Christos Anesti, Aléthos Anesti Which is Greek for : “Christ is Risen!” And we reply “Indeed He Has! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

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  A great heavenly host of angels, the prophets, the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Archangel Gabriel and all of Heavens armies surrounded the cross at that moment. They watched as the Son of God was tried and beaten throughout the night, they watched as He carried the cross. When He was nailed to the cross, the entire heavens stood silent. A great silence and stillness covered the heavens as tears slipped down their faces, their fury held back as they watched the Savior suffer in utter torment. Abraham watching his children spit and strike the Lord, the angels wanting desperately to rescue Him, and the prophets of old bowing their heads with broken hearts as they all watched the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Lion of tribe of Judah and the King of kings descended from the line of King David, nailed to a cross.

The savior of the world in deep abandonment, sorrow, pain and rejection. He took the punishment you and I deserved. On the cross for 6 hours and after 3 hours of complete darkness, they heard the Lord cry out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” and then another cry “It is finished!” He bowed his head and released his spirit. It was done. He died,  the earth quaked, graves opened, the dead came back and were seen among the living, The soldiers gasped and fear and exclaimed ” Truly, this was the Son of God!”. The thick veil in the temple tore in two, earth shaking, sky pitch black darkness, fear in every heart, walls crumbling, dead digging their way out…… and the proclamation echoed out:

See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. FOR HE  will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence! For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about. And because of his experience, ” My righteous servant has made it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he has borne all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death.” He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. He has opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. Amen!
               He has made the people holy by the blood He shed, He has now become our High Priest. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. He mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. ”

As He released His spirit, He was taken up into the arms of the heavenly host who quickly gathered around Him and held Him with great love, comforting Him. – Yet, we know He did not ascend to the Father as yet, because after His resurrection, He said not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father. Remember what Jesus said- the only sign given to them would be the sign of Jonah, just as he was in the belly of the whale for 3 days and 3 nights so the Son of Man will be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.

Image result for he disarmed the rulers and authoritiesHe disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of our enemies in high places! For He, our redeemer, triumphed over them by the cross.

He, the Son Jesus, was given all authority in Heaven and Earth from God the Father. He has the keys to Hades. While in the heart of the earth, He went into the dark abyss with a mighty angelic force behind Him. Entering into the gates of Hell Proclaiming freedom every captive “ You have been set free! I have come to save You! Your Father in Heaven has sent for you!” His voice like thunder echoing throughout for every man and woman to hear. Teaching and preaching to them the Good News. He walked through the gates of Hell and throughout the pit of Hell, making sure He spoke to everyone who had ever been created, gathering as many as He could. Demons surrounding Him silenced in His Power unable to speak and filled with weakness, trembling in His presence. The Savior, full of power and authority continued showing the captives His hands and feet, showing everyone what our Savior had done so they could be set free. Many called out to Him, grabbing on to Him, following and believing, but yet others – in anger like the Pharisees, mocked Him and treated Him as the people of the world treated Him. Just as the Pharisees knew He was God and choose to reject Him for their own pride, status and evil hearts, so some of the people in Hell also treated Him.

he-descended 2                So the Lord Jesus took His captives to freedom as they He gathered them into the Heavens, out of the pit of torment and dread that was supposed to be eternal for each one of them. As they reached the Great Throne room before the Lord God Almighty, the Lord’s heart leaped for joy to see His children. He gave each one a Great Embrace as is they were the only child of the Father- telling them- “ My Child, I have always loved you with an everlasting love. Since the days of Noah, I have never forgotten you. You have never left my mind. I am filled with Joy that you are here with me. I have a place prepared for you.” (God never forgets you)
Jesus came back to earth to see and talk to His friends giving them instructions and proving that He is the Son of the Living God. After that, He was taken up into the Heavens where He sits today at the right hand of God the Father. The heavens, the freed captives, and the angelic host filled the heavens with great Praises to the King of Kings and they have never stopped – even unto this day- I can still hear them sing praises to the new born king, Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, Christ was born in Bethlehem -the praises to Him ring forth forever and ever.
Amen and Glory Hallelujah! Our King is Risen.

As we say each Easter in celebration of Christ and God’s love for us :“Christos Anesti” and we continue to reply “Aléthos Anesti “ Which is Greek for : “Christ is Risen!” And we reply “Indeed He Has! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—  those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God froma clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 3:19-21

Sunday Morning: Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”JOhn 20:17

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40

CHRIST IS RISEN – Christos Anesti !!

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INDEED HE HAS -Aléthos Anesti !!
Christ is Risen!
In the Greek tradition, we crack eggs each Easter. One person says “Christ is Risen” and the other says “Indeed He has” and we smash eggs. (Its a fun time for the family and each year there is a winner)Legend has it that eggs were brought to the tomb by Mary that special morning. The eggs are dyed red in remembrance of the blood of Jesus, the shell represents the tomb that couldn’t hold Him, the smash of the egg is in remembrance of what Jesus did to the power of the grave by disarming the powers and authorities, making a public spectacle of our enemies. Amen!

You are saved by grace? or works? or faith? or fruit? Can Grace save you?

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I had a dream about a year ago and in this dream, I stood before a great king. He seemed larger than life and he sat on a great throne. It seemed I was only 1/3 of his height. We were going back in forth in debate- well only I was debating- on the subject of salvation, but the king only had one answer and would defeat my argument each time.

My Dream:

I walked into a room and there was a great king on a large throne and between us seemed to be desk. I stood and argued that it was not possible to be saved by grace alone. I argued with all the scripture I knew and the king would reply each time “No, it is only by grace that you are saved”

What! That can’t be, I would argue back. The bible is clear that we are not saved unless we believe and even that isn’t enough, because scripture says that even the devils believe, and with this that we need works, because the bible says with out works, our faith is dead. So we need to believe, but we need to add to that faith, but yet, still that is not good enough, we need works – because scripture says that.

The king would gently reply: “It is only by grace that you are saved”

Really? I argued back, so how does that make sense? What about John 3:16?So I guess everybody’s saved, if it’s only grace? But what about those who don’t believe in Christ? Are they saved only by grace because what good is believing, faith and works then? Do they all disappear? What about Hebrews 11:6- We can’t please God without faith and Romans 1:5 and 16:26 we need to believe and OBEY, and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing and he cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit- so that proves we need works; and works without love is worthless, so now we need works, love, faith, and fruit to be saved!!!!!!

“ No, it is only by grace that you are saved” He kept saying to me. I was totally annoyed because I didn’t feel like I was winning this argument. The king would look at me with the most loving eyes and let me finish each thing I said before he spoke. He seemed to look at me as a loving father would, even in my frustration – he would calmly tilt his head back touching the back of his throne with his head and smile as if I were quite entertaining. He never got angry and always looked at me with loving eyes, even though I was mouthing off and flying my hands all over the place with my argument.

Each time I would finish my argument, he would pause…. Smile at me and say – in a ‘he was so right way’ – “it is only by grace that you are saved”.

And I kept on: Well why do I need to keep running the race? Aren’t I supposed to win the prize? I keep running as it says in 1 Corinthians 9, and what about faith- what good are we without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – His death and resurrection? 1 tim 1:9 and all the old testament great men were honored because of their faith – like Abraham- because of their faith- in Hebrews 11” And Romans 3 says we are made right with God because of our faith, not obedience.Doesn’t faith justify us in Gal 2:16 and Romans 5:1? So it’s not grace – impossible– Salvation is belief in Jesus, plus works, plus faith, plus love, plus fruit – because without that….aren’t we chopped off that vine?

The King loving and calmly replied (as he smiled at me)  “Lisa, it is only by grace that you are saved”

No, I said, you are wrong- impossible. I know all the scripture and I know I’m right. I saw him look at me, enjoying this conversation. He knew he was right and he knew my argument wasn’t standing up to his. So I continued on…..okay, well what about this verse: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,  envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” where does grace fit in there? Doesn’t that verse prove we are saved or not saved by our actions? And see! Look at Romans 4” But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” So here we go with rock, paper, scissors! It’s faith, and not works? But still – it’s faith in God, right? So now it’s just faith, but wait Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).- so faith and belief are different? Anyways- how can God’s grace alone save us? I know God’s grace is important, but I know we are saved because we believe, and even that is not enough! Because even the devils believe, and we must add to that faith because without faith we cannot please God and to that we must add works because faith is shown in works, and to that we must add love because works without love is nothing and to that we add fruit, because without that we are cut off from the vine, and there you have it, I win.

He leaned over to me, and I really think he had a sparkle in his eye, patiently smiling, making sure I was done and said

It is only by grace, that you are saved.

The argument went on and on through the night. I kept quoting scripture, but the king kept winning the argument with his reply “You are saved by grace” ,Uggghhhhhh! I woke up and I still felt like I had not won this argument.

What exactly is Grace?

This dream prompted me to intensely study Grace and what I have found is truly amazing.  I think I have found some great discoveries as I study Grace. As I put all the scriptures together to define grace, I have found an interesting possible link between grace and the Holy Spirit. The definition of grace almost exactly matches the Holy Spirit, but that will have to be another post, for now, I just hope to have you thinking. 🙂

As the Holy Spirit has sealed us for the day of redemption, could also God’s grace do the same? Is Gods grace the underlying denominator to faith, works, belief, love, and fruit?

   I studied Acts a few months ago in order to gather all he said to the people about Salvation in Christ Jesus and I came up with these 7 things:

ETERNAL SALVATION- AN UNDERSERVED GIFT FROM GOD

1-BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST- FAITH
2-CONFESS YOUR SINS AND REPENT
3-TURN BACK TO GOD- He wants you to SEEK HIM
4-BE BAPTISED IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST-WASHING AWAY YOUR SINS
5-PROVE IT BY THE WAY YOU LIVE
6-GET RID OF ALL SIN AND WICKEDNESS
7-WATCH OUT FOR FALSE TEACHERS AND WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

As I considered all this I suddenly thought:

It is by grace that  1- I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ
It is by grace that  2- He forgives me when I confess my sins and repent
It is by grace that  3- He calls me to seek Him
It is by grace that 4- He washes away my sins through baptism
It is by grace that  5-He continues to work in me, leading, guiding and teaching me to be Holy like He is holy
It is by grace that   6- He gives me His Word to teach me how to live
It is by grace that  7- He gives me discernment and knowledge to know right from wrong.

And this verse was brought to my remembrance : “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9

I’m still not done studying, but I keep on…I keep on….


For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves

Ephesians 2:8

 

Prayer of Ephesians 2

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Dear Father in Heaven, Creator of Heaven and Earth,

Thank you for your love for me and your great mercy. I was once dead in my sins when I formally walked in the way of the world according to the prince of the power of the air and the spirit who worked in my disobedience,  I went against YOU O Lord by following my own wants, my own lusts, my own desires, whatever my mind sought, but You O Lord, reached out your hand and called me to You – even when I was dead in my transgressions.  You made me Alive together with Christ and raised me up with Him, You have seated me in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus – this is too amazing to understand.

Oh Lord, I am silenced at your amazing Power and Holiness, what an honor and blessing to be before your heavenly throne to talk to you, to praise you and to be in Your presence. Thank you for your mercy and love for me. Thank you for showing me the riches of your grace and  kindness in Christ Jesus.

I know it is only by your grace, mercy and love that I can say that I know you and you have redeemed my life, you have saved me in my faith, and this faith was your gift to me – and it wasn’t because I was something special or any special work or steps I took, but it was only because of your gracious gift.

I am Your workmanship, I praise you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it. Speak to my heart and lead me in doing the good works  that I was created to do in Christ Jesus- all my steps that God prepared for my life , Lord let my feet stay on your planned path.

For once I was unclean and common, but now I am an heir in Christ, part of the family of the Lord God. I praise you O Lord for considering me. I remember that I was once separated from Christ and not included as a part of the family of Israel, I was a stranger to your covenant and I had no hope for  I was without God in this world.

But today I can lift my hands and Praise the Lord, for though I was far off, I have been brought near  by the blood of Christ.  O Lord, I praise you, for He Himself is my peace- He has made me one as part of His Holy family, breaking down the barrier wall that divided us.

By your Holy Spirit I have access to you O God, I am in awe at your love for me. Thank you for making me part of Your household, thank you for making me a fellow citizen with the saints. Lord, teach me and lead me to live a life that is pleasing to you.  Keep me from anything that would grieve you.

May my life be a stone in the temple of God in Christ as we are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

I will meditate on all Your gifts and benefits all day, I stand amazed at your love and care for me. Thank you O God , for making me part of your Holy Family in Christ Jesus.  Let my life sing your praises and be a testimony of Christ, for He is way, the truth and the life and no man can go to you O God but by your chosen son Jesus, may all the world know this truth.

In Christ, I pray, Amen

Salvation for the Jewish People : Valley of Dry Bones

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  Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so they did not blow on the earth or the sea, or even on any tree.  And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted to those four angels, who had been given power to harm land and sea,  “Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.” Revelation 7:1-3

 

 What might the winds in the passage represent? (Jer 49:36-37, Daniel 7:2)

If I wasn’t recently reading through Ezekiel, I probably wouldn’t have caught this, but hear me out.If we search the scripture to find out more about the 4 winds we see that at times the 4 winds scatter people, they also release the beasts from the sea but in Ezekiel 37 – the chapter on dry bones- the 4 winds bring breath into the bodies formed from the skeletons in the valley. (Keep in mind: Rev 7 talks about the tribes of Israel being sealed immediately after the verse about the 4 winds)

 ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” Ez 37:9b

Before we can move on, let’s go over some things from Ezekiel 37 so you can see this come together. (And hey! Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong-Is Ez 37 symbolic? Or is it specific? Or is it both? Who knows!  that’s my disclaimer) Here’s what we know about the bones in Ezekiel 37.

  1. The bones are in a valley vs. 1 (Joel 3:14- could this be the valley of decision?)
  2. The bones are the people Israel 11 – “The whole house of Israel”
  3. They are bones of people who once lived and died vs 3
  4. They died in their sins because they needed to be cleansed vs 23
  5. When they were given new life, they were given God’s Holy Spirit and they would return to their land- this hasn’t happened yet so we’re going to say it’s talking about the last days
  6. They stood on their feet and became a great army. Also Zech 12:8, could this also be the army of Revelation 19:14? (That’s debatable, but they are considered a great army that goes out and fights for the Lord in the last days, no talk of white robes though- only those died in tribulation)
The Valley of Dry BonesPhoto: flickr artist Loslwl https://www.flickr.com/photos/loswl/4830572938

Okay so here we know that the 4 winds gave breath/life to the whole house of Israel that died. Notice also the very next verses in Revelation 7 talk about the tribes of Israel being sealed. Also, notice the winds weren’t allowed to harm the earth or sea (yet) but we don’t know if this wind just caused the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 to come to pass. In Rev 7:4, the People of Israel were marked with the seal of God and in Ez 37, they were given God’s Spirit (v14).  What is the seal of God? Consider the verses below

  • 2 Corinthians 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
  • Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
  • Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye aresealed unto the day of redemption.
  • 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

So considering the word seal and the verses above, let’s move on knowing that these tribes of Israel are sealed for salvation by the Holy Spirit.

But how did this happen? Well we know the bones were given new life, but we have more clues to this moment. Let’s go to Zechariah

  • Zechariah 12:8-10 On that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the Lord who goes before them!  For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died

Look at this! Zechariah talks about the last days and a Spirit of grace and prayer poured out on the family of David. Does this prove the Holy Spirit’s seal of revelation 7 and Ezekiel 37? Possibly! We are told, in the verse above, that the people of Israel will see Christ, the Messiah, His piercings and mourn for Him as an only son, as a firstborn son who has died.

  • Ez 39:29  .  And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!

Could this also be the valley of decision, since we know the bones were in a valley Ez 1 and Joel 3:14-16 talks about a valley of decision in the last days?

  • Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Putting this together: The dead of Israel are given new life, they see and believe in Christ and are sealed by God – but there’s more! Let’s move on because Jesus is going to cleanse them on this very day with water, a fountain, river :

  • Zechariah 13:1 “On that day a fountain will be opened for the dynasty of David and for the people of Jerusalem, a fountain to cleanse them from all their sins and impurity.
  • Ezekiel 47:1 The River of Healing ] In my vision, the man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple. There I saw a stream flowing east from beneath the door of the Temple and passing to the right of the altar on its south side.
  • Ez 36:25-27 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

More Proof that this chapter in Zechariah is about the Last Days:

  • Zech 14:1-9Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you! I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem.Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart,On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean,] flowing continuously in both summer and winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth.

I know there’s more , but for attention’s sake, let’s put some things together, assuming these verses are talking about the same day, time and moment.

This is between the 6th and 7th seal of Revelation. There will be a day and a time that the Lord God will rise of the dead of Israel who died in their sins and give them new life and a new spirit. (Consider  1 Thes 4:14-17 link in to prove  this – the dead will rise first, and also salvation is for the Jew first and then the Gentiles Romans 1-2 which may prove the Jews rise first and are given a new spirit then the dead in Christ rise up before those alive on earth rise up- and maybe this is why Jesus tells many they will see the Son on man returning on the clouds- because they will be alive again!!!)

More proof! And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.Matthew 24:30

They will be sealed with the Seal of God and nothing will be able to harm them on earth. They will see Jesus, they will mourn for Him as an only Son. A river of cleansing will cleanse them from all their sins. They will be a great army for the Lord and will rise up in the last days to fight for Him.

  •  Are these 4 winds the same 4 winds in Ezekiel that give life to Isreal?
  •  Are the tribes mentioned in Revelation 7 that are sealed the same army that God rose up out of the valley?
  • Is this the valley of decision from Joel?
  • Is this where the people of Israel see Him who was pierced and mourn for Him?

Joel 3:21- the last days war, God will pardon the peoples sins that He has not yet pardoned

Jer 3:26
Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap
and sit among the ashes.
Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son.

***Alert reader, Marilyn just brought up a great point – when exactly does this happen? Is it before or after the 1000 year reign on earth because clearly Revelation 20 tells us the Christ reigns on earth with those Martyred in the last days but what about the rest of mankind, what about Revelation 19 when Christ and His army wages war against the ungodly on earth.  When do the dead rise up? If it’s before the 1000 year reign, where are they if they are not on earth with Christ, and would it be after the 1000 year reign…..and then when exactly is the wedding feast?
  Is the 1000 years the same as the new Jerusalem… or maybe everyone is there and only those martyred reign as kings and priests, but again I thought we would all be priests ministering for Him.
   Another question was, what about the Pharisees -Jesus asked God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing- so what happens to them…and He also told  the Pharisee that he would see Jesus descending down from earth.
    This is what is so awesome about God’s Holy Word. He will reveal things to us at just the right time. I don’t claim to know anything, but there is something here – a putting together of a puzzle piece, a mystery – that we will one day understand. God’s word is God’s word and interpretation, theory and ideas belong to man. Only the Holy Spirit can guide us into Truth. Ask for guidance, have a berean attitude, searching the scriptures when you are taught anything. God bless!!!