“But Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.” -Genesis 25:33-34
What is a birthright? According to WordNet online dictionary, it is “a right or privilege that you are entitled to at birth”, or “an inheritance coming by right of birth”. Did you know God gives each of us a birthright as His children? Did you know that we may not be aware of our birthright from Him, or, if we understand our birthright, we can also lose it? This is described in the story of Jacob and Esau.
Jacob stole Esau’s birthright by offering him food when he was extremely hungry. Although Jacob acted as a manipulator and deceiver, his brother didn’t seem all that concerned with his inheritance in the present. He wanted his hunger for food met, now! He couldn’t see past his immediate desires, although legitimate. He tried to get them met in the wrong way. And he sold the only thing of true value in his life away for a bowl of stew. How angry at himself he must’ve been once his hunger had been satisfied!
When we are born into the kingdom of God by accepting Christ into our lives, we are born not only into new life through salvation, but we also carry a new birthright. Like free education is a right to anyone born in America, when we are born again, a new creation in Christ, we have rights that people who do not know Him do not have. Peace, joy, hope, and spiritual gifts are in addition to the gift of eternal salvation are all part of this birthright. Our very purpose for existence is also our birthright. God gave that to us before we were born. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5) However, it is easy to “miss” our birthright by deception, or to exchange it for a life of self-gratification.
It says in Genesis 25:34 Esau “despised” his birthright. How many of us “despise” doing the things that Christ would have us do? Whether it’s fear, or pride, or past hurts and rejections, or not feeling good enough – none of those reasons are good enough for us to miss the inheritance that God has in store for us.
Don’t let deception keep you from your birthright of who you are in Christ – from all the things that God has planned for you to bless you, give you a purpose, and to use you mightily for His kingdom.
** By Charis Brown at Today God is First / Photo by Shantanu Pal at Pexels
I don’t particularly like spiders; but have you ever watched one getting ready to eat? Using just the right number of sticky threads, he carefully prepares his web and positions himself to wait for an unsuspecting victim. When one comes along and is caught, the spider feels its vibrations and immediately runs to devour his meal.
Like a spider seeking his prey, the enemy of your soul is hoping to have you for a snack. The Bible says you should “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). One of the ways Satan devours Christians is through false ministries. He strategically sets up his web of deception and waits for you; but he can only devour you if you let him.
As God pours out His Holy Spirit in these last days, you can expect to see more and more legitimate signs and wonders. But, whenever God begins to move, the devil always tries to distract people with a counterfeit move. Jesus said, “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and they shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive even the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). This prophecy has been in the fulfillment stage for about 2000 years but never more so than at the present time. Satan knows his time is short, and he is doing all he can to deceive God’s people. Therefore, you need to be spiritually sharp so you can avoid the devil’s web of deception. Seeing is not Believing Many people unwittingly get caught in the devil’s web of deception because of their eagerness for supernatural experiences. Even some Christians think that just because an occurrence is supernatural, it must be from God. They couldn’t be more wrong! The Apostle John wrote, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, to see if they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We’re told not to blindly believe every spirit, prophet or prophecy, but to test the spirits and judge the prophecy. In other words, don’t just look for supernatural experiences. Instead, look for those things you are certain come from God.
When the Holy Spirit was being poured out in the book of Acts, something very tangible occurred. In fact, the devout Jews criticized what was taking place and tried to explain it away as drunkenness. Peter gave us some good criteria for judging supernatural manifestations when he said, “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:15-18). Notice he said, “This is that.” If you cannot look at an experience and find it in scripture, you don’t want it as part of your theology!
Recognizing False Ministries
False ministers point to themselves and not to Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:28-30). False ministers draw disciples to themselves, claiming to have spiritual insight local pastors and church leaders do not have. They have a “special” revelation from God. True ministers are messengers who always point to Jesus, not themselves.
False ministers are usually critical of local church leadership. Jude referred to ungodly men who deny the Lord as “grumblers and faultfinders who follow their own evil desires.” They were recognized as those who boasted about themselves and flattered others for their own advantage. That is what deceivers do — they attack and criticize the leadership of your local church while exalting themselves
False prophets usually bring a negative message, especially for those who resist their “ministry.” Their theme is doom, gloom, and destruction. The first time I went to Russia, someone prophesied I was going to die in a plane crash. I prayed about it and didn’t feel the prophecy was right. So, I went as planned and, in just one meeting, over a thousand people were saved. Five hundred churches were planted as a result of that trip. If I were the devil, I would have tried to stop it, too!
The Bible says we are to be led by the Spirit of God, not by prophetic words. If I had I allowed myself to be directed by prophecy alone, I’d never have gone to Russia. Just remember, prophecy should be used to confirm what God is already speaking to you.
False ministers will let you know they are “special” messengers from God. They want to make you believe God speaks to them in a way He does not speak to you. Many people have regrettably poured their hearts, their finances, and their lives into the hands of false ministers just because they were told, “God sent me to you.” Remember, a person is not necessarily on a divine mission from God just because they say so.
One of the easiest ways to spot a false ministry is by discerning the spirit of the minister. A true representative of God is teachable and humble. False ministers are rebellious and un-teachable. They feel no one but God has the right to tell them what to do. Be careful not to get involved with such a minister. If they have a know-it-all attitude, they have already opened the door to the devil’s deception. You don’t want to walk through the door with them!
False ministers display “gifts,” but their fruit is bad. Jesus warned, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Mat 7:15-17). He did not say you would know the good from the bad by signs, miracles, or gifts, but by their fruit. Learn to look beyond the supernatural display to examine the fruit of the ministry.
Finally, false ministers are often “drifters” who have no real roots. If you could do a background check on them, you would probably find that false ministers have gone from church to church, leaving a long trail of confusion, division, deception, and destruction. The Bible says we are to know those who labor among us. In other words, don’t blindly receive the ministry of someone who is not known or recognized by your local leadership.
Knowing the Truth
The most important thing you can do to discern a false ministry is to know what a true ministry looks like. The better you know someone, the less likely you are to be fooled by someone disguised as that person. The better you know the Lord, the less likely you are to be fooled by someone falsely representing him.
I challenge you to stay full of the Holy Spirit and to stay in the Word of God. Hold your local church leadership in high regard, recognizing that they may see things you do not see. Finally, take a bold stand against false ministries and help those who are deceived.
Signs of False Ministries
1. They point to themselves, not to Jesus. 2. They are critical of local church leadership. 3. They bring a negative message. 4. They say they are “special” messengers sent from God. 5. They’re usually rebellious and un-teachable. 6. They display “gifts” but have bad fruit. 7. They’re “drifters” who have no verifiable roots.
**By Duane Vander Klok at walkingbyfaith.tv / Photo by Pixabay
**How to have a relationship with God and be saved: The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE
In a time such as this, worry and stress can creep in and overwhelm us if we allow them too. But standing on the promises of God and resting in Him can bring peace of mind. Here are some Bible verses to help comfort and reassure you of God’s divine love and sovereignty over this world. Jesus tells us that we will face troubles and hardships in life, but we can have peace knowing he has already overcome the world. May these words of the Bible serve as reminders for you. As you read these Bible verses pray and call out to God to heal your mind and heart. Reach out to others around you to uphold you in prayer also, don’t suffer in silence. May the Lord meet you at your point of need and bring healing and restoration, whether it be spiritually, physically or mentally.
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:14)
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22)
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:11)
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.” (Proverbs 3:24-26)
“Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2)
ANXIETY AND STRESS
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:25-32)
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” (Philippians 4:13-14)
“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:6-7)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:27-28)
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8)
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;” (Psalm 34:14-15)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
These video testimonies will strengthen your faith. In times of trials and tribulations, many lessons can be learned from these: hope, endurance, patience, forgiveness and much more, as well as how to be over-comers in these last days.
As Christian believers we’re to look unto Jesus and His finished work on the Cross, as He is the author and perfecter of our faith. We’re not to be afraid of those who want to kill the body; they cannot touch our soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. We don’t put our trust in man, but in God alone. Jesus will give us His peace that surpasses all understanding, and help us to rest in Him amidst the storms. Jesus, our Lord and saviour and soon coming King forewarned us that times of tribulation will come as we’re in the last days: And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22 NLT)
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (Revelation 12:11)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15)
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones… See, I have warned you about this ahead of time… Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. (Matthew 24:21-22; 25; 29-31 NLT)
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39).