Category Archives: Markethive

God is Holy God is Love

Can God be both Holy and loving?

Written by Joy on 17/01/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GodHolinessLove


Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says, ‘I will live with these people and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ The Lord also says, ‘Leave them and stay away! Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean. Then I will welcome you and be your Father. You will be my sons and my daughters, as surely as I am God, the All-Powerful.’

2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Many say God’s holiness makes him judgmental, demanding a very high moral standard. Others say if God is loving, then he won’t condemn anyone but all will go to Heaven. Are God’s holiness and love opposite extremes?

God’s Holiness

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 John 1:5).

Holiness (pictured here as light) is God’s nature. It unifies all his other characteristics. He is perfectly good, perfectly righteous, perfectly merciful, perfectly faithful, etc. All of his actions are determined by this purity that sets him apart from all others. “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.” (Leviticus 10:3)

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)

God’s Purity

It is in the presence of God’s pure, holy light that we become aware of our sin. Isaiah said, “I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips…” (Isaiah 6:5) Even our good deeds are filthy compared to the purity of God’s holiness. (Isaiah 64:6Romans 3:23) God does not judge sin out of cruelty: “…His eyes are too pure to look on evil or tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13) Yet, the holy mercy and love of God provided a way for Isaiah to be purified (Isaiah 6:6-7) and he does the same for us.

God’s Holy Love

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8).

Selfish motives and wrong thinking limit human love. Real love doesn’t tolerate selfish, hurtful behavior. God is pure love! (1John 4:10,161 Corinthians 13:4-7) He desires holiness for his children: He wants us to be completely set apart for Him. What parent does not wish for a “perfect” life for their child? We lack the understanding and power to give that, but God does not. God wants to give us a new life, free from sin. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

God’s holiness does not limit or oppose his love; it defines it! “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18) Are you experiencing this perfect, holy love?


Pray this week:

God, please help me experience the reality of your Holiness and understand my need for your Perfect Love. Please purify me.


How can I, a constant sinner, be accepted by a Holy, perfect God?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Idolatry of People-Pleasing

What if I'm more afraid to displease important people than God?

Written by GodLife on 13/09/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Idolatry, Influence, Relationships, Submission
So now run away to your place. I said I would give you much honor, but the Lord has kept you from honor.

Numbers 24:11
A story in the Bible's book of Numbers shows how dangerous the desire to “please men” can be (Colossians 3:22). This story is mentioned a lot in the Bible. Each mention comes with a warning.

God wants us to take note: what can this story teach us about ourselves?

1. It is Dangerous To Look For God’s Permission And Not His Approval
Fearing Israel, King Balak sent for the prophet Balaam. God told Balaam not to go. King Balak persisted, so Balaam asked God again.

God seemed persuaded: he gave Balaam permission to go. On his journey, the donkey he was riding was blocked by an angel with a drawn sword. The donkey refused to keep going, angering Balaam so much that he beat the animal. Before he could kill her, God allowed the donkey to speak, warning him of the danger. God then opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel standing ready to kill him!

Just as the donkey’s actions went against Balaam’s plan for her, Balaam himself had nearly been killed for resisting God. But Balaam presses again, and finds the permission, (not the approval), of God.

2. There is Danger in Getting Around God’s Purposes
Accompanying the messengers back to Midian, Balaam at first blesses Israel instead of cursing them. God had warned him to do only as he was told. (Numbers 22:20) Balak is furious. Later we’re told (Numbers 31:16) that Balaam taught the Midianite women to seduce the Israelite men into idolatry. (Numbers 25:1-3) Terrified by Balak, Balaam cunningly thought of a way to curse the Israelites without speaking the curse himself, still a violation of God's instructions.

3. The Outcome of the Fear of Man
Balaam’s conduct shows perversion in a believer's walk:

The “way of Balaam” (2 Peter 2:15) — “against” God. (Numbers 22:32) If it was to his advantage, Balaam didn’t fear taking God's mercy for granted. In his heart, he said, “God has said ‘no’ to this–maybe there's a way I can do it anyway.”
The “error of Balaam” (Jude 11) — failing to learn the lesson of the encounter. Balaam was physically stopped and even threatened.
The “doctrine of Balaam” (Revelation 2:14) — passing this attitude along. Balaam was willing to try to spoil the purpose of God.

Presumption leads to the error of trying to get around God’s will. This means we manipulate, teach or become a bad example, leading others down the same corrupt path. Balaam may have said the Lord was his God. But he had idolatry in his life all along: respect of human favor over God’s. How much will God allow if we presume upon His grace? Balaam’s idolatry led him to serve God’s enemies, curse himself (Numbers 23:9) and demonstrate God’s denial of his prayers (Numbers 23:10) in the manner of his death. (Numbers 31:8)

Pray this week:
Father, I surrender myself to you again. I want your way to prevail in my life. Protect me from presumptuous sin.

How can you know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for your life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Ways God Meets Your Needs

Jesus promises to meet your needs

Written by Ruth on 11/12/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: NeedFaithContentmentFaithfulness


Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

Do you trust God to meet your needs and direct your life His way, or demand them your way?

Today, let’s talk about a Bible character named Elizabeth as an example of how God meets our needs. 

Elizabeth's circumstances

Luke 1:5 – In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

Luke 1:7 – But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 

Elizabeth had a need which had consequences for her marriage as well as for her connection with other people around her – she could not have children. She had probably given up on this dream since she was now old enough that having a child was no longer possible. Yet, her deep need remained in her heart. While the Bible does not tell us this, I am sure she wept with her husband many times over this lack in their family.

When you have a need, what do you do about it? What do you think would happen if you would ask and trust Jesus to know and solve your need His way?

Elizabeth’s Faith

Luke 1:13 – But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 

Luke 1:24 – After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden…

When her husband returned home from his time of serving in the temple, Elizabeth must have been afraid because of the change in him – he could not speak. But he must have written God’s promise to him and her, because we know she knew all about what the angel had said to him.

Then it happened – she was pregnant! She was going to have a baby even when it was impossible because of her age. Did she hide herself because she did not want to be the subject of gossip in her town? How do you hide what Jesus is doing in your life?

Elizabeth’s Happiness

Luke 1:36 – And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 

Luke 1:39-41 – In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 

When Mary, a young woman who was also pregnant by a miracle, came to visit Elizabeth, however, Elizabeth began to rejoice in the miracle God had given her. But an interesting thing to see here is that Elizabeth was not jealous of Mary! Elizabeth did not want the honor Mary had received, she just remained glad of her own miracle.

When something good happens to you, and then you see something better happen to someone else, how do you respond to either God or the other person?

Elizabeth’s Faithfulness

Luke 1:57 – Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 

Luke 1:58-62 – And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but [Elizabeth] answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 

Elizabeth followed God’s plan for her child even though everyone around her urged her to do what tradition expected. Naming the child should have followed their rules, but God had said they should follow His plan instead.


Pray this week:

Lord Jesus, help me to be faithful to Your will for my life, no matter how impossible it seems, or how much others urge me to follow a different path.


When God asks you to do something that does not follow the traditions or plans others around you expect, how do you choose?
 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Living and Teaching

 

A modern proverb states, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." However, for followers of Jesus, a lot of the "doing" is teaching. The Lord has directed His people to share His message of love with the world.

Written by Hope on 15/12/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Evangelism, Living, Teaching
"Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." Matthew 28:19-20

A modern proverb states, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." However, for followers of Jesus, a lot of the "doing" is teaching. The Lord has directed His people to share His message of love with the world.

Right Living
While leading others in their faith, we must keep an eye on our own lives, making sure that we are living what we are teaching. Jesus said, "Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye" (Matthew 7:3-5). You will harm your disciples if you display a lifestyle of saying one thing while doing another. "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did" (I John 2:6).

Bible-based Teaching
The Apostle Paul wrote to his disciple, Timothy, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right" (II Timothy 3:16). To properly lead another in godly growth, our foundation must be God's Word. "Those who obey God’s Word truly show how completely they love Him" (I John 2:5).

Follow Up Faithfully
When you commit to helping a new believer, don't give up on them. Many of the books of the New Testament exist because God didn't let His Apostles abandon the churches they'd planted throughout the region.

Instead, they wrote to them and visited them to ensure that they learned and obeyed God's Word. St. Paul called his fellow Christians in Philippi "…my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it" (Philippians 1:5). The Apostles' follow-up contributed to the amazing growth of the Early Church, and when you help a new believer, you are walking in the Apostles’ footsteps.

Prayer, Care, and Share Jesus
“Teaching How to Share the Gospel”
Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20

People who have recently become believers are often in the "first love" stage of their relationship with Christ (Rev 2:4). They are in a good position to tell others about the gospel. As their spiritual leaders, we should teach them as soon as possible how to share their faith with others.

We suggest that you start by teaching your disciple some simple methods to share the gospel:

A proven tool for sharing the gospel verbally is the Four Spiritual Laws, which you will find at www.godlife.com/gospel.
To share Christ visually, consider using a simple diagram that explains Jesus as the "bridge" to life: http://www.navigators.org/Tools/Evangelism Resources/Tools/The Bridge to Life
A personal and powerful way for your disciple to share the love of Christ is through their personal testimony. (Rev 12:11) This will be fresh on their hearts, and we encourage you to have your disciple write out their testimony and practice sharing it with you.

A concise testimony that can be shared verbally in 3 to 5 minutes should follow this simple outline:

How was your life before you met Christ?
How did you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? (Give a brief summary of the gospel message)
How has your life changed since you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Encourage your disciple, after presenting the gospel, to bring the person to a point of decision. Have them ask, “Would you like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior right now?” If they are ready, lead them in a prayer acknowledging that Jesus died and rose from the dead, asking God's forgiveness for their sins, and inviting Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.

Teach your disciple not to lose heart if someone does not respond to the gospel right away. Your disciple should realize that their responsibility is just to share the gospel, and the Holy Spirit who brings understanding that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Pray this week:
You will teach Bible-based truths.

What does it mean 'to live for Jesus?' If you're not sure, talk to a Christian and find out.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Powerful Gospel

Have you ever not trusted in the power of the gospel to bring people to Christ?

Written by Malcolm Riley


Does the gospel have the power to save anyone?

Have you ever been tempted not to trust in the power of the gospel to bring people to Christ? Sometimes, we as Christians apologize for the message of Christ when talking to those who don’t believe. Romans 1:16 should be a life verse for every Christian! Paul says at the beginning of his letter to the Roman Christians, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of others.” The same gospel that has been saving people for thousands of years is still saving people today. This gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, can change any hard heart—if we will tell it! Our job is to pray and tell people about Christ. For as Paul went on to say, “How will they know if someone doesn’t tell them?”

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

We need to tell people about the whole gospel and not leave out the difficult bits like sin, judgment, and Hell, and only talk about the amazing forgiveness that Christ offers at the cross. This means we will really have to trust the Holy Spirit when we tell people of the gospel. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Me.” The power is not in our “sales pitch” of the gospel; the power is in telling the truth about Jesus.

Bring Them to Jesus

We also want to be the kind of people who, like Billy Graham, “Call people to decision!” A great prayer is that we might be like a crossroad in the lives of those we meet: that meeting us would draw someone in one of two directions—either towards Jesus Christ or further away from Him. We don’t want our lives to leave people ignorant about the gospel or comfortable with being neutral. The great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon said we should preach “the whole gospel with a call to decision.”

Push Past the Awkwardness

Every time I come to a point when I am going to challenge someone to pray to receive Jesus Christ, it never feels right. It always feels awkward. But so many have come to Christ when I have felt like this and chosen to go past the pain barrier and preach the gospel with a call to decision. We’ve got to challenge people in spite of being nervous or feeling awkward. It’s so important to not just tell people the gospel but to also challenge them to receive the greatest news in the world! Ask them, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Do you wish to follow Him?” If their answer is yes, lead them in confessing their faith in Christ and assure them of their salvation. Ask the Holy Spirit today to make Romans 1:16 your life verse: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation others.”

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Never Talk to Strangers?

God wants us to share His good news with everyone

Written by Gary Schneider on 27/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: EvangelismGospelJesus


And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."

John 4:4-10

Though most of our personal evangelism probably happens in the context of some kind of relationship (friend, family member, coworker, neighbor, classmate, teammate, etc.) there are countless opportunities we have throughout our lives to engage complete strangers with the Good News, just like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman in John 4.

To miss those opportunities is to miss the hand of God in our everyday lives. I believe that He is constantly orchestrating moments where intentional Gospel conversations can take place.

The gospel has power

After the woman at the well went back to town to proclaim her newfound faith in Christ, He told his astounded disciples (a rabbi would never talk to a woman in this culture, let alone a Samaritan woman like Jesus did) this: “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). In the same way we must wake up and look around to see the ripe harvest field around us every day… at the restaurant we frequent, in the grocery store we shop at, at the gym we work out in.

One of the biggest blessings this brings is a reminder of the power of the Gospel. Romans 1:16 tells us, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

There’s something inherently powerful about the message of Jesus, so much so that most of the evangelism you read about in the New Testament centers around Jesus and the disciples reaching complete strangers with the Good News. These are people they bumped into along the way. They were fishermen, tax collectors, everyday Harrys and Sherrys who needed that message of hope.

Those kinds of people are all around us today. In this high-stress, low-hope culture, people need the Gospel message now more than ever.

I know that we’re called to make disciples (not just converts) and I’m convinced that disciples can best be made in the context of a relationship, so I believe that a huge part of our evangelistic efforts should center around people we know and are getting to know. Because once they come to Christ we can help them grow in Christ so they can make more disciples.

A story of a changed heart

Several years ago I lived in northern Quebec, Canada for the purpose of learning the French language. During the very early stages of that difficult task, I met a fellow student named Raul who came from Colombia to learn French. God distinctly nudged me to share the Gospel with Raul. Over breakfast one day, I struggled and strained to share the basic truths of the Gospel with Raul. We had a very limited number of French words in common to communicate with as his native language was Spanish. With the help of a napkin, a pen, and the Holy Spirit, I could tell Raul was understanding the message.  My very first prayer ever in French was to lead Raul to Christ. After the prayer he reached into his wallet as if to pay me for the prayer.  I said, “no, no it’s not like that.” He was actually pulling a picture of Jesus out of his wallet.  He then said that all his life he has wanted to know the Jesus in his wallet. Now, Raul said, “this Jesus is not just in my wallet, now He’s in my heart.”

I would have totally missed that opportunity if only shared the Gospel with those I have a relationship with. The only reason I shared the message is because God put him on my heart.  Even with very limited vocabulary and ability to communicate, the Holy Spirit made the message understandable and Raul’s life was changed. We met every week for a year after that breakfast and he became a great friend and a reproducing disciple of Christ back in Colombia.

Let’s share Jesus with those we know. Let’s invest in them and introduce them to the Lord. But let’s lift up our eyes and look around at the harvest all around us all the time.  Divine appointments are waiting for YOU!


Pray this week:

Lord, forgive me for the opportunities I haven’t taken advantage of to share the good news of your Gospel with those I come in contact with. I pray that you will give me more of these opportunities, and that you’ll give me the correct words to say to share your love with those around me. Amen.


Why do you think you don’t share the gospel with those around you – even if they are your friends? What should you do to feel more comfortable sharing the good news with others?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is True Worship According to the Bible?

Worshiping both in Spirit and Truth

Written by Dan Lee on 23/08/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: God, Singing, Worship
The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:23-24
In John 4:23-24, Jesus spoke about worship with the Samaritan woman. Let’s try to understand what true worship is according to the Bible, and how you can apply it to your own relationship with God:

1. True worship requires our spirit.
“. . . true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit . . .” Does this mean our spirit, or God’s Holy Spirit? Actually, it’s both! Worship is meant to include our whole self. This is why the Lord commanded Israel in Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Both publicly and privately, we must not just go through the motions of worship, but be fully involved with our heart and soul – our inner selves.

2. True worship requires to worship in the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:19-20 tells us, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” When we are filled with God’s Spirit, a natural result is heartfelt worship – singing to God, and talking about Him to others.

3. We need to worship in Truth.
What is the truth? A better question is, who is the truth? The answer is Jesus: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)

Jesus also said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). The more we know Jesus, who is the truth, the more we will be able to worship in truth. We get to know Jesus through prayer (we talk to Him) and His word (He speaks to us).

When you worship God in a church or anywhere else, ask the Lord to help you “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth” (Colossians 3:2). He will help you to worship him with your whole heart, and not just go through the motions. The Lord will be glorified, and your faith will grow, and others will hear about Him.

Pray this week:
Father, Please help me understand how to worship You in spirit and in truth.

Do you need more help understanding worship?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is Worship?

It's Not About Us

Written by Jim Denison on 15/11/2015

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GloryPraisePurityPurpose


 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

 

This verse describes true worship. Do you worship your Maker? We need to know what worship is, what it isn't, and why it matters so much to our God and to our souls.

What Worship Is

God defines worship as "love": "Love the Lord your God." Love is a verb, an action word. It requires doing, not just attending church, listening to a sermon, singing hymns, or giving money. You've only worshipped when you've loved, adored, and honored. And it is about loving God in every way a human can love.

With all our hearts: our emotions and senses.

With all our souls: the life force itself, that which gives our bodies life, our essence. Worship involves a passionate love for God.

With all our minds: We are to have no ungodly thoughts, or songs, or movies, or television shows, or books in our minds (see Psalm 101:3). We are to think about our faith, to study God's word, to engage intellectually in the worship of God.

With all our strength: We love God with our actions, not only on Sundays. God is looking for Monday Christians, Monday worshippers, Monday disciples.

How to Worship

You can love God the same way you love anyone else. You can spend the day with him—talking to him, thinking about him. Ask him for what you need, and thank him for what he gives. Spend the day with Jesus. Love him. Worship him. This is his first commandment for every day.

Worship is not performance, entertainment, therapy, or even evangelism.

Worship is not about us. It is about loving God, every moment of every day.

We were created for worship. He gave us free will so we could choose to worship him. Nothing else fulfills us.

Worship provides the power to serve God. If you want God's power for your life, you must worship God every day.

Why Do We Worship?

Because God deserves our worship. “We love him because he first loved us“ (1 John 4:10). He created and redeemed us, and made us a place in his perfect heaven forever. He watched his Son die on the cross, to save our souls and purchase our salvation. He gave everything for us. He deserves our worship.

When last did he receive yours?


Pray this week:

Lord, help me understand what it really means to worship. Take away my wrong ideas, and teach me how to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.


Is this a new idea for you? Do you need help knowing what it means to worship God?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Darkness or the Light

Are you worshipping in the light?

Written by GodLife on 13/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ChurchCultsReligionGodJesus


I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

John 12:46

The old saying, “All that glitters is not gold,” is truth. Just because something looks like gold and feels like gold does not mean it is gold. Have you ever heard of fool’s gold? It looks like the real thing, but it is worthless. Those who know the real thing well enough know the difference. 

On the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Paul (Acts 9) and told him he was to open the eyes of the Jews and the Gentiles to bring them out of the darkness into the light, from the power of Satan to the power of God, that they may receive forgiveness of sin and have a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Him. Where do you stand? Are you worshipping in darkness or in light? 

Only One God

There is only one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you are in a church that only focuses on one person of the Holy Trinity, it is not of the Light. Similarly, when a church’s doctrine adapts the Bible’s teachings to conform to a separate religion, it is not of the Light. There is only one way to the Father: it is through Jesus Christ, God the Son (John 14:6). There is only one Holy Spirit given to indwell and guide us, and He points us to the Savior of the World.  

“I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” (Isaiah 44:6

Sound churches go by many different names but share the same biblical doctrines. Those who are in Jesus have life because they receive these essential doctrines and have asked Him to save them. They have become a new creation. We are no longer a member of the darkness and must have nothing to do with the world’s pagan religions or practices. We are now in the Light, and we should behave as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)

Demonic Practices

In some African and Latin American societies, Yoruba religion and other tribal practices with witchcraft, spiritism and demon guides have been blended with Catholicism or some other forms of Christianity. This practice has created new man-made religions such as Santería, Candomble and Voodoo with their demon spirit guides and curses. They are satanic in origin. These demons are disguised as Catholic saints and are worshiped. Animal and even human sacrifice may also be involved.  

Some in Hindu societies add Jesus Christ to the list of Hindu idols to be worshipped as one of their pagan gods. Hindi Christians sometimes find it difficult to come out of participating in pagan Hindu religious practices. As Christians we are to leave the darkness behind. To become a Christian is not to accept a foreign culture associated with Christianity, but to trade darkness for the Kingdom of God. 

“You shall not make for yourself any graven image of anything and bow down to it or serve it.” (Exodus 20:4-5)

Come out of the darkness and into the light. God is light, love and life. He brings joy and peace.

“…for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true…  try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:9–11)

Counterfeit Religion

Any other religion mixed with Christianity makes a separate religion. Chrislam is an example of this. Chrislam also began with the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, but has now spread around the world. Chrislam is an attempt to mix Islam and Christianity. Chrislam denies one of the essentials: the deity of Christ Jesus. It treats both the Quran and the Bible as Holy texts. Since the Bible contradicts the teachings of Islam, in Bangladesh a new translation of the Bible has been produced, which changes terms and names in order to refer to Jesus as only a prince or Master. 

In effect, in Chrislam all become Muslim because the full doctrine of Christ is denied. Christ is the Lord, God the Son and the only way to God. Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.” To deny this fact is not to not believe the whole doctrine of Christ. In addition, scripture clearly says if you do not have the Son, the Saviour of the World, you do not have the Father either.

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves so that you may not lose what we have worked for; but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” (2 John 7-10)  

Chrislam, Santería, Candomblé, Vodun and New Age Christianity are counterfeits. They are of the darkness because they deny the Trinity. We are saved only by our faith in the sacrifice of the Son of God and receiving Him as our Lord and Savior. Christianity is about Christ. Fear of persecution leads many into the delusion that a compromise religion would be better. But if we deny Christ, He will deny us. (Matthew 10:33) Christ did not come to give mankind a way to salvation. He said He was “the Way”, and that no one could come to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

A child of God cannot worship Jesus in these man-made, false religions. It would be trying to walk with one foot in the light and one in the darkness. It is following a glittering deception: a false peace motivated by fear. Just because something includes Christian terms or practices does not mean it is the real thing. Many first-century Christians were persecuted or martyred when they did not compromise their faith. In peacefully obeying His call to take up their cross and follow Him, they turned the world upside down instead. (Acts 17:6)


Pray this week:

Lord, Please, I only want your Light. Please keep me in your Light in all of my ways.


God loves you. Are you in the darkness? Why not come into the Light? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

More on How to Avoid Misusing the Bible

Be prepared to defend the Gospel

Written by Dan Lee on 06/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BibleWisdom


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Just last week, we talked about ways to avoid misinterpreting the Bible. Today, we want to conclude this two-part devotional series by pointing out something just as important – using the knowledge we gain from studying His Word to better represent the Lord. 

A while ago when I was in school, my teacher would always put us in groups to research and prepare a presentation about a certain topic related to the class. I would prepare for days! My teacher was known for asking difficult questions just to make sure we all did our work. Sure enough, when question time came around, you bet I was prepared to answer all the questions! My peers, not so much. 

It’s the same when it comes to learning the Bible. You must always be prepared so you don’t look foolish. How can you defend the Word of God when you yourself may take out of context?

Let’s use the following verses as examples of how to better interpret the Bible. 

Take it step, by step 

Let’s break down one of the most popular verses quoted by people looking for assurance of a good life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

You might look at this verse and think that God never intends anything bad to happen to you. 

However, when we read this whole chapter in Jeremiah, we find first that something bad has already happened to Israel – they had been defeated by the Babylonians and forcibly removed from their homeland. They were living in exile, slaves to a wicked foreign empire. 

Another prophet, Hananiah, had been telling the Israelites what they wanted to hear: that their captivity would last just two years. Jeremiah’s answer to him? “You are a false prophet, and you’re going to die.” And Hananiah did die (Jeremiah 28:12-17).

Then Jeremiah sent a letter from Jerusalem to the exiles in Babylon telling them the truth: They were going to be there for a while. A LONG while:

 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

Yes, the Lord had a plan to restore Israel to their homeland, but it would take place in 70 years – after most of the listeners had died! Not only that, but the promise was conditioned on Israel praying and seeking God with all their heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13).

Your calling 

So what does Jeremiah 29:11 promise for today’s believers? It does not promise peace and prosperity now, but instead promises restoration in the future. For us, the ultimate restoration comes at the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom.

We don’t know when the Lord will be coming back for His church. Until then, we encourage you to go deeper in your relationship with Him and be a living testimony of the truth He brings to the world. Fall in love with His truth and be ready to defend the hope that lives within you. (1 Peter 3:15)


Pray this week:

Lord, I ask you to give me the opportunity to use the wisdom I gain through your Word to share the truth with those around me. Amen. 


Are you prepared to defend your faith when brought difficult questions?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member