Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween For Dummies, Christians Included

You don't bombard your Facebook with all-too-familiar verses and "Jesus is coming" quotes and at the same time getting too excited with your planned activities on Halloween, it's just not quite the way a Christian should find himself doing.

"So, what's wrong with getting excited over Halloween? The experience is priceless, and a solitary night of fun doesn't necessarily diminish one's relationship with God! I see to it that only the Lord Jesus Christ is worshiped even on Halloween!" I choose to have fun with it and won't allow anyone to deprive my kids to participate in it!" 

You probably have had a lot of these along the way: Christians who would aggressively defend their Halloween tradition being fun and innocuously innocent one. But if you are a Christian (not to mention your record of uninterrupted church attendance for two decades or so) and still see no problem participating in Halloween tradition, these bits of knowledge sourced from an article by Kerby Anderson may be of help to you:

Ten Things Christians Need To Know About Halloween

Many in our secular society believe Halloween is nothing more than a harmless festival that allows kids to collect candy. But is it? Its origins lie deeply rooted in the occult, and Christians should stay away. Here are ten reasons why:
  • October 31st has long been known as "The Festival of the Dead." The Celtic tribes and their priests the Druids celebrated this day as a marker for the change from life to death.
  • Halloween today is performed usually by adherents of witchcraft who use the night for their rituals. Witches celebrate Halloween as the "Feast of Samhain", the first feast of the witchcraft year. Being a festival of the dead, Halloween is a time when witches attempt to communicate with the dead through various forms of divination.
  • Christians should not be involved with the occultic practice or divination. Note God's command against divination in Deuteronomy 18.
  • Occultists believe Halloween is a time of transition between life and death. Some occult practitioners practiced divination and believed you could learn the secrets of life and wisdom by lying on a grave and listening to the messages from the long-departed.
  • Occultists also taught that spirits and ghosts left the grave during this night and would seek out warmth in their previous homes. Villagers, fearful of the responsibility of being visited by the ghosts of past occupants, would dress up in costumes to scare the spirits on their way. They would also leave food and other treats at their door to appease the spirits so they would not destroy their homes or crops but instead move on down the road. That is the real reason why kids dress up in costumes today and go door-to-door seeking treats.
  • Occultists also would try to scare away the spirits by carving a scary face into a pumpkin. This horrible visage would hopefully move the spirit on to another home or village and spare that home from destruction. Sometimes the villagers would light a candle and place it within the pumpkin and use it as a lantern (hence the name Jack-o-Lantern). This is the origin of carving pumpkins at Halloween.
  • In some witchcraft covens, the closing ritual includes eating an apple or engaging in fertility rites. In the Bible (Genesis 3), eating a piece of fruit brought sin and death into the world. In witchcraft, eating an apple is symbolic of  bringing life. The practice of bobbing for apples brings together two pagan traditions: divination and the fertility ritual.
  • Schools are removing any religious significance from Christmas (often called winter break) and Easter (spring break). Isn't it ironic that most public schools still celebrate Halloween even though it has occultic origins?
  • Participating in Halloween gives sanction to a holiday that promotes witches, divination, haunted houses, and other occultic practices.
  • Christians should avoid Halloween and totally disconnect themselves from almost about anything that glorifies death, divination or witchcraft, among other things ascribed to the works of darkness.
Still, quite a number of Christians insist that if they totally forgo such a "fun and harmless activity" which to them tilts toward a cultural rather than spiritual celebration then they are completely missing out on life. There are even pastors who spearhead in promoting activities on Halloween with their trick-or-treat baskets conspicuously placed inside their church, and members who are not willing to give it up just yet  find themselves rabid defenders of this demonic celebration.

El Dia de Todos Los Santos Catholic-style

It is interesting to note that in the West, Halloween which falls on the eve of October 31 is purely marked by revelries such as costume parties, trick or treating, among other things, but hardly a commemoration of the departed loved ones. Yet the celebration still carries elements of fear, death and evil, and its glorification thereof.  Meanwhile in many Catholic countries in Asia and Latin America, the celebration carries a distinct flavor associated with culture and religious tradition.

Just like in the Philippines, millions upon millions of Filipinos flock to cemeteries on the first day of November to visit the grave of their departed. Although it has been a centuries-old tradition mostly observed in Catholic countries, it is a widely-held belief by most Filipino Catholics that the souls of their dead are being released from purgatory to reconnect with the living and get to binge another time of their favorite foods, thus the long table in every home filled with various menus as offerings for the souls who are believed to be sulking back in Purgatory if they didn't find their favorite foods on the table.

However, some Catholic legalists and the politically correct do not approve of the November 1 celebration (of honoring the dead) as they claim the first day of November should be dedicated in honor of the saints, thus it is called the All Saints day. Honoring the dead they claim should fall on the 2nd day - the reason why the Gregorian calendar assigns it as All Souls Day. All climactic events such as parties at the cemetery, vigils, food binge, and all other frenzied activities of festive proportion typically happen on the first day - all to commemorate the dead, so one can completely understand the rage of the "saints" who are perennially relegated to the sidelines by virtue of a confused and mixed-up tradition which Catholics simply cannot get right.

Roman Catholicism teaches that every person who had died did not live to be perfect thus falling short of the requirements by God to be perfect. So, in His mercy He assigned a place for the souls called Purgatory wherein they will undergo a process of purging from their imperfections so that when the process is completed they can be readily promoted into heaven. But Catholics are also clueless as to what the souls are exactly doing in the Purgatory to obtain complete forgiveness; maybe they get to carry huge stones or drag boulders or stab their gluteal region and self-inflict as much pain as possible so that they qualify for graduation from the purgatory - nobody knows! So, in essence, Catholics believe that God will not throw anyone in hell for it is too severe a punishment for anyone who commits "little sins".

What the Scriptures Say

The Bible, also known as the word of God is all truth, its infallibility never challenged; its integrity beyond question, and its purity perfect. But what really the Bible says in light of this long-held belief that a person who dies goes to purgatory to undergo a required  process of purging so that he qualifies entry to heaven?

Scripture says, "For it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment" ~ Hebrews 9:27

Despite its gem of truth, it's become a cliche that God is love, and everyone knows that and because He is love He will not send anyone somersaulting to hell. That is just a big fat lie coming from the pits of hell. The Bible has never made mention  of   a place called purgatory - it just does not exist in its 66 books. But we know how innovatively inventive Catholics have developed into, in fact, the brutalization of the Ten Commandments tops the list of their accomplishments.

With all these talks of a loving God, other God's attributes that Catholics and other humanists go ballistic about when brought up is that God is also holy, righteous and just. Obviously, they struggle a lot to reconcile the idea of an angry God who punishes anyone in hell for eternity in the context of a loving God. To them, it simply is an improbable concept that just does not seem real.

But Scripture says, "For the wages of sin is death, but God's gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ." ~ Romans 6:23

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." ~ Romans 3:23

Sin is a violation of God's law, it is the opposite of holiness. Without holiness, no one can see God (Hebrews 12:14), and everyone has sinned. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"(John 3:16).

God's forgiveness can only be obtained through faith in His Son Jesus and by completely turning back from sin. Hell is reserved for the wicked who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as the only way, the truth, and the life. Catholics pray to other "saints" and deify Mary as their mediatrix and queen of heavens which the Bible calls idolatry - an abomination to God. And there is more bad news, the Bible is crystal clear about only two places after death:  heaven and hell.

Every Catholic has a Bible in their homes, but seeking the truth is hardly their strong virtue. Religion and tradition make up a strong shackle that continually keeps people in bondage so that they don't see the truth. But here's the good news: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,  but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). 

Indeed, God is loving and merciful, He will keep His promise of not wanting anyone to perish that's why He gives us ample time to seek Him and know the truth. We cannot stand before a holy God with our own reasoning because at some point in our lives we have heard His truth. Death is inevitable, it is certain, that's why God sees to it that we are being adequately warned. Yes, God is love, but He is also holy, righteous and just.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Creflo Dollar Tweets Jesus' Death A Stamp To Prosperity

Imagine the rage written all over Creflo Dollar's face. As he found out, Twitter certainly has its downside especially when you are a superstar in the business with half a million followers and counting. On Twitter, not all of your followers are ready to blindly agree on just about everything you post especially when your post is a direct assault to human intelligence more so if it bastardizes scriptures.

His tweet on October 7 goes:
"Jesus bled and died for us so that we can lay claim to the promise of financial prosperity."  #ProsperityinChrist #WealthyLiving #AbundantLife
The nerve.

His tweet remained even after 24 hours before Team Dollar decided it's just one of those days in the Dollar empire where discernment from other believers can surely wreak havoc to the "credibility" of their boss, and so the tweet disappeared, but not without a trace.

Of course, not everyone though has the penchant to double-check scriptures as long as the sensation gives them goosebumps, thus the thousands of likes and favorites it amassed.

Imagine Jesus Christ the Son of God bled and died so that we can be prosperous, healthy and wealthy! Oh, what a eureka moment! Has anyone realized this yet? Has it not sunk in yet how "blessed" Christians truly are and highly favored by God? But why has Pastor Saeed Abedini failed to apply this "biblical principle"? He could have been spared of his now awful state in an Iranian prison and his family spared from constant bouts with depression had he realized this earlier in his ministry. Or perhaps Team Dollar has just cornered the monopoly for such biblical secret that others failed to dissect?

When prodded by commenters to cite a verse that would explicitly prove Jesus bled and died so that we can lay claim to financial prosperity, Team Dollar seemed to have responded by hibernating for the next 24 hours as if an avalanche of financial blessings suddenly hid them in a bunker.

This is where it gets even more interesting, and here's hoping Creflo summons all his intellectual aptitude and moral reasoning to defend his claim. That would be a real test of his authenticity that would either way dispel or validate accusations of him being a false teacher and ravenous wolf who shamelessly peddles the word of God for profit.

The good news for his followers: Creflo's Twitter message arrived just in time, delivered to appease and comfort, daintily packaged for his bunch of hopeful faithful, but there's a catch: let there be an unhindered flow of tithes and offerings into his bottomless coffers and all will be well.

And the bad: to those who got excited over his tweet and didn't blink to hit like and retweeted it, the bad news is your favorite Creflo Dollar is proven to be a false teacher and a ravenous wolf in sheep's clothing. If you share his belief that the only begotten Son of God became a man, bled and died on the cross so that you can live a life of financial prosperity and if you don't repent, you are on your way somersaulting to hell with this man.

The real prosperous are those who suffered the most

True born again believers of the Lord Jesus Christ have no business listening to these false teachers who perennially prostitute  and bastardize the word of God for their selfish gains. The apostle Paul has this to say of them:
"For we are not like so many others, who peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as men sent from God." ~ 2 Corinthians 2:17
If Jesus' death signaled an era of financial revolution as what Creflo Dollar shamelessly claims, then Peter who seemed to be the most charismatic and assertive of all the apostles should have regretted his gruesome death by crucifixion upside down when he can outrightly demand his Lord a vacation grande or a cruise in Mediterranean as reward for putting up with Him for three years of lack and poverty.

James, son of Zebedee could have demanded full respite from fishing all his life, if not a complete upgrade to probably a CEO job, but no he didn't complain when he was the very first among all the apostles to die by the sword. Zebedee could have petitioned Jesus to at least let John his younger son enjoy the perks and rewards due to his older son James but John himself endured the most difficult life in exile till his death in the island of Patmos.

What about Paul and Silas' frequent brushes with authorities that almost regularly landed them in prison? the whippings, constant beatings, and muggings that they endured as soon as people laid their eyes on them? It's hardly prosperity! Not an iota of wealthy living and abundant life!

False teachers like Creflo Dollar and many others that easily come to mind are masters of deceit and flattery. They are superstars in their chosen craft. They feed off the gullible that have pinned their hopes in this life - them that crave everything this carnal world offers to satisfy their carnal desires. They don't desire the Savior who is able to give them life eternal but what they can get from the Savior in this life temporal.

Why Creflo is a pampered wolf amid willing preys

Pastor Mike Abendroth on his youtube video points out that the reason why people give their money to Creflo Dollar is the very reason why people buy lottery tickets. They think giving to God's ministry is a wise investment that guarantees exponential returns. They were made to believe God fixes His eyes on the tenth of their income so that He releases unthinkable favors if it reaches church coffers so that His favorite pastors get to drive Ferraris and fly in Gulfstream jets. These false teachers' propensity to misuse and abuse Malachi 3:10 for financial gain is evil to the core.

As long as people's frenzied desire for material and financial abundance does not wane so shall there be no slowing down the career of prosperity preachers anytime soon. The time has come when people don't bother any more about the kind of doctrines that creeps into the church even if they're doctrines of demons masking as feel-good gospel. No matter what they get to eat even if it is poison disguised as sweets as long as it tastes good then they have no problem ingesting them as a panacea for their carnality.

Tips for the gullible and how not to remain one 
  • Those who love to flaunt their badges as "Christians" need not just to have a Twitter or Facebook account so that they could lustfully follow their favorite prosperity preachers - surely it's inadequate parameter to be called one. 
  • They should have a firm belief that the Bible is the Word of God, it is infallible, and the final authority under the sun by which humanity is called to live by, and that biblical truths override the aesthetically lovely tweets by their "idols".
  • Let there be no doubt that Jesus was serious when he told those who want to follow Him to "deny himself, and take up his cross daily" (Luke 9:23). So what's with he hashtags #ProsperityinChrist #WealthyLiving #AbundantLife got to do with self-denial and carrying one's cross? 
  • If you really want to convince yourself that you are on the same road as Jesus, let this be a warning: Jesus might not be the role model you want to emulate, His life exemplified utter humility, being born on a manger when as an infant He already suffered rejection (Luke 2:7), went hungry (Mark 11:12), got tired and exhausted while doing God's work (John 4:6), and had no place to lay his head (Luke 9:58). Hardly the things you dream about, are they?
  • Jesus was assuredly clear in his command to "store up riches in heaven and not on earth" (Matthew 6: 19,20), and verse 21 warns the danger: "for where your treasure is, there you heart will also be".
  • Jesus says, "if you love me obey my commandments". Let's break it down: Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind as the greatest commandment and loving one's neighbor as oneself being the second greatest (Matthew 22: 36-38) -- is by no means a command to enrich oneself and wallow in abundance in the midst of Christian beheadings for not renouncing Christ! Has God been playing favorites for "Christians" in their Ferraris and palatial mansions? 
  • You followers of Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Joyce Myer, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, Rick Warren and all other prosperity preachers a.k.a wolves in sheep's clothing, let this be known to you once and for all, that JESUS, yes the Jesus of the Bible (not the type of Jesus that you get to hear about on Sundays in your flashy 20-thousand or more seater megachurches) -- became a man, suffered and died on the cross to pay our debts, but was raised to life again so that you and me filthy sinners may obtain forgiveness and receive eternal life  if we repent and believe. Yes, that's the real reason Christ died a humiliating and gruesomely painful death, not for you to obtain material and financial wealth just like your favorite Creflo Dollar wants you to believe.
  • Lastly, read your Bible diligently, ask wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit because God is faithful, He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Put on the full armor of God, part of which is your belt of truth so that when deception comes you are safely standing on solid ground.

Blasphemy of the highest order

It's safe to assume that Creflo Dollar might still be reeling from a trauma for an intentional blunder on Twitter that left him battered with strong rebukes and calls for repentance. If he indeed is a man of God he would have apologized to his followers right away without any reservation for his wayward theology. He must have also repented publicly for his sheer arrogance of assigning the death of the Lord Jesus Christ a brand new purpose, that is to for us to obtain financial prosperity. But he won't have any of that.

Cheapening the blood of Jesus by equating it to a barter commodity for financial gain is blasphemy of the highest order. If anything, no amount of rebuke will ever diminish Creflo's determination to keep his empire flourishing; after all that is what he believes the purpose why Jesus bled and died. Sadly, only few will get to see the fangs peeking out beneath the wolves' nostrils all along feigned as sheeps. And these are the kind that Paul had warned about:
"Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron." ~ 1 Timothy 4:1,2
Real prosperity according to Scriptures

For the record, Jesus never promised mansions on earth for His disciples but was assured on heavenly mansions reserved for them. He even told the young man who wished to follow Him to sell his possessions and give to the poor but he was aggrieved for his heart belongs to where his treasures are (Matthew 19: 21-24) Is it not a big irony that these prosperity preachers teach their followers that Jesus' death is a stamp to prosperous living while Jesus expressly laments that it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for the rich to enter heaven?

As for those champions of faith who truly understood what real prosperity meant this is what the writer of Hebrews wrote:

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." ~ Hebrew 11:13

"And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourging, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy), they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." ~ Hebrews 11: 36-38

"And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." ~ Hebrews 11: 39,40

Throughout history, many have died a gruesome death while defending their faith. Historical and biblical accounts can vouch to the martyrdom of those who had willingly embraced death for the sake of Christ knowing that their reward is kept secured in heaven for eternity. Today's true disciples of Jesus have also their share of suffering and persecution, but they continue to stand their ground. Christians in Iran  are threatened with hangings when they get caught; in ISIS enclave, Christians get raped, beheaded or crucified on a daily basis for not renouncing Christ; and in Indonesia churches get razed and pastors beaten; in Nigeria congregants get massacred, their women and girls raped, their men and boys hacked to death, and I could go on and on. Hardly the prosperity Creflo and all other wolves so aggressively endorse and advocate. So be warned: a blind cannot lead another blind for they both will fall into the ditch.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Those Familiar Wolves At The Harlot's Table

Pope Francis' recent visit to the US was by no means just another state visit of a head of state from another country. It was regarded as a milestone event being the pontiff's official first visit to the US. Many pundits from both the secular media and religious groups have been abuzz with their synonymous take that the pope's visit would usher the fulfillment of biblical prophecies.

As to which biblical prophecies have been fulfilled that remains debatable, but one thing is clear and beyond argument, and after all dust has settled, God has revealed those who consistently prostitute his truth in the name of false love, false peace, and false unity. And there you have it, people won't be reeling from shock as everyone's usual suspects spontaneously come out united in revealing who they really are: wolves in sheep's clothing.

If there was anything "true and sincere" (albeit a great abomination to God) that the world has witnessed, it was the multitude's show of devotion and adoration to the pope that had the sovereign God of heavens seemingly shoved off His throne. 

Don't get me wrong, as Christians we should love the pope as someone whom Jesus died for and whose soul needs salvation. He needs to repent of his sins and acknowledge the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ through the redemptive power of His blood. We also need to pray for every Catholic who puts their faith in the Catholic church for their salvation. But we cannot be one with them  and approving of and thereby sharing their sins.

Wait a minute, we almost feel this topic about the pope as being recurringly redundant. And along comes the burning question, why can't some Christians seemingly don't get it when all the pope desires, is for all the world to come together in unity amid all the troubles of this world? Why the fierce criticism when all T.D. Jakes, Rick Warren, and Joel Osteen yearn for is to giggle at the presence of the pope and express their admiration for him for his being so cool and humble?

Here it goes: The Scripture in itself is the word of God, its nature infallible and immutable, it is the final authority and the moral compass which all humankind is called to live by. The Scripture reveals to man God's grand design of redemption from sin through His son Jesus Christ who took the form of a man, was sinless, and gave His life as a ransom for all our sins.The Scripture also speaks of Jesus as being the only Way, the Truth, and the Life, so that no one comes to the Father but by Him. So in essence, Jesus has the sole authority to forgive sinners if they repent and turn their backs from sin and follow Him. All other religious figures in history such as Mohammed, Buddha, and many others have all died and will never return again while Jesus has spoken of his return to judge the living and the dead. Basic kindergarten lesson we have here.

So what has the pope anything to do with this? As a matter of tradition, the pope so believes that Jesus died on the cross, unlike the Muslims who believe in their Quran that says Jesus did not die but that their god Allah deceived the Jews into believing such lie. Quran 3:54 even corroborates that their god Allah is the greatest deceiver of all. There you have it! In principle, the contradiction in belief is poles apart, yet the pope allows Quranic prayer be recited in the Vatican and he himself even offered prayer inside a mosque in Turkey.

Here are some of the obvious reasons why true born-again believers should not associate themselves with almost about anything the pope promotes:

The Catholic church endorses Marian worship and countless other idols

The Catholic church for centuries has been unequivocal in affirming the deity of Mary in its doctrines and bestowed her a litany of titles such as "the queen of heavens", "mother of God",  "the mediatrix", etc. Obviously, nowhere in Scripture has Mary been crowned as queen of heavens as though there existed a vacant throne that needed occupancy. Catholic dogma even claims that Mary was taken up to heaven both her soul and body on the third day after her death.

In fairness to Mary, when she was called blessed among women she exclaimed, "my spirit rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1:47). She herself acknowledged that she needed a saviour because she was no god. Well, Catholics have the propensity to analogize that if Jesus is God so are his mother and Father. And no chance on earth they'd lose this argument. I vividly recall my sister-in-law who strongly brushed off biblical truth saying, "I was born a Catholic and I will die a Catholic".

The Bible explicitly says that the God of the universe is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 6:14,15) who is not willing to give His glory to anyone and His praises to graven images (Isaiah 42:8). In essence, God hates the worship of idols that cannot see, speak, hear or feel and cannot even defend themselves. His disdain for idol worshippers is such that He calls them fools and shameless (Isaiah 44:9-20). And who would dare challenge a holy and righteous God? You share this truth lovingly and compassionately to a hardened Catholic if not you're shown the door in rage or get blocked on facebook.

As for Mary's mediatrix title, it doesn't get more blasphemous than that to claim Mary possesses a greater level of intercessory powers than any other saint because Jesus can in no way turn His back on the woman who gave Him life. You pray to Mary being the mother of God and narrate your petitions, the moment she brings your cause to her son no matter how unlikely your petitions will be granted by Jesus, His heart can only melt away at the sight of His mother in tears, and voila your petition is granted. This is why Catholics have a special fondness for their idol, the "Mother of Perpetual Help".

But what the Scripture has to say with respect to such belief is beyond confounding to those who refuse to open their eyes and refuse to read and be guided by the truth of Scripture. Does God really listen to the prayers of unrepentant and idolatrous people? And who is the true mediator who brings our petitions to God?

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." ~ Psalm 66:18

"Now we know that God hears not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and does His will, him he hears." ~ John 9:31

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Timothy 2:5

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." ~ Hebrews 4: 14,15

The Pope believes Allah the god of Islam and Yahweh the God of the Bible are one

We've been hearing it a gazillion of times over, people would conveniently blurt out: "oh yeah, of course, I believe there is only one God and our only disagreement stems from how we address him by name."

Don't be deceived, the god of the Quran doesn't have a son, as opposed to Yahweh the Father who has a begotten Son named Jesus who took a human form, ministered to the sick and needy, offered His life, was buried and raised from the dead, and He will return to judge both the living and the dead. While the Quran explicitly narrates that Allah hid his prophet Issa from the Jews, deceived them into believing that he died (but never crucified), and Allah took him up to heaven.

Let us check the following verses:

"In fact. the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of the blood there is no forgiveness." ~ Hebrews 9:22

"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." ~ Matthew 26:28

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." ~ Colossians 1:14

Clearly, it is only the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that can wash away mankind's sin and forgiveness can only be obtained through His blood, that's why Jesus died by crucifixion, was buried and was raised from the dead. But the Quran belies these facts by claiming that not one of these had ever happened. To them, the Bible is a lie and corrupt and the Quran is the real deal. Perhaps Pope Francis is so enamored with the Quran that he invited an Imam to recite a quranic prayer inside the Vatican. He even offered prayer (facing Makkah) alongside a mufti at a mosque in Turkey.

The Pope believes atheists can get to heaven

Previously, Pope Francis made a bold declaration that atheists can get to heaven if they do good, effectively invalidating the power of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Such brazen rebellion against the truth of God won him over adoring fans worldwide and media accolades despite his obvious disdain for the truth of God's word. Ephesians 2:8,9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  We could only assume that in all his years as a Catholic let alone his being a pontiff, he has not come across this verse yet. But we all know that is not the case.

This pope certainly has a way to draw controversies, and they are by no means negligible. His words and actions impact billions of souls and his influence limitless, after all he is the "vicar" of Christ on earth, and when he speaks it is as if God speaks through him. Yet it can't get as blasphemous as this saying, "Jesus failed on the cross". Scripture says before Jesus breathed His last on the cross, he uttered, "it is finished".  He had won the victory on the cross! Yet, wonder of wonders the pope believes otherwise! In his homily on his recent trip to America, Pope Francis said, "Jesus failed on the cross"!

The cross was a fundamental part of Jesus' life. It's why he was born and was a fulfillment of why he came. To call it a failure is about as high a blasphemy as could be spoken by a false prophet, striking at the very foundation of Christianity.

Since Pope Francis assumed the papacy there has never been a dearth in controversies appended to him. His initiatives to bring all religions together in the name of peace and  unity is about as good a fulfillment in the book of Revelation that speaks of a harlot who committed adultery with the inhabitants of the earth. But what mortal can resist his charm? Notwithstanding, God warns us to come out of her and be not partakers of her sin (Revelation 18:4).

Wolves in sheep's clothing share table with the harlot

It is no secret Joel Osteen is one of the biggest fans of the pope. When he profusely heaps praises on him, his face glows like all the hopes of this world is pinned on that one man. That if he can only convince skeptics to pay attention to the message of this man, then the world will be a better place. This same Joel Osteen who seldom mentions the name Jesus, if none at all in his sermons and in his books. He is the same Joel Osteen who fondly describes the pope as "very cool and humble" yet steers clear of mentioning Jesus as the perfect example of humility, being born in a manger, and "had no place to lay his head" during His earthly ministry. If anything, these pictures are perfect contradiction to "your best life now" that Joel Osteen endorses: a life filled with financial and material blessings, health and wealth bonanza, and even going to places you've never been.

Proof that Pope Francis has no shortage of fans even in the evangelical community is the no-nonsense endorsement of his agenda by well-known mega pastors such as Kenneth Copeland, T.D. Jakes, and Rick Warren, among others. Jakes and Warren were even among the VIPs and dignitaries who had a front-row seat at the White House papal reception. It is no surprise seeing Rick Warren joining in spiritual oneness with the pope whose agenda is in sync with the former's Chrislam advocacy. And what about T.D. Jakes? Well, he's got no problem with homosexuality in the church just as the pope wants  homosexuals and lesbians to fill the pews but refuses to rebuke them of their lifestyles. After all, "who am I to judge?"

The Kim Davis Fiasco

She would have been doing well, at least after she emerged from prison. She was touted by fellow Christians around the world as a champion of faith circa pre-tribulation. She stood her ground even to the point of going to prison, still she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses as it violates her conscience and religious belief. Imagine a deluge of articles and Christians blogs dedicated to her exploits and heroism; multitudes of Christians got fired up to fight for their faith. Even some Republican presidentiables had their rating shot up for siding with her. In the end, good triumphed over evil.

Not until, the man of the hour Pope Francis set foot on American soil that a certain Kim Davis, a renowned champion of faith had her bout with starstruck syndrome induced by the presence of the man from Vatican. It was reported she had a private audience with the pope in Washington, she even asked an aide to the pope "if I could hug the holy father". Her request was granted and he hugged her back. He asked her to pray for him and she reciprocated the request. He thanked her for her courage and told her to "stay strong".  At the culmination of that private audience, the pope gave her and her husband rosaries which in turn she would later give to her parents. And here's the mother of ironies: prior to her meeting with the pope, the day before, two homosexuals who are partners for 19 years had a real audience with the pope; turns out one of them is a long- time friend of the pope back home in Argentina.

Kim Davis was in awe of the pope: in her own words she could not believe a man of great stature would want to see her. He thanked her for her courage, presumably the courage of standing her ground. Then we can only assume that the day before, he lovingly admonished his homosexual friend and his partner that their lifestyle is something God does not approve of, but as reports would have it, everyone came out from that rendezvous wearing a big smile.

And as for the rosaries as gift of the pope to her and her husband, it is not expected of her to win her parents back to Catholicism if her intentions were anything to go by. She should be evangelizing them for the Lord and not to encourage them to pray the rosary.

Deception as the preeminent sign of Jesus' return

In Matthew 24, when Jesus went out and departed from the temple, his disciples marveled at the buildings of the temple, but Jesus said there shall be no stone left upon another that shall not be thrown down. And His disciples asked what shall be the signs of His coming and the end of the world. And Jesus answered, "take heed that no man deceive you". The Gospel chapters of Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 otherwise known as the Olivet Discourse where Jesus spoke of the signs of His return and the end of days contain repeated warnings of deception that shall abound. Jesus has put emphasis on many that shall be deceived, even the elect if possible.

Truth be told, today's Christians suffer from spiritual famine: the lack of discernment, lack of knowledge and indifference towards biblical truth in favor of the  doctrines of demons that constitute a surefire way to damnation. Christians are called to put on the full armour of God, with the belt of truth buckled around the waist and the breastplate of righteousness in place. But once your belt of truth is compromised and it falls, so is your righteousness.

The Laodicean Warning

The state of Christianity today can be likened to that of the church in Laodicea but God is faithful, those He loves He chastens, and calls them to repent so that they won't be caught off-guard when He comes like a thief.

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel youn to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that ou may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint you eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and I will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches." ~ Revelation 3: 15-22

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