Know Your Enemy!

Know Your Enemy!

Most people would probably agree that we are living in times we thought impossible here in America. Having to live under curfews to prevent violence, theft and destruction of property is unimaginable in the land of the free. America has always stood for freedom.  She has fought for freedom within her own borders and beyond. Because of that, we are free to experience life, liberty and to pursue happiness which are rights given to us by God, not by government, as our founding fathers acknowledged.  America was founded by those who acknowledged God and by those who desired freedom to worship. And this is where the angst lies. It is extremely hard during this time to not be moved by what we see. Actually when we see riotous, lawless radicals hijacking the peaceful protests of those who seek justice, it’s almost impossible to not let emotion get the best of us. But we MUST remember, we fight not against flesh and blood.  Our enemy is Satan.  And he hates America because, no matter what anyone says, we are a Godly nation and that puts us in Satan’s crosshairs. Satan hates everyone who loves God. Satan is lawless and is looking for anyone to join his lawless mob. His M.O. is no secret – he steals, kills and destroys. So where you see theft, death and destruction, you see the work of the god of this world. You may think that a person, a sect, a political party or a nation is our enemy.  But they are only tools being manipulated by the lawless one. As the church, we must know who our enemy is! And we must also know that no weapon formed against us will prosper!


18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT)

17 But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken! Isaiah 54:17 (NLT)

Injustice

Injustice

Many of us have watched in disbelief what happened in Minneapolis. In horror, we’ve all seen the videos of the senseless death of a defenseless, handcuffed man at the hands of those who are sworn to serve and protect. So the feelings of anger that rise up when seeing such injustice is understandable and might be the perfect example of righteous anger. But the chaos that quickly ensued was equally unjust for the focus was no longer on the injustice but on the rioters, looters and arsonists. A civil
protest quickly transformed into lawlessness. Feeling anger, even intense anger, is not always wrong. Read Mark 3:1-5 where Jesus was filled with anger towards the Pharisees who wanted to condemn Jesus for healing on the Sabbath or Matthew 21:12-13 where Jesus was angered by those who turned the temple into a flea market. But to respond to sin by sinning is wrong as lawlessness, just like murder, is a sin (I John 3:4). We know from scripture that in the last days lawlessness will abound (Matthew 24:12) and we see that happening right now. But we also know in the last days Jesus will send His angels to pluck the lawless out and cast them into the fire (Matthew 13:41-43). We pray for peace, comfort and justice for the family of George Floyd and also that peace and healing be restored in this country.


Mark 3:1-5 (NKJV)
1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.


Matthew 21:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ “


1 John 3:4 (NKJV)
4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.


Matthew 24:12 (NKJV)
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.


Matthew 13:41-43 (NKJV)
41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Keys To the Kingdom!

Keys To the Kingdom!

Some things just seem to go together – like needle & thread, shoes & socks, pencil & paper or bacon & eggs to name a few. But sometimes there are things that go together but are complete opposites of each other such as pros & cons,  back & forth or sweet & sour. Another such opposite pair that works together is binding and loosing. It is a Biblical principle and it is also a command of God and a very powerful tool that the church has been given to defeat its enemy.  We bind things to make them immovable or ineffective and we loose things to release  them into motion.  God tells us that whatever things we bind or loose on the earth He will bind or loose in heaven.  Binding and loosing are “keys” that we have been given to the kingdom of heaven!  If there are things holding you back from living a healthy, successful and happy life here on earth use the authority God gave you and bind it! Then loose that thing which you need!  So if you are sick and are in need of healing, bind that sickness and loose that healing and God will do it in heaven!  Bring the kingdom of God into your life!

19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 (NKJV)

18
Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18 (NKJV)

Is The Church Doing It’s Job?

Is The Church Doing It’s Job?

“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be 1religion without the Holy Ghost, 2Christianity without Christ, 3forgiveness without repentance, 4salvation without regeneration, 5politics without God, 6heaven without hell.” 

This is a quote from William Booth at the turn of the 20th century.  William Booth and his wife founded the Salvation Army in 1878.  If you examine his words closely, he is referring to the church. Let’s take it one section at a time:  

1)Many, formerly strong spirit filled churches are drawing away from the Holy Spirit today because people say they are uncomfortable with  it.  To retain people,  the Holy Spirit is replaced with entertainment.  

2)Jesus is to be our example but some in the church have turned from His ways because society says it’s hateful so they have church according to their own commandments not Christ’s.

3)People want forgiveness without turning away from that which they seek forgiveness for.

4)Some are wanting the newness of life and assurance of salvation while continuing to live like the old creature they always were requiring absolutely no change on their part. 

5)We eliminate God from politics when we stop electing God-fearing politicians. Many in the church seem to throw their Christian values away when they enter the polling booth. 

6)Some pastors are preaching that a loving God wouldn’t send someone to hell instead of teaching that it’s not up to God – it’s a choice we make by the way we chose to believe and live. Some preachers fail to teach that hell is very real.  

Has the church compromised?  Has the church conformed to the world’s standards? Has it adopted easy believism or in other words wanting salvation without any subsequent change?  Individually we must answer for ourselves and then as a church collectively. As an enlisted soldier in God’s army, let this be our pledge – “I proudly pledge to support and defend the Bible (God’s Word) against all enemies and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same so help me God!    

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)

Mighty Fortress

Mighty Fortress

A definition of the word weapon is – a means of gaining an advantage or defending oneself in a conflict or contest. Service men and women have been given weapons and are trained in using them to uphold their oath to defend their country against all enemies. But what if our enemy isn’t so obvious? The most difficult enemy is one you cannot see.  The world is fighting such an enemy right now.  Ephesians 6:12 (NLT) tells us “12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” The particular weapons provided to our military are of no use against this kind of enemy.

 But that doesn’t mean that we are left defenseless. This kind of enemy requires different weapons.  Along with the great work of our medical providers, our scientists and our Covid19 task forces, we, the church, have additional weapons at our disposal.  Three very important ones are the name of Jesus, the blood of Jesus and the Word of God. First we will focus on the name of Jesus.  In Hebrew, the name Yeshuwah or Yeshua is a derivative of a verb meaning to rescue or to deliver.  In the Old Testament, it is translated into the word salvation.  If we ever needed to be delivered or rescued from an enemy, it is now. Philippians 2:9-10 (NLT)says “9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…”.  The name of Jesus is above the name Corona or virus or Covid19!  In the mouth of a believer, the name of Jesus has power over all things (principalities, powers and even diseases)!  “ The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe” Proverbs 18:10 (NLT). 

So let the name of Jesus be thrust out of your mouth as a mighty weapon against all that the enemy would come against you with because the name of Jesus is your strong fortress and the enemy must bow to that name!! 

Not My New Normal!

Not My New Normal!

I was in line at a store the other day getting a few essentials that we had run out of at home. The floor was marked off with tape at 6 foot intervals and the cashier would call the next customer up to the register when she was ready. We were not allowed to empty our carts ourselves, they did everything for us behind there masks and acrylic shields. The customer in front of me was informed by the cashier “You are only allowed to purchase one of these as she took one out of his cart.” He looked back at me and smirked “the new normal”.

At first, I gave a little chuckle at his remark. But instantly in my spirit I sensed something else. This rose up in me – “No, this is not your new normal and don’t accept it!”. I had another similar experience at the mailbox last week. I opened the statement from my husband’s retirement fund and I saw what had happened to it in the last month. My first reaction was “Oh no! This is suppose to be our source when we retire!” And no sooner was that thought entering my mind that it rose up in my spirit – “Who is your source?”!

It is all too easy during this unprecedented time of devastation to life, health and finances to allow ourselves to worry to the point of panic. It reminds me of Luke 21:25-26 which in the Message Bible says – “It will seem like all hell has broken loose—sun, moon, stars, earth, sea in an uproar and everyone all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking.” But if we look to anything other than God as our source, then we are living on sinking sand.

My job is not my source. My savings account is not my source. The shelves at the supermarket are not my source. And certainly my government is not my source. My source for all things is God and only God! His bounty is endless and He will not leave me lacking. Lift up your eyes because that’s where your help comes from! He made the heavens and the earth so He is more than able to meet your needs!

Psalm 121:1-8 (NKJV) 1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Divine Transplant!!

Divine Transplant!!

We are about to celebrate the most important day in Christianity – Resurrection Sunday! – or more commonly known as Easter. Easter can be overshadowed by the commercial end of it – colored eggs, bunnies, and of course, candy. So sometimes it takes determination to focus on what it is really all about. We recently experienced something that made us think twice about the sacrifice that was made for us to celebrate Easter. My husband recently received a kidney transplant. The night that we received the call that they had a possible kidney we were so excited. After 4 1/2 years of waiting on the transplant list, this was really happening. But the nurse explained to us that the kidney was coming from a cardiac donor, or a person who had suffered a heart attack. And she told us that the donor was not yet deceased. It was their opinion that this person was not going to survive much longer and was an organ donor. So they were calling the recipients of the organs to have them be ready to come at any moment for when the time came. So we found ourselves in a very awkward place. On one hand, he could be getting the kidney he’d been waiting 4 1/2 years for. One the other hand, we were waiting for someone to die so this could happen. And there was a family somewhere that was in horrible pain as their loved one was dying. The nurse told us to expect a call back within a couple of hours and to be preparing to come to the hospital when the call came in. So we knew when the call finally came that the donor had died. How could such a happy time for one family be the saddest of times for another. We prayed to thank God for this wonderful thing that was about to happen for us but prayed for comfort and peace for this family who was suffering. Organ donors are life-givers. They are giving second chances to people, many of whom would not live otherwise. I’d never given any thought to the whole process before. Most of the emphasis is always on the joy experienced by the recipient, never really thinking about the life it took to experience that joy. I said all of that to say this – as we approach Resurrection Sunday, remember the sacrifice that was made. Jesus’ life for ours! Jesus was our donor! He gave up his life so that we could experience an eternal life that otherwise would never have been possible. His life became a part of us and He now lives inside of us. The divine transplant!

Have a blessed Resurrection Day!

Let’s Make the Best of It!

Let’s Make the Best of It!

Yesterday I rode past a house that had a sign in the front yard that read “Honk for Sarah.  It’s her 7th birthday!”  It made me a bit sad that this little girl can’t have a birthday party so I went around the block to pass the house again and honked my horn long and loud. When I got home there was a note on the door asking the neighbors to put hearts in their windows for a sort of scavenger hunt for kids when they are out on walks to count the hearts they find. I know that by now everyone is getting a little stir crazy with social distancing, self quarantining , event cancellations and no personal contact.  But it is so great to see that people are coming up with solutions and ideas that help to get through this time. We can allow bad situations to get us down or we can use them as impetus to find solutions to make it better. So I now have two large red hearts in my front windows and I might even make some more!

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Romans 8:18 (NLT)
18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

God’s Got This!

God’s Got This!

These are unusual times we are experiencing right now.  The entire world is facing a situation that we’ve only seen in movies.  The virus that is spreading around the world is not only a physical threat but an economic one as well. And two of the greatest fears most people have are threats to their health and their finances.  So we thought a reminder of God’s protection over your life was appropriate and needed at this time.  Remember, none of this is a surprise to God.  And He always has the provision before we even have the need!

Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV)
27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, ‘Destroy him!’

Psalm 34:7 (NIV)
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 91:9-11 (NIV)
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge– 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

Psalm 121:8 (NIV)
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Proverbs 3:25-26 (NIV)
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.

Revelation 12:11 (NIV)
11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;

Carnal Christian – Is It a Real Thing?

Carnal Christian – Is It a Real Thing?

I recently was within earshot of a conversation where the subject was referred to as a “carnal Christian”.  I would imagine that all of us have heard that expression before.  So  I pose a question to you:  Is there such a thing as a carnal Christian?  In fact, the phrase appears to be an oxymoron. Can a person who considers himself a Christian remain carnal?  In reference to Ephesians 2:8-10, the scripture would suggest that the answer is no.  First, this scripture tells us that salvation is a gift given to us by the grace of God. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it.  Trying to earn it by doing “works” is totally unscriptural.  The way we receive this gift  of salvation is through faith, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (and in His death and resurrection).  It was an amazing exchange – our sins for His righteousness!  The scriptures goes on to say that the result of this amazing exchange is a changed life. Our salvation should be evidence by good works and obedience to God’s Word. In other words, good works is a result of salvation, not the cause of it.  So if we say we are saved but continue to live carnally (contrary to God’s Word), was there ever a genuine belief (in Christ)? Romans 8:5-8 tells us that carnally minded people are in opposition (enmity)  to God and cannot please Him. Now we all sin, meaning we all slip and fall occasionally in our walk with the Lord. And for that we have repentance, having sincere regret or remorse for what we’ve done.  And upon confession of our sins to God, we can have confidence that we have His forgiveness.  But to live our life according to the desires of our flesh and ignoring God’s Word is being carnally minded which leads to death.  So, back to my original question – Is there such a thing as a carnal Christian? Or, can a person live carnally and be a Christian?  Scripture would suggest you are either a Christian……..or you’re not. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) – 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT) – 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Romans 8:5-8 (NKJV) – 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

1 John 1:7-9 (NKJV)
7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.