“Finally, be strong in the LORD and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with Truth, and having put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; in addition to all, taking up the Shield of Faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of GOD.”
Ephesians 6:10-17 NASB1995
From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.16.21-23.NLT
Matthew 16:21-23 NLT
Are you looking at life like Peter was? I know that for the majority of my life, that’s how I’ve seen and done things. Strictly a human view, and not waiting for God’s view. Too impatient. I still find it difficult to slow down enough in my thoughts to consider what God would think or want. Who’s in charge of your life? If you consider yourself a Christian, like I do, a follower of Jesus Christ, should we be saying “Get away from me, satan!”?
What are you facing today that you need to pray about and wait for God’s leading? Where are you looking at things from the human view, from our human feelings, instead of leaning on the LORD? When do you need to say, “Get away from me, satan!”?
Love God, then yourself. It’s the only way.
“… the god of this world …” That would be Satan, the enemy of all who profess Christ. He has blinded the minds of so many politicians and so many others, calling our nation – our WORLD – into socialism and anarchy. PRAY, Christians, pray!!
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly.
They trust in confusion and speak lies; They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
They hatch adders’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a snake breaks forth.
Their webs will not become clothing, Nor will they cover themselves with their works;
Their works are works of iniquity, And an act of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, Devastation and destruction are in their highways.
They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks;
They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace.
Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us;
We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom.
We grope along the wall like blind men, We grope like those who have no eyes;
We stumble at midday as in the twilight, Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men.
All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves;
We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us.
For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us;
For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities:
Transgressing and denying the Lord, And turning away from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words.
Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands far away;
For truth has stumbled in the street,
And uprightness cannot enter.
Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.
Now the Lord saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.”
Isaiah 59:1-15 NASB1995
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17 NASB1995
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 NASB1995
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 NASB1995
“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:13-17 NASB1995
“I will vindicate the Holiness of My Great Name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the LORD GOD, “when I prove Myself Holy among you in their sight.” Ezekiel 36:23 NASB1995
“He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:3-11 NASB1995
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
Revelation 5:12-13 NASB199
The Scriptures say it all.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB1995
“And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:14 NASB1995Continue reading “Death or LIFE”
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” Colossians 2:8-10 NASB1995
“Temper tantrums, harsh and unkind words, hatred and obscenities have no place in the Christian life. This isn’t about developing some public spotless image, but about deep change in my friendships, family, marriage and dealings with people in the workplace. The new self produces new words and new relationships. Sometimes we’re so eager to get our way that we can compromise honesty and openness. In those moments, though, we’re starting to live outside of Christ and we’re undoing what God has done amongst us.” (from Andy Mason’s Colossians Alive in Christ devotional)
“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—” Colossians 3:8-10 NASB1995
It’s too easy to get caught up in the rhetoric of a charismatic man or woman. In churches and in politics, there are many who have no problem saying whatever they think will advance them the furthest. Acquiring money or followers, they use deceptive to pull us in. They don’t care about telling lies if it gets them what they want. You wants and needs don’t figure in to their plans – but they use our problems as props to get the things they want.
As followers of the Way, Christ followers, lovers of the Truth and the Word, we have to be particular and discerning in who we listen to and what we choose to believe. No one is perfect in this world; I think Paul is quite clear about that. The thing that differentiates you and me from the world is twofold. First, and foremost, as flawed and imperfect as we are, we are forgiven, washed clean, and we are new beings in Christ. Second, as new beings, it is critical that we put on that new self and test everything before blindly following someone because they say the “right” things.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 NASB1995
“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NASB1995
Don’t be deceived, friends. Test everything and everyone against the Scriptures. If you checking them causes them to be angry or upset, that’s a good sign that perhaps they aren’t the one you should be listening to. Remember that no one is perfect, and we are not put here to judge people. We are here to pray for them and encourage them, and to tell them about Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Light. In the words of Paul:
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. Brethren, pray for us . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-25, 28 NASB1995
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9 NASB1995
If Jesus is Risen from the grave, nothing else matters. If Jesus isn’t Risen from the grave, nothing else matters. ME
Remember the hymn In Christ Alone? Verse 3 says Up from the grave He arose! Read John 20 “They saw the linen wrappings…” when wrapping a body, they would use 75# of spices in the linen cloths, which would solidify, causing a cocoon like effect. This “cocoon” was empty, and the head wrap was folded up at the place where Jesus’ head was laid!
Christ is the Living Hope. He is the cause of our faith: “Blessed* [Praise, thank] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a Living Hope …” (John chapter 3) Born again is the only kind of Christian there is. Saved by Grace. Receiving a new life through God is receiving your spiritual life. Born once die twice, born twice die once! The Core of our faith: “… through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, …” The angel said “He is not here; He is Risen!”
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ Love and Righteousness! He did not end at the grave!Jesus arose, Jesus lives, and Jesus is coming again. Our inheritance is death proof and fire proof.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5 NASB1995
Like Peter, my desire is to “….. grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 NASB1995
Some people say that Jesus was a good man. He was not good. He IS GOODNESS. Some say He was created by God. He was not created. JESUS IS CREATOR. He cannot be customized, and He is not Who you want Him to be. JESUS IS. Listen to what C.S. Lewis, an atheist who started reading the Bible in order to prove it false (he was radically changed by his experience), has to say about Jesus:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C.S. Lewis
Jesus has the Honor of God, and the Name of God.
“And when [GOD] again brings the firstborn [God’s Son, Jesus] into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Hebrews 1:6 NASB1995
No Jew would ever agree that a man was divine, because that would be blasphemy, yet eight Jewish men who met Jesus wrote first-hand accounts of Jesus as God. His Deity is the Touchstone of Christianity. Jesus didn’t just come to preach the Gospel; He lived the Gospel because He was and IS the Gospel! He says things only God should say, “I AM”. As Thomas said “my LORD and THE God!”
“In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:1-3 NASB1995
“And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” Revelation 21:5-7 NASB1995
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:15-20 NASB1995
“There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:9-14 NASB1995
Jesus is God. He is human and divine. He cannot be dismissed or ignored. You are either for Him, or you are against Him. There is no middle ground. This is the single biggest decision you will ever make in your life. It is an eternal decision.
” …… have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” John 20:29 NASB1995
When God said these Words thousands of years ago to the Israelites, He knew they would be true for us today. I substituted our nation in the following scriptures to show His Words to us.
“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the GOD of [America], says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of [the United States of America], trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in My Name. I have not sent them …. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ” – Jeremiah 29:8-9,11 NLT
There are so many false prophets today! Look at the messages being broadcast on national television, plus all of the other media out reaches there are. Giving money will not get you closer to God. Having a charlatan lay His hands on you and pronounce you healed won’t do anything to save you. Lavish sets and thousand dollar suits and dresses don’t show the gospel. Million dollar buildings can’t get you any closer to God, and expecting God to make you rich will only bring spiritual defeat.
Have I offended you yet?
A truly committed, saved by Grace pastor won’t waste his preaching and teaching time to exhort money from his flock. His burning desire will be to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen. He will be a humble man, and he will be more concerned with his people than the building where they meet. It is the Elders and the deacons duty to oversee the care and feeding of the flock, and the head shepherd (the pastor) to oversee it, but also to not be averse to doing whatever needs to be done. His focus should be God first, his wife second only to the LORD, thirdly his children, and then his church flock. That’s the example Jesus gave and lived.
I’m not saying all television pastors are false prophets, and there are great men of God leading some of the biggest churches. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts completely. Great men are ALMOST always bad men.” (From a letter written by Lord Acton, historian and moralistic, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887.) Men called by the LORD don’t want control, they just want to preach as God called them to do. Having said all that, there still have to be funds to maintain the buildings, and to pay a living wage to the pastor in order for him to devote his life to spreading the Gospel. Nobody – NOBODY – needs millions of dollars to live, and many, many pastors work other jobs besides pastoring to they can provide for their families. This includes our politicians!
It is imperative we test our leaders, and that our leaders test tnemselves. Paul and John both wrote about this:
“…. but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NLT
“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from GOD. For there are many false prophets in the world. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.” – 1 John 4:1, 3 NLT
“Our actions will show that we belong to the Truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” – 1 John 3:19 NLT
Look at yourself first before looking at anyone else. (“Look At Yourself” by Uriah Heap. Great song!) We are sinners, saved by Grace and not by works, according to the Gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ. Our preachers and teachers are human, just as we are, and they are not infallible. There will be times when they will stumble and even fall, and it is our job to help them. When Jeremiah wrote his words to the Israelites, I’m quite sure he didn’t know they would be read by me. I’m pretty certain he didn’t know they would still be true today …… but God knew.
Don’t judge them; PRAY for them instead.
(All scriptures quoted from http://bible.com)