Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Monday, October 29, 2018

In Honor of and Recognition of African American Moms

 I have the privilege of talking with people on the sidewalks and at outdoor events, and getting to know some of them. There are all kinds of people out there with different personalities and communication skills. Some are pleasant to talk to. Others aren't. But there is one group of people that I enjoy meeting and conversing with.

  When I am out ministering the Gospel message, I really enjoy talking with young African American men. These young men are very polite and respectful. When I observe them, it is obvious that there was someone who took the time to train these young men and brought them up to be respectful adults. Almost every time I meet African American young man, I see the respect he has been taught to have for others.

  I want to commend the African American moms out there. You have done a great job in raising your children. Many times I have seen a mom or grandmother with several little children, or children of all ages who are with them. I have seen the mother, aunt, or grandmother intervene when the child does something wrong. You can tell there is a lot of love in these families.

  These moms and grandmothers take their responsibility seriously. The rest of us could learn a lot from them. Many of these mothers are single parents. They have to do the job of two parents, and that is extremely hard. I so appreciate what I have seen when I observe these families. They have learned to work through hardships and not run away from hard work.

  Moms and grandmoms in African American families, keep up the good work! We need you and your families in our society today. You are a building block in our communities. Do not listen to the lies of the devil and do not give up in doing good! Do not be discouraged!

   When I was little, my grandparents lived next door to an African American family. The mom had four grown children and was raising her two little granddaughters. This lady was the nicest lady and she and my grandmother were very good friends. The lady next door was a single parent now as her husband left her. When I was pregnant with my first child, she sent me a gift. I also found out at that time that she was raising her great grandchildren. God bless that lady for everything she poured into her grandchildren and great grandchildren. On a good note, her husband returned home and they lived the rest of their lives together.

  I have always been impressed with my grandparent's neighbor. I just want to thank these people for the way they have taken the road that is not easy, but in spite of the hardships, they have pressed on.

  Thank you African American families for your example and your perseverance through the difficult times in life. We respect you and may you continue to press on with what God has called you to do.

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 ESV

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Why Were the Seven Sons of Sceva Overcome By The Demons They Exorcised?

There are lots of interesting events that are recorded in the Bible. One of them is the story of  a Jewish high priest named Sceva, who had seven sons who practiced exorcism.

Exorcism is the practice of expelling demons from people who are possessed by the demon(s). It is a common practice around the world and throughout Bible times.

In this story, from the book of Acts, we read about some people who practiced exorcism at a skilled level. Let's see what happened to them.

"And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.  Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily."

Demons Beat Up Sons of Sceva -
 Credit - Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleImages.org

The seven sons of Sceva got beat up by the demons! I thought we were supposed to have all authority over the demons. What gives?

The Bible is very clear that everything is subject to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When a person comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Savior, that person becomes a new creature in Christ. Old things are passed away and everything becomes new. Not only that, but the Holy Spirit dwells in those who belong to Christ. They are given power over the Enemy of their souls. Nothing can harm them. Anything that happens to them has to first, pass through God's safety net, for He will absolutely protect them. 

What happened with the seven sons of Sceva is simply this; Jesus Christ was not their Lord and Savior. At least, at that time He wasn't. They were skilled in the Jewish way of thinking and had some excellent teaching, but the Holy Spirit did not dwell in them, for they did not know Him. 

We don't know whether any of the sons of Sceva ever came to know the Lord or not, but they didn't have the power of God in them to overcome the demons that were in the people they were exorcising. They used Jesus' name in exorcism, which was correct, but, if the Holy Spirit is not dwelling in a person, that person is at risk for a physical attack from the Enemy. 

Many people profess to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, but have never put their trust in Him in order to have their sins atoned for. Many of these people go to church on Sunday and know the difference between right and wrong, and they make right decisions in life. They also trust in God for important things like deciding where they should live or what job they should take. They do have a trust in God, but have never come to the place where they have turned away from their sins and trusted in what Jesus did for them, while He was on the Cross. 

We need to ask ourselves if we really do know the Lord, or do we really trust in our own goodness to be saved from our sins? If we graded ourselves on a scale of 1-10, how well would we grade ourselves on keeping the Commandments? If we break even just 1 Commandment, that is enough for God to send us to hell, forever, to pay for that sin. 

If you are not sure that you ever placed your trust in Jesus Christ for the salvation of your soul, you can do that right now. We repent of our sins, (turn away from selfishness) and believe that Jesus died for every sin we have committed or ever will commit. That doesn't mean its ok to sin. But the devil is tricky and he always tempts us with sinning and sometimes, takes us off guard, and we fall into sin. When that happens, we turn back to God and ask Him to help us not to sin again. God will pick us up and we will walk with Him again, and He promises to cleanse us from all sin, when we are in Christ. 

"If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things become new". 2 Corinthians 5:17

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 ESV

No good deeds we do will ever atone for our sin. Good works do not cancel out the bad things we have done. Only Jesus' blood that He shed on the Cross will cleanse us from our sins. 

"If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:6,7 ESV

God promises to cleanse us from sin, when we turn from sin to Him. God doesn't lie. Trust in Him today. 

If you have questions or are concerned about this matter, please write in the comments or send a message to me. Also, check out the other blog pages that I put together.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

My Story - My 'His Story'

I thought I would take a little time to write out 'my story'. It's kind of late, and I am running out of time, so I have to make it brief.

I will start my story at the age of 3. One day, I wondered some things. This was serious. How did I get here? Why am I here? What was this all about? When did I get here?

My mom proceeded to explain the facts of life as best as she could to a 3 year old.

She also taught me the 10 Commandments. Oh boy, now I knew I was in trouble. There was a time when I outright lied. What could I do to fix this problem? What does it mean if I broke a commandment?

Now, at the age of 7, sitting in class one day, out of nowhere seemingly, the thought came to my mind, there is no limit to God. Another thought that tied in with that one was, 'God never had a beginning'. If you can pinpoint a time in History past, God was before that. He never had a beginning point. He also is uncreated. My mind was blown.

Another time, in second grade, I did something stupid. I made some kind of remark about God, that wasn't nice. A boy in the class looked at me and commented. You know how it is when someone puts their hand over their mouth and makes that ummm noise? Almost like, 'I'm telling' when you've done something bad?

Well, I felt bad. I felt terrible. I knew I had sinned, again, but didn't know how to fix it. I even asked some people but no one knew how to help. At night, I asked my older friend. She said to me, 'Why don't you pray for forgiveness?' I thought that was a good idea, so I did just that.

When I was 9, I was afraid I was an atheist. It was hard to believe that God was there when you couldn't see Him. I felt guilty and yet, I wanted to believe He existed. At some point, I figured out that He must be there if I felt guilty about what I was thinking.

Because of being bullied around in school, in the years of 4-7th grade, I got tired of kids calling the shots, so I rebelled. I rebelled against authority and eventually, I became a bully. By the time I was 15, I learned how to physically fight with people (don't laugh. I know I am small!). I was tired of being bullied around, so, I turned to other things to make myself powerful and hopefully likable.

My life was taking a direction that was not good. I was considering taking drugs and doing the typical bad stuff kids my age did. Fortunately, I had enough common sense to always be careful in life and not do anything I would regret later on. But would my desire for power and recognition be greater than my common sense?

During my 9th grade year in school, my grandmother passed away from cancer. I only got to see her once or twice a year since we moved far away. I continued on my self willed path, but then something unusual happened.

During the summer between 9th and 10th grade, God began to speak to my heart. For a while, I just tried to ignore it. I thought it would go away. Was it just my overactive imagination working overtime again?

We took a vacation up North, and I thought for sure the voice inside me would go away. I really did fear God, but I wanted to do my own thing too. At least first, if I could. But the voice was still there, and it was there long after vacation was over.

Months went by, and the voice never stopped. At this point, I was careful to avoid listening to any religious programs or anything around me that would remind me of God....just in case. What was God trying to say anyway?

What I think God was trying to tell me was that there was something I needed to know. Of course, by this time, I am wondering about heaven and hell, and where I would go.

A couple of years before this, a friend was over and she and my mom were having a conversation. I felt very uncomfortable with what they were talking about. Don't even remember the details of this conversation, but it was something about if God didn't do a particular thing, we would all end up going to hell. I was really troubled about this (I never told this to my friend), and I remembered this conversation she had with my mom. It didn't seem fair to me that God would send people to hell. And that I could go there too. I just thought that would be impossible.

Sometimes, I used to think something like this, 'If God loved me as much as everyone says He does, then He won't send me to hell. He doesn't send people to Hell that He loves." At least that made sense to me. But what was this voice trying to get me to understand?

It would be several months of hearing this voice and knowing that God wanted me to know something, before I started meeting people who would make a difference in my life.

At the beginning of my Sophomore year, while at a dance place my friend and I used to attend, I felt led to meet a young man standing at a big round table. I gave him my phone number at the end of the evening. He called the next day and set up a date. This was the first divine appointment I had.

I had just broken up with a boy at the time I went on my first date with this young man I met at the dance place. Before we went out on this date though, he wouldn't tell me what it was he was taking me to. But he did say I would like it because it has music. All I could think of was, 'I hope this isn't something religious'. Maybe it was a trap from God for me to find out what it was He wanted me to know. Did I really want to know what that was? I don't think I was ready to hear the Good NewsI  yet.

He takes me to this place, where he tells me I will like it because it has music there. Sure enough, it was some kind of religious meeting (It was a Young Life meeting, at a church building). Part of me felt trapped, but part of me also found it interesting. I saw kids there who I knew, and some of them were pulling out cigarettes and lighting them up. This is going to be an interesting meeting, I can tell.

There was very little I understood of the supposed threatening message that I would hear. But, I ended up liking the boy, and we continued to date. In fact, we went out on several dates and got to know each other very well.

One night, when he was visiting, he asked me if I were a Christian, to which I replied that I was. I assumed a Christian was someone who was not Jewish, Muslim, or Atheist. Another time, he asked me about baptism. I was sprinkled as a baby, and that was called 'baptism'. He disagreed. I was perplexed. What does baptism have to do with anything anyway?

I still had this inner knowing that there was something God wanted me to know. But I still could not figure out what it was. My boyfriend and I had more discussions about baptism, and finally, we decided to talk to his pastor about it.

We went to visit the pastor at his church building. He explained baptism to me. I had no idea what he was talking about. But then, he took a little booklet called 'The 4 Spiritual Laws' and read it to me. When the pastor got to the end, there was a prayer. He asked me if I had ever prayed anything like that before. The lights began to come on for me. Suddenly, I realized that there was something about all this that had to do with a relationship with God. I was terrified.

I took the booklet home and read through it often. It explained the Gospel message throughout it. I tried to understand it but it was hard. But I continued to read through it and believed that maybe it would answer the question of whatever it was God wanted me to know.

One thing I realized, is that I never prayed a prayer like that in my life. It was an afternoon, a couple of months after I received this booklet, that I decided to try to pray that prayer. I don't know if I really understood the Gospel message at that point, but I tried to pray the prayer at the back of the booklet.

We had moved to another house, and now I was going to a new high school. In the home room class, there was a girl who sat in the desk behind me. She was very bold about her faith in God. She talked about Jesus as if He were right there with us. I had never heard such a thing as this. It was very intriguing. One day, the girl asked me if I were a Christian. I remembered that I prayed the prayer in the back of the booklet, so I said 'yes'. But did I really understand the Gospel message yet? I'm not sure.

God continued to work in my heart, and now that I was dating someone who seemed to know about this God Who was speaking to my heart, it helped me to let go of my rebellion and arrogance. I didn't have the need to go out and prove myself to others and bully people around anymore. For a while, it was a battle though, because originally, I was determined to do just that. But now, I was much more ready to give all that up.

In the new high school I was at, I met an old friend from elementary school who also was in my mom's Boy Scout group when I was 10. This young man also went astray in his teenage years, but now I met him again, and he was different. He was excited because of what the Lord had done for him. He was so zealous for his new faith, and he gave me tracts to start to give out to others. This was the first time I ever saw a tract, and I thought they were cool. But still, I just wasn't there yet.

The day did come when the message of the Gospel connected in my heart. With all my new Christian friends that God sent my way, I was able to get the help I needed when I had questions. Somehow, not sure when, the Gospel message made sense to me, and I responded. God helped me understand that I was in rebellion to Him, and that He sent His Son to die for my sins, so I wouldn't have to spend eternity in hell, paying for my sins. Now I could be reconciled to God, and have a relationship with Him. I understood that I could come to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. And, now I was a new creature in Christ, a born again person.

Anyway, that is basically my story, and when my life began to change drastically. It's been many years later, and God is still faithful to me, and now my family. I married the man who was my boyfriend that I met at the dance place. God has continued to lead us as a family, and also placed us in a church where we are able to function in the body of Christ.

I don't know what would have happened had I not responded to the Gospel call on my life. Maybe I would have died early in life. Whatever would have happened, I am glad to have traded in that life for the abundant life that I am now living.

For anyone who is interested, I have a blog page that explains the Gospel message more clearly. The link is https://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com. Feel free to visit there and if you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Why Moralists Are Not Saved

Today I want to talk about the two different types of people who misunderstand who they are or who others are, and our great need for salvation.

I have been listening to many programs, some political and right on in their understanding of a Christian worldview. I'm not going to name and names, but if you listen to some of these guys, you would be convinced that they are true believers in Jesus Christ. They have a good understanding of what is happening in the world today. They are pro-life, and also support Christians who are being violated because of their convictions of right and wrong on issues they are facing today.

These people even know the Scriptures. But do they see their own need for a Savior? It doesn't appear so. That doesn't mean we throw these people out of our lives or disregard anything they say. It would be a different story if they were taking a stand for Jesus Christ and being violated for that. That would help us to have a clue to know where these people stand spiritually.

One of the guys addressed his audience. He told them that they were good people. He was making a reference to someone or something which was threatening his listeners about how bad they were or that the listeners were going to hell. I didn't catch that part, but the man believed his audience was good enough to go to heaven.

I believe these people are called, 'moralists'. They have a good justice system and they can separate truth from error when it comes to moral issues. I have also seen some Jewish men who are doing the same thing. They are very high morally and they actually stand up for the rights of the Christians who are being violated for their beliefs.

They seem to differ from the Pharisees in that they don't appear to have a false righteousness that they have made for themselves. They identify themselves as Christians, but they have not come to know the Lord Jesus as their Savior yet.

The other group is similar, but, they would believe that Jesus died for good people. What I mean is, that Jesus didn't die for the Hitlers and such evil people. Only those who aren't that bad can be saved. They would think of themselves as not that bad, and they believe that Jesus died for their weaknesses and mistakes. They too, do not see their need for a Savior.

What do these people need? They need to see God with their spiritual eyes. We can know all about God, but we need to see God as holy and all-powerful, as well as majestic. If that doesn't happen, we will not see our sinful condition.

What else do they need? They need to have a work of God done in their hearts. They need to have a conviction of sin for them to see their need for a Savior.

It is good that people have a sense of right and wrong, and good and evil. It is good that people can separate the truth from the lies. But it can also keep people in deception, unless God opens their eyes and they see Him for who He is, and as a result, see their need for a Savior.

So, what should we do? We need to be aware of the fact that knowing the difference between right and wrong does not mean a person is saved necessarily. Many people do fear the Lord, but they haven't come to the place where they have responded to Him.

When we come across these people, put them on our prayer lists. Pray that God will use their understanding of good and evil, and right and wrong, to help them understand that they need to be saved from their sins. They fear God and they have wisdom, but they don't know Him yet and we need to pray for God to reveal Himself to them and have mercy on their souls.

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.