Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Rainbow Does Not Mean A Judgment Free God

Today, many are rejoicing because they think they have been vindicated in their 'right' to choose whoever they want to marry. Marriage has been redefined, and the rainbow symbol has been stolen.

   A couple of days ago, the Supreme Court decided that men can now marry men, and women can also marry women. We don't have to be stereotyped anymore. Of course, with a law like that, there will have to be a lot of different ways we can end up going.

   Even though the Supreme Court has redefined marriage, God hasn't. God never intended for men to marry other men, or women to marry other women. There is no place in the Bible that makes concession for this. Whenever the Bible speaks of marriage relationships, it is always in the context of husbands (males) and wives (females). There is also several passages that explain the judgment of God on those who practice sexual sins, including homosexuality. There is no other way around this.

  But what I want to point out, is what the meaning of the symbol of the rainbow indicates. Let's look at the passage that comes right after the world-wide flood took place. 

  And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. *Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.* Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:12-16 NIV

What exactly are we seeing here? God was patient and waited for the people to repent of their wickedness. In Genesis 6, the Bible tells us that the people were so very wicked, that they were inventing new ways of wickedness. God provided an Ark, through Noah, but no one responded to God. They are just like we are today. They love their wickedness and no one is going to stop them, at least they don't think that will happen.

  So, the time for the Flood came. When Noah and his family were safely in the Ark, along with all the assigned animals, God closed the door. It was sealed shut. It was too late if anyone were to have changed their minds. They had plenty of time before though, and they would have rather continued in their sins. 

    When the waters receded, and it was time to get out of the Ark, God showed Noah the rainbow, and explained that it would be a symbol to mankind that God would never destroy the earth again, by means of a world-wide flood. It was to remind us of the everlasting covenant that God made to Noah. 

The meaning of the symbol of the rainbow has been redefined.
We need to come back to the true meaning of the rainbow
that God intended to make.

Some are taking this to mean that God will not judge anymore. But it doesn't take too much more reading before we find that God is a just God, and will punish sin. Sometimes, we suffer for our sins in this life. But even if we don't, and we don't think we are hurting anyone with our sins, our sins will catch up to us on That Day. 

   In Genesis 19, we read about God destroying two cities, Sodom and Gomorrah. There is debate in some people's minds about why destroyed these cities, but it is clear that the men who lived in this city were practicing homosexuals. 

   Lot lived in this city, and he tried to reason with these men. They would have nothing to do with Lot. In fact, they even accused Lot of judging them! They were not listening to a word Lot was saying to them. They knocked the door down in order to get to the angels who were visiting Lot and preparing him and his family to leave the place, for God was going to destroy them. 

   God struck the homosexual men with blindness. Then the angels directed Lot and his family to go to another city. The sons in law, unfortunately, thought Lot was joking and decided to stay. Lot's wife changed her mind and wanted to go back, so she turned into a pillar of salt. Only Lot and his daughters escaped this impending danger. 

    God poured fire, sulphur, and brimstone onto the city and everyone who was left was destroyed. Did they have a chance to get out before the disaster? They had warnings, but disregarded them. They chose to not repent, but to continue to live the way they did. 

   So, if God decides to destroy a city or group of people, does that seem fair to you? What if God gives warnings of destruction? Are we doing the same thing that the people back then did? Do we really think we will escape God's judgment on us?

  God calls all men to repentance. He calls men and women to respond to Him in repentance and faith. The next time the earth will be destroyed, it won't be with a flood. God will destroy the earth with fire. 

   The rainbow is not a symbol that God changed His mind about judgment. It just means that now, there is a way that we can have peace with God. Because of our sins, not just homosexuality, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, around 2,000 years ago, to live a perfect life (without sin), and to die a horrible death, in order to pay the penalty for our sins. He was the only person who has ever risen from the dead, and He is the only One who can forgive us of our terrible debt because of our sins. 

"Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.
*Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy
 all life.* 

   The symbol of the rainbow was given before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It does not mean that God will never judge again. He will. His word promises that He will. 

   Remember, God is all-knowing and He knows the future. He knows what groups of people will rebel against Him. We have taken ourselves out of the umbrella of His protection, because we want the Bible to say things that it doesn't say. We are in danger of being in darkness, and not finding our way back. 

   Let's not twist God's word around to make it mean something other than what it was intended to. Whenever you see a rainbow in the sky, think of God's mercy to you and how you are alive right now, and can respond to Him if you hear His voice. 

   The rainbow has been stolen, and we need to defend the true meaning of this symbol. It has nothing to do with Gay rights. It has everything to do with God's mercy to us in allowing us to repent and to trust in His Son, who became the Ultimate Sacrifice for our sins. 

   God's desire is not to destroy us, but to give us hope and a future. But the hope and future are in Him alone. If we go around Him in order to have hope and a future, it will be false, and it will be short lived. We need to repent and trust in Christ for our salvation. Our freedom doesn't come from Gay rights or whosever arms we twist in the government to get what we want. Freedom only comes from One. His name is Jesus Christ.

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" John 8:31,32 ESV

The rainbow is not a symbol of sexual freedom. God
made many judgments after the rainbow was given.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

God Wants To Communicate With Us

"And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised..." Matthew 27:50-52 ESV
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God..." Hebrews 10:19-21 ESV
I think God wants to communicate with us. Are you ready and willing to listen?
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin..." Hebrews 4:15 ESV

Friday, June 19, 2015

We Are Being Bullied-We Are Being Duped

   Does the president think we are stupid? He talks about restricting gun use and desires for strict gun control, even if it means our being disarmed. He talks about this as if he is the authority on what happens. The sad part is, we are so trusting and we think that whatever he says, goes.

   But if he is speaking about something that is already established in the Constitution, he can't do anything about it. Unfortunately, those he appointed in office, and those in the government will work with him to make sure things go the way they want to. While they think we are stupid and ignorant of reality, we know better.

  Reminds me of a situation that happened when I was in sixth grade. There was a bully in my class. She had been bullying me around for 2 years at this point. One day, the teacher was in a really bad mood, and kept the class after school. The bully was sitting on the left of me, and was up to her usual antics. This time, she stated out loud, to the teacher, that I was looking out the door. Now, if you can figure out whatever is wrong with looking out the door, you are doing better than I. The teacher responded to her by making me stay after for an extra 5 minutes.

   This is a case of injustice and an authority figure not thinking clearly and not responding appropriately. But this is not much different than what is going on at the White House. We have an authority figure who is calling the shots. But his shots are not legal. Yet, either we are ignorant of that fact or perhaps we have just given up thinking that this is too big for us to deal with. We need to commit this to God.

   If the president had his way, we would lose a lot of our freedoms. Those who are in the various parts of the government are siding with him, even though what he is doing is unconstitutional. The Constitution guarantees our freedoms. We think that we will not lose them because they are in the Constitution, but the fact of the matter is, we are losing them. We are losing them because the authority figures in government are making us give them up, even though the Constitution says they are ours. We think that those in government are going to protect the Constitution, but many won't. Who can we appeal to?

Friday, June 5, 2015

How Should The Guilty Be Treated For Their Crimes? Part 2

    We left off yesterday in the David Wilkerson saga where David and Miles Hoover were at the court scene where the 7 boys who killed Michael Farmer, a 15 year old polio victim in Highbridge Park, NY. , were being tried.

    The self-appointed judge standing next to Wilkerson announced his decision of the trial before the trial even began. Then he continued, and said, "God, I hate those boys", to which Wilkerson responded by saying, "God seems to be the only One who doesn't".

   Our justice system tells us to punish wrongdoing. That is good. We would not be civilized if it weren't for that. But it does create a problem for us, because in each one of us, whether we believe it or not, resides the seeds for every kind of evil action that exists.

   That doesn't mean we will all be like Hitler. But we do have those seeds in us as well as did Hitler. He just let them blossom in his heart, and the terrible fruit that came from his wicked heart destroyed many, many people.

   We have many restraints that keep us from doing evil, even if it is in our hearts. We have the law of the land. We should have the fear of God (but many don't). We all have consciences, though some are weak, and others are seared. Some of us have enough wisdom to know that there are consequences for our actions.

   In spite of all the warning systems in us, we still sin. We might not have physically killed someone, but when we hate someone, that hatred is from the same seed that caused Hitler to kill 6 million people, or more.

   Does God hate us when we sin? The answer can be complicated. On the one hand, the Bible says that 'while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us'. In another place, it tells us that God is angry at the wicked every day. It also says that the wicked are turned into hell. So, what gives?

    Really, it comes down to our hearts wanting to repent. Repentance is not just saying a prayer or telling God you are sorry for your sins. It is much more than that.

   There are some people who are so trapped by their sins. If you were to ask them if they want a way out of the mess they are in, they would definitely want it, at all costs. These people are desperate for an answer, not only for the forgiveness of their sins (so they can go to heaven when they die), but, to be set free from their sins so they don't have to continue in them.

   Sin is like an addiction. The Bible says that whoever commits sin is a slave to sin. It also says that whoever the Son sets free is free indeed. That is the best news for all of us. However, most of us do not see ourselves as slaves of sin or addicted to sin. We see ourselves as basically good people and that camouflages our need for a Savior.

   Prisoners and gangsters don't have that kind of problem. They do not see themselves as good people. They know they are bad. But even some people who are not prisoners know that they themselves are bad. Those are the people who can be helped best.

   One time, I watched a show with some prisoners who were rapists. As they were being interviewed, they were helping women to learn how to be protected from men like themselves. Unless they were set free by the Lord, when and if they get out of prison, the temptation to rape will still be there. They may have daughters who they want to be protected, and will go through all lengths to protect them, but the temptation for raping will still be there. They need to be set free. Many do really want to be set free.

   The gangsters who killed Michael Farmer were never contacted by Wilkerson, but David Wilkerson met other gangsters who gladly heard the Gospel. Many of these gangsters were involved in murder. They were bored, unloved, and lonely, trying to find relationships and meaning in life, but were doing it in a bad way. God loved those gangsters and many came to Christ when they heard the Gospel message.

    Two gang leaders and their warlords were kneeling in repentance to God for what they were doing. Another gang leader tried to lead his gang into responding to the Gospel by going forward to be ministered to. These gang leaders humbled themselves and cried. They cried out to God. God met them where they were at.

   One of the biggest, meanest, most terrifying gang leader who came to Christ was Nicky Cruz. If you ever get a chance, find him on Youtube. He was one of the most unlikely people to ever respond to the Gospel. He even wanted to kill David Wilkerson at one time!

   Yes, God loved those gangsters. Jesus died to save them, not only for heaven, but even for now. They were set free from heroin addiction and all the other things that they were involved in.

    But what if we said to ourselves, look at what the gangsters had done? Look at who they killed? They did so much damage. They need to pay for their crimes! Where is the justice?

   Let's look at John 8 where a group of religious people bring a woman who was committing adultery and caught in the act. They bring the woman to be stoned? Where was the guy she was with? Why should he have gotten away with committing adultery and why should she have been punished? Partly because we have a warped justice system inside us. We judge and condemn who we want to, and we let go whoever we want to.

   They bring the woman to Jesus and expect Him to begin the stoning process, which He did. He gave instruction on the first person who was without sin to cast the first stone. Amazingly, no one cast the first stone. In fact, they all disappeared. Then Jesus said something remarkable. He told her 2 things. One of them was that she was free to go, and the other was that she was to sin no more.

   We still ask, where is the justice? Isn't God black and white? You have to bring the mercy of God into this equation. That is what we don't understand, and what we, if we are honest, don't really want, at least for some people. We want them to be punished for their crimes.

  So, does God condone sin? Of course not. He takes pity on us because we are slaves of sin. We didn't ask to be that way, but that is the way it is. We don't have to stay that way, and we can be totally free from sin's slavery if we really want to be.

   Why am I writing all this? It has to do with a current event going on today. You may have already made the correlation. A young man named Josh Duggar is being slammed by the media today. Josh Duggar did a terrible sin when he was 14. The sin continued for a while. The parents were made aware, and they sent him away. They also received help and counseling, etc. They seemed to do the best with whatever knowledge that they had at that time.

   Josh Duggar, from listening to his statements, appears to have repented. You and I know that eventually there will be fruit from our repentance. Only God knows if we truly have repented, and sometimes it takes time for us to respond.

    I think there are some concrete facts concerning this issue, and I think there are some assumed facts that probably aren't accurate. The media and bloggers are having a heyday with all this. Ungodly people will stretch this situation and construe their own twisted version of it. They can get on the Internet and publish whatever they write.

     Whatever your take is on this situation, please consider a few things. Listen to both sides of the story. Don't just assume you know the other position. Be careful of listening to angry people who post on the Internet. There are some who have been sexually abused and have never had resolution concerning what happened to them. This is terrible and very sad. But, this issue is triggering memories that have caused a lot of pain, and their way of resolving it is to send the accused person to prison and make sure justice is served. In their minds, Josh Duggar should be made to pay the fullest penalty for his crime 10+ years ago. They are sure his sisters and any others involved are suffering at his hands. They will consider this family evil, and impostors at best.

   Did Josh Duggar truly repent? I don't know. But if he did, we better be sure to forgive him and let him work through his repentance.

   Are we so sure that he is faking his repentance? People have done that before, especially in prison, in order to get out sooner. They put on their best behavior and make a profession of faith in order to be able to be out of prison. But that is not everyone's story. Some actually come to Christ and are radically saved! We need to be careful to not judge and decide that someone hasn't repented. We are the ones who will be held accountable for harboring bitterness and hatred.

   Do we even want Josh Duggar to be forgiven? Many of us act like we don't. We want to make sure 'justice is served' whatever that means.

  And keep in mind that this situation involves a 14 year old boy, fondling his sisters, not a 45 year old rapist holding women hostage and using them for his sexual pleasures. There is a big difference in that, even though we want to treat the once 14 year old as if he were a skilled rapist or perpetrator.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How Should The Guilty Be Treated For Their Crimes?

   For the past year and a half, I have been listening to an audio book I downloaded for free from Christian audio (you can go to their web site and sign up. Every month they have a free book download). The book I downloaded was 'The Cross and The Switchblade' by David Wilkerson.

   This book has been fascinating to me. You can learn a lot of different things from reading it. God shows up and does supernatural acts to confirm to David Wilkerson that He did indeed call him to NYC to minister to 'those boys'.

   There is one story in particular that I want to focus on though, as current events happen, this story may be applicable. The background of this story is that God impressed strongly on David Wilkerson's heart to go to NYC and help the boys who were in gangs, to hear the Gospel and be redeemed.

   The story begins when Wilkerson found an article in a Life magazine depicting drawings of seven boys, teenagers, who were guilty of killing a 15 year old polio victim in Highbridge Park, NYC. He laughed when he heard the impression to go to NYC to help 'those boys'. " Me? Go to New York? A country preacher barge into a situation he knows less than nothing about?" was his answer.  In spite of David Wilkerson's reasoning, the impression continued to stay. So, off he went to NYC, to learn the plight of 'those boys' who were going to go to court very shortly.

   Wilkerson and a friend ended up at the court hearing. There were 42 seats available, and 40 people showed up. Wilkerson and Miles Hoover took the last 2 seats.

   While they were waiting to get inside, there was a man in front of Wilkerson expressing how he felt about 'those boys'. "Chair's too good for them. Gotta teach them a lesson, young punks. Make an example out of them."The man continued with his assessment of the boys who were being charged with murder, and he also continued to explain the details of the situation to David Wilkerson.

   Later on in the conversation, actually during the trial, the man continued to talk. He talked up until the judge pounded on the table with the gavel. Here are the last words of this man as the trial was starting to go underway; "That's the way to handle them. Can't be too careful. God, I hate those boys (although I am sure he was not addressing God necessarily, but using God's name as an expression). Here is the crux of this article. Listen carefully to David Wilkerson's response to this man. "God seems to be the only One who doesn't", said Wilkerson.

   What? God loves those boys? Is that fair? What about Michael Farmer and his family? Justice certainly doesn't seem to play out here if God really loves those boys. Or does it?

    Here's how the crime played out; A group of boys were part of a gang called The Dragons. Gangsters were made up mainly of teenage boys who came from homes where they were kicked out of. They sensed the animosity from their families and were full of rage. They were looking for trouble one day and killed 15 year old Michael Farmer. They stabbed him in the back 7 times, beat him in the head with a garrison belt, and before they ran away, they said, "We messed him good" while wiping the blood through their hair.

   Do you think David Wilkerson was really called by God to 'help those boys' in NYC? Or do you think he was just reacting to some internal emotion he felt while looking at the pictures of those boys? What kind of justice would you dole out to those 7 boys who killed Michael Farmer? Do you think God could or should offer forgiveness of sins to those boys? Feel free to comment but show kindness to those who disagree with you.

   Stay tuned for part 2 of this article.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Grace and Truth & Truth and Grace

   So much could be said about truth and grace, and their combination together. Those who profess to know Jesus Christ personally tend to err in favor of one over the other, or one at the expense of the other.

   There are those who are so grace filled that when confronted with truth, they would say something like, 'Well, we believe in grace'. They may indicate that anything concerning truth involves legalism. Then the other group is so set on truth, that they never allow for God's grace to serve others or even themselves. Many fall into sin and then throw the towel in on Christianity because they think it doesn't work or is not real.

   I remember learning a story, I believe Ken Sande told. It involved a woman who was part of a Bible believing church who had committed adultery. The church went through the process in Matthew 18, and eventually the woman chose to stay in adultery, and was asked to leave. She went to a church down the road. The pastor of the Bible believing church called the pastor of the church she was now attending. The new pastor responded by telling the first pastor this; 'We believe in grace here'. What do you think happened months down the road in this church? Take a guess. She committed adultery again in that church.

   The second church believed in God's grace, but ignored God's truth. I think of another situation where a pastor held an extremely high standard of what he believed true Christians should always exhibit. In fact, he ended up believing that only a handful of churches in America were 'true' churches. This man had little experience or understanding of God's grace for sinners. According to him, if I understood correctly, he thought Christians were toast if they fell into sin. Guess what happened to this man? He was found guilty on charges of child molestation and went to jail.

   We have to ask , what went wrong? The answer is simply that there was not a correct understanding of the correlation of God's truth and God's grace. In both situations above, one or the other was valid while the other wasn't valid or necessary.

    Grace basically says, 'I am going to heaven when I die'. Truth says, 'I am going to hell when I die'. In our logic, either one or the other is true. If we believe in a grace-filled God, we could falsely believe we are going to heaven. If we believe in a God of truth, but don't understand His grace, we could become hopeless. Grace and truth must always work together to make sense of this scenario.

   Grace really says what is true, then gives hope. Grace says, I will go to hell forever when I die, but God...  Truth has to be brought in. Truth says, I will go to hell forever after I die, but God.... God in His mercy and loving kindness, provided a way out of hell for us. We can't skip over the truth part, and we must go through the truth in order to get to the grace part. It can't be one or the other. It is both truth and grace working together.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Which Is Best; Ignorance, Knowledge, Or Activated Knowledge?

     Many people are ignorant (and I am not using this as a derogatory term). There are people who have no idea what the Gospel is, or how it applies to them. There are people who are ignorant when it comes to health issues. They just blindly trust a health official concerning their health and miss the opportunity of finding out the cure or even prevention of their illness.

   So, it would seem like having knowledge is some kind of advantage, doesn't it? But let's see if that is really so.

   The Bible says that 'knowledge puffs up but love edifies'. I was thinking about that this morning. I do have a very strong concern with what I see going on in the body of Christ at large.

   There are those who are professing believers in Jesus Christ who have a lot of knowledge. Even though their knowledge seems to be based from the word of God, the way they live their lives, many times, is contrary to the word of God. Why is this happening?

   The word of God is clear about how God feels about pride. Someone could argue and say that there are no commandments telling us not to be proud, but there are verses that do tell us what will happen if we are proud. Pride comes before a fall, and, God resists the proud. Makes me want to consider more, how not to be proud.

   The term 'puffs up' is referring to pride. Knowledge makes us feel powerful. It seems to empower us, and that in itself might not be bad, but it can be deceptive. When we know something, and others don't know about whatever we know, we feel powerful over them. That is pride.

   Anything that leads to pride is dangerous. Pride considers ourselves more important to others. John Piper says that the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is pride. Makes sense.

   I am seeing a lot of people spew a lot of knowledge concerning theology and related issues. If we know so much then what is lacking? Something seems to be missing.

   What I think is missing is simply that we have knowledge, but it is not knowledge that has been applied to our lives. It is not part of us, but it is stored in our minds and we use it as a weapon instead of a life changing device.

   When is knowledge good? It is so valuable when we apply it to our lives. "But be doers of the word, not just hearers, deceiving your own selves". We see the word of God. It makes sense to us. We see how it can help others or when others are in rebellion to God. We just don't see it in ourselves. Somehow, we mistake knowledge for applied knowledge. It has not been activated in our own lives. It only works for us when we apply the knowledge to our hearts. Otherwise, we end up deceived, according to James.

  Is it better to be in ignorance than have knowledge? Both can be devastating to us. We need knowledge, but it needs to be applied and used in the right way. If not, many can be hurt.

   What is missing then, with only knowledge? Remember John Piper's definition of the opposite of love being pride. We are either going to be serving ourselves or serving others. When we love, we serve others. We are kind to those we love. We love people when they fail. We love people when they make mistakes. We love people even when they sin against us. We don't look for ways to repay them or to take revenge.

   The answer to the question above, is simply, love is missing. God is love. Those who know Him will experience His love, not just know about His love, or that He is love. Not only that, but those who know Him will love others. It will be a joy for us to love, when we are growing in our relationship with God.