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  • 9 hours ago
    Posted by Dion Todd
    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says Yahweh. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 WEBThere were many times in my life that I worked something out in my mind, planned t...
  • Fri at 3:01 AM
    Posted by Dion Todd
    If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we haven't sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8 WEBWhi...
  • Thu at 3:01 AM
    Posted by Dion Todd
    Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the clothing and the horse, as you have said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that you have spoken. Then took Haman the clothing and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and caused him to ride thro...
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Where did you read that?

  • Where Did You Read That?

     

     

    If you cannot view full screen, click here:  Where Did You Read That? from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

     

    I grew up in the Bible Belt of the South, with people that love God, but are steeped in religious tradition. When I began to study the Bible, I was amazed at what was not in it, and sometimes at what was written in there. This message will probably offend many good religious people, but then so did Jesus.

    In my own life, it has taken years to weed through religious baggage, and I still find pieces that don’t belong now. For some reason it is easy for us to believe the lie that God is mean, or that He is mad at us. It is much more difficult to believe that He truly loves us, that we are forgiven, that we can now come boldly before Him, but this is the truth that scripture teaches.

    Many things taught as the Bible are merely personal preferences. For example: Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” is not found in the Bible, but someone thought that it should be and started passing it down through the generations. Now many people believe that it is from the Bible.

    This is not a new thing but as old as mankind. There has always been a tendency to add more requirements to serving God. Even in Genesis, it began:

    (Genesis 2:16–17 NKJV) “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

    Later the serpent asked Eve about commandment and she said:

    (Genesis 3:1–3 NKJV) “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

    So now there were rules about touching, fondling and holding the fruit. Even though there was only one commandment, they managed to add “Do not touch” to that one.

    When the Israelites were bitten by serpents, God had Moses make a bronze or copper serpent and place it on a pole. Anyone that was bitten could then look at the pole and live.

    Num. 21:9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

    When Hezekiah became king, he had to destroy the bronze serpent because the Israelites had named it and began a tradition of burning incense to it:

    2Kings 18:4  He (Hezekiah) removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.

    What started as a good thing became an idol itself.

    The Pharisees passed down an oral law called the “Talmud” that accompanied the written law recorded in the five books of Moses. It is huge and covers rituals, worship, God-man and interpersonal relationships, from dietary laws to Sabbath and festival observance to marital relations, agricultural practices, and civil claims and damages.

    There is nothing quite as dry as institutionalized religion.

    When Jesus was teaching the people, the Pharisees became angry because He did not teach His disciples their oral law.

    (Mark 7:1–7 NKJV) “Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

    Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

    The Pharisees thought they were pleasing God, when in reality it was all in vain.

    When the Holy Spirit descended and the first church got started, God did the unthinkable and started bringing in the Gentiles, us. This caused a serious stir among the Jews, who were amazed that Gentiles could be saved at all.

    (Acts 11:4–18 NKJV) “But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’But I said, “Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered me again from heaven, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.’Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea. Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, “Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, “John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

    Even though God had accepted the Gentiles, and told Peter to not call them unclean, some Jews came in and started teaching them that they must be circumcised in order to be saved.

    (Acts 15:1–2 NKJV) “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.”

    So they had a meeting known as the Jerusalem Council and there they settled the matter. It is recorded in detail in Acts chapter 15, but here was the final verdict:

    (Acts 15:23–29 NKJV) “They wrote this, letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment— it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

    One key to spotting tradition is bondage. Religious tradition will always bring you into bondage but the Holy Spirit will bring freedom:

    Paul wrote in (2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV) “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

    How deep is this embedded in our culture? Here some examples of things being added to the Bible:

    - God said “Don’t be drunk with wine” and we change it into “Can’t drink at all.” Then we try and make the Bible support the little tradition that we have created and it becomes a twisted work of man that when poked at all, falls apart because Jesus drank wine, the Jews love wine, and His first miracle was turning water into wine.

    Matthew wrote: (Matthew 11:18–19 NKJV) “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon.’The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

    So then we try and say that it was “unfermented” grape juice. Now grapes ripen in September and Passover is a spring festival around April, so the grape juice at the last supper would have been at least seven months old. As a winemaker, I can tell you that they had no preservatives and in thirty days, fresh grape juice begins to ferment and becomes wine by itself. Open a bottle of Welch’s grape juice, set it on the counter and check it in thirty days if you do not believe me.

    - Don’t eat “some kind of something.” Paul wrote: (1 Corinthians 10:25–27 NKJV) “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness.” If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake.”

    Sylvia and I were vegans for a while until we started breaking out in boils from vitamin deficiencies like zinc and iron, which comes from meat. When we started eating meat again we found that some of our friends had turned a diet into a religion. Christians are free to eat and drink whatever is sold in the market place, including bacon and catfish. Eat what you like, and let others eat what they like.

    Mark wrote us: (Mark 7:14–15 NKJV) “When He (Jesus) had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.”

    Paul wrote Timothy: (1 Timothy 4:1–5 NKJV) “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

    Paul wrote: (Romans 14:1–3 NKJV) “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.”

    - Sabbath day disputes and holidays. Many want to worship God on Saturday, others on Sunday, some on other days. We are to let no one judge us or feel guilty over what day we choose:

    Paul wrote us: (Colossians 2:16 NKJV) “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths”

    And: (Romans 14:5–6 NKJV) “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.”

    Jesus Christ is the bridge between the two testaments and everything goes through His resurrection. Before Jesus was resurrected, you needed to be circumcised. Afterwards you did not. All commandments must be passed through the cross of Jesus. Somethings passed through untouched, somethings changed, somethings were abolished.

    Don’t let your personal preferences get mixed into God’s commandments.

    More examples:
    * Clothing, Ties, Pants, Jeans, Dress length
    * Makeup, Jewelry
    * Hair styles
    * Dancing, Singing
    * Musical instruments: Guitars, drums
    * Styles of music, country, rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, fusion
    * Political parties - He probably does not belong to yours
    * Bible translations - He wrote it and does not need a translator

    All of these things are personal preferences and should not be taught as if they were from the Bible. Of course you should dress modestly and not have your private parts exposed to the elements like a baboon, but even that is just one of mine. Peter probably fished naked because when Jesus called to them from the shore, he had to put on his loin cloth.

    So why does this matter? How is this relevant to our life today?

    When I was in my twenties, I attended a baptist church that was very energetic. Most people sit a few rows back because he was a hell fire and brimstone preacher and when he got rolling, he would be shouting and prancing back and forth, and may spit on the first couple of rows.

    For several weeks I had been sharing my faith with a friend at work and finally he had agreed to come to church with me. As far as I know, he had never been to church before, and I was young and naive about the traditions of men at the time.

    We were both musicians, but where I was clean cut, he actually looked like one. He had really long hair like most rock and roll drummers did in the 80s and a few tattoos, but he was a good hearted guy that would give you the shirt off his back.

    The church had been having a revival meeting all week and the preacher brought a solid message every night about salvation and knowing Jesus, love and mercy, heaven and hell, the works, followed by a very effective altar call. He had a great conversion rate.

    Wanting my friend to hear the message about Jesus uninterrupted, I got us seats on the front row and we settled in to listen. When the preacher walked onto the stage and saw my long-haired friend sitting on the front row, the message suddenly changed from how Jesus came to seek and save the lost, to how shameful it is for a man to have long hair. He yelled his way through the scriptures with a red face while staring directly at us.

    I sank lower and lower in my seat as the service went on and my excitement gradually became disgust. I slowly realized that they only wanted to share the good news of Jesus amongst themselves, and they seemed to hold me in contempt for bringing a sinner into their temple. It was as if I had brought moist dung to their dinner table.

    We crawled out of that building in shame. How could I have embarrassed my friend like this by bringing him to such a place. I never went back to that church, and I am not sure if my friend ever went to church again. He stopped talking to me and we finally lost touch.

    (John 3:16–17 NKJV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

    Gods door is open, but once people get inside, they try and close it to keep others out, to make it into a private club. God is inclusive, we are exclusive.

    Jesus said: (Matthew 23:13 NKJV) “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

    Praise (Halal): Halal is a primary Hebrew root word for praise. Our word “hallelujah” comes from this base word. It means “to be clear, to shine, to boast, show, to rave, celebrate, to be clamorously foolish.” To make the Lord look good! Lord, you are Awesome!

    But when we add our traditions to His word and make it more strict, we turn Him into a “Sky Bully.” The world looks on and laughs. There are so many people that will not come to the Lord because they are put off by the foolish traditions that are being taught there.

    We take the Awesome God of Heaven and instead of making Him look good, we make Him look like a fool with our petty little traditions like “Don’t let Jesus catch you in the movie theatre.” Where did you read that one?

    Jesus said “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NKJV).

    But we squabble over what someone wears or who they voted for, or their choice of music. Did we read any of Jesus’ words?

    It is ok to not drink wine, or not eat something, or not go to the movies, but don't tell others that Jesus will be mad at them if they do for it is only your personal preference. Love God, Love others, and don’t make Him into a Sky Bully.


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15 comments
  • 3
Mark Duell
Mark Duell

Pastor Dion,

 I caught the very end of your message due to an ambulance call I had to go on. When I picked up where you were at you had mentioned about the men that don't go to church because they drink beer and fish. I had to laugh but at the same time saddened because how many people still remain lost because of this false notion or teaching. I can tell you that my in-laws go to such a church. My father in-law has recently come to Jesus in the last 2 years. But he is being taught this other nonense that is causing a rift between family members. If the family plans on having a party or celebration for a family member or special occasion, they will refuse to go if the place has or serves alcohol even if we aren't having it ourselves. They say "would you want Jesus to catch you there"? Well I'm pretty sure He already knows I'm here. So because of this false teaching, they have missed out on special occasions like their great grand children being adopted. They also have their dress code where the woman can't wear pants and men have to wear suits and ties. And they can only read the KJV and so on. But do they have a real relationship with the Lord? It's the Holy Spirit's job to mold us and direct us in these things. It's the fruit that will be produced in our growth and walk with Jesus Christ. Does that give us the right to continue sinning? Of course not. The Spirit of the Lord will convict us of it in His perfect timing. That is if you are walking with Him daily and not just one hour a week. I think todays sermon is good for all of us to hear every so often just to remind ourselves where did we read it or hear it. And is it what God breathed. I hope we continue to have these services. But only if it is His will. I have learned something from each of them. and I thank you for the time you spend in preparing for them and all the other work that goes into doing His work. Love ya brother. Have a great day. 

July 10, 2016
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

How sad for your in-laws that they missed so much valuable time with their family! Lord willing, they will calm down in a bit. Glad you could make it for at least part of the service, brother!

July 11, 2016
  • 1
Dion Todd
Dion Toddedited: July 11, 2016

Q: How many baptists do you take fishing?

 

A: Two. If you take one, they will drink all of your beer. Take two and they won't drink any.

 

This is a joke but I have seen it so true in my life. The baptists preach total abstinance from alcohol but have the highest number of alcoholics, because they snap and go "binging." They fall off the wagon. While the Jews have the fewest and start having wine when they are little.  My step brothers would attend a revival, get saved, and last about a week before they gave up, bought a 6 pack and went fishing. They could not live up to the man made requirements.

 

Catholic priests are forbidden to marry but a movie that we recently watched based on true events (Spotlight on Netflix) showed that 50% were having secret forbidden sex, 10% with children. They found 90 priests molesting children in the city of Boston alone. Forbidding to marry is unnatural.

 

It is ok if it is a choice, but should not be a commandment. When they fall, they fall hard. Moderation is the answer, not abstinance, binging,and secret forbidden fruit. Of course if you have a problem then you need to abstain, but You do not forbid all the healthy adults from eating cake because of one person that had too much. 

July 11, 2016
  • 3
Janet Marsh-Lord
Janet Marsh-Lord

Pastor Dion....Thank you for this great message. It is very sad that men's traditions have been added to God's word and in doing so they have put off or chased away a lot of people seeking Jesus. I belonged to a church that had many of these traditions added to their doctrine. I have since moved to another Church and enjoy the freedom of following God's word and not added traditions. I can have communion, a drink of wine if I want, dance, and do many other things that were forbidden or disapproved of. I enjoyed hearing your message and your wonderful accent. Blessings and thank you. 

July 10, 2016
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Mary Luter
Mary Luteredited: July 11, 2016

I keep trying to thank you for your preaching and message on video! I am so enjoying them!!  You have a gift sir!!

 I hope I can post this comment.

I don't know if it's my computer or me maybe! haha

 

Good, it worked this time! Probably my computer!!

July 11, 2016
  • 1
Dion Todd
Dion Todd

Thank you Mary for taking a moment to encourage us. It means a lot when you are on this side of the microphone  :)

July 11, 2016
  • 2
Jay Jerisek
Jay Jerisek

Many thanks Pastor Dion for this Incitefull and truthfull message.

I have been "blasted" by a preacher in church for having long hair myself and at the time was looking for a church to join. Needless to say that it wasn't that one lol.

I have been called beligerant for asking too any questions in catholic catecism class because I simply wanted to know why they believe their certain rules. I was raised catholic ,and when  reading the Bible ,discovered so many untruths they teach as necessary rules I became appaled at their meaningless and just wrong traditions. ie. Purgatory ( a place where one burns off little sins),  unconfessed  big and little sins ( mortal sends you to hell and venial sends you to purgatory ),   infant Baptism  ( how can an infant repent and be baptised ? ),   praying the rosary ( the Blble says beware of meaningless litanys ),   confessing your sins  to a priest because he is the mediator between you and God ( Jesus died for this job),    canonizing certain people as saints ( the Bible says we ,as saved Christians, are all saints. )  idolizing the Mother of Christ, Mary.

All these questions started for me when one day, while I was in catholic Elementary school, they announced that from that day on it was ok to now eat meat on Friday.  I stood up and asked " so what happens to all the people that went to hell because they died before confessing that they did eat meat on Friday ?"  that's when they told me to sit down, you're just beiing belligerant.  I was ten years old.

Those where just a few that came to mind and I'm sure that many other so called religons have equally numerous and fictitious rules.  I truly thank God for giving me an inquisative mind and for this ministry where the truth can be found, for God says " prove all things, hold fast to those that are good".

July 11, 2016
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Dion Todd
Dion Toddedited: July 11, 2016

lol, it would be bad for those that ate meat on Friday and went to hell the week before the rules were updated eh?   :)

 

Crazy traditions make me laugh. The internet is making knowledge more accessible to the lay people and God is using it. A simple search on wikipedia now reveals more truth than 7 years of seminary. 

July 11, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

Jay, that is so amazing, though I guess not surprising that they would be so hostile to your questions. I guess people don't like to have their paradigms questioned :). I think it really isn't only Catholics, but all of us, who develop rules over time (probably out of good intentions, at least a lot of times) and over time they calcify into more. We watched a documentary on time that included some info on a Christian movement called the Shakers (I think). At the beginning, they were completely free, but it only took less than a generation for that to change. When people don't behave the way we want, it's tempting make more of it than necessary, "for their own good". Lord willing, we can avoid that trap most of the time, if we are watchful! 

July 11, 2016
  • 2
Josephine Marcum
Josephine Marcum

I have just now been able to listen to your message from Sundsy Pastor Dion, and it was wonderful.  Thank you so much for those great words of truth and encouragement. I appreciated the message so much, spoken in a way that all could understand. I am sure Jesus is saying "yes, finally someone who gets it! ". Thank you again for your time and effort.

July 11, 2016
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Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler

Sooo freeing,!  Wow what a message.  I don't think a thing was missing.  Learning the way that looks like when all the dos & don't see are applied were very insightful.  People's opinion.  Or put personal preference into becoming doctrine.  I truly want my husband to hear this message for he grew up in a very religious church life & do's & don't see went home to be law.  He says time to time how hard it is to get free of it.  Thank Dion soo much!

 

 

July 11, 2016
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Linda Martin
Linda Martin

Just now able to listen to this weeks message. Thank you!

July 12, 2016
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Marcia Lament
Marcia Lament

I always like to listen to your message later in the week to up lift me and see me through till Sunday.  This message was so powerful it was like a blind fold was removed from my eyes.  Thank you so much I have learned more about the Bible from your daily messages than I had ever learned in most of the Churches I have attended until now.  My Church now sees you for who you are one of Gods children.  God Bless you Pastor Dion & Sylvia.

July 14, 2016
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Darlene Blackmon
Darlene Blackmon

Thank you for this message! It is so refreshing to know we have the freedom through Christ Jesus and not the man made traditions.

July 17, 2016
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Christie Smith
Christie Smith

 Thank you so much for confirming God's Word.  Having a "Checkered Past" (really who doesn't 2 some degree) I will never turn someone away from God's truth, but finding the right Church can be a task.  God say's Come, come as you are and sometimes we have to be God's Church.  The parking lot at the Parole Office is one of the best places to remind those of God's love and hearing your word today give's truth to those promise's.  You inspire us to let God do our leading and May No One EVER feel that they have to aheed to a set of rules and regualtions as the spirit will bring about the change that God inteeds to use.  Sometimes I get into a Pity Party again and feel like I should do this or that but I beleive Satan whispers those lies to pull us away.  May be set our eyes on our Lord and lay our burdens at His feet.  He loves you just as you are.. Come~

July 25, 2016