Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Are Christians Who Preach The Gospel Like Those of Westboro?

  I find it interesting sometimes, when people are reluctant to listen to us when we are preaching the Gospel. Occasionally, there will be accusations, like being a 'Gay basher' or even just being judgmental. But why do we think such things? Is there any veracity to such accusations?

   I remember as we would go to a little town called, 'Interlachen' there would be a billboard situated in the direction of facing the street as it was coming to the stop sign. It had verses on it like the section out of Romans 1 where God will judge homosexuals. The sign wasn't very grace filled, yet there was some truth on it. Something just seemed off though, and I could never figure out what it was. It resembled something that would have been designed by Westboro, but it wasn't.

  One day, while out sharing the Gospel, an older woman was sitting on a bench. I offered her a tract, and she asked me what it was, so I told her it was a Gospel tract. She was irate. She accused me of judging her, and told me that God was going to judge me for what I was doing. Hmm. I thought I was doing what the Bible says to do, from my heart. What was wrong with this picture?

   Years ago, when my mother was young, the Jehovah's Witnesses used to come around banging on doors. When you let them in, they would try to manipulate you to join their group. The reason they want a person to join their group is because they have a religion that consists of doing good works. I guess if you are a really good person in their religion, maybe you can be one of the Elite, or at least you can get into the other general heaven they believe in. A person's conversion to their group adds Brownie points, so to speak.

  Perhaps the thing that makes Christians look like Westboro is the way the Gospel is communicated by Open Air workers. Open Air workers use microphones to amplify their voices so they can be heard by everyone in large crowds or gatherings. Some also hold up signs that tell people to repent. That action is probably the closest thing to looking like Westboro.

  I am not against people using microphones or even holding up signs while doing evangelism, but at the same time, we have to realize that our message is not the same as the message of Westboro. Fred Phelps, who started Westboro (at least the way it became) claimed to be Primitive Baptist, but functionally, Fred Phelps was Peleagian. Pelagians take their teachings from a 4th century heretic called Pelagius, who believed that human beings are not born with a sinful inclination, but choose to sin. They believe that whenever a person sins, it is because he or she chose to sin, not because he or she was tempted to sin and fell into it due to the sinful flesh, which loves to sin. They also have an outer view of sin, meaning that sin consists of the things we do, not who we are. So, while they are preaching against a particular type of sin, such as homosexuality, they would see homosexuality as the sin that human beings commit. What they don't understand, is that in their hearts, they have pride, greed, envy, hatred, sexual temptations, lust, desire for power, desire for control, strife, idolatry, self-centeredness, and the list goes on. But why do they not see these things as sin?

   The Bible never says 'You shall not be proud', but it tells us to be humble, and if we are proud, God will resist us. The Bible doesn't say, 'You shall not be self-centered', yet the theme of self-centeredness is all throughout the Bible. So, in essence, they are sticking with the 10 Commandments, and some verses out of Leviticus that spell out what we are not to do, and they think that they are doing all of what the law requires. But are they?

   In the Old Testament, there are two commands. Both of these commands are the underlying commands for the 10 Commandments, and any other law God gives. One command says to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. I doubt if anyone is able to do that commandment, unless God enables him or her to. The other commandment says to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we do these commandments, then we will keep all the rest, because keeping the commandments is a heart issue, not an outward appearance issue.

  Do you think that those who work with Westboro really love God and other people? If they do, then why are they not preaching the hope of the Gospel instead of telling people that they are doomed to hell? Westboro is just another religion, among many others, but it is a religion based upon hate instead of love.

   In the New Testament, Jesus gives a new command, even though it is an old command from the Old Testament. It is to love one another. People watching us and looking on will know that we are Christians by our love for one another, and our love for other people. The problem with us is that we don't know what love is, and we don't have a proper definition of love, so, when it comes to 'loving God', or 'loving others', we think we are already doing it, but we probably aren't. But we can, because once we experience God's love for us, we can give it to others. We are freely loved, and we can freely love others.

   The Bible tells us that the Apostle Paul was constrained by the love of Christ. He was controlled by God's love. The is the normal life for a Christian. Reading through 1 John, you can see how strong God's love is for us, and in turn, our love for one another. We are to love strangers, enemies, others in the body of Christ, children, spouses, God, and many other things. But there is something that we are not to love.

   We are not to love sin, nor should we love the devil and his angels. By default, we love sin, because we are born sinners. When we are born again, we have a new heart that can't sin, and that new heart is filled with the love of God. Now we become complex beings because we can still live out of our sinful nature, and we can also live out the new nature, with a new heart, by the power of God. God's word instructs us to 'put to death' the sins of the flesh. We are to put on the 'new'. God's love is in our hearts, yet, if we choose to live out our sinful heart's desires, God's love will not be manifest. We are the ones who will suffer and God's name will be tarnished.

   The Bible tells us that 'by their fruits you will know them'. If you go out today and see a person using a microphone preaching the Gospel message, you will not know necessarily what the fruit of this person's life is, or his motives for preaching. But if a person is out there calling names to people, and being condescending, you can be sure that this person does not understand the love of God yet. Only when we see the seriousness of our own sin, will we appreciate the Cross. If we don't see the seriousness of our own sins, we will become like those of Westboro and will misrepresent the God of the Bible.

  Sure, there are Christians who look like jerks when they are preaching the Gospel. That's bound to happen. But then, how should we look at the commands in the Bible concerning evangelism? Should we dump the idea because there are similarities between evangelists and those of Westboro?

  Things to keep in mind:

1. Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15)
2. True believers in Jesus Christ have new hearts, yet still have the capability to sin and to misrepresent God.
3. The Bible tells us that true believers in Jesus Christ will be marked by God's love.
4. Westboro does not represent the true God. Westboro represents and false god of hatred and hopelessness.
5. Westboro is very contradictory. Unless they are preaching a message of hope for people to change, there is no purpose for them preaching at all. There is no reason to preach a message of doom, unless there is a way of hope.
6. True believers in Jesus Christ will not look like Westboro, although they may have flaws in their lives.
7. Always look to the Bible for the Standard, not people. People do not measure up to the Standard, and are in need of a Savior.
8. Once a person comes to know the Lord, he or she begins the lifelong process of sanctification. That moment is the beginning of new life, not the end of his or her story. No one arrives while living on this side of eternity.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Don't Put Down Your Weapons!

   Did you know that when you first came to Christ, and were born into God's family, that you were enlisted into a war? There is a war going on, which has been going on since the beginning of time. It is a war between good and evil, light and darkness, truth and error, and right and wrong.

   The captain of the side of truth and light is Jesus Christ. The captain of the side of darkness and evil is the devil. The end of the battle is foretold in the book of Revelation and God's side will completely conquer all evil, one day.

  Yet, we are living in the midst of this battle while we are on earth. When we are born physically, we are automatically born into the side of darkness. This is revealed as soon as we start to show our colors! Even little toddlers don't like people telling them what to do, or having authority over them. They want to call the shots! This is called, autonomy. Our 'autonomy' is against God's authority.

  When we come to Christ, when we are convicted of sin, and turn away from our sin and self-centeredness, and trust in Jesus Christ as our only Savior, the Bible says we are 'born again'. We are 'new creatures' in Christ. We have a 'new heart' that can now truly love God and other people. We have the power to say 'no' to sin and 'yes' to righteousness. After we are born into God's family, we have a relationship with God. When God sees such a person who trusts in Him this way, He sees that person through Jesus Christ, and that person is completely cleansed from all sin, and now is wearing robes of righteousness, in God's eyes. But something else is there, for every person who has trusted in Christ.

  When we are born into God's family, we are enlisted in this spiritual battle that is going on, only now, we are on the side of light and truth, whereas before, we were on the side of darkness and evil (by default).

   I think a lot of people don't know this though. Many come to Christ in order to have their sins forgiven so they can go to heaven after they die, but they are ignorant of the rest of the package of this precious gift we call 'salvation'.

   No one asked to be born. No one wanted to be born into a sinful world. No one asked to be delivered out of this kingdom of darkness until one realizes that there is a kingdom of light that he or she can be part of. And, no one who is 'born again' asked to be part of this battle. But whether we like it or not, the battle will continue to rage, and we will be participants in it, even if we are weak and ignorant ones.

  If we are not born again, we remain in the kingdom of darkness, even if we don't want to be part of that kingdom.

   According to Ephesians 6, there are spiritual weapons listed that we must use in this spiritual battle. Some of the weapons are:
*Loins girt about with truth
*Breastplate of Righteousness
*Readiness given for the Gospel of Peace (shoes)
*The Shield of Faith
*The Sword of the Spirit (God's word)
*Praying in the Spirit
*Watching with all perseverance

According to Ephesians 6, here is who we are fighting against:
* Rulers
* Authorities
* Cosmic Powers of this present darkness
* Spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places
(all of these powers are in the spiritual realm)

  The devil's weapons are lies of this age, discouragement, distractions, temptations to sin. Whatever the devil can do to trick us into not trusting God, he will do. If he can't get us to not trust God, he will get us distracted with the cares of this life. He will get us so entangled, that we will forget about God, and then we will remember God when difficulties come, but we will not trust God because we haven't spent time getting to know Him. The less we know about God's character, the less we will trust Him. That's why so many people complain about Christianity and the God of Christianity. They don't understand Who the God is that is defined in the Bible. The only understanding of God that they have is from their own reasoning combined with doubts from the devil. They will never trust a God that they do not know about. They are running away from a false god that they have been tricked into believing is the true God because they are ignorant of the Bible's description of God's character.

  If the devil can keep us distracted from learning about spiritual warfare, then he is happy because we will be ineffective in this battle, if we are true believers in Jesus Christ. We will also bring dishonor to God's name because we are in ignorance of the truth's God has for us. By default, we will believe the lies of the devil and will fall for his schemes.

  Another verse tells us to be sober and vigilant, for the devil is out like a prowling lion, seeking whoever he can devour. It is not like the devil is just on the back burner, and just sitting back wishing he could do more. He is fighting aggressively today, against all the powers of light and truth. We know from the book of Job, that Satan does ask permission from God to attack true believers in Christ. We also know that God grants permission for him to do that, at times. We also know that God will tell the Powers of Darkness when to stop. While God allows all this to go on, we must pick up the spiritual weapons and use them.

   A big trick of the devil is to get us to put our weapons down. Now he doesn't come to us and tell us to put them down. He tricks us by getting us distracted or keeping us ignorant. He may twist Scripture around to make it sound like we don't have to fight anymore. He may tell us some half truths, but with a twist to make us believe in something that is not true. For example, he may tell us that the battle is already won, so we don't have to do anything anymore. Or, the devil may say that since God is all-powerful and all-knowling and caring for His own, then God will not allow the devil to bother us any more. But if that were true, then why would there be so much talk of spiritual warfare in the Bible, especially in the New Testament?

   The Enemy of our souls keeps us from growing spiritual so we stay like helpless babies, unable to see our need to grow up spiritually. Then we would be like the Corinthians, whom Paul addressed as 'carnal' and not spiritual.

  We don't want to be unaware of the devil's schemes, and he has many of them. They are custom made to keep us away from God and to keep us from trusting in God. The devil plays the same trick on us that he played on Eve in the Garden, the trick that put the whole human race into bondage to sin. He still plays those tricks on us today, not because he doesn't have anything else to do, but because he hates God with a passion and he hates human beings and can trick us so easily.

  So, it's time to pick up our weapons and fight. God promises to give us the weaponry we need to have to fight against the powers of darkness. We need to be faithful in using them so we do not become casualties in the kingdom of Light.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Difficulties With Categorizing Homosexuality

   We have a new dilemma today, one that has not occurred yet in History. We have a dilemma because many of us are students of the word of God, and take God seriously, yet, we are encountering people who not only do not take God seriously, but have created a new category for homosexuals today.

   First of all, before I write anything else, if you are a gay person, please understand that what I am writing is not intended to 'bash' you or put you down. I believe we should respect every person, for who they are. That includes homosexuals.

   On the one hand, we really do love Gay people. We love people who are on drugs, or who are into prostitution, or whatever the difficulty. On the other hand, we have to be up front with everyone, and we will not compromise God's word, or try to twist it around to make it fit what we want it to say. Nor are we going to try to twist the words from the Constitution to make them apply to homosexuality, when they were never intended to.

   All of us, without exception, love to sin. We all have our struggles with sin. We don't like to part with sin, but if we want a relationship with a holy God, we will have to turn away from our sin, and forsake it, whatever the sin is.

   People are being taught today, mainly by liberal Christian psychologists and counselors, that people who are Gay have a sexual orientation that God gave them, and they need to live their lives according to that orientation. I don't want to have to come right out and say this, but, this is not true. God never created anyone with a sexual orientation that the person could not help. Also, the so called research that was done to try to prove homosexuality is genetically caused, is weak and biased. When we can separate what is true from what is false, we can better deal with this dilemma. This is key to understanding the problem of the day.

   We have created a new category for Gay people. Only we can't figure out what kind of category this is. Are Gay people a new race? How do you categorize this? This is the obstacle that many young people are struggling with, whether they are Gay or not. When young people hear what the Bible says about homosexuality, especially from the pulpit or from an authority figure, many automatically think the person speaking is bias or prejudice, but that is simply not the case.

   First of all, there is not a single place in Scripture where God talks about a marriage relationship between two men, or two women. There is not even a hint of it anywhere. No directives for such a type of relationship are given either. Any teachings from Scripture concerning a marriage relationship, are only between a husband and a wife. If homosexuality and homosexual marriages were valid, God would give insight into those relationships as well. Since it is not found in Scripture, that is a good indication that it is not in God's plan.

   Relationships between people are hard. Relationships with bosses, children, parents, and spouses are hard. The Bible covers those relationships. A marriage between two people of the same sex would have such difficulties as well, and probably other difficulties that normal relationships don't have. With something being so complicated as a marriage made of two people who are the same sex, if this were something God values, He would definitely give instruction and insight into that kind of relationship and the difficulties that those marriages would face.  If there are Christians who believe in homosexual marriages, God doesn't share His perspective or insights. That would be scary!

   When Jesus was describing marriage, He says that a man will leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. Jesus never added any exceptions after that. He didn't say, 'but in some cases, a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his husband', or, 'there will be some cases of women cleaving to their wives'. That wouldn't make any sense.

   In a Gay marriage, which husband is supposed to submit to the other husband? Which husband is supposed to be the help-mate? How can a relationship between two men resemble the relationship to Christ and the church?

   In the Old Testament, many commandments were given. Some were given as civil law for the Israelites. Some were for all time for everyone, such as the 10 Commandments and the Royal Law. One of the commandments given stated that man shall not lie with another man as he would with a woman. But it goes on to say that this activity is an abomination. There are other laws such as the eating of shellfish that is forbidden, and sowing different kinds of seed together in a field, and those are civil laws as well. But the verse in Leviticus 18:22 says that homosexual relations are an abomination. It doesn't say that sowing different kinds of seed in a field is an abomination.

   In Proverbs 6, there are listed some things that are an abomination to God, such as a proud look, shedding innocent blood, and sowing discord among believers. These things are still detestable to God. In Revelation 21:8, it lists people who will be thrown in the Lake of Fire. Among them are the 'abominable'.

   The civil laws of Israel do not apply to us today, but, when a verse says that something is abominable to God, God hates that thing.

   God didn't hate homosexuality in Leviticus 18 only during that time period. God doesn't all of the sudden have a love for homosexuality because He supposedly created some people with that orientation. I'm sure there were many during the time of Leviticus who were homosexuals who would not give up their homosexuality.

    If God created people with a sexual orientation, then that statement would not have been made in Leviticus.

  Some people would say that heterosexual relationships were necessary during the Old Testament days because people were commanded to procreate, but now that the world is filled (although it really isn't), there is no need for people to procreate anymore.

   God did command people to procreate and subdue the earth. Mankind is to have dominion over all the earth. There was a special need though, for Israel, when it came to procreation, because God was going to send Someone to rescue people from their sins, through a certain line of people. People who were in that family line had some idea that they were going to be the ancestors of this person that God was going to send, and they had to make sure that the family line would always continue. At one time, it almost got lost. Judah had three sons and they were disobedient to God, and God put them to death (except the last son). Judah knew that it was important to keep the family line going, but he was afraid to give his last son to Tamar, who was his daughter in law. She remained childless until she deceived Judah and tricked him into getting her pregnant. When Judah found out, his statement is very telling. He said that 'she is more righteous than I'. Tamar knew that the family line had to be continued. Judah kind of forgot. Everything with this promised person God would send, depended upon Judah's descendants. That's why there were strict rules concerning the sexual relationships of Judah's sons with Tamar. Onan was to raise up seed for his brother, but instead, he let his semen spill onto the ground (a form of birth control). Onan wanted the joy of having sex without the responsibility of fathering a child. This was most serious.

   Today, we are not striving to keep a family line going in order for the Messiah to come, because He has already come. But that is not a reason for people to stop procreating. God loves people. He wants families to be made. He wants moms and dads to have children and raise them up for the glory of God. God is not so much concerned if we use safe birth control, as much as He is concerned with our selfish hearts that would use birth control to keep us from having children because we don't want them.

   Obviously, homosexuals cannot procreate. This should tell us something about the nature of this kind of relationship. It is not in line with God's order.

   So, today we have many who want to insist that homosexuals have a unique orientation and that no one should challenge them. But if we never present the Gospel to them, they will not understand their sin. God's word does condemn homosexuality, along with many other types of sinful behaviors. If we are honest with ourselves, we would look to see what God says, and we would be careful to not always believe what people say. Many live on wishful thinking. Lots of people think they are going to twist God's arm to get Him to approve what they love, but what they know is so wrong. God is not going to do that. We have to remember that God loves us so much, that He does not want us to be enslaved to any sin, including homosexuality.

   But you might say, I can't stop being homosexual. Sure, it seems that way for you. It seems that way for drug users and porn addicts. They can't stop what they are doing without a divine intervention. Remember though, our only hope for any change is in Jesus Christ, not in ourselves. If we do not turn to God and trust in Jesus Christ, we will remain hopeless.

   We live in a time when we feel 'entitled' to what we think are our rights. But really, who says we have these rights? The pedophile feels entitled to fulfill his sexual desires. He has just as much entitlement as everyone else, right? The thief feels 'entitled' to steal to feed his family. People feel entitled to hang on to their sinful habits. Women who get pregnant out of wedlock feel entitled to have an abortion, because she supposedly has a 'right' to her own body, even though that means killing her baby inside her.

   There is no such rights given to us in the Bible. In fact, the Bibles tells us we are not our own, and we were bought with a price. God give us the dignity we have. Humans try to take it away. The devil lies to us to get us to do what he wants us to do, which always opposes what God wants us to do.

   If any of my readers are struggling with the issue of homosexuality, be encouraged, because God is bigger than your sin. Many say they have tried God and they still have homosexual desires (see Mel White's** book,'Stranger at The Gate')



     This is natural, because we are all born sinners. Not every person is going to be tempted to be Gay, but every person, whether they understand this or not, will struggle with sin. The problem is, that we don't want to give up our sin. We love it. We don't love the guilt that comes from sinning, but the actual sin itself, we love. Another problem could be that the homosexual really doesn't understand the Gospel, and falsely believes that he or she must be good in order to be saved. We can't be good in our own strength. If we continue to try to reform our ways in order to please God, and if we don't acknowledge the Gospel of Jesus Christ as necessary, we will continue to stay in our sins.

   I struggled with anger for a long time. My struggle got worse and I became violent. I needed help, but didn't know where to go, where I could actually work through my sin of anger. I repented of it often, but it was always there when I was tempted. At times, I would wonder, 'who could deliver me?'. It was stronger than I. If I would have known that other people struggled with anger, and would have seen how God helped them, I would have been encouraged to persevere through this difficulty as I worked through my salvation with fear and trembling. Somehow, by God's grace, I did work through it. I stopped justifying it and fully acknowledged my sin. I took responsibility for my actions.

   It is easy to justify our sin. We especially justify it when we see others living out the same sin, and saying that it is ok to sin like that. God doesn't see it that way though. God loves the homosexual enough that He gave His Son to die for the Gay man or Lesbian. The power in the blood of Jesus Christ not only forgives, but gives us the power to be free from sin.

   It's not as easy though, as saying a quick prayer or Biblical phrase, and now we are done. A gay person, as well as a person struggling with any type of addiction or sin that is holding onto him or her, will need other believers around him to help him through the season of deliverance. It takes the power of God and faithful, loving brothers and sisters to serve those who are struggling, yet want to be free.

  So, in closing here are some things to keep in mind:

* Homosexuals are human beings who were created in God's image, yet have the image of sin, due to the fall of mankind.
* Homosexuality is just one type of sexual sin. Other sexual sins are just as serious in God's eyes and also need to be addressed.
* Sin separates us from God, and ultimately, if continued in, will be punished by God in hell.
* God provided salvation and deliverance for the Gay person as well as everyone else who struggles with sin, through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
* Gay people/Lesbians do not have a sexual orientation given by God. That is what the world and liberal Christians want to believe is true, but isn't.
* People today, including homosexuals, feel like they have a 'right' or 'entitlement' given to them to continue in, and to have provisions for their sinful activities or lifestyles granted to them.
* All of us, before conversion, want to hold onto our sins, and do not want to part with them. If we could, we would justify them Biblically.
* God will give us grace to let go of our sins. God will deliver us from the hold of sin, if we repent and want to be changed. We must want to be delivered and set free before we would receive this grace.
* We must repent of sin (any and all sin) if we want to be saved from God's wrath. We must trust in the death of Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins, and turn to God.
* For those struggling to be free from sin, and who want to be free, realize it will take a long time to be free (from some sins), and fellowship/accountability with a trusted friend or group will be necessary for growth and freedom.
* In America today, many are trying to make a category for Gay people, but it is vague and different for each person. What is in common though, is the accusations of others that they would say are against them.
* Speaking out against homosexuality, in a loving way, is not hate speech.
* The Bible makes no provision for homosexual marriages, nor are there any directives or hints of references for homosexual relationships. There are all kinds of provisions and directives for other normal relationships. Scripture is filled with commands and principles for normal relationships, but no instructions for homosexual marriage relationships are there.
* Science has not proven homosexuality as being genetic.
* Homosexuals accuse straight people of having 'homophobia', but it is actually the Homosexuals who have this as evidenced by their reaction to any information available on the Internet or social media, as they are very sensitive to their cause. They read information through a filter that believes that the authors of the articles are out to destroy them, and many will call the words in those articles 'hate speech' even though they may not have read through the articles themselves.

   There is no category for the homosexuals living in America today. They are trying to revive something that has been going on for at least 5,000 years, and making it legal by making a category for it. Modern Gays would say that it is different than in the past (for example, Genesis 19), and they wil try to punish those who oppose it.  The general population is ignorant of this fact and when it comes to God and the Scriptures, they assume God wasn't aware of the fact that homosexuals would be struggling and actively trying to make their practice acceptable and palatable, by using science as a reason for vindicating homosexuality. (In other words, science is more valid than the word of God, even if science has not proven the fact that they say it has proven). They (and much of what I say when it comes to 'Christian' homosexuals comes from Mel White's book**) do not believe, therefore, that God is all knowing, and they also believe that God can change who He is, and that He does change. Both of those beliefs are not based upon the Scriptures which reveal the God of the Bible though. These beliefs  are based upon a religion which has made a 'god' to suit themselves, a god they are comfortable with. Simply speaking, they are breaking the second Commandment.

For more information on having your sins forgiven before God, please go to: http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com  or  http://test4gp.wordpress.com

** I would challenge anyone reading Mel White's book, to find anywhere in the book, Mel's testimony of how he was saved by Jesus Christ, or, his understanding of the Gospel which consists of repentance of sin, turning to God, and trusting in the shed blood of Christ for salvation and the power to overcome sin.

Remember, there is hope, but it is only found in Jesus Christ. If you try to have hope in yourself or other things, nothing will happen. You will remain hopeless.




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Two Sets Of Angels - Angels of Darkness and Angels of Light

   We know from the Bible that there are two sets of angels; angels of darkness, and angels of light. Though information is vague concerning angels, there are a few things we do know from the Bible.

   Why are there two sets of angels, and how did that happen?

   The only things we know are that there are angels of darkness and angels of light. From the book of Revelation, it looks like the devil took 1/3 of the angels with him when he sinned. But you may ask, what was the devil's sin?

   Actually, we aren't sure, but there may be a hint of it in Isaiah 14. There was a proud, defiant leader in Assyria who was taunting Israel and making fun of the true and living God. Here are the words concerning what God was going to do to this leader: “How you are fallen from heaven,  O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground,  you who laid the nations low! 
You said in your heart 1 3 ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. 
But you are brought down to Sheol,  to the far reaches of the pit. Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?’

   Many believe that this leader and the words that pertain to him are actually representative of God's relationship with the devil. Are these words really words spoken to the devil himself, by God?

   The devil comes to us as an 'Angel of Light' but he is really an Angel of Darkness. Jesus called him the Father of lies. The first recorded lie of the devil is the one in the Garden of Eden, when he told Eve that if she would eat the fruit, she would become wise like God. He led her to believe she would have the knowledge God has if she eats the forbidden fruit. But God told Adam and Eve that if they ate the forbidden fruit, they would die.

   Once that happened, death began to reign. Human beings now experienced both physical and spiritual death. Now, when people are born, there spirits are dead. That is why we have to be 'born again'.

  The Bible does not say that angels are created in God's image, but it does tell us that people are created in God's image. When the angels sinned, there was no repentance available for them. Jesus did not die for the sinful angels to be able to be reconciled to God. Only people have the option and availability of salvation.

   The angels of darkness are still on earth. Their main goal is to lie to people. It is to get people to distrust God. How many times have we heard people saying, 'How can you believe in a God who lets children starve to death every day'? Or, ' How can you trust a God when there are people who will go to hell because they have never heard the Gospel?'? Everything we hear that causes doubt will keep us from trusting a God who is trustworthy.

   The angels of darkness want every person to stay in darkness. The light exposes their works. They hate God with a passion. They vehemently hate you and me. It's not just a matter of having this fact in the back of our minds. The main weapon we have to defend ourselves against the works of darkness is the Scriptures, the word of God.

   The word of God brings light to our souls. It helps us to understand God and to know why we can trust Him. The angels of darkness are going to continue to work against the truth. You will be fighting against them every day for the rest of your earthly life.

  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, and you know your sins are completely forgiven because of the blood that was shed on the Cross, then the devil will oppose you continually. You will have to be wearing the proper spiritual equipment to fight against him. The main weapon is knowing the word of God. Not just memorizing it, but completely digesting it. Let it become part of your life. This will build faith, which is another weapon against the Enemy. Faith involves trust. The devil wants you to distrust God.

   If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ yet, as your personal Savior, the devil will oppose you every day by lying to you about God's character, mainly so you distrust God. He will keep you in darkness as long as you want to stay there.

   If you want to know more about the Gospel, and your relationship with God, please go to: http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com  or  http://test4gp.wordpress.com




Monday, August 4, 2014

Why The Family Unit Is So Important

  Did you know that the first institution of God was the family unit. God created Adam, then Eve. They lived in a marital relationship and had babies. Before Eve was tricked into eating the forbidden fruit, her relationship with Adam was beautiful.

  The Bible has a lot to say about families. There are instructions from God for each family member. Women were designed to be help-mates to their husbands. The husband is to lead his family spiritually. He is to provide for the financial needs for the family. If he is lazy, the Bible says that he is worse than an infidel.

   I know there are situations where the man cannot work, or he cannot provide the main income for the family, due to the inability to work. I have seen men who cannot work, take on the role of homeschooling their children. This provides a special bond between the dad and the children that normally would not be there. This is a different kind of situation though, than, let's say a man who leaves his family for another woman, and doesn't give any support to his first wife and his children. We call these men 'Dead-beat Dads'. This is one step toward the breakdown of the family unit.

   How would you feel if you were a child, and your dad left home because he loved another woman? What if you never saw your dad again? What if you needed clothing and a place to sleep, and your dad wasn't interested anymore in taking care of you because you were no longer in his life?

  Moms and dads provide security for their children. God intended men to be gentle with their wives and children. As children grow up and develop, they need to receive love and care from both parents. Even if there was a valid reason why the parents had to separate, they can still love and fully care for their children.

  What are some of the problems that cause the breakdown of the family unit? One of them, is due to the fact that many no longer 'fear the Lord'. Many do not believe God's word, nor do they take Him seriously. As a result, instead of taking the step of marriage, many just live together, without taking marriage vows. That way, if they don't get along, they can just leave. So, what are the problems for us, in all this?

   Today, single women are getting pregnant everywhere. Older single women as well as younger ones find themselves carrying a child, yet, the father does not feel the weight of the responsibility of taking care of his girl friend and his child (or children, if she is carrying more than one baby). In the woman's mind, she has two options, and both of them are dismal. One is, to have the baby murdered through having an abortion. The other is to remain pregnant and give birth to the baby, and either put the baby up for adoption (the best option) or try to raise the baby by herself. Do you see the problem here?

   The answer to women getting pregnant out of wedlock is costly. Do you know why this is such a difficult problem? It is not because we are overpopulated (that is not true. We have a lot of space still on earth for people to inhabit). It is not some fatalistic experience when a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock. God did not design men and women to live together outside of a marriage relationship! That is where the problem lies.

   Throughout the Bible, God addresses the marriage situation. There are boundaries in marriage. There are boundaries all around us, whether we want to acknowledge them or not. A man and woman who are called to be married to each other are commanded to serve each other, respect each other, and love each other. The man (husband) is supposed to love his wife in the same way Jesus loves the church. His love has to be sacrificial for his wife. God did not intend for married people to commit adultery. 

   Ladies, if you are living with a man outside of a marriage relationship, you are in disobedience to God's command. Your man may have been lying to you to get you to live with him. Don't buy it. Any man who chooses to live outside of a marriage relationship is not a man you want to be married to. He is not respectful and will not take care of you the way God intends.

  Now, for a little bit of honesty. Marriage is really hard. It is a lot of hard work. People do not get married and live 'happily ever after' even if the script says they do. Both the bride and the groom will sin against each other in the marriage, once the wedding is over. But there is hope. Our hope is in God.

   We can hope in God, because God loves us enough to have sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, who never sinned while He lived on earth. We sin against each other. We sin against God. We deserve to be punished for our sins. But Jesus took our punishment. He took God's wrath (fierce anger) upon Himself, when He died a terrible, bloody, humiliating death by crucifixion, around 2,000 years ago.

   We can hope in God, and we can love our spouses, because of God's love in our hearts. God designed the marriage relationship to be made of a man (husband) and a woman (wife). This relationship is so serious, that if a husband is not treating his wife properly, God's word says that this man's prayers will be hindered.

   The man and the woman are told to 'multiply' or procreate. In other words, they are to have babies. But they must take care of their babies. Babies grow up into adults, and if they are not trained properly, they will live their lives in ignorance. Children left to themselves do not do well.

   In America today, we prize our happiness. If we are not happy in a situation, we get out of it. We look for ease, entertainment, comfort, convenience and happiness. We have not been trained to do the hard things in life. When a marriage is hard, we get out of it. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible give us the authority to leave a relationship when it is hard? Does the Bible say it is ok for us to find another marriage partner if we aren't happy in our current marriage?

   The Bible calls us to complete abandonment of ourselves to the Lord. We are not our own. We do not have special 'rights' that get violated and result in our being able to get out of the hard things. We can do the hard things, because God has given us the grace to do them. But if we hold onto our selfishness and pride, God will not help us.

   We do not get to call the shots. God's rules and commandments are for our own good as well as being a mirror for us to look at our own hearts. Jesus tells us that even looking with lustful intent on another person in a sexual way (a person whom we are not married to), is the same as committing adultery.

   Are you going to argue with God? The breakdown of the family unit serves no one well. Generally speaking, when people live in a sexual relationship outside of marriage, people suffer. Mothers have to go to work to provide for their families. Some mothers opt to kill their babies before they are born. Many dads are nowhere to be found. Many men father several children and have no idea. Their sexual relationship with women is casual and self-serving. Children will grow up being 'left to themselves'. No one is there to teach them how to do spiritual warfare. No one is even there to teach them the simple things in life, like how to cross a street safely, or how to tie their shoelaces. No one is there, because the family unit is out of order. Plus, the Bible says that immoral people are under God's wrath.

  In some families, drugs are used on a daily basis. Some parents steal to provide for their families. There are even some people who would sell their children in the Black Market, or use them in Satanic Ritual Abuse.

   The breakdown of the family will eventually cause the society to crumble. Much of this started when the 10 Commandments were removed from our school walls and other governmentally owned buildings. Many today have no idea that immoral people are under God's righteous wrath.

  So, what is the answer? Anything that can be used to build strong, healthy marriages. We need to be envisioned for our marriages. We need to pray for our spouses. We need to be proactive in building our families. We need to realize that we cannot have something just because we want it. God is more concerned with our spiritual development than He is with our need to be 'happy'.

  Of course, it is possible that people do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior yet. They will find that they cannot be free from their selfishness. But if anyone turns to God, and puts their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin, God will save that person. Not only will their sins be forgiven, but they will receive a new power to be free from sin.

  There are a couple of books that can help us understand our relationships with God and other people. Once we apply the Biblical principles in our lives, we can be changed. We can develop good relationships with other people. We can love our husband or our wives better. We can establish homes that will be permanent and secure.

   Years ago, I was at a conference, and one of the classes being taught was called, When Sinners Say 'I Do'. After this class was taught, people went home and took the teachings from this and marriages were saved. Now this class that was taught is in book format.



   Another book I found interesting is called, When Helping Hurts. Sometimes, we mean well in helping people, but we are actually keeping them from helping themselves by doing for them what they can already do for themselves. This leads to a broken society. People's relationships with God are broken. People's relationships with other people are broken. Even their own relationship with themselves is broken. The whole social structure around them is broken. It all goes back to the breakdown of the family unit again.



One more book I highly recommend is 'Relationships; A Mess Worth Making'. The key is to get our relationship with God right, then as God's love is poured into our hearts, we will love others and will be willing to do the hard work involved in developing good relationships.




Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Were The Nazis Really Christians?

  I have heard this claim, usually by antagonists of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When confronted with an element of truth, this statement will come up many times, by these people.

   Were the Nazis really Christians though? Perhaps that depends upon your definition of Christianity. If you think Christianity means belonging to a Protestant or Catholic church, then your understanding of Christianity would be much like a club member belonging to a club. Only the club is called, 'Church'.

   If your understanding of Christianity is based upon a profession of faith, it could be a little closer, but still not close enough. If a person professed to know or believe something, then that person has to be informed on the object of their faith. In other words, a person who professes to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, yet lives a self-centered life with the belief that God is ok with that, doesn't really understand what Christianity is all about.

   Christianity is about the Gospel (good news), and the Gospel is the crux of the theme of the Bible. In the Beginning, God created man perfectly. Man was tempted to sin, and the whole human race was ruined. The disease of sin entered in. Death was the result. But God intervened by sending His Son, to live a perfect life, and to die in our place, for our sins. Because of that Death, we can go free and be fully forgiven of our sins. When we repent and come to Christ, the Bible says we are born again. We now have the power to live a holy life, because God's Spirit dwells inside those who know and love God.

   Anyone can profess to be anything. People believe what they want to believe. People also think they can twist God's arm and make Him do for them what they want Him to do. We think we can pull the wool over God's eyes, because we rebel against Him, yet He doesn't kill us. We have lost our fear of Him, because of His mercy.

   The Bible says 'By their fruits you will know them'. If God is holy and pure, and if a person is a true Christian, according to the Bible, he or she will become more like Christ. God is love. A person who knows God grows in love for God and for other people. Other people are treated with kindness and respect. Only the proud, hateful people are the ones who bully people around. Pride, hate, trying to control others is not a trait from God. Those who manifest those qualities are not true Christians, according to the Bible. In fact, they are under God's Judgment.

   I am not sure why people say that Hitler or the Nazis were Christians. There is nothing in them that looks like Jesus did. They are not following Jesus in His example. Neither are they bearing any kind of good fruit in their lives or activities.

  Jesus said, 'Not everyone who calls me Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven'. I don't think Hitler even called Jesus Lord. He was raised in a Catholic church, and went to Catholic school, but his teachers were not impressed with his art work. I don't know that he even stayed with the Catholic church or not.

   The only thing I am aware of that ties Hitler with God would be the belt buckles they wore. Supposedly, engraved on the belt buckles were the words, 'Gott Mit Uns' which means 'God with us'.

  So, tell me how a belt buckle confirms someone as a Christian. Anyone who uses this argument has a very weak argument. It is about as absurd as those who would say that the Holocaust never happened.

   Even if Hitler did profess to be a Christian, his life betrayed him. The real person is shown by his or her actions. Actions manifest what is in the heart. Hitler wanted control. He wanted lots of control. But the Bible says that we are to serve other people instead of trying to be authoritative over them.

   Hitler's life did not show the love of God. Hitler's life was full of hate and pride, the things that God opposes so much.

   You don't have to buy into the lie that says that the Nazis were Christians. We are mature enough (hopefully) to be discerning to know what is real and what is not, what is true and what is false.

  Discerning what Hitler was, is not hard. Don't let anyone trick you into an argument against Christianity using the Nazis as an example of Christianity. It just aint so.

Why Is There Contention With Those Who Have Another Opinion?

  I was thinking today, of how easy it is for us to cut people out of our lives, because of a point of disagreement.

  We like such and such a teacher until we hear him talk about infant baptism. We read someone's book and listen to their sermons until we hear that they believe that the spiritual gifts are for today. Then we chuck everything out about the person we formerly admired.

   What is wrong with this picture? It shows us that we believe a person who is credible has to be perfect (or at least agree with everything we believe in) before we will believe anything he or she says. It's just another example of 'throwing the baby out with the bath water'. We do this all the time without realizing it. We think that by having a different opinion on something makes the other person's beliefs and giftings invalid. But is that true?

   When a person comes to Christ, they are totally justified and cleansed from their sins. They are made perfect in God's sight, not because of anything they have done, but because of what Jesus has done for them. But the process that follows conversion (called sanctification) is a long process that will follow the person the rest of his or her life.

   No one will ever have the corner market on 100% theology accuracy, but every believer can be 'growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ'. We are continually changing. Our ways of thinking change, as we go through the process of sanctification. As we walk and grow in sanctification, we will begin to see sin more clearly, and we will let go of those things that are wrong, which we are presently practicing, as we grow in the Lord. We will see more clearly, as time goes on.

  Judging between a growing believer in Jesus Christ, and a false convert can be difficult, yet there are some telltale signs. One main sign to look for is love. Jesus has a lot to say about the disciples loving one another and other people in our lives. As believers grow in their love for God, their love for other believers will grow. You will not see that in a false convert, unless it is put on.

  Looking back through the History of the church fathers, each one of them had ideas of things that we would consider wrong, yet, each one of them got the Gospel right. There were some who believed in transubstantiation. Many believed in infant baptism. Should we throw away all of their writings since there will be some point of difference between what we believe in and what they believed in?

  So, the point is, it is important for us to not dismiss other believers whom we have learned from and who have ministered to us to aid us in our growth, just because we find out that they believe in something that we see entirely different. It's ok to disagree. We must disagree in love though.

   If we find out those people never believed the Gospel to begin with, then pray for them. See them as lost people and have mercy on them. Why should we become enemies with people because of our disagreements, or because they are not truly believers yet?

  One last thing. A.W. Pink spent the last part of his life looking for the 'perfect' church, which he never found. He spent his last years, with his wife, isolated on some island off the coast of Scotland, I believe.  If we look for the perfect in people in the church, we will be disappointed. If we are looking for a place where we agree with everything that is taught, and everything that the pastor believes in, 100% of the way, we will probably end up like A.W. Pink, isolated somewhere on planet earth.