Recently I came across a med-log (medical blog?) I really needed to read. You also can read the whole thing here if you wish:
Maybe you get your pills confused, have received a new generic drug from the pharmacy, or have found an unidentified tablet in your teens [sic] pocket? … Our imprint codes article helps to explain the best way to identify any pill so you can feel confident in its use or origin. Try out the Pill Identification Wizard here. If you do not find a match, contact your pharmacist or doctor.
Maybe you don’t have so many different pills you can keep them all straight in your mind. Unfortunately, I do have that many and I can’t keep them all straight. And — back when we still had teens in the house — on more than one occasion I’d find a stray pill here or there (on a rug, under the edge of the bathroom counter, in my kid’s sock drawer wrapped in a sock… you know, accidentally…)
So finding this web site and other similar to it was a God-send (so to speak.) And happily, all I ever found around the house were aspirins, ibuprofens, laxatives. Nothing illegal or dangerous. But being able to identify a pill from merely its description on a web site has been valuable a number of times.
But when you come across a stray bit of theology, it’s a lot harder to identify it. For one thing, even if you find some reference to it online, you can’t be assured the person posting about it is… well… safe.
Maybe you don’t think you ever need to check out what you’re hearing from some person (friend, neighbor, family member, preacher, evangelist, pastor, Bible study leader, whomever…) But you do. About 2,000 years ago, John the Evangelist (also widely known as the Apostle of Love) warned his “little children” about spiritual “seducers”. These are people going around and deliberately spreading wrong and even malicious teachings in the Name of Jesus Christ — and such “spiritual teachers” are as alive and well today as they were in John’s day!
Rest assured! Paul, the apostle, warned against the demonic forces that motivate these false teachers who try to seduce Believer away from the Truth (and, BTW, the Truth isn’t a set of doctrines or church dogmas; the Truth is a Person and whether you know it or not, His Name is Jesus Christ.) Here’s Paul’s warning in Ephesians 6.11ff:
Put on the complete armor of God, so as to be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the Devil. Because we’re not fighting against mere flesh and blood, but against the demonic Princes over regions in this world, against demonic Authorities, and against spiritual forces that control evil in this dark world. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the day of battle, and, having fought to the end, to remain standing when the battle is over.
The “Bible teachers” and “spiritual mentors” which are still traveling around, looking for whomever they can seduce into straying from the Person of Jesus Christ, are tools used by Darkness against every Believer. So expect to have people who, in the Name of Jesus, are teaching things to bring ruin to the grace of God in Believers’ lives.
It’s probably obvious, but let me be clear: having heard some “new teaching” about spiritual things (or, in the original language of Greek, pneumatikos which = “things pertaining to or belonging to God’s Spirit), it wasn’t possible b2,000 years ago for a person to run to a computer and look up a web site which handily explains whether it’s harmless or destructive. (No computers; no Web…)
Hearing an idea new to you about God or any of God’s things, you still don’t have a web site to go to in order to identify the new spiritual idea you’ve come across. (Is the idea round or ovoid or triangular; pink or white or blue; does it have any letters or numbers embossed into the surface of the new doctrine — it’s not a pill but an idea.)
Here’s an example: Sitting comfortably in the living room of a long-time friend of mine (a pastor, BTW), he began to talk about the newest and bestest theological idea he’d come across in a teaching from a particular school of the Bible. (BTW — just because an idea comes from a “school of the Bible” does not mean the idea is from the Bible or from God — it may simply be people pretending it’s from God.)
My friend said he’d wondered for a long time about how was it possible for a God “who knows everything — from the beginning to the end of time” to allow human beings to have free will. (“Free will” means that people aren’t merely puppets with God pulling their strings, taking them through events in life both good and bad, and even manipulating people to either choose to obey Him or disobey Him. “Free will” means their lives, which are known by God from beginning to end, are still lives in which they can make choices — including choosing to ignore God and pretend He doesn’t exist.)
My friend’s “solution” went like this: “Everyone has free will because God — Who can do anything He wants — has simply chosen to not know the future. A person’s life with God (since He’s chosen to not know the beginning and the end of a person’s life, and everything in between until it actually “happens”) is like chess players. God could know every move a person’s going to make, and so (to be fair and to put the human’s free will untouched by God) God chooses to not know the future and not know every move the person was going to make. In other words, when the person moves his bishop, rook, and lastly the queen (unexpectedly since God refused to “see the future”), the person can checkmate God! [“Damn! Didn’t see that one coming!” says God…]
As my friend explained this wonderfully new idea about God, I sat at first just smiling and listening, thinking he was pranking me — how stupid did he think I was? I said something like, “You’re pulling my leg, right?” And he sat there in his rocking chair, staring at me for a moment, then said, “No… I’m explaining this so you can understand it and we can discuss this wonderfully new concept about God. I’m completely serious.”
Totally blown away, I said, graciously, “You’ve got to be kidding! That’s an incredibly stupid idea — and it’s not even new? I had it presented to me decades ago as a student on a Bible school campus — and it’s a stupid today as it was back then!” Dumfounded (and still being gracious), I asked, “Don’t you even know God? If you know Him, how in the world could you fall for such an obvious lie?”
We’re still friends, years after the event, and I suppose he’s gone on to even bigger and better lies about God — because as baldly as I put it, I’d rather hit the nail on the head: No one who knows God also knows that there are things God can not do. God, for example, can’t stop being “god” for a day and let Joey, the drunk at the Keg ‘N Peg, “be God” for a day… like maybe God decides to go on holiday. Simply put, God can not NOT be Himself.
Since God created Time, we live within the framework of Time but having created the framework of Time, He does not exist or live within the constrictions of Time. When we say God is “eternal”, we’re not saying He’ll live “forever”; we’re saying God is the I AM — the eternally present one: He’s the god of Abraham (3500 years ago or thereabouts), He’s the God of Abraham’s son, Isaac, and He’s the God of Jacob (Isaac’s son) — all of whom were alive at different times… but (as Jesus said) God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living, which means that even in Jesus’ day, He’s the I AM God over these living people who lived in different times, but He’s their God while they were living… He’s not submitted Himself to His on creation: Time.
Jesus pulled another conundrum on the religiously self-righteous leaders in Israel in another conversation. He said to these Pharisees, “Before Abraham was [over 1,500 years before), before Abraham was, I Am.” God is the eternally existing One, existing outside of the Timeline in which we humans live, and He is Present at every point of Time, all at the same “Eternal” Moment.
To say that because He’s God He can do “anything” He wants, means that in order to not “know” a person’s future until that person walks it out, means that God is bound within the fabric of Time — bound within His own creature, making the Creation [Time] greater than He Himself.
It also means that God is not the I AM — present at every point of time: present “in the same Moment” at the Creation, at Abraham’s life, at the Crucifixion, at your life 2,000 years after the Crucifixion, and present at the End of this World — the fulfillment of and consummation of our world and the heavens and the re-creation of both a New Earth & New Heavens and New You and Me, created in new bodies like that Jesus has now — bodies that will never decay, never die… immortal flesh.
And God — the I AM — is present at each and every point of time in His creation. So the idea that God can play games with human beings (destined to be His Everlasting Children) by somehow not seeing every moment from a person’s birth to his death and beyond, is to say that He is not the Eternal One, the Great I AM.
What in the heck does this have to do with identifying pills?
When you come face to face with a seducing teaching, some false idea about God or about spiritual realities [pneumatikos], you don’t need to run to the “dogma identifying web-site” to see if it’s truth; you don’t need to run to your pastor, your Bible teacher, or your “spiritual mentor” to ask, “So-and-so said this about this spiritual thing — is it safe?”
No. Your doctrinal “pill-checker” is actually the Person of the Holy Spirit who (if you’ve trusted God) is alive and well inside you. My response to my friend (well, maybe not the rude part of my response!) came from the Presence of the Holy Spirit within me. The Anointing within me identified that the teaching my friend had laid out on the “dialog-table” in front of me was false; though he wasn’t aware of it, he’d listened to seducing teachers who were out fishing for men to mislead — and he’d swallowed their teaching hook, line, and sinker!
Here’s how John put it to his “little children” in his letter [1John 2.21]
“I have written to you concerning those false teachers who are trying to deceive you with seducing teachings… But as for you, the Anointing [the Holy Spirit Who lives within every Believer] which you received from Jesus Christ dwells in each of you, and you have no need for any man to teach you; but as His Anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as He has taught you, you continue to dwell in Jesus Christ.
God has put His Own Spirit inside every one who believe He exists and has trusted Him to reward their confidence in Him — and when it comes to hearing people spout off delightful or horrifying teachings that are not from God Himself, His Spirit puts out an inner warning — a sense that all is not right or discernment that the teaching is neither from God nor pleasing to God.
The inner witness of the Holy Spirit is precisely what John says will keep you from falling into the trap of someone’s false teaching about God and the things of God. Notice the remarkable phrase, “and you have no need for any man to teach you” because His Anointing [the Spirit within] teaches you to know the Truth and not be seduced by false teachings or teachers. No man (or woman) is your Protector against seducing teachers whose desire is to mislead you and draw you away from Jesus Christ… the Holy Spirit within is your Protector.
So, if you find a strange pill laying under the edge of a cabinet, go to the web-site listed above to find out if it’s safe or dangerous.
But when you come across a strange teaching about God — about His Kingdom, about His grace, about His Love, about what pleases Him — do not go to the Internet but do go to the Anointing, the very Presence of God within you in His Spirit… and have full confidence that the Spirit within will neither deceive you nor mislead you, but will lead you into a life that is pleasing to God!