truth

How to Confidently Discern Truth

In today’s short video, Frank challenges us not to take everything we are taught about the Word of God at face value and reveals how we can confidently discern truth.


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How to Confidently Discern Truth

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I have to share something with you today, my friend - 

I am very concerned... 

You see, as a pastor, people call me for advice, they write to me, and they often send me books they’ve read that they’re very excited about. Unfortunately, many times I have to write back to them and tell them that I'm not as excited about the book as they are. 

Back in the 1980’s and 90’s, when the movement of the Grace of God was just gaining steam, many of us were called heretics and false teachers for teaching the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe what’s happening is that we're riding a wave of momentum where people are coming to understand their identity in Christ and the economy of Grace. This can be dangerous because I believe the enemy’s strategy is to blind the minds of the unbelieving.

“In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NASB)

When he can’t do that, his next best ploy, if you will, is to join the movement and then seek to pervert it. There are a lot of books today, being written about Grace by people who don’t really understand Grace. 

That is why we must always be “a Berean.” 

Do you remember what Paul said about the Bereans in the book of Acts?

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11 (NASB)

Why did Paul see them as noble-minded? Because they would not accept what Paul said at face value. They went home to search the Scriptures and see if what he was saying was actually true. 

No matter who the teacher, my friend, be careful. Test the spirits as 1 John 4 instructs. Are they naming, exalting, and lifting up the name of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, as God? Are they teaching the economy of Grace with no added legalism? 

Be a Berean, make sure what you’re being taught is true.


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Don't Believe Everything You Hear

In this short clip, Frank gives an important reminder for us to always search the scriptures to confirm that what we’re being taught is true. Our God is the Father of Light, but there is also the father of lies who seeks to deceive us by speaking truth mixed with a little lie. This world is a dangerous place and we must walk closely with God.


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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

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I’m going to highlight for you what I believe is one of the most important verses in the New Testament. In the book of Acts 17 the apostle Paul went to Berea and there he taught them the word of God. But here’s what’s so special. After they listened to him the Bereans went home to search the scriptures to see if what he said was really true (Acts 17:11). I hope you understand what a desperate need there is for you to do that and for me to do that today.

You know, years ago when I first began to teach the grace of God, you didn’t need more than your fingers and toes to count the people who were teaching the grace of God. But we’re in a wave of momentum and so many people are jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve read some of the new books that are out, and I’ve listened to some of the new speakers, and I’m greatly concerned that they do not necessarily know the grace they’re talking about. We’ve got to remember, my friends, that there are two fathers in this world. There’s the Father of light, our great God, and there’s the father of lies. And the father of lies is very active in this world. What he does as a strategy is he takes truth and speaks truth and puts just a little bit of lie in it. It’s enough truth to sound good, but there’s enough lie to knock us off course. Remember, Adam and Eve and the serpent? “God said, you shall not touch that tree.” God never said don’t touch the tree. He said, “Don’t eat of the tree.” There was enough truth in what the serpent said to get her to listen to him, but there was enough lie to cause her to stumble in a very bad way.

No matter who you’re listening to, even me, I want you to search the scriptures and see if what that teacher is saying is true. If it’s true, follow them, listen to them, and keep searching and making sure they continue to speak truth. If it’s not true, run as fast as you can. Lies are nothing to play with. Be alert in this world, it’s a dangerous place. Walk close with God.

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Is the Truth on Your Lips Lived Out in Your Life?

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Sometimes I hear people say that they don’t care what others think. Though I agree that it is the Word of God that is to be the main source by which we order our lives, we should lend some consideration to what others think about us – especially the unbelieving world.

The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonian believers that they should be quiet, work hard, and mind their own business; that they should strive to do so. It is pretty clear from what Jesus said that there is more than enough on our plate every day to concern us. In fact, there is so much on our plate, that we should not even worry about tomorrow. This also means that there is so much on our plate each day that we should not have occasion to worry about what is on the plates of others. As it has been well said, “If you are not busy, you are in danger of being a busybody.” A point well taken, and it is this diligent pursuit of our own responsibilities in daily living, that will have such a great influence on what the outside world thinks of us.

Paul told the Thessalonians that when they follow his counsel to work hard, be quiet, and mind their own business, they will not be lacking. What he meant by this, is that we will be working, and barring some calamity, will be able to provide for the needs of our own lives. In other words, we will not have to go on the rolls of some charity in order to meet our needs.

It is at that point that Paul added that this hard-working lifestyle will have a dramatic effect on the unbelieving world, and we will win their respect because of it. The truth is that we are performing on the stage of life, and the unbelieving world is the audience. They are watching to see if the truth that is on our lips is also in our lives.

One anonymous saint put it this way, “Before we tell others about Jesus with our lips, we need to make sure they can see Jesus in our lives!” Perhaps Francis of Assisi said it best, “Preach Christ always, and sometimes use words!” I love that! Don’t you? Let’s preach Jesus with our lives!

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Seek the Mind and Heart of Christ

Jesus came to bring us GRACE, but also to bring us TRUTH. Jesus came to bring us Father's LOVE but also His MIND!

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Pursuing the Truth Giver

Doctrine was NEVER intended to be an end in itself, but a means to lead us to the Person of Jesus!

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Knowledge and Pride

 True knowledge includes the truth that God is WAY TOO BIG for us to ever understand. Though we come to know and experience God, we will NEVER, not even in eternity grasp Him fully.

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Apprenticed In Love

The only One who knows how to love is God, and so we must be students, learners, apprentices - receiving from Him the love that only He can give.

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Simplicity

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When all the theological discussion has been dissected, heralded, and argued... it all boils down to this simple truth:

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

The Corinthian letter tells us to not lose the simplicity of Christ. 

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Heart to Mind

The battleground in the New Covenant economy is the mind.

The battleground in the New Covenant economy is the mind.

It is often said, "I know it in my mind, but I have got to get it to my heart." 

According to that great modern-day theologian Tim Chalas, that is not true. It is the wrong battle and that is why so few people win that battle. The truth is that God has already placed life, joy, peace, righteousness, goodness, love, mercy, etc... IN MY HEART (Cf. Ezek 36, Jer 31). 

The real issue is getting it from my heart to my mind.
The battleground in the New Covenant economy is the mind. 

That is where the enemy seeks to defeat us, by placing thoughts in our minds that are contrary to truth. 

That is why the exhortations of the New Testament are ALWAYS to set the mind, fix the mind, renew the mind... NEVER to fix the heart, or set the heart. 

The key to victorious living in a New Covenant economy is NOT getting truth from our mind to our heart, but getting truth from our heart to our mind. 

Phil. 4 says to think on the things that are good, lovely, true, etc... and the God of peace shall be with you.

The only way to win a battle is to fight the right battle...

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But God...

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Perhaps my "favorite phrase" in the Bible is --- "But God"

It is found all over the New Testament.

For example:
"we formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh... and were by nature children of wrath... BUT GOD Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love... made us alive together with Christ"

You will find this pattern all over the New Testament. The writer will state a sad or negative reality, then declare "But God" and demonstrate the ability of God to overrule that sad or negative reality with the truth of Who He is and What He has done. 

BUT GOD!

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The Lies

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We live in a world filled with LIES! All of us have been influenced by these lies, there is no one who stands immune. That is because we have an adversary who is a liar from the beginning and the author of lies. Please understand, he wants to destroy us with His lies.

Our heavenly Father wrote us a book, but its so much more than a book! It is a love letter - to counteract those lies and teach us the truth. The truth will set us free from those lies and the subsequent bondage that those lies produce. That is why we need to understand how to read this love letter.

We must be very careful when reading the Bible and especially when teaching it, to let the scriptures "speak out" (exegesis) instead of us "speaking in" to them (eisegesis).  It is very important to let God say what He says instead of us speaking for Him. He tells it like it is, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

The reality is that for most of us what we need to hear is going to make us uncomfortable because we have become so accustomed to the lies that have been sown into our lives.

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Experience and Express

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It seems to me that there are those that gain the "mind of God" but miss the heart of God. They minister truth, but they do so very often in a harsh and critical spirit and misrepresent the God that they claim to have come to know.

Then, there are those that gain the "heart of God" but miss the mind of God. They minister love, but they do so very often in an overly tolerant spirit that misrepresents the holy, loving God that they claim to have come to know.

We desperately need both the mind and the heart of God, not only to experience the fullness of His holy love but also to express the fullness of His holy love, so that we can more completely represent Who He really is to those who desperately need Him so much. We desperately need to be made whole, which by the way is what the word "saved" - "sozo" = really means.

"sozo" = to return to wholeness.

Wholeness will only fully occur within us as we more completely comprehend fully Who He is to us and who we have become in Him.

Jesus came to bring us GRACE, but also to bring us TRUTH.
Jesus came to bring us His LOVE but also His MIND!

Oh, how we need the Holy Spirit to help us know... REALLY KNOW not only the mind of God but the heart of God, so we can become and minister wholeness through the Person and Work of Jesus!

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Two Kinds Of Knowledge?

This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

I Corinthians 8 Paul made it clear that there are two kinds of knowledge of God. There is knowledge of God and there is the true knowledge of God.

The difference?

Knowledge of God puffs up, makes one arrogant, divisive and critical. This is a knowledge of God that has only one purpose --- the exaltation of myself.

The true knowledge of God is that which makes one loving. This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

Oh, that the true knowledge of God would be known and expressed.  Jesus said it was this that would turn the world upside down --- LOVE.

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A Good Heart

Because of the finished work of Christ, it is no longer true that a believer, a child of God, has a desperately wicked and deceitful heart.

Because of the finished work of Christ, it is no longer true that a believer, a child of God, has a desperately wicked and deceitful heart.

As I grew up in the church, I was often told by many various people that the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful beyond all things. This, as you know, is a statement from Jeremiah 17:11. When this truth was proclaimed to me, about me, it came with the full authority that every other verse in the Scriptures has. After all, Paul has loudly and affirmatively proclaimed that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Therefore, I must have a desperately wicked and deceitful
heart, right? After all, the Bible says I do!

Wrong! DEAD WRONG!

Those dear souls who communicated that “truth” to me, about me, failed to interpret that verse in light of there being two covenants, and therefore two economies in which we live. Jeremiah 17:11 was written under an old covenant economy, where man, even the believing man, lived in a state of separation from God, his sins not yet having been removed by the cross of Christ!

In Ezekiel 36:25-26 however, God stated that He was going to establish a New Covenant, in which he would cleanse us from our sin, take away the stony heart of our flesh, and give us a new heart. Did you see that? Because of the finished work of Christ, it is no longer true that a believer, a child of God, has a desperately wicked and deceitful heart.

That old ugly heart has been taken away, and we not only
have a new heart, a good heart, a heart that wants to love and serve God.

Oh, my friends, you have a good heart. I am reminded of that incredible movie "Braveheart" where William Wallace has a vision of his recently martyred father telling him, "William, your heart is good! Have the courage to follow it!" 

That is my word to you today, "Dear friend in Christ, your heart is good, have the courage to follow it, and watch the world stand in awe of the God they see in you and the work He has done on your behalf!"

Content With Mystery

We must become like children, learning to be content with mystery, and let God be God!

We must become like children, learning to be content with mystery, and let God be God!

Many, many people get into trouble when they interpret the Scriptures, especially those passages that seemingly contradict each other. They presume that there has to be an answer so they will cling to one scripture while just ignoring or explaining away the opposing scriptures in an effort to figure it all out and come to "know". Be careful.

These seemingly "opposing" truths are actually proof that God wrote the Scriptures, that they are His mind put into print. Had man written the Bible, man would have "solved" those apparent contradictions.

So what am I saying? Quit trying to figure out everything. When there are two seeming opposing views in Scripture, teach them both as truth. This is mystery. This is God! There is no contradiction in His mind.

We must become like children, learning to be content with mystery, and let God be God!

I really believe that this desire on the part of man to figure everything out and put God into a little theological box that we can understand is tied to the lie in the garden that we shall be as God. i.e. we shall figure it all out! 

Reject that lie and learn to be a child.

Deut 29:29 is very clear... "The secret things belong to God, but the things revealed belong to us." There are mysteries that belong to God and we must leave those mysteries with God and say we simply do not know or understand, however, the things revealed belong to us.

Things like knowing that we are loved, accepted, made righteous, made the containers and expressers of God, THOSE THINGS ARE OURS and that is where our focus should be.

Settling Down Into Him

We need Him desperately, or we will wither and die.

We need Him desperately, or we will wither and die.

The biggest struggle of my faith walk has been that my God is too small. This is so very dangerous. If in my own eyes, God is small, then I must loom large! But the stark reality of life is that my resources are not sufficient for this great task called life – life that is experienced in a fallen world. Put simply, my batteries are not up to the demand, which produces fear and anxiety in my soul as I ponder how I am going to make it through the many travails that life in a fallen world can bring.

I must not only know, but believe that God is such a very big God, and that He in His bigness is for me, and offers to be, all that He is to all that I need in the moment of faith.

He is El Shaddai, and He wants me to trust Him as El Shaddai.

So what does that mean? The root word in this dynamic name that God has given Himself is “shad.” Shad is the Hebrew word for the female breast. God has declared Himself to be to us, "God, the breasted One.” There is perhaps no more beautiful picture in the world than that of an infant, cuddled in the arms of its mother, nursing at her breast. Oh, my friends, this is what God wants to be to us. He wants to be our tender nurturer.

He longs to be the One that we will settle down into and
receive comfort and protection from. Isn’t that wonderful?

Please know though, that it is so much greater than even that wonderful picture. That mother, nursing her child, is the provider of nourishment to that child. We could say that she is the supplier of life to that child. Without her, that child is going to wither and die. This is what our God is desperately trying to communicate to us in this name that He has chosen for Himself.

We need Him desperately, or we will wither and die.
He wants to be our supply, He wants to be our life, He wants to provide all that He is to us.

In my own life, I must admit that He wants to be more to me than I all too often do not allow Him to be to me. This is to my demise for all that is required of me is to say "yes" to His desire. To believe that He is my tender, nurturing supply of all that I need.

Oh, Father, I do believe that you are El Shaddai. Help my unbelief, and help me to see how small I really am, that I might see how BIG and for me you really are.  That I might run to You in faith, and find You as you really are!

Lies and Truth

Truth sets us free from the bondage of those lies!

Truth sets us free from the bondage of those lies!

LIES! LIES! LIES!
They are everywhere! In the workplace, in our families, IN OUR GOVERNMENT, and especially and sadly in our churches!

That is why Truth, when it is revealed, is so very precious to us. Truth sets us free from the bondage of those lies! There is however, a sneaky and grave danger in our reception of the truth or revelation that we receive.

We can become enamored with the truth, instead of the TRUTH GIVER! We can glory in "the revelation" instead of the Revealer!

When we do that we become "men with a message" or "women with a word" instead of sons/daughters of God boasting in their Father (Son and Spirit). And instantly following on our heels is the PRIDE of being RIGHT over and against all those others who are WRONG! Oh how sneaky!

Remember the words of Jesus in John 5:39... "you search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, but it is these that bear witness of ME!...

(and then the sad conclusion)

"... but you are unwilling to come to ME that you might have LIFE!"

Doctrine was NEVER intended to be an end in itself, but a means to lead us to the Person of Jesus!

He came to have a relationship with you...

He came to have a relationship with you...

Perhaps I should say it this way:
Jesus did not come to this planet for the express purpose of dying for your sins... He came to have a relationship with you and dying for your sins was the only way He could get that relationship.

This is the great glory that we have through faith in the Person and work of Christ --- THAT WE KNOW HIM, THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS (don't forget that one)...

Glory in the awe and wonder that through receiving HIM, we have the authority to be called a child of God!

Simply Being Right Isn't God's Sole Intention For Us.

It seems to me that the church, as I have observed it, has made the issue of "Being Right" it's main agenda. Don't get me "wrong"... being "right" is very important. We better be "right" about Who God is and what He has done and longs to do in and through us as we trust Him by faith... I myself study Father's Word intently because I want what is right, I want the truth because I want the freedom that truth brings. But being right in and of itself was never the intended goal. That would be like getting a paycheck and never cashing it. By the way, I have especially seen this agenda among those who "claim" to know the grace of God, after all, we are "right...right?" But if we truly are "right" about the grace of God, then should we not be known by "LOVE"? Dare we say it, yes, by our love for the legalist and the religionist and even for those who disagree with our grace?

Father's Word does not say we will be known as His disciple if we have "right" doctrine... but rather that we will known as His disciples by our "love"... You see, LOVE is the evidence that we are right. Love is cashing and spending the check of being right... Love is the proof that we have come to know God and the He, the lover, lives in and through us by faith.