Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Monday, March 12, 2018

Life Goes By Really Fast - Then It Is Permanently Over

  I have clear memories of playing with Colorforms and my little record player. Some of the toys I played with actually gave me shocks (like my record player and my Easy Bake Ovens)! I remember watching Lassie on our black and white television set.

  But today, I am looking back, not just on memories that I had as a child, but memories of my grandchildren.

  I was thinking of the times when my mom's cousin would come over and stay with us. I had to be only about 4 or 5. My mom's cousin was 11. My mom would have been around 25 back then. To think that my mom is in her 80s (good for her!) and her cousin is in her 60s. Where did the time go?

  When I was 9, I went to my aunt's wedding. Ten years later, my aunt would be my maid of honor in my wedding. Now I have been married most of my life. And my aunt and uncle are now in their 70s.

  All of my grandparents are deceased. Most of my aunts and uncles are gone. Some of my cousins are even gone. This is a sad part of life. No more parties or family gatherings. Most of the people who were there, aren't here anymore.

Here is what the Bible has to say about the brevity of life:

"Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—  yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. "
James 4:13,14 ESV

Here it is put another way:
"There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more."
This is from the Ghost of Christmas Present, Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Friends, we only get a certain amount of 'time' to live on earth. Are we making an impact for the kingdom of God? Or are we using our blessings to enrich ourselves?

Here is a little poem. Not sure who wrote it:
Tis only one life, t'will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last.

Once we are gone, there is no more returning to earth. The Bible says that we have an appointment with death. Then after that the judgment.

We live in time. We die, and go into eternity. Eternity never ends. Each of us will spend eternity in one of 2 places; heaven or hell. 

Those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, will spend eternity with God, in heaven. Those who try to be good enough for heaven will never make it. Unless a person repents of his or her sins, and turns to God, believing in (trusting in) Jesus Christ, the person will spend eternity in a place of torment called hell. 

Between heaven and hell is a huge gap that no one can cross over. Once a person enters eternity, there is no switching back and forth. Those in heaven will stay in heaven. Those in hell will stay in hell. 

The Good News is that everyone reading this can respond to God, right now. We don't have to wait until we die to find out where we can spend eternity. If God is at work in our hearts, we can trust in Him, today, at this moment. 

For more information on salvation and knowing God, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com or http://test4gp.wordpress.com

Friday, March 2, 2018

We Are Either The Scent Of Life Or The Scent Of Death To Those Around Us

I have a funny story of something that happened today. Let me go back and explain first, the context of this story.

I have been using essential oils for the past couple of years. One of the most popular blend of essential oils is called 'Thieves' or '4 Thieves'. One company names it 'On Guard'. Well, I make my own blend of this and put it in a dropper bottle I keep in my purse.

Many times, I have put this oil on, and people will smell it and find it attractive. A lot of times, people come up to me and tell me that I smell really good.

A couple of weeks ago, I put some of this oil on my hands. When I got outside, I gave some tracts to a couple of young men and they loved the scent on the tracts! Later on that week, I went to a store and put some on my hands. A lady who was sitting nearby in a motorized chair was so intrigued by the scent. She finally identified me as the person wearing the scent and wanted more information on it.

That is the kind of response I usually get from people when I use the scent on my hands.

But today, I had a surprise. We were at the doctor's office, waiting for my mom's appointment. I put some oil on my hands. Some lady came out of the door and started sniffing. "What's that smell?' she asked while crinkling up her nose. While she still had a sour face, she said, 'It smells like pumpkin pie'. This lady's expression indicated that she was everything but happy about the wonderful scent I had just used on my hands. The lady then took a seat next to another woman and the conversation about this 'smell' continued. Finally, the lady got up and walked to the other side of the room and sat down there!

This reminds me so much of what the Bible says when it talks of us being an aroma of Christ. Here is what the Bible says about this subject:
"But thanks be to God, who always leads us triumphantly as captives in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one, we are an odor of death and demise; to the other, a fragrance that brings life." 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Berean Study Bible

When we are around others who have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and have trusted in Him for their salvation, we are like a fragrance that is delightful to be around. But when we are around those who have a hardened heart, then the aroma is like death to those around us. It is not pleasant to them when we are around these people. 

Are people who are coming to know the Lord, attracted to us? Do we smell like sweet perfume to them, spiritually speaking? Or does our presence around people bring to their attention the condition of their spirits, which are dead?

Whenever Paul preached the Gospel message, he got three different responses. One response was that people were convicted of their need of a Savior and repented of their sins. Another response was that the hearers were interested and wanted more information. The last type of response was that of people hardening their hearts against God. 

We are in no way responsible for the conditions of people's hearts. But, we are responsible for representing Jesus Christ in such a way that people will see Him for who He is, as He lives in us. When people truly see Jesus Christ in us, we will get the same kinds of responses that Paul had. But if we are not abiding in Christ, there will not be the aroma of Christ in us that will affect those around us. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Playing The Ignorance Game With God

"Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains."

This is from John 9:39-41 ESV. 

When I was a child, one of the clever things I did was to make it a point to not ask my mom for permission to do something, if what I wanted to do was in question of right or wrong. That way, when I did something without her permission, and if it would have been something that she would have said 'no' to, I would reason that I just didn't know it was wrong. In a sense, I would not be accountable for the wrong action. I would have played ignorance in it. I would have been blind in my wrong doing and therefore not accountable.

It would be like my saying to my mom "Well, you didn't say I couldn't do this" because she didn't say I couldn't do that particular thing, because I never asked.

I think sometimes we play that game with God. Some of us would rather not know what God says about His boundaries, simply because we don't want to give account of those things we want to hold onto. 

But, regardless of our intentions, we are still accountable. If there is a question of what we want to do as being right or wrong, then we know the possibility of it being wrong is there. If we can carry out an activity and are 100% sure that it is ok with God to do this, then we are probably on safe ground. But deep down inside all of us is a conscience, and our conscience works 24/7. There are some things we intuitively know whether they are right or wrong. 

As soon as I blamed my baby brother for the spilled milk that I poured onto the floor, I knew I had done wrong. My conscience told me that I was overstepping my boundaries. And I was only 3 at the time. 

We will not be able to play the ignorance game with God. We can shun His word and reject His rules, but we all know some things concerning right and wrong, and we know we have violated them at times.

That's why we need a Savior.

Monday, September 25, 2017

All Of Us Belong To The Same Race

All of us belong to the same race, but we all come from different nationalities.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.
Genesis 1:27, 28

"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him."
Acts 17:26, 27 ESV

We are all in this together. Let's get along and stop fighting. The Bible tells us that we are to love one another.
In the Bible, there is only one race, the human race. Different shades of skin doesn't mean we aren't related to each other.
We are all very much related to each other, and for those who know the Lord, we are all together in the family of God as well as in the human race. 

It's time to stop fighting and separating ourselves from each other. In places where someone is hating another because of skin color, that is never justified. It is wrong to do that and if someone has done a crime, that person doesn't represent everyone in that group. We need to be careful to penalize the bad guys and not everyone who is associated with the bad guy because of job description or skin color. 

Our common enemy is the devil and he wants us to be divided with each other. He is setting us against each other. We need to stop listening to his voice and in unison, we need to work together using the spiritual weapons against him, not people.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Salvation Is The Free Gift Of God That Will Cost You Everything

Do we really believe in Jesus, and if so, are we willing to pay the price for our belief?

In years past, it was *easy* to believe in Jesus. There was no cost involved. In our country, we were free to believe in whoever or whatever we wanted to. No one challenged what we professed to believe in.

But today it is different. For if one really believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that belief system entails more than mental assent and agreement.

For example, a woman in the state of Washington, believes that the Bible is true, and that God means what He says. She believes marriage is made up of one man and one woman. When a customer who was gay, asked if she would provide the flowers for his wedding, she said that she could not do that in good conscience. The ACLU came after her and the state of Washington is suing her because of her conviction. She will likely lose her business that she had built for many years. But she is remaining faithful to her convictions, even though it is costing her dearly.

Another example is Chick-Fil-A. The head guy of Chick-Fil-A wrote a statement saying that he believes marriage is made up of one man and one woman. The Gay community went nuts and now this man is accused of hate crimes. As far as I know, he stayed true to his belief system in spite of all the opposition.

But what about the rest of us? Will we stay true to our convictions? Do we even have convictions, or do we just kind of go with the flow?

If we call ourselves Christians, then that should mean that we not only believe in Jesus, but that we believe in everything Jesus said and stood for.

Are we trying to change the word of God to accommodate our desires? Do we even know what the Bible says, and if we find out, will we still be true to Jesus?

“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money." Matthew 6:24 HCSB

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Encouragement, Edification, Or, Flattery?

Do you think that sometimes, when we encourage others, that we might be using flattery? I have wondered what the difference is between flattery and encouragement.

Flattery is sometimes referred to as 'buttering up' someone. The motive is to get the recipient to respond in such a way as to get what you want from them. It's kind of like bribery.

The reason why I am thinking about this so much now, is due to the fact that I have received criticism from some of my Facebook friends concerning my posts.

I posted my complaint about this to my friends, and one of them had a great point. He recommended that we encourage one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."(ESV).

Encouragement and edification go hand in hand. We encourage one another and build one another up to help the body of Christ. The goal is for the church to be healthy. There must be spiritually healthy people to make up a healthy church.

The world uses flattery to gain friends. The world uses money to win people to themselves. The motive isn't based on love and wanting the best for others.

But flattery looks a lot like encouragement. That is why I am concerned. I want to be an encourager to people, but I don't want to be flattering them. How can I know the difference?

First of all, I will pray that God makes me an encourager. I want to think of others and encourage them to grow and develop in the areas where God has given them strengths.

Encourage means to give support, confidence, and hope to someone. Edify means to build up morally or spiritually. Note: Sometimes, people take a word out of context and use it in a wrong way, that ends up with a wrong meaning. An example of this is the word 'edify'. Some would erroneously teach that this is associated with building up someone's ego. That is definitely not what the Bible is talking about when it talks about edifying or building up. 

For the church to be 'edified', those who are in the body of Christ need to be edified. Encouragement helps people to be edified. Discouragement keeps people from growing spiritually and will keep the church from being spiritually healthy. Discouragement is a tool of the devil. We need to be aware of his tactics.

So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
Acts 16:40 ESV

Saturday, September 2, 2017

God's Boundaries Do Not Indicate Hate

Any good parent knows that when their children are born and as they start to grow up and develop, boundaries have to be formed to protect the child.

Sometimes, children hate the fact that parents put boundaries around their children. Think of this scenario: a child sees some candy that he wants. He lets his parents know that he wants the candy. They tell him he is not allowed to have that candy. At least at that moment, the candy is not permitted. So, the child throws a temper tantrum and tells the parents that they 'hate' him. They hate him because they have placed a boundary around him and he wants to go beyond that boundary, but because of his age and lack of power, he concludes that his parents 'hate' him.

Now, maybe it is simply because he is using manipulation. He is immature and doesn't understand the reasons why a parent would say 'no' to candy, especially since it is a strong desire for him to have that candy right now.

People are very much like that. We intuitively know that there is a God who is bigger than us. Normal people have a conscience that tells what is right and wrong. Even very young children have some idea of what is right and wrong.

Whether we like it or not, God has placed boundaries around us. When we go outside those boundaries, we become trespassers. Problem is, by our own sinful nature, we are always going outside of God's boundaries. When we do that, it is called, 'sin'.

Many do not like to be inside God's boundaries. Some of these people try to deny God's existence. Others put down the word of God, as if it were a fairy tale. God says that His word will stand forever. His boundaries will never change.

In our culture today, we have many who think they are free from God's laws (boundaries). They want everyone to think that people who still believe in God's boundaries are people of hate. Now, this is a stretch. Believing God is true and His word is still effective does not mean a person hates. But people are insistent that those who hold God's word in high honor, and believe what He says is true, are people of hate.

How are we supposed to look at that? For one, it is a form of manipulation. We can't manipulate God. We can't twist God's arm to make Him change His standards. God will always be God. He is on the throne and what He says is still effective today, and will always be true.

Does God hate? God hates sin. Does God hate us? The Bible says that God loved us so much, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life. In fact, God loved us even when we are sinners (see Romans 5:8).

God loves us enough to give us a way out of hell. God's love does not change His boundaries. He does not make exceptions for anyone who breaks them. But the remedy to resolve this problem is found in the Cross of Jesus Christ.

People want to believe that God is all-loving and all-forgiving, meaning that we can still continue to live in sin without being penalized. That won't work though. God gives us a way out. We must choose to get out of our sins. We must respond to God. We come to God on His terms, not ours.