Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

Life is full of choices, from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we fall asleep at night. Moment by moment, we are making choices. Choices are what make up the substance of our daily lives. God gave us the freedom, and responsibility, of free will. We love the freedom to choose, but we can also resent the heavy burden of choice when it comes to what is in line with God and His will for our lives. After all, the instant we make the wrong decision, we become accountable for the inevitable disastrous outcome. We can cast the blame on circumstances, others, the devil or even God, but the truth is we not only reap what we sow, but, unless we truly repent, we will be judged according to the choices we make in this life.

Our ability to make conscious decisions is proof that we are more than merely “evolved” cells. Concerning this subject, Dave Hunt explains it well in his book, “Seeking and finding God, In Search of the True Faith.” He wrote, “There is no way that chemical reactions and electrical impulses among the brain’s cells can explain a sense of right and wrong, the beauty of a sunset, or the rational and moral choices we continually make. No material of any kind, either in the brain or outside of it, has any qualities to explain our ability to understand ideas such as truth, justice, holiness, mercy, and grace. These concepts are totally nonphysical. They do not originate within the brain, nor are they a conditioned response to anything anywhere in the entire physical universe.

“Indeed, the brain does not conceive creative ideas or originate thoughts. If thoughts originated in the brain, we would be prisoners of our brains, wondering what our brain would think of next and compelled to do whatever the brain decided. On the contrary, every person is convinced that he or she makes rational choices by weighing alternatives, not because the brain gets an impulse to make the body act in a certain way. While we are prone to react impulsively to the stimuli of physical temptations that breed desires, we are not forced to do so. The moral struggles we all experience to resist temptation are proof that we are not stimulus-response mechanisms ruled by impulses but that we do make genuine choices, though our choices are not always rational or morally right.

“Without a doubt, there is a ‘ghost in the machine’—something nonphysical inhabiting the body. There must be a human spirit, which thinks these nonphysical thoughts, holds these concepts that have no source in the physical universe, and makes rational and moral choices—or irrational and immoral ones. The brain is like a computer, which the spirit (the thinking, choosing person within) uses to operate the body in order to function in this physical universe of space, time, and matter—and to interact with other souls and spirits who also occupy similar bodies.” (Pages 10, 11)

At the end of Joshua’s long career of leading the children of Israel, he assembled all the tribes together. After relating to them God’s benefits, he challenged them to “fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” Joshua 24:14, 15.

Joshua was setting down an ultimatum for these people. They had to make a choice, one way or the other. There was no middle road, no “gray areas,” no “politically correct” or “progressive thinking” escape routes. In light of all that God had done for them, they were brought up to the “snubbing post” of truth; that is, to fear and serve the LORD with all sincerity and in truth. This is square “A” of getting the right perspective, and starting “on the right foot.” Anything less than putting God first, in every aspect of our lives, will cause us to be out of step from that which is true, right, and beneficial—God. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6:8. [Emphasis added.]

The two ways in which we are to serve God are in sincerity and in truth. Sincerity in this Scripture comes from the Hebrew word tamiym which means entire, integrity, truth, without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely sound, without spot, undefiled, uprightly and whole. As you can see, there is much more to this one word, “sincerity”, than just “giving it our best shot” whenever we feel like it. It obviously involves much more than being “sincere” about showing up at a church once or twice a week, jumping up and down for 45 minutes while giving lip service to God, putting on our pious mask, and giving a good impression to others. The meaning of this particular word requires full consecration on our part to God, serving Him with our whole heart, from the right spirit because He is LORD of our lives wherever we are, all the time, not just on Sunday.

When Joshua used the word “truth,” (‘emeth) he meant stability, certainty, trustworthiness, assuredly, establishment, faithful, right, sure, truly, verity. Thus, we are reminded of Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”  Nothing less is acceptable to God because He is holy. Therefore, He will not accept profane “offerings” we throw at Him (much like tossing a bone to a dog) in order to keep Him off our back: Nor will He accept our perverted, pagan, worldly “worship” that we delude ourselves into thinking is all about Him, when in reality it’s all about entertaining us to make ourselves feel good. Rest assured it is sin, and a stench to God. You can pin the name “Jesus” on to your rock n’ roll so-called “worship,” but it has nothing to do with the Jesus of the Bible, and everything to do with the wrong spirit of Satan and this world. It is pagan, it is sensuous, and it is worldly, wicked and wrong! If you are dancing to the devil’s tune, you need to repent, and truly begin to worship God in the Spirit of holiness.

Take heed to what God told idolatrous Israel, (which is also for our example): “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I can not away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” Isaiah 1:13-15. We need to sober up and take note. God has not changed. He is still God. He is still holy. He will not, cannot, and is not tolerating iniquity (moral deviation), sin (falling short of God’s glory), and transgression (breaking His laws and rebellion) any longer. God’s judgment is beginning to fall, and it will begin in the “house of God.” Jesus is returning for a prepared, pure Church, not a half-hearted, harlot church that is more in love with the pleasures of this passing world than with the Jesus of the Bible, not the “mushy modern” Jesus which is so popular today.

Concerning receiving “a love for the truth” (2 Thess. 2:10) God says: “To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it” Jeremiah 6:10. What an apt description of our day! The Word of God has been twisted, perverted, watered down, “reinterpreted,” and regurgitated until the truth, and the Spirit behind it (anointing) has all but vanished. People are no different today than they were in Jeremiah’s day. They do not delight in the pure Word of God. It is too hard on their fragile self-esteem. They want something “easier to understand,” something more appealing to the flesh, something that “fits in” with contemporary living (rather than exposing and challenging our contemporary lifestyles). They do not want to study to show themselves “approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15. Instead, they want their ears tickled by various teachers. They want “something new” regardless of the spirit behind it.

One good example of this insatiable quest for “something new” is the incredible popularity among professing “Christians” and churches of the best-selling book, “The Shack” which is fictional darkness and blasphemy that has been transformed in the minds of some as being a word from God. Is Jesus going to nod and smile and wink at such wickedness? You had better believe He is not! “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” 2 Peter 2:1-3. [Emphasis added.]

Have you ever thought about the two references Joshua made to the children of Israel in Joshua 24:14, 15 tothe gods on the other side of the flood? How did the Israelites know about the gods their fathers served before Noah’s flood? Archaeologists and biblical historians believe that Noah’s son, Ham, brought the knowledge of these gods with him, and passed on their knowledge to his descendants. In an article written by Bryce Self ( entitled Nimrod, Mars and the Marduk Connection, he wrote: “According to tradition, Nimrod set out to establish himself an empire and began by conquering the cities which had become established in Mesopotamia. Among these were Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in Sumeria, and in Assyria the cities of Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen. Besides conquering these seven cities he also founded Ninevah. The Bible is specific in stating that he was the first man after the flood to become an emperor. He seems to have been impelled and empowered by super-human force and his onslaught was irresistible. Genesis 10 describes Nimrod as a “mighty hunter before the LORD.” The term is not complimentary, but implies ruthlessness and a lust for power.

“After establishing his kingdom in the Tigris/Euphrates region Nimrod consolidated his power by establishing a state religion. He constructed a religion that included deification and worship of the emperor (himself), worship of Satan and his demons, and star-worship (corrupted from a pure antediluvian astronomy). A key unifying factor in his religion was to be an astronomical/astrological observatory built upon the pinnacle of a pyramid, or tower, at Babel. It has been suggested that Nimrod spent some time in Egypt before moving up to Mesopotamia and that while in Egypt he studied the Egyptian mystery religion perpetuated there from before the flood by the wife of Ham, whom tradition takes to be a descendant of Cain.

“The building of this pyramid (or ziggurat) was interrupted by God himself in order to prevent Nimrod from extending his sway over all of the inhabited earth, according to Genesis. God halted the work by confusing their language so they could no longer cooperate easily with one another, nor indeed easily inhabit the same region together. As a consequence the human race was dispersed, and as men scattered they carried with them remnants of primeval revelation from God, and Satan/hero worship which Nimrod had invented as well. This system of muddled half-truths is known today to Bible scholars as the “Babylonian Mystery Religion.” From a biblical point of view this religious system is described as the well-spring for all subsequent false religion and endless mythological systems, (For example see Isaiah 47 and Revelation Chapters 17 and 18).”

Thus, Joshua stood before the children of Israel, calling upon them to make up their minds whether they were going to serve the Lord or the pagan gods that, along with gross perversion and continual evil imaginations, brought down the wrath of God, resulting in the destructive forces of a worldwide flood. This example alone of God dealing with man’s rebellion and idolatry should pull us up short, giving us a much-needed reality check. Why? Because the days we are living in are comparable to the days prior to the flood. Jesus said, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” Matthew 24:37-39.

It is interesting to consider “eating” and “drinking” in this particular verse when you look up the meaning of those words in the Greek. Eating means corrosion, to wear, gnaw or crunch, and drinking in this verse means to imbibe. To me it paints a picture of careless and thoughtless people (utterly clueless) going about their self-satisfying, self-indulgent, worldly lives without a thought about eternity and the judgment to come. We also need to take note of the word Jesus used for “giving” in marriage. It is “skolios” which means warped, winding, perverse, crooked, forward, untoward, which strongly suggests that He was not referring to godly marriage between one man and one woman, but rather to the exact opposite. After all, God in the very beginning of the human race instituted marriage between a man and a woman, and he blessed it. Obviously, the attitude and gross perversion and wickedness that we witness in the world today aptly fits the description Jesus gave of the end of the age, prior to His return.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 1, verses 18-32, we read a fitting description of both the pre-flood and the post-flood eras, including the days in which we live. It makes for an interesting study; one that should serve as a warning to us as well, for God has not changed. Yet, in spite of this fact, post-modern “Christians” go about flippantly excusing themselves of their choices of pagan practices with the soul-damning excuse that we are living in “New Testament” times of “grace,” which that means that since Jesus died for our sins, we can say, do, think, be, partake of, practice or live any way we want. Did Jesus die on the cross so that we can dress like the world, mark (tattoo and pierce) our bodies in heathen fashion, and eat and drink what we want (disregarding the temple of our bodies)? Did Jesus die so that we could choose to indulge in sinful practices such as drugs (sorcery), sex (fornication), drunkenness (excess), witchcraft (magic, Harry Potter, New Age practices, etc.), idolatry (demon worship) and carnality (rock music), and, in general, look, sound, act, live and think just like the world? Where did this heretical belief come from? The answer is simple: From heretical teachers, preachers and false prophets in the church, and that includes all the garbage people listen to and watch on so-called “Christian” television, and read in so-called “Christian” books written by charlatans and false workers who are the enemies of God, upon whom the wrath of God shall fall. In that day, there will be no place to hide. If you have deceived yourself with this ungodly, unbiblical excuse for living in rebellion, idolatry and sin against the Almighty, you need to repent and seek God’s standard of holiness for your life. Time is short.

Paul wrote in Romans 2:4-6, “. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” Who can say that God’s “goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” has not been evident in America, and in every one of our lives thus far? However, God’s goodness is given to cause people to repent! His goodness is not extended to us so that we can continue to partake of the world, live for the flesh, and give way to the devil while “tossing God a bone” by going to church or dropping a dollar bill in the offering plate. God is not mocked. He knows our hearts.

Is your heart “hard and impenitent”—a heart that will bring you under the wrath of God in His righteous judgment? God is sending out a clear warning to the church in America. His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering towards those who are playing the religious game, while idolizing and worshipping their “money god,” are ending. God is shaking the churches of this land, tearing down the false gods that have been set up within them just as surely as Jesus cast out the moneychangers in the temple. The false god of man’s religious traditions, along with his faith in “faith,” worship of the “worship,” exaltation of the church, the pastor (or any other leader) is all pride and idolatry. Watering down the Word of God with perverted so-called “versions,” redefining the truths laid out in God’s Word through blasphemous novels and writing, prophesying lies in the name of the Lord, using His holy name in vain to seduce people into a false reality is all an abomination. God is no longer going to tolerate it in His church.

The Lord will have no other gods before Him. Idolatry, simply defined, means anything that is more important in your life than the Lord is. It is what you pursue or live for, what you talk about, what you desire. It is the object of your affections, and delight. We need to heed this warning from God: “Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground” Jeremiah 25:30-33.

       Will you be able to stand when God rises to shake the earth? What is your life built upon, sinking sand or the Rock that shall never be moved? Are you lingering in this valley? “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision” Joel 3:13, 14.

       Whom do you choose to serve this day, the Lord of all creation, the One who died and raised again, who shall come to judge the quick and the dead; or, do you choose to serve the false gods that abound in this present world? The choice is yours.