Monday, September 11, 2017
Is it time for Christians to (shut up) not speak up about certain topics? In Amos 5:12, the prophet said because of manifold transgressions and mighty sins, the prudent keep silent for it is an evil time.
Prudence refers to knowing when it's time to do or say something. Is it prudent for the church to become embroiled in arguments and debates regarding its values? This is an evil time therefore, it is prudent not to intentionally start or stir up debates and arguments about certain topics.
Jesus said some did not understand what he was saying because they did not want to hear what he had to say.(John 8:43) Are you wasting your time speaking to people who don't care about what you have to say?
Christians should remain silent in some cases because as Dr. Clarence Walker, author of Breaking Strongholds, "forceful, stubborn, arguments, opinions ideas and philosophies cannot be argued away, they can't be complained away, regulated or picketed down and they do not self- destruct. Why? Because they are strongholds.
Strongholds are of a spiritual nature and must be fought via the spirit. The stronghold against Christianity is spiritual and was built because Christians were asleep, we focused on how to seek God for blessings instead of seeking Him to help us live holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:6). We were not told that if we failed to live holy a breach would occur in the fortress, allowing the enemy to build a stronghold operated by strongman. We did not know the strongman would be difficult to dislodge.
But thank God there is a remedy! Right now, it appears the enemy's goods (the people he has bound, the arguments and opinions about Christianity) are secure but thank God, Jesus Christ has come and bound the strongman. (Luke 11:20-22)
The day is coming when we won't have to argue about our values because God is going to pour out salvation and righteousness upon the land (Isaiah 45:8) and people will know right from wrong and turn from sin. He will convict their hearts of sin, so until He does that stop arguing with people about sin and Christian values.
Focus on Your Own Sinful Issues
Stop worrying about what others are doing. What are you doing? Paul said, you who "preach against stealing do you steal? If you preach against adultery, do you commit adultery? (Romans 2:21-22)
God will convict people of sin when Christians get rid of their own sin. No one is perfect but there are certain things Christians cannot do. Fornication and covetousness is deeply embedded in the church and must be cast out. In Ephesians 5:3, Paul said, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
If they are not cast out God will let your enemies chastise you! You will be harassed, you will be the tail and not the head and will lose influence. However, when you turn from sin, God will make your enemies be at peace with you. (Proverbs 16:7)
Proverbs 28:2 says for the transgressions of the land, many are its princess (strong men and strongholds). However, the last part of the verse says that by a righteous man the state is restored.
Although there are mighty strongholds in the land we can overcome them, if God's people begin to walk in righteousness that is obey God. The state of the land, its peace, security, and allegiance to God will be restored.
We can destroy the devil’s strongholds and send wickedness back to the pit when righteousness is restored in the land. God promised if we humble ourselves and pray, and seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways he would heal the land. (2 Chronicles 7:14). Humble people admit they are wrong and begin to do the right thing.
Christians are the salt of the world. If salt loses its saltiness it loses its value and will be trampled under the foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)
So, it's in your hands, do you want to be trampled under the foot of men, loosing rights and freedom?
Will you continue to fight a spiritual battle with words or use the spiritual weapon of obedience to change the world from a state of chaos to one of peace.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
In Mark 2:1-5, we read the biblical account of four men who take their paralyzed friend to be healed by Jesus. However, due to the crowd blocking the entrance to where Jesus was, the men decided to gain access to Jesus via the roof. This was no easy task because the roof was constructed of beams and covered with branches and a thick layer of mud plaster. They had to climb an outside stairway to get to the roof. Imagine the work required to dismantle the roof. Imagine carrying a paralyzed man on a cot up a stairway and letting him down on the cot in an overly crowed room. That's bold, bodacious faith!
Scripture says, their friend had the palsy, the palsy is a disease where the body or some parts of the body lose motion, sensation or feeling.
When Jesus saw their faith, he forgave the paralytic's sin and healed him. Warren Wiersbe says, "The paralytics friends did not simply pray about their friend's condition but they put some feet to their prayers, and did not permit the difficult circumstances to discourage them. They worked together and dared to do something different, and Jesus rewarded their efforts. How easy it would have been for them to say, "Well, there is no sense trying to get to Jesus today! Maybe we can come back tomorrow."
Let's put some feet to our faith and overcome the difficult circumstances in our lives. Let's not be discouraged because if Jesus sees our faith in Him and His power to avail us of all that ails us He will help us.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
While shopping at a local thrift store yesterday, I heard a child say "look mother a sword. She said that's not a sword it's cross. He said "oh but I can pretend it's a sword" So he walked out of the isle pretending it was sword, stabbing and jabbing an invisible opponent.
Such is the Christian life. The cross is our sword it is the precious weapon given to us by our God. This weapon defeats every enemy known to mankind. However, we must be mindful of it and use it on a daily basis, moment by moment, minute by minute, second by second. Although our enemies are invisible we can tell when they are near by what we think or feel. We can tell when they are around or they've been around by our circumstances. Yet, because of the cross we can defeat them and reverse/overcome negative circumstances. Let's take a moment to look at what happened when someone was crucified. James Strong and John McClintock Cyclopedia says:
Nails, being driven through parts of the hands and feet which are full of nerves and tendons (and yet at a distance from the heart), create the most exquisite anguish.
The exposure of so many wounds and lacerations brings on inflammation, which tends to become gangrene, and every moment increases the poignancy of suffering.
In the distended parts of the body more blood flows through the arteries than can be carried back into the veins: hence too much blood finds its way from the aorta into the head and stomach, and the blood-vessels of the head become pressed and swollen. The general obstruction of circulation which ensues causes an internal excitement, exertion, and anxiety more intolerable than death itself.
Death by crucifixion (physically considered) is therefore to be attributed to the sympathetic fever which is excited by the wounds, and aggravated by exposure to the weather, privation of water, and the painfully constrained position of the body.
Imagine someone voluntarily going through such a painful death for you.
Paul said,"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
What things do you need,healing, release from mental bondage or oppression, deliverance from drugs or alcohol, relationships restored, financial intervention? If he suffered and died on a cross for you to deliver you from the power of sin, will he not willingly help you with such matters.
Scripture says, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:4- 6
The cross is proof of God's Love for us. Have faith in Jesus Christ and the work of the cross to overcome your enemies. Starting today, plan to use the cross in your daily life, declare its benefits boldly in action and deed.
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Scripture says, If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. Psalms 66:18 (NKJV).
I believe parents may understand this passage because persistent children may ask for something more than once (let's say he or she continues to ask for ice cream after being told no or wait until after dinner). After the given response the child continues to ask for ice cream but instead of saying no or later, the parent responds with silence. It's as if he or she doesn't hear the child. It's not that the parent can't hear the request he or she simply ignores the request.
Perhaps God is the same way, it's not that He can't hear our request, he just responds with silence until we do what He has told us to do. Peter instructed husbands to treat their wives properly so their prayers would not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). He goes on to say if we want to love life and see good days we should avoid evil because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers. (1 Peter 3:10-12).
Although we may be involved in sin God can hear our prayers but He may not grant our requests. He does this out of love. He does this to encourage us to turn back to him and away from the darkness.
John Gill says, "the idea is, that in order that prayer may be heard, there must be a purpose to forsake all forms of sin." Remember sins means to miss the mark. We miss the mark of the commandment to love when we are in sin (whether it's loving God with all our heart or loving our neighbor).
Gill notes the principle in the following:
(a) to secret purposes of sin; to sinful desires, corrupt passions. and evil propensities;
(b) to acts of sin in individuals, as when a man is pursuing a business founded on fraud, dishonesty, oppression, and wrong;
(c) to public acts of sin, as when a people fast and pray Isaiah 58:1-14, and yet hold their fellow-men in bondage; or enact and maintain unjust and unrighteous laws; or uphold the acts of wicked rulers; or countenance and support by law that which is contrary to the law of God."
Remember sin doesn't have to maintain a hold on you because Jesus died to rescue you from Satan's power. (1 John 3:8, Acts 26:18, Colossians 1:13).
The choice is yours serve the God of life (John 17:2) and have your prayers answered or serve the god of death while enjoying the temporary pleasures of sin (John 10:10) and have God ignore your prayers.
I hope you will choose life and live. Choose life and have your prayers answered in the affirmative.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
John F. Craghan, author of Psalms for All Seasons says, "fidelity to God means deliverance from any and all forms of distress. Notice Craghan says, this benefit belongs to those who are in a state of "fidelity." To be a person of fidelity, means to be faithful and loyal in character.
While many are fainting with fear God has instructed Christians not to be fearful or dismayed. The faithful Christian may proclaim as David did in Psalm 18:6. "In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears."
The text goes on to say that, after God heard David's prayers He got in a Cherub, bowed the heavens and came to earth to rescue him. He fought His way through the heavens shooting lightning bolts, dropping hailstones and hot coals of fire upon David's enemies! David's human enemies did not see of feel the hail or great balls of hot coals fall upon them but his spiritual enemies saw and felt them. Remember scripture says, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and power, against rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
Sometimes we forget our human foes are mere instruments of our spiritual foes. Satan enticed Judas to betray Christ.
Even when we are down on ourselves (Mark 5:5), like being depressed, withdrawing from others, having suicidal thoughts and cutting/ wounding ourselves; Satan is behind it. However, when we humble ourselves and pray about our situation God intervenes and the enemy shakes in fear. When we are faithful to God and resist the devil he will flee.
Yes, when we pray God responds. Can you picture evil spirits fleeing as they are being shot with arrows, lightning bolts and hot coals of fire?
The Treasury of David reminds us that our enemy "the prince of the power of the air is soon dislodged when the cherubic chariot is driven through his dominions; therefore let not the legions of hell cause us dismay. He who is with us is greater than all they that be against us."
God can deliver you from any form of distress or trouble. Take time to present your troubles to Him for it is He who fights for you!
The bible makes bold and daring promises to people of faith. Psalm 91:9-10 says, "Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling".
A few words for the word "evil" noted in Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionary are: evil (naturally or morally), adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, exceedingly, great, grief, harm, heavy, sore, sorrow, trouble, wretchedness, wrong.
In verse four of Psalm 91 the psalmist said, "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
The shield noted in this Psalms refers to a shield large enough to shield the entire body hence the name thyreos meaning "a gate or door (or "door-shaped"); used of the large, oblong ancient Roman shield (which looked like a full door), large enough to provide full protection from attack (used only in Eph 6:16)."
The word truth refers to God's trustworthiness and faithfulness.In essence, God's trustworthiness and faithfulness surrounds and protects us as a shield. He is the door keeper in our lives keeping out evil, i.e. adversity, affliction, calamity, sorrow, and trouble as we trust him!
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