Is That Really True?

In the clip above, Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, cites Romans 13 as the pretext for the president to take out the leader of North Korea. Is what he declares really true? The simple answer is No! Especially not from that passage of scripture he uses.

Jeffress makes and egregious but common error in using Romans 13, for the purpose of giving moral credence to actions of war. He runs afoul in reading of the word of God with his mind already made up concerning what is being communicated, without a full understanding of the context or ignoring the context altogether.

Romans 13:1-4 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good.

In the first place, Paul’s readers were facing persecution at the hands of the government of Rome. In spite of this threat, Paul reminds them that rebellion for being unjustly treated was out of the question. God called to be submissive to the laws and leadership of Rome, in so far as they did not inhibit their practice of faith in Jesus. If the law deemed following Jesus a crime, they were to suffer the penalty under Roman law for the sake of Christ (this can be seen in Romans 12:14-21).

Secondly Paul reminds them that governments are appointed and allowed by God, until Jesus returns, therefore even if the governments fall outside their ordained authority, becoming evil, God is allowing it for His purpose.

Thirdly Paul instructs them to be good citizens, which is a good testimony concerning Christ. Note thus far none of this deals with nations at war or pretext for going to war with another nation, which the Bible is not concerned with in the New Testament. Consider the foundation for understanding Romans 13.

Romans 12:14-21 (NKJV) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Upon reading the above passage it ought to be clear Paul was calling his readers to understand, their Christ-like submission and actions of love, in the face of persecution, was how they were to overcome the evil and present Christ.

Lets look further at where Robert Jeffress error is found.

Romans 13:5-7 But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Note that Paul declares to the Christian “But if you do evil” (meaning Christian’s who rebel against the authority), you’re not fighting man but God. Again this does not mean we obey laws that say we cannot pray or follow Jesus. In those cases we obey the God and receive punishment prescribed by men. This we do for Christ’s sake. That being said, we cannot miss that the Romans 13 is not a pretext for just war against another country. Contrary to Jeffress use, the passage is a call for Christians to behave exactly how Jesus behaved, when He was faced with contrary governing authority. What did Jesus do? He laid down His life.

My question is why would the pastor feel the need to defend president Trump on this matter at all? When considering president Trumps own remarks especially the phrase “Fire and Fury”), he did not use language any more inflammatory, then the former three presidents concerning North Korean aggression.

It is for this reason that watching the pastor’s response grieves me all the more. Jeffress is supposed to be one of the presidents spiritual advisers. Would it not have been more prudent to council the president in exercising more self control in his tweeting, or refrain from being hooked into foolish arguments? One would think, but the pastor has already declared he is not looking for those qualities in his president.

 “A Christian writer asked me (Jeffress), ‘Don’t you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?'” he said, referring to Jesus’ famous sermon. “I said absolutely not.”

I realize that a president does not have to be Christian to be a good president. Nor should one’s Christianity (or lack of it) be the acid test for whether a Christian should vote for a president, but the pastor’s words are far more revealing than we might see at the surface. As the a spiritual adviser to the president, does that not entail concern for Donald Trump’s personal spiritual life and soul before the Holy God? Is it not clear to most discerning Christians in America, that the president is in dire need of resurrection life of Jesus Christ? The answer to these questions is yes! Donald Trump is in need of the Christ-life, as revealed in the Beatitudes, a lot more than we need him to protect our civil rights.

The president needs to understand his poverty of spirit, as opposed to his narcissistic pride. He needs to mourn over his sin before the Holy God, instead of believing he does not need forgiveness, but only to do better. The president needs to develop meekness or power under control, rather than spontaneously ejecting diatribes against his enemies. He needs to develop a hunger and thirst for true righteousness. He needs to desire mercy over judgment. He needs a desire to be pure in heart, devoid of his former life and its influence. Donald Trump, as our president of the most powerful nation on earth, needs to seek peace with all men as much as possible.

We followers of Jesus should desire to see all men embodied the qualities of Christ in the beatitudes. When we see these develop the men, we know it has happened only by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. This is what is most troubling about Robert Jeffress. Why would he not want the president to embody these principals?

Could it be that if the president did, Jeffress assets and agenda might not be as safe? My opinion is that many pastors (and Christians) see Donald Trump as the best means, at this time, to a more accommodating culture for themselves or the church. Sadly is appears we may be sucking up to a president, because it’s our best option. We ought to learn the lessons of history well though. When the church has come into union with those who are “friends” of Christianity, without those “friends” being truly Christians, we have never fared very well.

Interestingly, J.K. Rowling author of the Harry Potter series (books I detest), answered Robert Jeffress comments by quoting William Shakespeare…

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villian with a smiling cheek. A goodly apple rotten at heart. Oh what a goodly outside falsehood hath.        

(William Shakespeare from “The Merchant of Venice”)

Although I am not a fan of her work or life style, Rowling’s quote cannot simply be dismissed because she falls outside the community of faith. She reveals a very real cynicism against the church. This cynicism is not unwarranted as it appears we often are silent or on the wrong side of important issues, when its expedient for us.

Please understand I am not writing as an indictment against Robert Jeffress Christianity, as it is clear that even the apostles could love Jesus and be on the wrong side of an argument, such as Peter in Galatians chapter 2. Yet we must remember that Paul rebuked Peter’s un-Christlike behavior, for its potential to carry others off into error. This is the reason I am grieved by Jeffress and other pastors apologetic fervor for the president,  which does not come from the Spirit of God or love of the presidents soul. In my opinion, It arises from either fear, or a desire to curry favor with the president. In either case, it arises from seeking self interest. We will explore this in my next post.

Until then, remember… Stay close to Jesus can rejoice in your calling!!!

Philippians 1:27-29 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Posted in "Fire and Fury", Just War Theory, Robert Jeffress, Romans 13, theology of suffering, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Something is definitely MISSING!

Related imageI’ve been married for almost twenty years. My wife is a fantastic cook. She can do things with chicken that few ever dare to dream of. If I have had one complaint concerning my wife’s cooking, it would be that at times it seems there is one ingredient missing.

You know what I am talking about; when the smell is intoxicating and the appearance causes the kind of drool that involuntarily leaks out of ones mouth (if not careful). As the fork raises to my lips, beads of sweat break out in anticipation, on my forehead. As the morsel of wonder enters my mouth, and in spite of the plethora of flavors, something is missing. What is that necessary ingredient? SALT!!! I am simply not kidding.

In spite of being a culinary master bringing diverse flavors together, and making tasty meals out of almost anything, my wife habitually under salts the food she cooks for our family. My wife on the other hand would tell you I am addicted to salt, so much so that I ought to be the poster child for “high blood pressure” (my blood pressure is actually very good).

maxresdefaultYou may be wondering what is the big deal with salt. The big deal is that salt enhances flavor and in meat it enhances juiciness. Top chefs will report that the right amount of salt, makes the flavor of food blow up in wonderful ways. I do realize that one can use too much salt, like the guy in the picture above, but salt is often the missing ingredient, when food is lacking taste; because salt enhances the power of the flavor of food. Therefore in your cooking add a little more salt.

In like manner there are many powerful passages of scripture, where God’s promises are dripping with potential. We read them and we rejoice at the prospect of what they hold for us. As we pour over the words and consider them, the Holy Spirit speaks “This is for you”. In those times we begin to see we can “live by every word which proceeds forth from the mouth of God”. Yet when we taste to see that the Lord is good, we find something is missing. We understand the promise and potential, yet there seems to be a disconnect in its coming to pass. We take another bite and another hoping in faith for the fulfillment. Eventually we will recognize we can’t avoid the something that is missing. We can see this illustrated from a familiar passage we use in attempting to overcome life controlling issues.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ

This passage happens to be a “go to” passage for many who instruct in Biblical deliverance. I happen to think this is with good reason, Related imagefor this passage is filled with truth on the spiritual warfare; which includes the battle against our being sanctified by the Holy Spirit into the Christ life.

A problem arises when we look at this passage apart from its original context. When this occurs we are trying to ingest a potential laden promise of God, while missing an essential ingredient in assimilating it by faith into our experience. When this occurs we tend to proclaim the promises of God, like a magician’s “Abracadabra”, instead of receiving it by faith, according to the word of God.

Over the course of my pastoral life I have grieved to hear sincere Christians, “name it and claim it”, attempting to “blab and grab” the potential in the words “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. We have even simplified the expression, to our detriment to “I take every thought captive”. This leaves out the more labor intensive and essential words, one being “obedience”.  In order to avoid the error, which leaves us wanting and powerless against strongholds, we must consider what Paul was communicating and how that opens the door for a more personal and powerful application in our walk with Christ.

PAUL HAD A BIG SPIRITUAL PROBLEM HE WAS ATTACKING

When dealing with II Corinthians 10:4-6 we see it is written as Paul is defending his apostolic authority. Paul had real enemies wRelated imageho were trying to undermine his calling and message in the sight of the Corinthian believers. When reading his first letter to the Corinthians we see the beginning stages of this battle in the very first chapters, where the church is being divided into factions; some claiming to follow Paul, some Peter, and even some the Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 1:11-13; 3:1).

Reading further into I Corinthians reveals false teaching, on legal matters between brothers, marriage, the judgment seat of Christ, gifts of the spirit, Christ’s bodily resurrection and the return of Jesus. In the apostle speaking truth to those divisions and heresies, he made some enemies. These enemies in turn were teaching the sheep to disregard Paul’s authority and attack the leaders who stood up for truth.

These enemies began to insult and malign the apostle, as to undermine his authority and teaching (II Corinthians 10:10). To understand the serious nature of this battle, Paul equates these upstarts as Satan’s servants (Read II Corinthians 11:1-4, 12-15). Therefore when we come to II Corinthians 10:4-5 we must understand this context. Paul gives us a clue that his words are about to reveal how he will demolish this satanic church against the church…

2 Corinthians 10:2-3 (NKJV) But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

In Paul addressing the lies (satanic doctrine) that have divided the Corinthians from simple devotion to Christ, and the false teachers (satan’s ministers) that were producing them, helps us understand the need for weapons beyond what humanity can produce to win the fight.

  1. Spiritual wars are won by God’s supernaturally powered weapon; His Word. In vs. 3-4 Paul sees attacks on himself, as attacks on the kingdom of God. Therefore he is not going to fight with the strength of his arm or mind (I Corinthians 2:4-5). Paul declares the foes of the Christ in false teaching can only be brought down by the power of God’s word.
  2. God’s word has destructive force against Satan’s lies, but must be swung. In vs. 5 Paul is saying I am going to swing God’s word like a hammer, to destroy the falsehood, and keep swinging till the strongholds are toppled. Strongholds quite simple are the lies being repeated and taught that lead us to handle life without faith in God’s promises. The apostle would use God’s word as a fire to melt the insensitive coldness that had crept over the faith, who suffered under the falsehood (Jeremiah 23:29).
  3. He would do this by bringing every lie into the light of God’s truth. We read further in vs. 5 that Paul would seize the lie and lay it against the truth, not allowing the lie to stand.
  4. Paul would bring the heretics to kingdom justice if the readers did their part. In vs. 6 Paul writes “and being ready to punish all disobedience...” Here Paul is letting them know that he will be coming to deliver divine justice (church discipline) upon the false teachers. Yet this is only possible if the Corinthian fellowship picks up the missing ingredient.

2 Corinthians 10:6 (NKJV) and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

OBEDIENCE IS THE SALT OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Simply put, Paul is revealing to the Corinthians divine justice and in this case church discipline (ecclesiastically), can’t work until the people are on board with God’s weapon (His word). Not just from a perspective of holing the false teachers accountable, but also the individual Christian as well. Consider for a moment that the Corinthians (including the called leaders) were chastised in Chapter 11:4 for potentially “putting up with” those preaching another Jesus, a different spirit, in fact a different gospel. Why would they do such a thing? Because over time the truth of God’s had meant less and less to them in thier every day lives.

Related image

A mentality of “Were saved, what else is there to know” had begun to creep over them. in this state, they only cared to hear what supported their “get out of jail free card” mentality of faith. In that state, obedience to the word of God and being led by the Holy Spirit had been shelved. In the absence of obedience, carnality was king, instead of King Jesus.

Before the church could be the sweetness of God’s grace to a lost and dying world, where truth reigned and the Spirit of God empowered, the false teachers needed justice. That could only happen if the Corinthians added the missing ingredient of OBEDIENCE to thier individual lives, cocnerning the word of God and His true apostle. Without their return to Christ as Lord over their lives, Paul would have no ability to bring justice through ecclesiastical discipline.

WE NEED TO SETTLE THE QUESTION ONCE AND FOR ALL

This passage transcends the corporate setting of its primary context. Its principals on spiritual warfare is instructive in understanding and prosecuting spiritual warfare as individuals, who often have various and sundry known and unknown stronghold in our lives. I do believe that this passage gives us a pattern to deal with long entrenched spiritual strongholds. God’s word is not bound in its application.

In dealing with strongholds we must understand that they can arise from false teaching. Strongholds can arise from trauma, where we are unable to process what problems we face in a godly fashion In those times, we can react in patterns of behavior that are sinful. This can include, drugs and alcohol, sexual immorality, rage or anger, depression, perfectionism, escapism (through media, recreation, sports, gambling etc.), Image result for STRONGHOLDScults and false religions; the list  is potentially endless. The issue is that they are well ensconced patterns of thought or behavior tied to root cause.

It’s my firm belief that most followers of Christ have strongholds and many of them are infused with demonic chains. Since this is the issue, a mere “name it claim it” or “blab it grab it” declaration is not sufficient. Like Paul, we need to swing the supernatural weapon of God’s word. How does this take place?

  1. The stronghold must be diagnosed in light of God’s word. We don’t want to assume we have a stronghold or make one up when we fail in the Christ life. Being that strongholds are behavior controlling, especially when shaken by life, we need to diagnose them in light of what God’s word calls us too, in living the Christ life. Remember that the behavior is not always the stronghold. The underlying lie that leads us to un-Christlike behavior is. For example, staying in bed for a week with depression is not the stronghold. The stronghold is the improper way we perceive life, apart from God’s viewpoint when we are shaken. The behavior may be the bricks of the tower, but not what is being protected inside.
  2. Once diagnosed we must swing the word of God. This is most difficult for we have been led to believe that faith brings instantaneous results. Let me be clear. At the cross all strongholds are broken. Yet in spite of this truth, we are left to deal with years of stronghold like behavior in well entrenched patterns of thinking. Many of these are not simply erased because we say a magic beans salvation prayer. These patterns emerge to us as we endeavor to walk according to the word of God. The struggle indicates a stronghold, praise God! It is then we use the hammer of the word of God, when the pattern arises. We do this as long as it takes for the word of God, through Holy Spirit empowerment, to become our pattern.
  3. It is often painful demolition. We must remember that this can become very painful. Just like a crutch we become accustomed to using when breaking our leg, where we are fearful of walking without it, our stronghold have been enabling us to cope for a long time. These strongholds, which are inherently tied to the “old man”, appear as “old friends”, the kind that stuck by you when no one else did. Although knowing they are detrimental, destroying our dependence on them and subsequently trusting God can be difficult. Add to this the fact that Satan, wants you to walk with a limp on his crutch, we can see it takes a disciplined, militant effort of faith in God’s word; not merely proclaiming we have taking the thing captive.

Finally this is where we arrive at that often missing ingredient of OBEDIENCE. Just as Paul could not administer divine justice to the false teacher, without the church coming under Christ’s Lordship themselves, so the Holy Spirit can not demolish our strongholds, if we have not settled the issue of OBEDIENCE in ourselves.

Jesus is Not my Homeboy. He is my King! – Guy's T-shirt - Men's Premium T-Shirt

In I Peter 3:15 declares “But sanctify the Lord God (some translations “Christ as Lord) in your hearts”. This means set apart Christ as the sovereign director over every aspect, moment and decision of your life. This means we submit to His sovereignty over our life, willingly. Interestingly Paul prays something similar in Ephesians 3:17 “that Christ would dwell in your hearts by faith”. Why would the apostle pray in this manner, if those who believe have Jesus in their hearts? Because theological truth, however correct, is wasted if it is not practical in the lives of those who believe it. Paul wrote it because Jesus was not the director of their moments, decisions and actions. Jesus is not the invisible guest of my life, he is the King who commands His subjects.

The only way this can be seen, is when we take all His directives now commands, no suggestions if we desire to do them. Without this type of commitment (with the missing ingredient of OBEDIENCE), we will be walking contradictions of His grace. When the lsot seek to taste and see the LORD is good, through our lives, they will distinctly know… “Something is missing!

 

 

Posted in Ephesians 3:17, I Peter 3:15, II Corinthians 10:3-6, Jesus Christ is Lord, spiritual warfare, strongholds, The missing ingredient, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cutting Off Satan’s Access

Related imageThis past week I was troubled by the ease Satan exerted in influencing those who were following Jesus Christ, in the New Testament. I want to clarify that I am not writing of being tempted or being demonized (possessed) by an unclean spirit or demolishing a stronghold, even though the discipline for combating our topic (the ease of Satan influencing followers of Christ) will certainly bear fruit in these areas of spiritual.

My proposition is as follows…

  1. The scriptures illustrate Satan can easily enter into influencing a follower of Christ, even when that follower thinks they are on the narrow road.
  2. The scriptures reveal how ignorant followers of Christ can be when Satan is influencing them or one of our number.
  3. The word of God reveals the place Satan enters our life in order to influence us and subsequently the discipline needed to cut off his access.

ONE MOMENT GOOD AND THE NEXT BAD?

In Matthew’s gospel chapter 16 we see perhaps one of the most polarizing turn of events in the entirety of scripture. First  we see Jesus commending Peter and proclaiming a profound truth.

Matthew 16:16-18 (NKJV)  Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Here we see Jesus pronouncing blessing over Peter’s life for believing the revelation the Father gave him concerning Jesus. Subsequently Jesus proclaims Satan’s kingdom will never prevail against church. Fantastic!!! Peter must have been on top of the world. Yet in spite of this wonderful commendation from our Savior, Peter was about to have a very cold bucket of water dumped on his head, in a rebuke from our Master only a few verses later…

Matthew 16:21-23 (NKJV) From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind  Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

In looking at the other two records of this encounter in the Gospel’s of Mark and Luke we find that, Jesus rebuke of Peter was directly on the heels of His commendation of the disciple.

It is clear that Satan was influencing Peter, for Jesus said to Peter “Get behind me Satan!” What is not apparent is how Peter went from being influenced by the Holy Spirit to being influenced by Satan in such a short time frame. Two things must be noted as we move forward… 1) None one but Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit, on this occasion, was aware that Peter was being influenced by Satan. 2) We must be careful following moments of great revelation; for Satan will look to minimize the effect of the revelation moving forward.

SATAN ENTERS JUDAS

Let us now move to consider Judas Iscariot. John’s Gospel 13:18-29 gives us some enlightening and scary details concerning his betrayal of our Savior. In this passage Jesus is asked to identify the one whom would betray Him. Jesus tells John it would be the one who he gives a piece of bread to directly. Judas is of course that man, but consider what the scripture reveals further…

 John 13:27-29 (NKJV)  Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money-box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.

The word for “entered” in the Greek language means ‘to enter into or to or go through”. The  meaning is fairly plain, yet Judas was primed earlier by the enemy to do this very thing, as recorded in John 13:2 where it the word of God tells us Satan had already put the thought of betraying Jesus in Judas heart. Luke’s Gospel gets more specific concerning how the thought got into Judas heart.

Luke 22:3 (NKJV) Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. 

Note that the word “entered” is the same Greek word used in John’s Gospel. Two things are again apparent from Judas being influenced by Satan that mirror Peter’s encounter 1) Although under Satan’s direct influence, he does not appear to other to be normal, not demonized to any degree. He has no violent and crazy behavior, no naked running around, or growling, or self violence. Judas appears to be normal. 2) Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit without measure is the only one that is aware.

WE CAN’T BE FOOLED LIKE THEM CAN WE?

I realize even asking the question above will ….

  1. Stir some to scoff at the notion of Satan influencing those who are redeemed contrary to God’s will, who are supposed to have the Holy Spirit .
  2. Effect those blissfully ignorant to the unseen spiritual battle raging all around us little if at all.
  3. Stimulate some to find a demon behind every rock in explaining “attack”, failures” or events contrary to their liking.

All three of the above notions are in error, and sadly in this writers experience are the dominant practical theological positions in our contemporary Christian culture. In our day and age, where it would appear the signs of time (Spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24) are exploding across the world, Christians in our nation are living relatively shallow spiritual lives, unaware of deeper spiritual reality.

One need only to see the violent brutality, audacious sexual immorality, and the redefinition of humanity being portrayed in media and acted out in public view, to understand the American society has become almost reprobate. It is no longer a stretch to see the “land of the free” and the “home of the brave” has become “a dwelling place for demons, a prison for every foul spirit” (Revelation 18:2).

In spite of these things being evident, the church is still stuck in lethargy and self-focused individual congregation building. With breakneck pace fellowships split over almost anything, where the opposition parties both proclaim divine right for their preference. It seems they have never read James admonition/rebuke “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exists, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:14-16). Even a cursory read of James epistle makes clear that the readers following satanic and subtle wisdom of the kingdom of darkness led to division in the body of Christ.

This influence from Satan’s kingdom also halted their preaching of the Gospel in the community of lost men, as they exchanged the great commission, for catering to those “lost” who would come to their meetings and fund their operations. View the landscape of Christianity in this nation. When was the last time a Christian knocked at your door with the intention of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ? In Contrast when was the last time you saw a sign for a “VBS” or “outreach event” or some beneficial program around the churches of your town?

Some would declare that only the Jehovah’s Witness and Mormons door knock. This may be true in our time, but that does not make it any less a biblical command. On the other hand, claiming that other solid churches are doing outreach as described above, is certainly not a justifiable reason for continuing its practice, no matter what the effect.

The above mentioned thinking is the way Satan plants counter biblical thought. Counter biblical thought leads to actions that take us from the will of God. The scriptures declare abundantly in the New Testament how easily Satan can move into our influence, through the warnings and admonitions to be on guard. Below are only a few.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Paul relates how Satan influences the church when the Gospel is overly complex…

2 Corinthians 11:3-4 (NKJV) But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

And still further the word of God declares…

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (NKJV) And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Part of our defense, beyond being sober and vigilant, is the supernatural power of God through the gifts of the spirit described in I Corinthians 13, especially the “discerning of spirits” (I Corinthians 12:10). This gift of the Spirit is given for the purpose of discerning the spirit of antichrist entering in among the saints (I John 4:1-3). When the church has not recognized Satan’s often hidden influence, individual bondage ensues, God’s will is hindered by those of His own household and the unity of the church is at risk.

2 Timothy 2:23-26 (NKJV) But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

HOW WE CUT OFF SATAN ENTERING OUR INFLUENCE

Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, 

Jesus speaks these words directly following His rebuke of Peter, which reveals how Satan entered into his influence Peter’s influence. They also reveal how Satan entered Judas life and ours for the purpose of influencing us. The place of entry is when we are protecting SELF! When we are looking to protect self with all its interests, entitlements, preferences, and wants, we are on fertile ground for corruption through satanic influence. Therefore we are called not just to DENY the grosser desires of our baser nature, but to practice self-denial, in all areas of our life. This is not to be ascetic but to learn to trust the Lord for His direction and permission for our good and His glory.

Secondly we must recognize the need to be about the work of the Lord Jesus exclusively, as much as possible, wherever we are in our lives.

As a follower of Jesus our shopping is no longer for our needs, our work no longer to obtain provision, our rest no longer to fill our need for excitement or even rest; they are to be platforms for our being filled with the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of proclaiming Christ Jesus the Messiah. This is what it means to “take up your cross and follow Jesus. This necessary discipline in our lives leads us to the third necessary element in  cutting off Satan’s entering our influence: being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 admonishes us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Most of my readers will say “Amen” to that declaration, but many misunderstand what it means in practical reality. Contrary to popular opion being filled with the Holy Spiritd does not generally happen the moment a person is saved and sealed, although it could (as was  Cornelius household in Acts 10:34-44).

*[Consider the progression of the disciples from sealed to filled: John 20:22-23; Luke 24:45, 49; Acts 1:4,8, 2:4, 4:31, 8:15-17, 10:34-43, 19:1-7; Ephesians 5:18)]

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is to be the ongoing and miraculously powered sharing of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4), where we live in the fulfillment of what Jesus declares in John 7:37-38. This state of Christian life is like having a mighty river of resurrection power animating our obedience to God’s word. This is blessed union with Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit fullness, whereby we do these things and greater, as we walk as He walked. In this fullness the promise of power over all the enemy becomes practical and real. It is in this state that we are the least vulnerable.

*[REMEMBER vulnerable does not mean invulnerable. Peter even after being filled with the Holy Spirit fell to satanic influence through respecting persons and legalism]  

How are you growing in self-denial, walking in the Great Commission to proclaim Christ wherever you are walking? Are you being filled to overflowing with the Spirit? We have not more time to dally in dipping our toes in, we must dive into the ocean of God’s fullness. We must cut off Satan’s entering our influence. Too much is at stake!!!

Posted in Jesus Christ, Matthew 16:13-28, Satan, spiritual warfare, The Bible, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“At Thy Feet I Fall”

Related imageFew songs written over the last 60 years of compliled church music, every move me or are used to encourage me, like old hymns. Every now and again  I come across a hymn I have never heard.  Almost every time this occurs, I am floored by the way our Lord Jesus Christ speaks to me through its words and phrases. Below are the words to “At Thy Feet I Fall” written by Catherine Booth -Clibborn the wife of the founder of the Salvation Army William Booth.

Sadly many in our day don’t understadn that the Salvation Army was founded as a powerful Great Commission movement to take Christ to the nations. In this hymn sister Booth-Clibborn reminds us of the continual need of every disciple for God’s continuing grace in Christ.

At Thy Feet I  Fall

O Lamb of God! Thou wonderful sin-bearer,
Hard after Thee my soul doth follow on;
As pants the hart for streams in desert dreary,
So pants my soul for Thee, O Thou life-giving One.

Refrain:
At Thy feet I fall,
Yield Thee up my all,
To suffer, live, or die
For my Lord crucified.

I mourn, I mourn the sin that drove Thee from me,
And blackest darkness brought into my soul;
Now I renounce the cursed sin that hindered,
And come once more to Thee, to be made fully whole.

Descend the heavens, Thou whom my soul adoreth!
Oh, come just now, fill my poor longing breast;
For Thee, for Thee, I watch, as for the morning!
Apart from Thee, I find neither joy, peace, nor rest.

Come, Holy Ghost, Thy mighty aid bestowing,
Destroy the works of sin, the self, the pride;
Burn, burn in me, my idols overthrowing;
Prepare my heart for Him—for my Lord crucified.

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Posted in At Thy Feet I Fall, Catherine Booth-Clibborn, Salvation Army, Uncategorized, William Booth | Leave a comment

“I Talk Back to the Devil” (A.W. Tozer)

Related imageBelow is a very insightful passage from A.W. Tozer in His classic work “I talk Back to the Devil”…

“Why doesn’t the old devil, Satan, give up and bow out of the picture when a person becomes a believing Christian? Although he is a dark and sinister foe dedicated to the damnation of humans, I think he knows that it is no use trying to damn a forgiven and justified child of God who is in the Lord’s hands.

So, it becomes the devils business to keep the Christian’s spirit imprisoned. He knows that the believing and justified Christian has been raised up out of the grave of his sins and trespasses. From that point on, Satan works that much harder to keep us bound and gagged, actually imprisoned in our own grave-clothes.

He knows that if we continue in this kind of bondage, e will never be able to claim our rightful spiritual heritage. He knows also that while we continue bound in this kind of enslavement we are not much better off than when we were spiritually dead. This is one reason why the Christians in today’s churches are behaving like a flock of frightened sheep – so intimidated by the devil that we can’t even say “Amen”!

I admit that occasionally you find a few who are just childishly happy about everything, but that is not what I mean. Often these are just like children playing in the market places, having never been seriously engaged in the conflict on the spiritual battlefield. Show me an individual or a congregation committed to spiritual progress with the Lord, interested in what the Bible teaches about spiritual perfection and victory, and I will show you where there is strong and immediate defiance by the devil!

In my opinion, the underlined section of Tozer’s writing, is the reason for such exhaustion and disenfranchisement in so many truly faithful saints. Even within the friendly confines of “church”  as we know it are those who are very easily taken captive by satan to do his will (II Timothy 2:24-26*).  When a person is truly committed to Christ and moves into a position, where their life or words on Christ’s behalf illuminate immaturity, ungodliness or error, Satan bears his teeth and roars to intimidate.

It is imperative we do not take the intimidation and potentially disastrous consequences personal. It is very easy to fall into a “woe is me” selfish and depressive state (might as well say sinful as well). In many cases I have taken the bait and almost fainted, as I struggled to believe I would see the glory of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13). Thank the Lord Jesus Christ, He is able to keep me from falling and present me faultless before the throne of His glory, for without Him I would have certainly fallen to despair and possibly unbelief (Jude 1:24).

My dear friend, take to heart the word of God in the midst of your trial. If what you face is for not other reason your following Jesus with all your heart, where your life is a blinding example of others sin, lack of righteousness and love, than…

  1. continue to humble yourself under His mighty hand and love others as Jesus does (I Peter 5:6-9).
  2. Be strong and courageous and have the mind of Christ (Joshua 1:9; Ephesians 6:1-18)
  3. Tell the Devil off!!! Let him know you will not be moved. Be part of destroying his counterfeit rule over men through living righteously, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and loving the brethren; even those who seem to be your enemies at a given time (Matthew 5:6; Mark 16:15-20; John 13:35).

Do you Talk Back to the Devil?

Posted in A. W. Tozer, I Peter 5:6-9, I Talk Back to the Devil, II Timothy 2:24-26, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

RECTANGLES (A Plea To Seek His Glory)

Related imageHave you ever wondered why people are drawn to look outside through windows?  As I pondered this question a few things become clear to me.  In the first place, most windows are rectangular.  I have looked through many windows in my life; most of them have been shaped this way.  Most of those windows are made of see through glass, as it would not be much of a window if you could not see through it.  Even in the case of stained glass, it is see through in order to let the light shine through to enhance the beauty of the art.  The rectangles we call windows act as portals through which we see into another environment.  They can be sweet escapes.

Windows let light into what are dim areas; they remind us there is more of life to encounter, outside the room we are in.  Rectangular windows have a way of bringing needed perspective.

For forty hours a week (or more, we are in a cramped office, school or factory with little natural light.  In the midst of your activities you encounter issues, problems and the human stuff that often times over takes over our thoughts to such a degree that even the drive home seems to be swimming in them.  This can go on for weeks, months and even years and although you have the weekend to look forward too, the grind and its drive can overwhelm… yet wait, you see it… a rectangular window, with light that is calling you over.

Image result for mountains outside my window

As you look through this rectangular escape, you see the sun is shining and the birds are flying.  You feel warmth as you lean against the pane of glass and see a vast expanse of sky in all its blue beauty and you long to be outside instead of in your cramped, dim circumstance.  As you think of the monumental problems of your day and the difficulties of your inside undertakings, you realize by looking outside that the issues and dilemmas you face, in the little bit you of creation you can see, are not so monumental.  In just a two minute view through your rectangular escape you feel the tightness in your chest decompress.

As we consider the power of these little perspective checks in our lives, it is important to understand why they are such compelling escapes. Looking through them shows us where we belong to find perspective and hope; in the created order, seeing God’s majesty, being overwhelmed by His presence and knowing our place in His world.

Our rectangular windows may periodically decompress our life, but if the light coming through is not followed outside, your rectangle may become stumbling block to what is really necessary; to get outside to see the immeasurable majesty of creation and embrace the blessings of God.  I realize this may sound a bit like a tree hugging plea to get back to God’s creation, but it is not.  It is a plea to consider how the rectangles, even windows, we look through can be a hindrance to walking in what God calls us too.  If we are constantly staring at rectangles, our world actually shrinks and we need not look far to see we are a people of rectangles.

Every day we wake up after sleeping in beds that are rectangles, walk through countless doors that are rectangles and look through windows that are rectangles.  We drive in cars that from bird’s eye view… yes look like rectangles.  We read books that are rectangles, talk on phones, read from phones and watch on phones that are rectangles.  In fact through T.V., computers, tablets and cell phones we spend ridiculous amounts of time looking through rectangular windows.  Out of all these rectangles the most biblical one, in my humble opinion would be the book rectangle, for it is where can encounter the written Word of God.

One of my favorite scriptures is in II Corinthians 3:18 where the Word of God declares,

“We all, with unveiled face, as in a glass (mirror “rectangle”), behold the glory of the Lord and are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord”.

Related imageOne must recognize this is not necessarily in reference to the Bible, but that beautiful rectangular book is the best place to start beholding the face of Christ.  The passage itself transcends the reading of the written Word, which gives us a window to encounter the Living Word, which is none other than Jesus Christ.  This of course takes a deeper journey than just reading.  At some point, the written Word, must lead to encountering the Living Word of God, who cannot be contained on the pages of Holy Writ.  In order to encounter the full majesty and glory of the One True God, we must walk with the Holy Spirit through the rectangular window of the written Word.  This leads to my main idea; American Christians must be careful not to miss the very Savior we say we pursue in the dimmer light of all our modern rectangles. This message is a warning to us all. We are being programmed to be directed by our rectangular windows of our modern life.

A few years ago, while I was away at the Christian and Missionary Alliance General Council, I saw in person the power of modern rectangular windows and in fact the addictive quality of them.  For those of you who have no idea what the C&MA General Council is, let me briefly explain.  Every two years most of the ministers and lay delegates from the Christian and Missionary Alliance gather in a city (this year it was Tamp Bay) to hold meetings.  These meetings have necessary denominational business, times of prayer, times of worship, and times of preaching.  God was moving by His Spirit, yet were many of us missing Him, while staring at windows or being called by windows to engage them instead of Him?

What troubled me, in light of the above questions, was how dependent (I could say addicted) many of the ministerial and lay delegates have become to their rectangular windows.  During business and worship times I saw many constantly looking to their phones and tablets.  Some I am sure were taking notes, but many others were surfing the internet, playing games, tweeting clever comments, answering emails, and engaging social media. It seemed to me we needed a scriptural admonition or rebuke. Ecclesiastes 5:1 is such an admonition/rebuke “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools”.

Image result for church all on tablets

Whatever did the man of God do 30 years ago before they were constantly connected to everyone in the world with a rectangular device?  My question is not for the sake of being a curmudgeon, as I am probably too young to be longing for the good old days where we walked up hill four miles and ate dirt to survive.  I am asking all who read this, how is your rectangle enhancing your connection to God?  Sure you can connect with a congregation member instantly, but maybe we need to teach them to connect to God instantly.  Sure we can find information as fast as our connection can take us, but is that information taking us where He wills us to go and do what He desires.

We can all recite, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge the Lord and He will direct your paths”, but that passage implies we wait on the Lord for His direction, that we cultivate an ear to hear His instruction.  This is wildly difficult when our flesh pulls us to connect whenever there is an unfilled moment.

God does not tweet, but He leads His listening children moment by moment if they are in tune with Him (Romans 8:14).  So as good as rectangles can appear, they do hinder our getting to where the real blessing lies.  Is the church of Jesus Christ better and more relevant for our use of rectangles in the American Church? Is this connectivity and “convenience really enhancing the way we explain the gospel?  Does God really need His children to use worldly and modern windows to be a conduit of revival or are they just a clever way to make us feel relevant and less bored?

Consider that at this General Council a seasoned and Holy Spirit filled man of God spoke the burden of the Lord.  His message brought business to a standstill, and prayer was offered.  Our outgoing President suggested we pray further at the close of that session, which was more than appropriate.  With close to 1500 in attendance less than 150 people remained too labored in prayer.

I am not blaming wireless devices sole for 90% of the most spiritual leaders walking away from the burden of prayer; but those rectangles as well as the others we spend hours with, steward a mindset of instant gratification at the click of a button. Our relationship to God through prayer (or for anything else) does no work in an instant gratification manner. The use of these objects are not compatible with the life of the called out and are part of the world system, which trains us in fleshly patterns instead of Christ-like and Spirit led patterns.  Just for a moment consider a passage of scripture…

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV) 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

The world pattern set up by the devil begins with the lust of the flesh.  This speaks of the perversion of natural desires which begin to become more prominent than they should.  Our flesh cries out for them to be gratified and that instantly, without thinking if we are sowing to the flesh or the Spirit (Galatians 6:7-8).  I

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n thinking just about the phones we use, we can see our natural desire for connectedness being perverted with instant connection to thousands.  Is this what the Lord really desires for His people?  What about the lust of the eyes?  Our eyes were made to see glorious things; in fact they are easily drawn to the extraordinary.  Because of this natural predisposition we need to make sure we are no falling to the enemy’s temptation to stare continuously at little lights and images, at the risk of missing the way the truth and the Life.  In Steven Curtis Chapman’s Song “Wake Up and See the Glory” the chorus sings…

I’m playing Gameboy standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon…

I’m eating candy sitting at a gourmet feast…

I’m wading in a puddle when I could be swimming in the ocean…

Tell me what’s the deal with me?

Wake up and see the glory.

Make no mistake beloved we are addicted to our rectangles and this is where we encounter the pride of life.  While in Tampa a brother and I were talking about why I choose not to have or use these devices (except the computer for limited tasks).  We discussed the ease off falling into pornography as one reason I chose not to partake.  It was not the only reason and in fact not the most prominent one.  As previously stated these things are part of a world system of communication that is unnecessary for the child of God.

I am not advocating for complete abstinence from rectangles in our life (although we might want to prayerfully consider that option), but asking the needed question; Are we so in love with them, in need of them and enamored by them we are being shaped by their limits and missing out on experiencing the fullness of God?

Here in lies the problem with many of the rectangle in our lives; they show us extraordinary things so often as to make it all common place.  Just take the rectangle of the movies we watch.  With each passing film the ante goes up as to what will shock or amaze us.  The special effects and digital images illicit feelings on sight that please the flesh for a moment, like a fix.  When we need more we can go to our other rectangles for a fix to our hunger.

The problem is we are no longer able to wait on God for real miracles or contact with His presence.  Think I am wrong, stop all media rectangles in your life for one month, see how agitated, depressed and sad you may become, but pull it off and know a real and growing hunger for God  in your heart.  “Oh God you are my God and early I will seek you.  My soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is not water.  To see your power and your glory as I have seen it in the sanctuary (Psalm 63:1-2)” Is this truly your heart’s desire?  If it is stop staring at rectangles.

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Individually Fashioned

Image result for God shapes the heartThe Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”

Psalms 33:13-15 (NKJV)

A few weeks ago I found myself being led to the Greece Ridge Mall. This trip was not devoid of purpose, but orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.

While attempting to pray earlier that morning, I seemed thick and lethargic. The thought came to mind go to the mall and study for Sunday’s message. Over the years when such a thought comes, I have learned to trust the Lord, understanding He wants me to hear something in particular. I grabbed my Bible and journal and drove to the mall.

Image result for greece ridge mall fye

Arriving I ha the idea walking through the mall to a location about 7 minutes in to the facility, but before I got to my intended location, I found a bench sandwiched between two kiosks and sat down. This location (tpicture to the right) is what the Lord had in mind. I opened my Bible to Psalm 33 intending to pray for whatever and whoever the Holy Spirit brought to mind. When my eyes fell over verses 13-15 the Lord began to speak to me very clearly. The message has been with me for two weeks.

I read The Lord looks down from heaven; He sees all the sons of men”, I began to consider the people walking by all looking for something; most of whom unaware of the one True God, who is observing their every move.

The one person which stood out to me most, was the muslim man attending to the custom T-shirt kiosk to my left. Here was a man, quietly doing his work and who most likely has some idea about God. Some of what he believes is true (most of it is not), but does he really consider that God is watching him? Are most people in general or other wise aware of God’s personal gaze? Even more do most Christians live with this truth in practical awareness?

Further still, my eyes panned down the page and read the next line “From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”  Considering this truth my soul flooded my mind with truth from the word of God. Belwo are the conclusions the Holy Spirit led me too.

This passage reveals God’s personal care for each individual that has ever been born. Many would agree that God gives life, yet forget that without God involved in the very procreative act itself, no life would ever be conceived. We believers are often so in awe at seeing life in its earliest stages (through medical technology), we can forget God’s care over every soul ever conceived, even those who turn out to be the biggest God haters.

That is correct, pick your villan… Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jon Un, Jeffery Dahmer or any Isis terrorist committing heinous atrocities; and know that God individually fashioned their heart, and wanted them to come to repentance, even though they did not.

Looking over at this Muslim man I understood, that his false version of God (Allah) does not allow a God who loves, cares for and desires to be with of men in His image. In spite of that fact, God still individually fashioned his heart and wants the man to repent and receive His mercy in the cross. In Islam Allah (a false god) is so transcendent and above his created order, that he would never condescend to be with men. In fact, he has no real dealings with them now, nor even in the Islamic view of paradise, where Allah will not be near those who make it to that place.

Contrary to this view, the one true God does see men moment by moment, and is concerned for them and considering their works, because He individually fashioned his heart. The LORD God Almighty does this through Jesus Christ the Lord, who “is the Light that lights every man coming into the world (I John 1:9). How God does this is remarkable. As He knits us together (Psalm 139:13), He forms the heart and places His image upon it.

Image result for g.m. press

This comes about through Jesus Christ, who is “the expressed image of His (God’s) person” (Hebrews 1:1-3). This phrase describing Jesus Christ refers to a die which casts and image in metal. For those who have worked in a metal fabrication plant this is a very familiar concept. The machines that imprint metal for cars and trucks and other machines are called presses (Like the one to the right).

The press is the entire machine. Hidden in the top is the weight, and glory of the press. This weight has gears, hydraulic lines and electrical circuits, which when fired, push the weight down closing the space between top and bottom. In the space between there is  a die with a top and bottom piece, made often of titanium. This die will cast the intended image.

Just as the entire machine with its weight and die are the press, God is fully involved in fashioning the heart of every man individually. As the character that impacts the metal,is the die, in a similar fashion it is Christ, the eternal Word of God, that impacts and casts the image of God upon every soul coming into the world. This leaves the moral stamp of God’s character on core of a person’s being, What we often refer to as conscience is a good understanding of how this imprint functions. Not only is it remarkable that God individually fashions the heart of all men individually, but how He does this through Jesus is cause for rejoicing and sober reflection.

Reading further in verse 15 we find that beyond individually fashioning our hearts “He considers all their works.”  This totally slays the Islamic view of God, as well as the way many Christians view God’s involvement in their life. Although many “believers” may be able to recite a version of Isaiah 7:14 where we read “Behold, a virgin conceive and bear a Son and shall call Him Immanuel”, do we really understand the full weight of the name Immanuel?

This name referring to Jesus means “God with us”, yet it is not only a reference to God’s desire to dwell with those He created, or His means to bring that about through the atonement of Christ, or even that Jesus is literally God dwelling with us in the flesh; It also refers to the promise of all those who call upon the name of Jesus in faith and repentance. The promise that He will abide with us forever (John 14:16; Hebrews 13:5). The promise that if we obey His commandments He and the Father will make their home with us (John 14:23). The promise that the fullness of redemption in this life is “Christ in us the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

Therfore, because He individually fashions our hearts and gives promises in Christ for that heart, He is intimately involved in every aspect of the Christian’s life; observing all of our activity attempting to lead us in the Christ life. We need to understand this and live according to this truth. Fat to often we treat Him as if He stands behind the answer counter in heaven awaiting our request, giving us what we want, only to remain distant and far off until we need him again. If we are to avoid falling into sin, we must run from that kind of life in practice.

Even David knew in Psalm 51:4, without proof positive of Holy Spirit indwelling, that against God He had sinned doing evil in His sight. Why would he say that unless he understood it was his neglect of God’s presence with him that led to his fall? We need to consider this truth soberly and recover the practice of His presence in our hearts, no only for ourselves but for the lost among us as well.

No matter what we beleive God individually forming their the hearts of the lost and their responsiblity to God for their actions, without the manifest presence of Christ encountered in us, they will never find conviction. How does God bring conviction of sin, judgement and righteousness in the lost? Through those in whom God is supposed to be abiding. Remember it is our eyes He choses to see through, our voices He choses to use to diagnose their works as insufficient, our mouths through which He pronounces the remedy for the sin that separates them from Him. It is the new heart He gives us in the new birth, that is to display the true righteousness of Christ through transformed actions.

The knowledge that God individually fashions the heart of every person, is not a sappy message bent on proving a sentimental view of God, but one that knows the outcome of the unrepentant heart; to burn in conscious existence forever separated from the love and relational presence of God. That is the hell god wants no person to encounter ,because in His love he individually fashions their heart to be the throne of His presence; the place from which His love flows to other in all ages and that age to come.

This week count how many people come with in 5 feet of you when you are out and about. Consider God individually fashion their heart as His throne. Ask yourself… how will they know with our a preacher to tell them? THEN BE THE PREACHER!!!

 

Posted in God individually fahsions the hearts of all men, Hebrews 1:1-3, I John 1:9, Psalm 139:13, Psalm 33:13-15, Uncategorized | Leave a comment