What's Your Delight?


What a delicious word. It speaks of joy, thrill, excitement. Everything pleasant.

I've heard it said that tranquility is the most beautiful word in the English language. If so, then delight has to be a runner-up.

What delights you?
When I think of delight, I think of:

  • Soft green grass beneath bare feet on a warm spring day.

  • The first time your newborn gazes back at you.

  • An evening of laughter with good friends.

  • A warm, starry night when the breeze is your friend and the sky is your blanket.
The word delight is more than a word; it's an experience. It elicits a physical response: a softening of your heart, a gentle smile tugging at your lips, a willingness to set aside the day's stresses for just a moment and feel joy inside your chest.

Isn't it amazing that God uses that word to describe

his feelings toward us?

According to Proverbs 12:21, "Those who deal faithfully are His delight."
He "takes pleasure in His people." That word pleasure means the same thing as delight.

Have you ever thought of God laughing with you? Clapping His hands with joy when you do something right?

Do you ever hear Him say, "Keep going. I delight in what you're doing. It brings me pleasure"?
It took me a long time to learn that the sentence above is the single reason for my existence. And until I learned to seek it alone, I never found long-lasting satisfaction in anything else. Success in any area was always on a limited scale. Like a drug, success feels good for a short while, but then we need more and more to keep that feeling. We strive. Try harder. Compete. Always straining to be better than someone else so we get noticed. Attention comes our way and with it, a moment of fleeting delight.
When we seek our own delight, we are always frustrated. We're like toddlers, never satisfied with any new toy for long. We have to have something else, some other affirmation, more praise, more stuff, more something...
We should seek delight---but not our own. When we live every moment for the pleasure of God, life takes on a new meaning. Now it's not our laughter we long to hear, it's the applause of Heaven. It's not our success we crave, but glory for the Kingdom of God. To live with the underlying thrill that we are capable of bringing delight to the Creator of the Universe is the greatest delight possible. The ultimate success.
As I continued a dialogue this week with a young atheist who had responded to a blog post, I began to grow a bit weary. His comments grew increasingly abusive and I wondered if it was worth it. Was I wasting my time and emotional energy on someone who clearly did not respect me or what I had to say? Was there any point in continuing a discussion that did not seem to be going anywhere positive? Why go on? Why not just let him slip away and forget it?
"Because I delight in this," came the still small whisper. "It brings me pleasure."
Weariness left. Frustration ended. The striving had a purpose. It brought my Lord delight. If He's happy, I'm happy. What better reward could there be?

Would You Sell Your Soul?

Just finished reading this most provocative book. Every Christian should read it.

Atheist Hemant Mehta (Indian heritage) gives us an honest and humble look at how unbelievers view Christianity. What's working and what's not? What are we doing that drives many away and what could we do to better represent ourselves and the God we serve?

Although unabashedly atheist, Hehta is not what many in the Christian community would assume he is: brash, arrogant, and out to disprove God. That's his point. We don't know him, or those like him, and it is that ignorance that keeps distance between us and the world God has called us to love.

Published by Christian publisher WaterBrook, I Sold My Soul on Ebay, is actually a manual for effective church evangelism--as he intended it to be. Mehta came to his unbelief through a logical process, devoid of anger or passion, and openly admits that he may possibly convert if he ever saw an actual miracle (of Parting the Red Sea magnitude.)

Before deciding on a life dedicated to atheism, he gave religion a parting chance by auctioning himself on ebay: $10 would buy an hour of church attendance for him anywhere the buyer chose. What followed shocked him. Offers rolled in, all Christian, until a former pastor, Jim Henderson, "won" with a bid of $504.
He chose to have Mehta attend a variety of Christian churches across America and write about his experiences on Henderson's blog http://www.off-the-map.org/.

For the next year, Mehta (often accompanied by Henderson or various news reporters) attended church more than most committed Christians. He participated in everything from a tiny Catholic mass to Joel Osteen's mega-church and he writes about his thoughts and impressions in his book.


I have to admit I felt twinges of relief as I mentally compared my church, Cedarpoint, with Mehta's critiques. We did pretty well!


High on his list of what impressed nonbelievers the most was a church's commitment to helping the community (not just other Christians), welcoming doubters and those with questions, relevant and interesting services, and a sense of joy within the congregation.


Now that I think about it, aren't those things pretty high on Jesus' list too?


One aspect that Mehta overlooked is the fact that church services exist primarily to feed and equip believers to serve God the rest of the week--not to educated the atheist. So in those instances when he felt "out of place," it is because he was. Naturally, I disagreed with many of his conclusions, but respect the honesty with which he conveyed his thoughts.


I was greatly relieved to learn that the overwhelming response from most Christians to his foray was positive. He expected angry ranting and rabid slogan-tossing, but received none. I was very glad to know that. Unfortunately, we, as the body of Christ, have often been our worst enemy.


I recommend that every Christian read this book and ask yourself the hard questions:


  • How does my church rank in meeting the needs of those outside my circle?
  • How does the outside world view me and my church?
  • Have I become so comfortable in my traditions that they have lost vibrancy?
  • Am I guilty of painting all atheists with the same brush rather than see each as a unique individual with a unique outlook?

We take so much for granted about that stranger seated down the row from us, but maybe we should take another look.

He or she could be another seeker ready to sell their soul if only someone would take them up on the offer.

Footnote: For more on this subject, as well as a friendly dialogue on the same, click on the "athiest" link on the right column and continue reading. Then click on the comments section and feel free to join the discussion as long as you keep your comments kind and respectful.

Welcome Back, Atheists

Last week, I had the privilege of reading a book I still highly recommend. (See below)

Written by an atheist, it offered some interesting perspectives and I logged onto the author's website to thank him for writing such a book.

He apparently liked my comments and posted a link to this blog on his Twitter. I was inundated with hits, coming from his link. Every time I checked my stat-counter, there were more.

I was thrilled, and prayed for "my atheists" that something they read here might answer some questions for them.

As I have thought about why atheists have decided not to acknowledge God, I keep coming up with questions of my own. So if any atheists have ventured back this way, I'd like your perspective on the following questions:

  • When your heart is filled to overflowing with the knowledge of how blessed you are, who do you thank? Isn't it uncomfortable to realize so much of the good you have was not your doing, yet you don't know who to thank for it?

  • When you look back on some grievous act you committed and guilt flushes your face, how do you ever find forgiveness? Do you just live with it? Yuck.

  • When you consider the intricacies of nature: rotating seasons, magnetic force, gravity (not too much, not too little), the complexity of sight, the multi-faceted aspect of the human spirit---to what can you possibly attribute this genius? Sorry, but the random-chance idea just doesn't cut it.

  • When your mind entertains the tickling possibility that you are wrong (as we all do), isn't it scary? If I am wrong, and God does not exist, I have lost nothing. I had a great life, my spirit was nurtured, and at death I drift off into nothingness. But if YOU are wrong...

  • How do you explain pure evil? Especially in third world countries, people are well-acquainted with demonic possession, a phenomena that cannot be explained by natural reasoning. If there is no God, there is no Satan, so what possesses these people?

  • Who was Jesus Christ? As C. S. Lewis stated, "Let's not come up with any patronizing nonsense about Jesus being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us." He was either crazy to pretend he was God, a master liar, or he was who he said he was. Who do you say he is?

  • How do you explain good? Why do we have a sense of right and wrong if there is no moral compass to start it all? In every culture in the world, civilizations have had the same innate understating of right and wrong that animals do not have. Where did it come from? Cosmic dust? Was it moral cosmic dust?

I honestly feel for you atheists. How empty it would be to believe that this is IT. That regardless of the good, bad, painful, complicated events of life there is no final accounting. No reasons given. No evening the score.

That might seem to work for someone who has it made in this life, but what about the millions of others who hear the empty echo of their souls and have no way to fill it without God? He is the only answer I have found that fills in all those holes.

I prayed for you yesterday, visiting atheists. Because regardless of how adamantly you maintain your stance, God believes in you.


What Are You Doing Down There?

Family can be a source of acceptance and joy.

A soft place to fall.

A Norman Rockwell, flickering firelight, gather-round-the banquet table experience.

And then there is the other kind.

You're nodding. Do you have one of those kinds of families? Know someone who does?

Grownup kids still fighting over who's getting Grandma's rocker when she goes. Brothers who haven't spoken in a decade. Sisters who'd rather stab each other in the back than let the other one have a bigger piece of cake.

Most of us have a little of both, so the story of Joseph and the brothers-from-Hell in Genesis 37 has a little something for everyone.

When jealousy had gotten the best of them, the Bible says "they stripped him of his brightly colored robe and threw him in a pit. The pit was empty, with no water in it."

Well, at least the well was dry. How thoughtful of them.

As a counselor, I deal often with people who know exactly what it feels like to be stripped of every ounce of their dignity and thrown in the pit by the people who were supposed to love them.

The problem is that often their story ends in the pit. They've decided to live there permanently, stripped of everything that makes life livable, abiding in a dark place void of anything that makes it useful.

The greatest lesson from Joseph's story is what he allowed God to do with the pit. He didn't stay there. He went somewhere worse.


Not only was he stripped of identity and respect, but he became a slave in a foreign land. Yet, the Bible makes sure to tell us that God was with him. Even there.


The secret is that he refused to let others dictate his value.


He was told by everyone in his world that he was nothing. A slave. A reject. An outcast. They took his fancy coat, the symbol of his identity, but they could not take his worth because that is determined only by God.

He knew God was for him and that was enough. You know the rest. With God's blessing on him, he remained humble and faithful to his Lord and God set him up as a ruler over all of Egypt.


Had he not remained steadfast in his faith while in the pit, God could never have used him when he climbed out. But he trusted what he could not see and God honors that kind of faith.


What about you? Do you still bear the scars of a less-than-perfect family? Are you wearing them as a label, defining who you can be?


Or are you still in the pit, wondering if anyone knows you're down there? Have you chosen to stay there, allowing others to determine your value?


They can strip you of everything else, but no one can take your value because that is already set by God.


Listen to my favorite worship leader put it a different way and remember that if God is for you, no one can be against you.


Kari Jobe


Keep on Running

The finish line was in sight.

It wavered before the runner's watering eyes as he forced air in and out of screaming lungs. His limbs were rubber tubes and he could no longer feel the earth beneath blistered feet, but he could hear the pounding, the rhythmic thudding that told him he was still running.

Still running... If he could just keep running a little further he would make it. The winner. All those months had turned into years made up of moments filled with pain and strain and fear. All for this moment. If he could just keep running...


The Apostle Paul compared the Christian life to a marathon, a race unfit for the fainthearted and uncommitted. The half-hearted drop out long before the finish line. The ones who opt for a shortcut get lost along the way and never show up.
We enter a race the moment we choose Christ over the world's offering and there is only one track. It leads straight to the goal line and unimaginable rewards.
But only to the finishers.

In Revelation 3, Jesus commends some of those finishers while urging them on just a little further. The church at Philadelphia had won His approval for their steadfast loyalty and their refusal to forfeit the race to those whose main objective was to get them off track. "I know you're running out of steam," He told them. "But hang in there and boy, do I have treasure for you guys!"

Jesus cheers from the sidelines, offering encouragement, shouts of victory, and promises that it will be worth it when we burst across that finish line. "Don't worry about the detractors," He calls. "They're dropping like flies! They'll stand on the sidelines when you take the winner's box and then the world will see who did it right!"

Don't you long for that day? Have you ever imagined those loud-mouthed, anti-God mockers as they stand quaking before the judgment seat of Christ? The intellectual scoffers who roll their eyes at the idea of Creation? The arrogant celebrities who insist that godly values are ridiculously out of date? C'mon, doesn't the picture make you smile a little?

That was the picture Jesus painted for his faithful followers at Philadelphia. He encouraged them to smile a little as they finished the course. He had told them at the beginning that only those who finished the race were truly his. The detractors had shouted insults from the sidelines. Instigators were planted in the midst of the runners and tried to trip, gouge, and elbow his people off the track, but they had kept at it.

The crowd that leaped from the starting line had thinned considerably. No surprise to Jesus, but everyone else would be astonished at who won. Especially his faithful runners.
Revelation 3 promises us that Jesus can't wait to leap from the stands and gather us in his proud embrace. At that moment, the world will know who really won, but it will be far too late to reenter the race.

Are you wearing out? Is your heart aching from exhaustion? Do you ever wonder secretly if following Christ is worth it? After all, the world makes their way look like so much fun, a stroll in the park compared to this marathon.

Jesus knows you're running out of steam and he calls from the stands: "Keep going! You're about there! Trust me, okay? You'll be so glad you stuck it out!"

What Are You Reading?

For the past several weeks, I've been reading.

Reading, reading, reading.
Reading the greats from Swindoll on Grace to Yancey on Prayer. Throw in a little A.W. Tozer and round it off with Billy Graham and my head is full.

But a few weeks ago, I started to notice a disturbing truth within myself.

The continual sense of God's nearness had waned. The passionate intensity that drives me toward worship had lessened. My usual need to bring everything before God's throne before I make a move had weakened.

Instead, I was left with a puzzling separation between the God I love and the God my brain was examining. Since this change did not seem related to the reading, I tried other explanations, but I've finally come to an unexpected conclusion.

The more I ingest the ideas of other human beings, the more I devour human reasoning, human understanding, and human explanation---no matter how learned or sincere--the more my mind is involved, rather than my spirit. It was that lessening of the control of the Spirit that I began to notice.

Rather than focus on the beautiful mystery of God Himself and come to Him in childlike faith, I was trying to comprehend the incomprehensible, reason out the supernatural, and take every thought captive to the understanding of Lea Ann (to irreverently paraphrase 2 Cor. 10:5).

Not intentionally, of course. Reading the thoughts of other godly people can be healthy and productive, but I found that a hint of skepticism had wormed its way into my thoughts. My worship was ever-so-slightly clouded by the disturbing ideas in the books that I had not necessarily agreed with. Rather than focus on God alone during prayer, my mind wanted to flit to supposition and tended to "lean on its own understanding."

Please don't misunderstand. Reading commentaries and books by solid Christian authors is certainly not harmful in itself, but as I have devoured the Word of God over the past year like never before, the words of mere humans has begun to ring hollow. Their authoritative interpretations of various passages don't fit with the understanding God gave me as I read them, and it was disturbing.

I also noticed that the slant in books published over the last couple of decades has shifted away from portraying a "holy adoration of God" to presenting an "everyday God for everybody."

The themes have changed from a exploration of God to
an explanation of God.

There is a noticeable surge toward making God easily accessible to the man on the street, which in itself is not wrong. Jesus did that very thing and so should we. But we have to be very careful that we are not altering the very nature and character of God and His Word in our passion to widen the gate that He did not widen.

When I go back to books published before the '50's (Tozer, Spurgeon) the tone is completely different. My spirit found comfort there.

I did not expect this and still do not quite grasp it, but I am reminded of Jesus' words: "Unless you become like a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven."

God desires childlike trust, not educated supposition. God desires that we seek Him with all our hearts, not seek to understand him with all our minds. His desire is that we chase after his thoughts to make them our thoughts, not try to dissect them until we comprehend and agree.

As a lifelong reader, I still find this discovery puzzling, but I am encouraged by it as well. It means I have learned to recognize the voice of God and reject any voice but His.

I don't want man's best guess. I'd rather stick with the "unfathomable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8) and stay slightly off guard, vulnerable, and totally trusting in Someone I do not understand but love with all my heart.
What about you? Have you read any Christian literature lately that felt "off"? Did it make you doubt yourself or the author?

Man can gather wisdom and print it for others to read, but we have to keep in mind: There is no perfect book except God's Word and every thought written by man is subject to error. As the old saying goes, "Don't believe everything you read in the funny papers."


Is This You?

Every day is cloudy.

The birds stopped singing and you don't know why.

Life looks like an endless string of heartaches yet to happen.

You'd face the racks before letting anyone know, but you're sick of it all. Sick of life. Sick of the stress and strain. So weary you can't imagine another day, let alone the years ahead.

And the guilt. The guilt makes it worse. You're supposed to have it all together. You're the one they come to for help and encouragement. You're close to God. You've got the Answers! And according to most Christian choruses of the '70's, you're supposed to be happy-Happy-HAPPY!!

But you're not. You're flat fed up. Sick and tired. Weary to the bone. Not too many peppy songs about that, are there?

Well, you're not alone. And you're not a failure. You're actually in very esteemed company.

Depression among God's people is very common. More so than you might think. And it often follows an intense time of spiritual victory.

What comes to mind when you think of the prophet Elijah? (I Kings 19)

You remember Elijah: trouncing the Baal worshippers, calling down fire from Heaven, inflicting evil Israel with a famine, and seven years later making it rain. This was one fearless, faith-filled, idol-stomping hero! Talk about walking with God--there was nobody closer.

But immediately following his victorious defeat of the Baal worshippers, we find him holed up in a cave, head in his hands, ready to give up. "It's enough, Lord," he cries, and we cry with him. "I've followed you, served you, called down your fire from heaven, and now that horrid queen is trying to kill me. I've got to hide for my life when I should be headlining the morning news. I can't take it anymore. Just kill me now. I'll wait here."

Ever feel like that?

Had Elijah done something wrong? Had he failed the Lord by feeling that way? Was God about to rebuke him soundly and send him to a Positive Thinking seminar?

Most of us flinch when we dare admit to God we are depressed. We expect a stern reprimand and another verse of "I'm Happy, Happy, Happy All the Day," as though the only emotion God allows is delirious joy. It's pretty hard to maintain that notion while reading the Psalms, so where do we get that?

If you're reading this wrapped in your comfort blankie with your heart thudding somewhere around your toes, I want you to notice how God responds to his faithful friend, Elijah. He wakes him out of his famished sleep with an angel's touch and a gift of manna. "Here," the angel says. "Eat this. You've got a ways to go and then relief."

This was not just any old MacDonald's Happy Meal he ate. On the strength of that heavenly nourishment, Elijah traveled for 40 days. When he arrived at the place God had taken him, the Lord asked him a strange question: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

The first answer is obvious, so that must not be what God meant. He asked him that twice and each time Elijah got to pour out his frustration.

Do you take God up on his offer to pour out your frustration on Him? He welcomes it. He welcomes honest pain from an aching heart.

Imagine the relief that began to creep into Elijah's heart when he knew that God was listening. If God takes note of every sparrow that falls from the tree, he is certainly concerned when one of his children is crying out to Him. So concerned that he went an extra step and let Elijah experience His presence in a new way.

It is often in our times of darkness that God reveals himself to us in a new way. Elijah had seen God in the crash of lightning, in the power of a supernatural rainstorm, in the adrenaline-pumping slaughter of the evil priests of Baal. But now God wanted to reveal himself in a still small whisper. That Voice that can only be heard in moments of utter solitude. And utter brokenness.

When competing voices have stilled, the clamor of the world has subsided, your own ideas and opinions have fizzled away and all you have is God, He meets us there and shows himself to us so that when we leave that place, we can carry on a while longer in His strength.

God had a few more tasks for Elijah, but he had heard the weary cry of his servant and anointed a successor. Elijah didn't need to die; he needed support. Human support. And God sent it to him so that together, the two great prophets could carry on the work of God a while longer.

So what do you do when you are so depressed you can hardly lift your head? Do you hide in shame? Do you pretend everything is fine for fear that you'll be breaking some unwritten spiritual rule by acknowledging your pain? Do you run from God rather than to Him?

If He didn't rebuke Elijah, he won't rebuke you. Your situation may look hopeless to you, but then Elijah didn't count on angelic messengers and 40-day energy bars, either. And he certainly wasn't expecting God to come near the way He did. We usually don't when we're so wrapped up in our sorrow we can't think straight.

Your situation may feel like the end of the world. Maybe it is. Maybe it's the end of the world as you knew it. And it's okay to grieve the loss. Just don't insist that God take your life when He's got a better idea.

Aren't we glad Elijah kept on a while? He taught his new protege, Elisha, everything he knew and Elisha went on to become one of the greatest miracle-working prophets of the Old Testament.

Let God meet you in your cave. Listen for that still, small Voice--once you've finished dumping your frustration on Him. He may have a plan you hadn't thought of--and wouldn't choose if you had--but it will be better than yours. And it will take into account your weariness, your frustration, and your pain. God has nourishment you didn't know He had and strength you had forgotten about.

So, go meet Him on the mountain and see what He says.

And try one of those 40-day energy bars, while you're at it. I hear they're delicious!


The Rising Star

She was a rising star on the speaking circuit.

Crowds grew with every meeting. Her books stayed on the NYT bestseller list for months.

Her fans couldn't gush enough:

"She's changed my life!"

"Religion finally made sense to me the way she explains it!"

"Finally, a woman taking the lead in spiritual matters!"

Oprah loved her. Ellen was put on hold trying to book her for a show.
The world called her a prophetess.

Jesus called her Jezebel.

The third church mentioned in Revelation 2 was located in a city called Thyatira. This city was known for its prosperity, culture, and the freedom it allowed women in the ancient world to pursue careers. When the risen Christ spoke through John to the church located there, he commended their faithfulness to Him, but as he did with the first two, he ended with "I have something against you."

This is the only time a woman is singled out as the focal point of God's rebuke. We are not told exactly who this woman is, but Jesus calls her Jezebel--a name anyone understands as the epitome of female evil.
She may not have even been a recognized part of the real church, but she was wreaking havoc upon it anyway. Her flashy programs, ear-tickling messages, and enticing approach were leading many away from the truth and into dangerous ground. And the beloved pastor was standing by doing nothing.

This rebuke seems to be directed to the church leader, rather than the entire congregation, although he holds them accountable as well. The pastor or "angel" was allowing this woman to ensnare his own flock without a fight. He must have been the passive sort, the nice guy who just wants everyone to like him. But his passivity resulted in the destruction of many true believers as they were snatched by Jezebel's message, unchallenged by their own shepherd.

Jesus promises severe punishment to everyone involved---and ultimate destruction of Jezebel.

Is this happening in your church? Has heresy crept in unchallenged?

What about your family? Who are your children's heroes? Have you sat by while they develop dangerous attractions to ungodly role models?

What about their spiritual life? Are you proud of your open-minded philosophy: Let the children choose their own religion?

Have you nurtured their growing bodies but neglected their spirits?

Jesus has a stern word for you: "I will throw you into great tribulation with her if you do not repent of her deeds."

Notice he does not tell them to repent of their deeds.
The leaders of this church were not engaging in evil themselves, but it was happening to their flock on their watch and God held them accountable.

What's happening on your watch? You can't pretend you don't know. God knows and He knows whether you could have stopped it and didn't.

Who are the rising stars in your circle?
Check for a nickname.
You want to stay away from the ones Jesus calls Jezebel.

Oops! Is This You?

"I hate to hurt their feelings..."

"It's not very loving to tell her she's wrong..."

"We should show tolerance for people who don't see things the way we do..."

"I can't say something is wrong for someone else. That's their decision..."

Fluffy statements like those permeate our tolerance-based society. Tolerance is the newest substitute for Christianity and many who have professed faith in Christ get caught up in it as well.
Believing the Bible too harsh and judgmental, they opt for the feel-good, hands-around-the-world philosophy that feels to them more "Christian."
The believers at Pergamum led the Tolerance Peace Marches of their day. (Rev. 2) They were good folks, loved the Lord, but had let their guard down. What they called "tolerance", Jesus called sin.

Jesus knew where they lived. He understood the times and the temptations they had to endure. He referred to their city as "the seat of Satan." Ever feel like your town is the seat of Satan? Your state? Your nation? Do you sometimes scan the sea of in-your-face temptations and wonder if Hell has come to earth?

And if you read Revelation 2, just who were the Nicolaitans that Jesus hated so much? In a nutshell, they were prominent religious leaders who had perverted the Scriptures and were leading thousands astray in the name of God. Sound familiar?

And truckloads of Pergamites were going right along with it. The church was doing little to challenge the false teaching and Jesus was taking them to the woodshed because of it.

He warns that if they don't repent, He is coming to apply the truth of the Scripture to them like a switch on the backside. His words speak clearly: "Just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

He told his followers at Pergamum, "I have these things against you."

They were allowing corrupt leaders to infiltrate their midst, tolerating fleshly sins, and polluting scripture with a lot of fluffy nonsense. Jesus warns them that He is coming with "the two-edged sword," which is the Scripture. He is reminding his churches that any slipping away from the foundation of truth will lead to heresy and many will never come to know Jehovah of the Bible. They will traipse after a god of their own construction.

The world is flooded with craziness done in the name of God. Fringe groups abound which cling to some tenets of Scripture, but ignore others. False teaching is everywhere. Just turn on late-night TV.

And it would be easy to make excuses: "I didn't know! I thought Dr. So-and-So of the FeelGood Church was teaching the right stuff!"

Jesus told the Pergamites that he understood how hard it was, but He held up the Word of God to them as He holds it up to us now. "You have this. Use it."

Are you guilty of allowing lies to go unchallenged? Do you turn the other way when so-called Christian leaders spout heresy? Do you shrug and mumble something about "their interpretation" when you hear outright distortion applied to the Word of God? Do you substitute the religion of tolerance for scriptural boldness?

Don't look now, but you might be a Pergamite. Your instructions are in the back of the Book.