“They Will Follow Deceptive Spirits…”

1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.–1 Timothy 4:1 NLT

1Timothy 4: 1-5 NLT

As time passes and the return of Jesus gets closer and closer, we can expect that satan will increase his efforts to turn people away from the Gospel of Jesus. He will do this by increasing persecution, deception, and false teachings. We see these things increasing all over the world each day. More and more of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being imprisoned and martyred each day. We even read of things here in our country that earlier generations would have thought impossible. There are so many people whose consciences have become”seared” over. This speaks to a condition where people have gotten to the point that they feel no remorse for the wrongs that they do. Everything God created is good, but some of those things can be used for evil. Money. power, authority, sex were created to be used for good, but in the hands of some, they become evil. We must be very careful not to require more for a person to be saved than what Jesus requires. Believe that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross, was buried, arose after 3 days and later ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God. That is all that is necessary for salvation. Anything else, is doctrine or works, which may or not be good, but they certainly can’t save you. We need to spend time with Jesus each day so that we are not easily deceived.

Jude 1:10-13

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

“God Will Use This Persecution”

5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering.— 2 Thess. 1:5 NLT

2 Thess. 1:3-10 NLT

Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus?  Paul tells us that we should consider our physical bodies as dead already. 

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.– Col. 3:3 NKJV

Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors.

Romans 12:19-21 NLT

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

“People Telling Us About Your Faith in God”

8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. — 1 Thess. 1:8a NLT

1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 NLT

Paul, Silas, and Timothy had planted the church in Thessalonica and it had stirred up the Jews there, as well as the Thessalonians. Paul had been concerned about the young church and wanted to know how they were doing. Because of the unrest there, Paul had sent Timothy to visit with them and Timothy brought back a good report. This was the reason Paul wrote this letter complimenting them and encouraging them to continue in their work. The people that Paul, Silas, and Timothy witnessed to had received the Gospel with joy and were eager to spread the Good News. Their missionary work was reaping quite a harvest as the church there carried on the work of spreading the Gospel in Macedonia and Southern Greece. Are we being faithful in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to others? Are we blooming where we are planted? Are we laboring in the fields that are white with harvest? Each one should disciple one. That is our part in keeping the Word going and God’s church growing. 

2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.–Luke 10:2 NLT

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

“Stay Alert”

even-smaller-bug-light1

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”

even-smaller-bug-light1

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

even-smaller-bug-light1

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!

even-smaller-bug-light1

 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

even-smaller-bug-light1

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

even-smaller-bug-light1

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

even-smaller-bug-light1

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