary journaling. Ordinary journaling is more like a diary and contains a record of daily activities. Spiritual journaling is all about inward thoughts and emotions. Then we are told to:

1. Use the provided participant guide as a journal and always have it handy.

2. Set and keep a set time to journal your thoughts and emotions.

3. Be prepared. Bring your Bible and read it.

What caught my eye during that segment was seeing pictures of people ‘journaling’ in different quiet settings, but there wasn’t a Bible in sight. When it mentioned the Bible it did show a graphic of a woman sitting on a couch and reading it. Was there a message in that?

The ‘Sessions’

The five ‘sessions’ had three interspersed main elements. There was an interview between a woman and a Catholic Priest in Haiti. There was another interview between a man and Johnathan and Mellisa Helser, who are worship leaders for Freshwater Worship, a Christian multi-media organization based in Mooresville, N.C., and the producers of The Presence. Lastly, worship music by the worship team lead by the Helsers.

Session 1 – Breakthrough (@30 mins)

The DVD narrator introduces The Presence as a series of stories from all over the world sharing how people in various locations are “experiencing the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, including the miraculous.” We are told that we can all expect and experience “heaven to earth encounters” and that “His presence is your breakthrough.”

Then we read the following quotation to set the stage for the rest of the DVD:

“We must develop a growing awareness of God’s presence among us as if we are to draw from the presence and walk out our own God given assignment.” – Bill Johnson, Bethel Church

In the interview between Sally and Father Rick (Richard Frechette), we are told of life in Haiti and the dangers present there caused Father Rick to begin seeking “deeper”, for “something more”. He spoke of becoming “fully alive” as a result and the need to “train the inner life”. We must all learn to discern between the ‘evil voices’ that can speak to us and the actual ‘voice of God’ – something anyone can do.

In this first session, the interview with the Helsers (worship leaders) we are told that the first step in learning to live in The Presence is to be “willing to let the presence come in”. She spoke of being healed of a disease and it coming back, and having been healed again. I assume that to be connected to being in/out of The Presence in some way.

(Where do we see anyone in the Bible healed twice from the same malady/disease?)

Session 2 – Peace in the Storm (@5 mins)

Living in The Presence means “listening and actualizing God’s Gifts.” Do we feel the need for “something more?” That something more is “the presence of God.”

(Doesn’t the bible tell us already have the inward presence of God in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit?)

Father Rick called living in The Presence “living in the awareness” Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t. “You need to put yourself into that stage of consciousness.”

Session 3 – Hearing the Holy Spirit (@5 mins)

According to Father Rick, the Holy Spirit is the 6th Sense we talk about. The Holy Spirit can speak:

1. In a still small voice

2. In what family and friends in Christ say to us

3. In impressions, feelings, and experiences

4. As a consequence of sin

The emphasis in the DVD is on numbers 1 and 3. Where’s the Bible in the list? It isn’t, and yet it is through the Bible, the written word, through which the Holy Spirit speaks to us as we read, study and pray.

Father Rick however, tells us we just need to develop the skill of discerning God’s voice and only acting on its leading. Knowing God’s voice out of all the others is spiritual; maturity. A can do it, but you have to be taught.

In the small segment with the Helsers, Melissa tells us that if we REALLY want to know what God is like, we need to live in The Presence and be able to “access the presence on a moment’s notice.”

Session 4 – Becoming Like Him (@5 mins)

In this session, we are asked by the Helsers if there’s a “religious rhetoric” or “traumatic event” that is hindering us from entering The Presence?

After all, Saul became Paul because of an encounter with God’s presence! Our transformation likewise begins by ‘encountering his presence’. We are given advice for becoming like Jesus: “As you journal this session, ask the Holy Spirit how you can become like him in your daily life.”

(We can’t just read the Bible and find that out?)

Father Rick talked about dealing with things like ‘hate’ and needing to speak ‘mantra’ like to yourself something like “I cannot carry hatred like this anymore” over and over and over.

Session 5 – True Worship (@5 mins)

Quotes:

“Worship is not what we do but who we are and who we were created to be.”

“We are free to worship in all kinds of ways that use our talents and personalities.”

“The key to true worship is to resonate with the song God is singing over you and sing it back to him in the setting he has provided for you. A lifestyle of unreserved thankfulness is a life of true worship.”

(The worship team featured throughout the DVD is seen really rocking back with Melissa imitating a ‘whirling dervish/Tasmanian devil on stage.)

Personal Conclusion

I could have skipped the 5 sessions and trusted my initial impressions from just reading the ad. The ‘spiritual journaling’ segments said it all. What is being taught is nothing more than a ‘Christianized’ form of transcendental meditation. The music is a ‘hook’ to suck in the undiscerning believer, ‘experience’ based rather than Bible based Christianity. Subjective feelings and impressions rather than objective truth based faith. Beware of this and anything else that smells like it!

Scripture tells us we know we know God if we keep his commandments. Start from 1 John 1 and then research the rest of the Bible for what it tells us about knowing God. Maybe that’s another post all its own.

It is not almost a week since I watched the DVD and wrote this review. I hesitated to post it until I kept seeing the same ad for ‘The Presence’ and reading all the “Amen” comments approving it. I even got into a couple of interesting conversations in ad comment sections. Overall, people are being deceived in vast numbers, and some are our brothers and sisters in Christ!

You can share this with whomever and however you want.

Dan C.