“Stay Alert”

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8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. — 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

Paul is telling us to be spiritually alert, sober minded and armed for battle. The demonic forces are well-trained in deception and guerrilla tactics. They are very good at creating illusions that deceive “even the elect”.

 

24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. — Matt. 24:24, 25 NIV

So, what does it mean to be spiritually alert?   It means that we have to be prayed up, full of the Holy Spirit and well disciplined in our study of the Holy Scriptures. Jesus defended Himself against the devil by quoting scriptures to Him.  If Jesus needed the scriptures to ward off satan then we surely need them even more. We need to be aware of where we are weak. The demons know our weaknesses and they attack us in those areas. Don’t walk too near the edge of the cliff. If certain things cause you to be excessive or respond wrongly. stay a long way away from those things. Your pride will tell you that you can handle the situation but your Spirit knows better. Let the Spirit man rise up and mortify the flesh.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. — Romans 8:12-14 NIV

The battlefield is the mind, if we allow the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts, then we can win the battles.

4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Cor. 10:4, 5 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-23-2018

“It Is Finished”

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30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30 NLT
Even while hanging on the cross in agony, Jesus was still concerned about others. He instructed John to take care of His mother. A sip of sour wine from a hyssop branch and then came the last words from the cross, “It is finished!”. Three words that are so full of meaning that men have spent the years since trying to understand the extent of what was said. What was finished? His life? No, this was just an interlude between humanity and heavenly. His work on earth? Yes, but exactly what was His work? If it was just to redeem us by dying on a cross, then what was the rest of it about? Jesus was sent to fulfill prophecy, there is no doubt about that. But a majority of His work was to be an example to us and show us how to live for Him. Our persecuted brothers and sisters will tell you that dying for Jesus is the easy part, it is living for Him that is hard. But with his death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for everything that we need to live and die for Him. There are over 200 names for Jesus in the Bible. Each one either gives us an attribute of Jesus, the work He (as the Holy Spirit) does on earth for us or a need that He fulfills for us. There is nothing He left undone. His part as God the man was truly complete. “It is finished”!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-10-2017

Focus Our Thoughts on Jesus

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And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Phil. 4:8 NLT
If we follow Paul’s advice, we will pray and be thankful for all things that God has done for us. We must continually guard our thoughts and the desires of our hearts. We need to focus on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, excellent and worthy of praise. Then we will become God-conscious. Witnessing for Jesus will be a natural outflow of this kind of thinking. Our actions will be Christ-centered and people will know that we have something they don’t have. If we let our guard down, satan will rush in and have us thinking about the pleasures of the flesh. Then, satan will keep telling us about all the things we don’t have. After listening to that for a short while, we become sin-conscious. In that state of mind, we are of little use to God, ourselves or anyone else. Fight the good fight and stay focused on Jesus. Then we will enjoy God’s peace, joy will overflow and it will be completely natural for us to praise Him for His goodness.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 01-01-2017

We’ve Only Just Begun!

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 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. — Col. 3:11 NLT
 
God’s Holy Spirit abides in us and we abide in Christ. We are now filled with and fully clothed by God Himself. Therefore, we have access to the same attributes as Christ Jesus Himself. Just as we accepted God’s Gift of salvation, we can accept (access) His attributes or we can use our own vain imaginations. The question is this: What thoughts are we going to allow to control our words and actions? “Wrong” or “right” thinking, that is the question.  Will we continue to let our old fleshly nature control our thoughts and actions or will we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us?  Will we allow Him to teach us and guide us into all truth?  Will we allow Him to sanctify us on a daily basis?  The flesh says “no” so we must put to death the flesh and follow after the Spirit.  Jesus wants to be Lord over every area of our lives, not just part.  The journey begins when we accept Jesus as our Savior and continues until we meet our Savior.  It is onward and upward and it gets sweeter every day.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 11-28-2016

 

Empty Philosophies

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Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ — Col. 2:8 NLT

Col. 2:4-10 NLT

With so much information available today, it is almost impossible to get through a day without hearing a lot of high-sounding nonsense.   As I go about running my errands each day, I see billboards, listen to talk radio and watch the opinion shows on TV, I am amazed at the amount of nonsense that is sent out everyday.   I sometimes wonder if the producers of these things think everyone in this country is of low intelligence.  Empty philosophies and words abound everywhere.  How does one keep him/herself from being overly influenced by this worldly chatter?
Those of us that have accepted Jesus Christ must understand that there is a spiritual battle being waged 24/7.  It is just as real as any military operation and it has consequences that last for an eternity.  The mind is the battlefield and that is where we win or lose each battle.  We must keep our spiritual eyes and ears focused on Jesus.  We must put on the full armor of God each morning before we hear the first human voice speak.  God is the Commander of the Heavenly armies and we are a part of that army.  Before you leave home each day, check in with the Commander and see where He needs you to be today.  He is looking for warriors to stand in the gap for families, neighbors, and our country.  Christ is the ruler and authority over the whole universe.  Be committed to Jesus and be so convinced that nothing can change your mind. If we suffer with Him here, we will reign with Him there.  Show the world Jesus by helping and loving those around you today.

Post 10-17-2016

The Little Foxes

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12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.
— 1 Corinthians 10:12 NLT
No matter whether we are new Christians or have served God most of our lives, we still have faults and weaknesses.  Not one of us has a corner on the depths of the meaning of the Holy Scriptures.  We need to always have a teachable spirit and attitude.  When pride leads us to the point that we think we can’t be tempted, watch out, we are about to fall.  When we think “oh, I would never get to that point”, be very careful that you are so proud of your discernment.  The evil one knows our weaknesses and exploits them with amazing dexterity and cleverness.  The sly old fox is always lurking around us waiting for that moment of weakness when he can shoot an arrow through the chink in our Spiritual armor.  One of his favorite tactics is compromise.  A little of this, just this time, won’t hurt and anyway, who’s going to know?  The devil is very adept at showing us beautiful things that turn out to be nothing but illusions. “It’s just a little lie, it’s just a little sin” is a big lie that he wants us to believe. 
Be very careful, it is “the little foxes that spoil the vines” – Song of Solomon 2:15
Post 08-29-2016

God’s Word Brings Peace

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6 If your sinful old self is the boss over your mind, it leads to death. But if the Holy Spirit is the boss over your mind, it leads to life and peace.
— Romans 8:6 New Life Version (NLV)
 
 
Spiritual battles are fought in our minds.  The thoughts that we allow to linger in our minds long enough will turn into words and actions.  That is why the mind must be guarded at all times.  In the early days of computers, there was an acronym that was used quite frequently when computers spit out garbage or nonsense.  That acronym was “gigo” , garbage in, garbage out.  Our minds are the most fantastic computers imaginable.  It is said that most of us never even use ten percent of the capacity of our brains.  So, if we feast on visual and oral garbage for hours every day, then that is what is going to come out of our minds.  We need to be God-focused, not sin-focused.  Don’t fall into the enemy’s trap of remembering and rehearsing your sins and mistakes.  Rather, focus on what you know to be true.  God fulfills every promise.  He forgives us every time we fail.  When satan tempted Jesus, Jesus responded with scriptures. We must fight evil the same way.  That is the example we are to follow. If satan whispers in your ear that you are not forgiven, just quote 1 John 1:9 to him.
9 If we tell Him our sins, He is faithful and we can depend on Him to forgive us of our sins. He will make our lives clean from all sin.
Post 08-09-2016

Keep It Vertical

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22  I was so foolish and ignorant—    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. — Psalm 73:22
 
 
Have you ever wondered if God thinks about us in these terms?  I am sure that satan, the old deceiver, would like for us to believe that He does.  If we have ever had these kind of thoughts, we should be like the Psalmist here. In his very next breath (or verse in this case), he immediately gets his head on straight by remembering what has happened in every instance in the past. The Psalmist realizes that he is speaking from a bitter heart and he has been questioning God’s wisdom.  God never leaves us nor forsakes us nor does He cast us from His presence.  Instead, He reaches down to us and if we reach up to Him, He takes us by the hand and continues to lead us toward our glorious destiny.  The Psalmist remembers that God is our strength, our fortress and our shield.  We allow satan to sneak these silly ideas into our minds when we are focused on the horizontal.   We need to stay focused on the vertical.  That means spending time alone with God, praising and thanking Him for His goodness and His blessings.  If we do this, we can be assured that God will set the rest of the world straight in His own time.  
Post 08-05-2016

The Truth Is Simple

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21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. — Romans 1:21 NLT
 
 
The Bible tells us in several places that only a fool says there is no God.  If a person truly believes there is no God, then his mind will naturally be filled with all kinds of foolish arguments against the existence of God.  Even the demons believe and know that God exists (James 2:19 NLT).  They are not deceived about His existence, but it is their job to deceive others and they do that job well.  We, as humans, cannot imagine the totality of what the Triune God is like.  satan doesn’t have to imagine, he has been in heaven and in the presence of God.  He is the father of lies and liars and as such, he has no qualms about deceiving people.  He tells us little lies and half-truths about God and if we choose to believe those little lies, he has a foot in the door to lead us into total deception and darkness.  His game is half-truths and compromise.  Once he has gotten us to compromise our beliefs, he uses that guilt to take us farther and farther into his world of darkness.  If we continue on the path with him, we will get to the point that we no longer acknowledge that Light exists and our minds will be forever darkened and confused.  The truth never changes but our perception of truth can change.  The truth is very simple.  The Triune God was, He is and He always will be I AM.  God is love and He sent His Son into the world to redeem the fallen world because He is love.  The “why did He choose to do it that way?” part is not so simple.
Post 08-01-2016

Restoration

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7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
— Psalm 51:7 NLT
 
 

David was chosen by God to rule over His people Israel.  God had brought him from the lowly position of shepherd to the highest position in the land. He had watched over and protected David from all of the enemies of Israel and had given him victory after victory. Springtime was when all of the kings went out to war.  Whatever David’s reasons were for staying home in the spring we will never know.   Instead of going out to lead his army as he should have, he sent the army out to fight while he stayed home living a life of leisure and idleness. As the trite old saying goes, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.   David got caught in that trap and fell into sin.  His sin led him to adultery and finally to murder.  As we are told in the book of James, sin brings death.  It brought the death of a marriage, a husband and finally, the death of David’s son.  When Nathan confronted David about his sins, David became humble and repentant.  God forgave him but there were still the consequences of his sin that he had to face.  We must be careful to stay on course and not deviate from what God has called us to do. If we stop and stay idle before the job is finished, we put ourselves in jeopardy. When God shows us our sins, we need to have the same heart David had and react the same way.  God is not looking for ways to punish us but to forgive us and restore us.

1 John 1:5-10 NLT

Post 07-27-2016