Saturday, December 30, 2017

6 Christian Endeavors for 2018

Endeavor to Make Jesus Christ Your Savior:

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Neither is there salvation in any other - No kind of healing, whether for body or soul, can come through any but him who is called Jesus. The spirit of health resides in him; and from him alone its influences must be received.

For there is none other name - Not only no other person, but no name except that divinely appointed one, Matthew 1:21, by which salvation from sin can be expected - none given under heaven - no other means ever devised by God himself for the salvation of a lost world. All other means were only subordinate, and referred to him, and had their efficacy from him alone. He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; and no man ever came, or can come, to the Father but by him. (Adam Clarke's Commentary).

Endeavor to Walk (live) by Faith:

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight

Better, and not by what we see (or, by appearance). It seems almost sad to alter the wording of a familiar and favorite text, but it must be admitted that the word translated “sight” never means the faculty of seeing, but always the form and fashion of the thing seen. (Comp. Luke 3:22; Luke 9:29; John 5:37.) The fact is taken for granted; and it comes as the proof that as we are, we are absent from the Lord. Now we believe in Him without seeing Him; hereafter we shall see Him face to face. Our life and conduct and our “walk” in this world rest on our belief in the Unseen. (Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers)

Endeavor to Cast Your Cares Upon Him (Jesus):

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Casting all your care, your anxiety, your distracting care, on him, for he careth, for he meddles or concerns himself, with the things that interest you. Whatever things concern a follower of God, whether they be spiritual or temporal, or whether in themselves great or small, God concerns himself with them; what affects them affects him; in all their afflictions he is afflicted. He who knows that God cares for him, need have no anxious cares about himself. This is a plain reference to Psalm 55:22: Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee. He will bear both thee and thy burden.

Endeavor to Pray about Everything:

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Be careful for nothing - Be not anxiously solicitous; do not give place to carking care, let what will occur; for anxiety cannot chance the state or condition of anything from bad to good, but will infallibly injure your own souls.

By prayer and supplication - God alone can help you; he is disposed to do it, but you must ask by prayer and supplication;

By prayer - solemn application to God from a sense of want.

Supplication - continuance in earnest prayer. With thanksgiving, for innumerable favors already received; and for dangers, evils, and deaths turned aside. And let your souls be found in this exercise, or in the disposition in which this exercise can be performed, at all times, on all occasions, and in all places.(Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible)

Endeavor to keep the Unity of the Spirit. (Ephesians 4:3)

Ephesians 4:3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is always danger of discord where people are brought together in one society. There are so many different tastes, habits, feelings, intellectual varieties, levels of education, and temperament, that there is constant danger of division. Hence, there is so much need of caution and of care among believers. (Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible)

Endeavor to go to Church. (Hebrews 10:25)

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The command,  here is, to meet together for the worship of God, and it is enjoined on Christians as an important duty to do it. It is implied, also, that there is blame or fault where this is “neglected.”

As the manner of some is - Why those here referred to neglected public worship, is not specified. It may have been from such causes as the following:

(1) Some may have been deterred by the fear of persecution, as those who were thus assembled would be more exposed to danger than others.

(2) Some may have neglected the duty because they felt no interest in it - as professing Christians now sometimes do.

(3) It is possible that some may have had doubts about the necessity and propriety of this duty, and on that account may have neglected it.

(4) Or it may perhaps have been, though we can hardly suppose that this reason existed, that some may have neglected it from a cause which now sometimes operates - from dissatisfaction with a preacher, or with some member or members of the church, or with some measure in the church. (Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible)

Monday, November 27, 2017

5 Reasons Jesus Shed His Blood for Us

Jesus Shed His Blood to Grant us Admission into Paradise (again).

And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)."

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7). 

Jesus Shed His Blood So We May Gain Immortality.

Because Christ shed His blood for us we are delivered from death (mortality) and have received eternal life (immortality)! "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:53).

Jesus Shed His Blood So We Could Be Reconciled to God.

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:10). 

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled" (Colossians 1:21). 

Jesus Shed His Blood To Deliver us From Satan's Power

According to Acts 26:18, Paul was sent to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." 

"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son "Colossians 1:13". "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness "(1 Thessalonians 5:5). 

Jesus Shed His Blood To Destroy Satan Because He Had the Power of Death

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil "(Hebrews 2:14). 

"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8).

Monday, November 13, 2017

Can You Have Jesus as Your Savior But Not Your Lord (Understanding No-Lordship Salvation)

The other day I heard someone quoting John 13:34, then he said, "Grace trumps obedience." He said "Grace trumps obedience, because Jesus gave us a new commandment and that commandment is to love one another." He said "the only thing Jesus told us to do is love one another and not that other stuff" (obedience). The text he referred to says, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

He's not the only person who believes we are only required to love others. I've heard others say, "Paul gave us a new revelation on law and grace, we are not under law but under grace and if anyone preaches against sin they are in error."

I didn't know where this line of teaching came from until I read John MacArthur's book "Faith Works the Gospel According to the Apostles"…you should pick up a copy for yourself.In the book John points out something called "no-lordship salvation". No lordship salvation promotes the belief or theology that one can accept Jesus as Savior but not Lord. All you have to do is believe in Jesus to accept him as your Savior. One simply accepts the facts or principles of the gospel about Jesus Christ. You simply believe what is written about his life, death, and resurrection but you are not required to submit or surrender to his Lordship.

MacArthur quotes Charles Ryrie author of So Great Salvation by saying the following about 
No Lordship Salvation:

  • The news that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead is the complete gospel. Nothing else must be believed for Salvation. 
  • Submission is not in any sense a condition for eternal life. "Calling on the Lord" means appealing to Him not submitting to Him.
  • Christians may fall into a state of lifelong carnality. A whole category of "carnal Christians" born again people who continuously live like the unsaved-exists in the church.(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
It is possible to experience a moment of faith that guarantees heaven for eternity, then to turn away and live a life that is utterly barren of any spiritual fruit. (John 15:16)

Disobedience and prolonged sin are not reasons to doubt the reality of one's faith.

We know the above information is not true because James said even demons believe in the facts about Jesus (James 2:19). But they have no desire to submit to him. So to believe in no-lordship salvation is to believe as demons believe. If you believe as demons believe and do what demons do, you one must be prepared to receive the same punishment demons will receive. For sin originated with Satan and demons. Some will be given direct orders from Jesus to join Satan and his angels in hell because they failed to recognize truth (Matthew 25:41). God's word is truth.

Obedience is an Important Part of Salvation. A rich man once asked Jesus what he needed to do to to have eternal life and guess what Jesus said? He said, keep the Commandments! Matthew 19:17. Let's read the text: And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17).

Jesus said to have eternal life, He needed to keep the commandments. Paul told the Corinthians they would not enter into the kingdom of God if they did certain things. You need to grasp this truth for yourself. You need to know without a shadow of doubt what the bible says about obedience and the kingdom of heaven. 

The book of Revelation says, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." (Revelation 22:14-15)

The New Commandment to Love:

Yes, Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

Yes, Paul said in Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

I agree with Jesus and Paul and I believe we need to go deeper to let the Son of Man and Paul speak for themselves through the word of God.

Paul expounds upon the text and confirms Jesus' words in Romans chapter 13. In this chapter he tells us how to fulfill the new commandment.

In this chapter He, says "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

Romans chapter 13:8-14 reads as follows:

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:8-14)

Adam Clarke says, He that loves another will not deprive him of his wife, of his life, of his property, of his good name; and will not even permit a desire to enter into his heart which would lead him to wish to possess anything that is the property of another: for the law - the sacred Scripture, has said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

So you see the Son of God and Paul helped us see why we don't steal, kill, or lie, or take the Lord's name in vain, or cheat on our spouse. We don't do those things simply because we love God, our neighbors, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. To break one of those commandments is to break the commandment to love.

Why You Must Love TruthThe command to love is real and Christians must take heed in these last days because scripture says at some point God is going to send a strong delusion upon those that believe lies. They do not love truth. They read the bible but explain away the text, saying, it says this but it means this. You must love truth, God's Word is truth.

Let's read the text:

1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

I pray you will be a partaker of "Lordship Salvation." Lordship salvation comes from believing truth resulting in the sanctification of your soul! Scripture says, "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Remaining Positive in a Negative World

Remaining positive in today's world seems difficult at times but there are things we can do to keep our spirits/attitudes on a positive note.

Don't Live In Fear

Although there is trouble on earth, God will anoint you with the oil of joy and fill you with His peace if you ask and if you make an effort to guard your heart and mind from seeing things as the world sees them.

He said, “don't fear what they fear. Don’t call a conspiracy what they call a conspiracy (Isaiah 8:12). Meaning as you look around and see what's going on in the world don't become afraid like the rest of the world. Because fear produces fretting and fretting will cause you to react to circumstances with negative energy and anger. Scripture says, human anger doesn't produce the righteousness that God desires (James 1:20).

Monitor What You See

In our age and culture, we need to monitor how we feel after watching certain television shows. Do we feel positive and uplifted or do we feel, sad, angry or irritated. Do we feel motivated to do good or evil to others. 

Scripture tells us to think on things that are lovely, we can't be happy and positive if we are constantly thinking about the negative things going on in the world. We can't be happy if we are thinking about the people, circumstances and situations that tick us off.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Watch What You Say About Other People

Refuse to slander and take up a reproach against others (reproach means to rebuke). Rebuking others is common in our culture. We rebuke (reprehend for a fault) our co-workers, parents, friends, the president, and whoever doesn't agree with us, or think like us, but rebuking/correcting others is a task that belongs to God.

Refuse to gossip about others and talk behind their backs. The book of Proverbs tells us that the words of a talebearer not only wounds (hurts the reputation of the person being talked about) but they also wound the speaker. The words go down into the gossiper's heart, corrupting their character and making them unpleasing to God (Psalms 15 & Psalms 24).

Proverbs 18:8 says, The words of a talebearer are as dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

Perform Positive Deeds

Do good to others and God will "do good" to you. Scripture says, when our ways are pleasing to God, He will make our enemies be at peace with us. We have enemies who want to steal our peace, joy, wealth, hope and health. But God will fight for us when our ways are pleasing to Him.

Scripture says, the eyes of the Lord run to and fro to show himself strong to those having a good heart towards Him. (2 Samuel 16:9). The word "strong" means to be mighty and good to. God is a good God and He seeks to show himself mighty and good to those following in Jesus' footsteps. Scripture says, Jesus went about doing good during His time on earth. 

Acts 10:38 says, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."

If we go about doing good, we set ourselves up to receive and give the gifts of peace, joy and happiness in a turbulent world.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Seven Kinds of People That Tick God Off

There are seven kinds of people or behaviors that tick God off. We see certain behaviors carried out by terrorists, government officials and the media that are known to tick God off. We may be guilty of them as well. 

We notice the first is pride, scripture says God resists the proud, that is, He will fight against them and bring them down in his own time. All we have to do is watch as they begin to fall around us. Let's take a look at the seven behaviors that will summon God's righteous indignation. 

The first three are people who are proud, people who are liars and people who are murders (Proverbs 6:17).

 A proud look: "Eyes that are scornful and look down upon others; or looking upon them with disdain; or reckoning them as unworthy to be looked upon, having an high opinion of their own worth and merit."

A lying tongue: "A tongue speaking falsehood, knowingly and willingly, with an intention to deceive others; to hurt the character of a neighbor, or to flatter a friend. Is there anything in which a man more resembles the devil, who is the father of lies?"

Hands that shed innocent blood: "Killing innocent persons, they are like the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning." 

The next two are those who make evil plans or are quick to do wrong (Proverbs 6:18).

A heart that devises wicked imaginations: "Thoughts of wickedness" which are framed and formed in the heart: and this being the source and fountain of all wickedness, evil thoughts and plans, both against God and men, which are forged and fabricated in the wicked hearts of men and women." 

Feet that are swift in running to mischief; People who commit all manner of sin with greediness, includes murder.

The final two are those who tell lies in court or stir up trouble. (Proverbs 6:19) 

A false witness that speaks lies: "He that raises lies, and spreads them abroad, and swears to them, to the damage of others. This makes the sixth; and the seventh follows, and him that sows discord among brethren; "Whether in a natural relation, or in a civil society, or in a religious community." 

Scripture Commentary adopted from John Gill's Exposition of the Bible.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Why Islam May Overtake Christianity

While attending a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, I saw a Muslim woman kneeling in a corner praying, eyes closed, bowing up and down, lips moving but no audible sound. I left my table to get a closer look, the woman prayed intensely, totally unaware of my presence. 

I stood there watching for about 60  seconds until another Muslim woman approached me. She was very polite and said "Can I help you."  "I'm sorry, but  curiosity got the best of me," I said.  "May I ask you a question?" "Sure", she said smiling. "I noticed she makes sure her head touches the stone when she bows down."  "Why is that?" "We must make contact with the earth when we pray." Why is she praying right now?" " Because now is the hour of prayer, we pray five times a day."

We chatted for a few moments and I went back to my table. From there I watched 10 ladies take  turns to pray. One by one they left the party table filled with gifts and a beautiful cake to pray to their god. I wondered why no one from Chuck E. Cheese tried to stop the train of praying women near the women's restroom but noted they were not loud or disturbing others.

As I thought about what I witnessed I wondered if touching the stone during prayer was a prophetic act. Are they effectively prophesying that Islam will cover the earth? Some believe Islam will increase and displace Christianity simply because of the birthrate. The number of Muslim births are expected to exceed the Christian birthrate in 20 years.

Can Muslims and Christians coexist? No, take a look at Europe. How should Christians respond to the challenges they are facing? The answer of course is prayer.

Christians do not pray enough due to distractions. More hours are spent on social media and entertainment than prayer.  When someone mentions scheduling prayer time to a Christian, to make it a prioritized commitment, he or she often says you are being ritualistic or legalistic. God doesn't require Christians to pray at certain times. While they use their freedom to chase worldly pleasure, the Islamic religion grows faster and faster before our very eyes. A famous author noted while watching a football game, he felt as if God wanted him to pray but was tempted to ask God if the prayer could wait until after the game.

Perhaps, Christians shouldn't look at scheduled prayer time as a ritualistic act. Maybe they should look at it as matter of discipline. It takes discipline to stop work or entertainment to pray.

If there is a decline in Christianity in America it is due to a lack of prayer!

In Mark 14:38, Jesus told the disciples, to watch and pray, lest they fall into temptation. The word temptation means, trials, enticements, and adversity.

Wake up and pray! Turn off your football and basketball games to pray. While you are at Chuck E. Cheese Pray! 

Make time to pray, unless you want to be trampled under the foot of men (Matthew 5:13).

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Colin Kaepernick, the NFL and Donald Trump A Christian's Response

Recently someone asked my opinion regarding Colin Kaepernick, the NFL and Donald Trump. "I pick my battles and that's not my fight, I said".

I refuse to get upset about someone else's decision to make a statement about their own personal beliefs or convictions. Who am I to judge another man's servant for unto God He lives or dies. Concerning food offered to idols Paul said some can eat without being convicted of sin and others cannot. (Romans 14:4-8)

Perhaps some can stand for the flag and the national anthem and others cannot. What's that to me?
When Peter asked Jesus what would happen to John in the future. Jesus said what's that to you, you follow me.

Instead of worrying about whether Colin or any other NFL player stands or kneels during the national anthem why don't you set your eyes on Christ and follow him?

I'm sure He would say," don't worry about what Colin is doing, you follow me.  It is time for you to be about your Father's business. Don't you see the world is in peril and you are arguing with your brothers and sisters about what someone else is doing? Shouldn't you be praying for peace and unity? Didn't I die for the whole world? Didn't I die to give people freedom? I love them if they stand or kneel!"

It's sad to see ministers falling prey to demonic strategies. As we look around and see Satan's hand in causing chaos and division in the world, one would think Christians would repeat what Jesus said, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me". John 14:30

Perhaps we shouldn't talk much about what's going on, it only adds fuel to the fire. James said the tongue is a fire, a world of evil that is used to do hell's work!( James 3:6)

Are you using your tongue via social media to do hell's work? As we see the current state of the world we can see the prince of this world has come. What does he have in you? What will he find in you? We are told to put aside anger, bitterness and harsh words (Ephesians 4:31) Is there anger and bitterness in you? Are you spewing harsh words because someone refuses to stand for the national anthem? Are you angry and offended with the President because he sends out silly tweets and passing laws you don't like? In whose image are you being formed?  Are you a peacemaker or a peacebreaker?Only peacemakers are sons and daughters of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Are you fulfilling your role as an Ambassador of Christ? Are you performing your duties as a minister of reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 or have you become ignorant of Satan's devices for scripture says where their is envy and strife there is every evil work?

James 3:16 Google dictionary says, strife means angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues.

Only God knows the evil that's being wrought in the world as Christians strive with each other over the Flag, Donald Trump and the NFL.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Atheism and The Lord's Prayer

In Psalms 115:16 David reminds us that “The highest heavens belong to the Lord but the earth, He has given to man.” 
This verse is confirmed and supported in Genesis 1:26  when God said,” Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
If God gave earth to man, isn’t it strange that man blames God when evil occurs. God said obey me (act like me) then you will have days like heaven on earth (Deuteronomy 11:21). The ten commandments remind us to love God, love our neighbors and love ourselves. We are told not to kill, not to steal, and not to lie because these are things that harm others. Yet, some would have us believe obeying God is a bad thing!

They want us to think praying to God is a bad thing. Is praying for protection from our enemies bad?  As Atheists seek to suppress the voice of God in the country, we should be very concerned. As God’s Holy Spirit is the only power capable of restraining Satan aka the god of death and destruction. If we continue to allow Satan to gain territory we will have many dark days as a nation.

Someone noted the number of Satanic statues, monuments and temples being erected in certain cities, as God is being censured. It appears that worship of God is being replaced by worship of Satan. To worship means to serve. You are the servant of the one you obey. Atheism is a religion, they actually have church services!  If we obey Satan we worship him. If we obey God we worship God. If you worship the god of death there will be death.Satan knows if we turn away from God he can have his will on earth instead of God's will. That's why we pray let thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).There is no evil going on in heaven!

Can you believe there was a time when there were no school shootings? Can you believe there was a time when there were no mass shootings? Yes, there was such a time. 

Is it possible to return to such a time? If we begin to obey the God of life and light, we can live in peace and safety again. If we restore righteous in the land, peace and safety will return. Unnecessary death and destruction will not reign.

Let’s worship the God who created us and gave us dominion over the earth. Let us exercise dominion as He desires, loving and taking care of each other. Let us worship Him because He deserves our worship, for his love and mercy endures forever! Let's all pray that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Here is the Lord's Prayer, Let's Pray:

 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread. 
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 
 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
 For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Is it Time for Christians to Shut Up?

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

Put Some Feet to Your Faith

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, 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

The Cross Proof Of God's Love

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

When God is Silent

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

God is a Warrior

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!

What happens when God is your "Thyreos" (shield)!

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! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Is God "With" You? God is everywhere but he's not with everyone!


 A friend was involved in a  "grave" sin. He knew it was wronged but said God loves me regardless of what I do and he is with me.  He watched a certain television preacher who preaches "nothing you do can separate you from the love of God." Yet Isaiah 59:2 says," But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."
 In Amos 5:14 God told the people to" seek good, and not evil, that they may live: so He would be with them as they had spoken." They were living in sin and saying God is with us but he really wasn't. Yes, God is everywhere but he's not with everyone!  The word "with" refers to being "for" someone.
 My friend applied for job, he felt comfortable in the interview, so he called a friend and told him to apply as they had several positions open. His friend was hired but he was not. He was having issues with his mate and son, yet he felt comfortable claiming God was with him as he enjoyed his "sin." The event's in his life proved God was not with/for him, as he experienced one defeat after another. Yes, sometimes God allows negative circumstances to come against us to encourage us to draw nigh unto him. For he is the Lord of hosts as the people noted in Amos 5:13 but the Lord of hosts was not fighting for them but against them. He had fixed his eyes on them to do evil and not good (Amos 9:4).
Is God "with" you? As we noted earlier "with" refers to being "for." So the question is, is God for you? Joshua asked the commander of the Lord's army a similar question in, Joshua 5:13 before the walls of Jericho came tumbling down with a shout.
Yes, "the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face (Psalms 11:7). But "God is angry with the wicked every day" (Psalms 7:11).

Some will say that's Old Testament but the last book in the New Testament seals the matter and concurs with the Old Testament.
Revelation 22:12-17 says, "behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.""I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Are you Abiding in the Secret Place?

A large Poplar tree gives shade to my family on hot sunny days. The tree's shade is actually the tree's shadow. Here we get an idea of what David meant when he said in Psalm 91:1  He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
To dwell in the secret place is to take a seat in the presence of God.  While we are sitting there His shadow or shall we say His very presence (can't have a shadow without an object or person) becomes our refuge and fortress.
A fortress is a place that is protected against attack, it is a fortified place, a stronghold.

The Treasury of David says, "He who dwells in an impregnable fortress, naturally trusts in it, and shall not he who dwells in God feel himself well at ease and repose his soul in safety."

Can you say the Lord is your refuge and fortress? Do you trust him? In this age of the rise and grind, self -made millionaire and scientific advances in  medicine and technology, the need to pray and trust God, seems obsolete.  Yet, we are encouraged to take all things to God in prayer, trusting him to come to our aid to protect us from enemies or to supply our needs. 

As noted in The Treasury of David, "We have trusted in God, let us trust him still. He has never failed us, why then should we suspect him? Pray for the grace to say, "In him will I trust." 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

What's the Difference Between False Peace and True Peace?

Before filing for divorce from her husband a co-worker prayed to God about her situation. After praying she said a sense of peace flooded her soul. God had given her peace (so she thought). She filed for divorce the following week.

My co-worker experienced "false peace." It's sort of like the peace Balaam felt or received after asking God over and over if he should go with Balak to curse Israel, after God previously told him not to go with him (Numbers 22:12).

After asking Him a few times, God said go ahead (Numbers 22:20) but He was not happy about it (Numbers 23:36). Balaam went with Balak and sold himself to do evil (1 Kings 21:20). Because he sought and followed "false peace" he became defiled. instead of being remembered as a man of God he is known as a greedy soothsayer (Jude 1:11, Joshua 13:22).

God has given us free will to do as we desire. He gives us freedom to go against his revealed will (as laid out in scripture) or we have freedom to do our own will. I've heard people say, Lord if you don't want me to do this please stop me. No, he gives you freedom to do what you want and suffer the consequences later.

My co-worker new God's will about divorce but decided to divorce her husband based on the desire for another man. She believed she had more in common with the new man. They shared the same goals etc., he could help her be all she could be. After she left her husband she discovered she was one of many women, her so called lover inspired!

So how do you know the difference from false peace and true peace. True peace comes from God. It's the peace Jesus spoke about, when he said "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)

False peace comes from the fleshly nature. Paul said, We have been called unto liberty; and we are not to use our liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Galatians 5:13-14)

He also said, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.   For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:8-14)  

He that loves another will not deprive him of his wife, of his life, of his property, of his good name; and will not even permit a desire to enter into his heart which would lead him to wish to possess anything that is the property of another: for Scripture, has said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Adam Clarke's Commentary)

Let's learn to practice real love as defined in scripture!