Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Monday, March 23, 2015

Using Words In Vain

   What do you think of when you hear the word, 'hell'? Does it have a strong, horrifying connection in your mind, or do you just have knowledge of it being a really bad place to be?

   What if you heard someone talking about a place called 'Styx', which you may never have heard of before. Styx is a place in the Underworld where there is a river that carries the dead to Hades. "a river in Hades across which Charon ferried the souls of the dead"* That definition seems to have a little stronger connotation, doesn't it? But you don't hear people saying, 'Oh Styx". 

   You may have heard people use the word, 'hell' as part of an expression of irritation or anger. I think that is why it has lost so much of it's meaning. We hear it all the time and it becomes meaningless. When we hear the word, 'hell' we don't think of a lake of fire. We know it is something we shouldn't say, but since so many use that phrase (for example, 'the hell with it'), it has little meaning to us today.

   Take also the word, 'holy'. Have you ever heard the expression, 'holy cow'? Perhaps that is a reason why we have such a hard time understanding what it means when we are learning about God's characteristics and His holiness? What does a 'holy' God look like? What does that mean to us?

  How about the word, 'awesome'? Years ago, Rich Mullins wrote a song called, 'Awesome God'. The song took off. Rich Mullins was killed in a car wreck, yet his song was on the top of the chart. But there is something interesting about the whole thing. The word 'awesome' was not a popular word until Rich Mullins wrote his song. Not too long after that though, if you have noticed, everything is awesome. People are awesome. Food is awesome. Games are awesome. Cars are awesome. Now the word 'awesome' has lost its original meaning. At first, God was awesome. Now, everything that is spectacular is awesome. If someone likes something a lot, that thing is awesome. 

   Of course, the most serious words we use in vain are expressions with God's name in it. God's name becomes a common word and as such, His name loses it's meaning. We no longer see God as holy or powerful because the words we use to describe Him are just plain common words we hear all the time. We don't hear those words along with their descriptions. We hear them coming out of the mouths of people as some kind of response to something. Because God's name is so common, we have a hard time understanding who He is, and we have a hard time trying to explain to others who He is. Perhaps this is the reason why God does not want us to take His name in vain. He wants people to know Him in truth. 

* www.dictionary.reference.com

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Stain That Wouldn't Come Out

  I am one who believes that weddings should go perfectly. After all, they are a very solemn occasion.

  I remember reading about someone who couldn't find their that they would wear while walking down the aisle, so the bride had to go barefoot! I think I would have struggled big time if that were me.

  However, times have changed and we have learned to become more flexible given the fact that so many little things can go wrong, and do go wrong. Today was no exception, for, I wore a formal dress that was one of the few dresses I had available to wear that would coordinate with my daughter's wedding colors.

    First of all, I tried on the dress to make sure it still fit, and it did, although it was a little tight. There was a small stain that could not be seen because it was hidden under a vest I would wear.

   It was past lunch time, and my husband picked up some fried chicken for us to eat. I am not going to make it a habit of eating fried chicken, but, this one day it would be an exception, especially if I pray over the food. So I did.

   As I was eating my fried chicken, a few very small pieces fell on my beautiful dress. Horrors. The stains were so very noticeable. What was I going to do now? The wedding would be in about 2 hours and I would be walked down the aisle with stains on my gown! Why did God allow this? What was I going to do to fix this? What lesson would I learn from this? Maybe I would learn the secret to getting oil stains out of clothing, in quick fashion. Maybe I could write it on my homemaking blog and add to my collection of tips to help other homemakers get oil stains out of their clothing. Maybe I would make a lot of money from an experiment that came to mind that worked on getting the stains out.

   At first, I took some water and soap and went over the stains. Not too long after that, I was called out to have my pictures taken with the bride and the bride's maids. By this time, I have a couple of large water stains on my dress. Nice. Maybe the oil stains would disappear. Maybe not.

   Being out in the sun made the water evaporate quickly, so the water stains disappeared, but the oil stains were still there, just as obvious as they were before I tried to clean them with soap and water. My next experiment was to rub salt on them. I was sure that doing so would make the oil stains disappear, but it didn't do too much except take a lot of salt out of my salt shaker that I carry around in my purse, just in case we go somewhere and can't find the salt shakers (which has already happened before).

   The salt may or may not have helped, but I stopped using that after a while. Then I just rubbed the stains with a paper towel. I did this for a long period of time and the stains really did look lighter after I got done doing that. But they were still obvious to the outsider, for my husband noticed them and asked about them.

  I went down the aisle, stains and all, but a lighter version of the stains than they were a couple of hours ago. The dress will go to the dry cleaner and hopefully, they will finish getting the stains out.

   What lessons did I learn from this difficult situation today? One thing I learned, or rather experienced, is that it is ok if things are not perfect at a wedding. God is still on the throne and in control of every situation that happens, even stains. I also learned that oil stains really do not come out easily. Although I took a lot of time to try to erase them, there was still the evidence of the stains there. Diligence does pay off, but there is a limited amount of time to fix things when a time is set for the bride to go down the aisle. It is ok to go down the aisle with stains, but it is preferable to go down the aisle with perfectly clean clothing, without spot or wrinkle.

   The main thing I am reminded of is this; our sins are like stains on our souls. We can try really hard to erase them or make them disappear. Sometimes we try to do good works, hoping that they will help erase the sins that are marked on our souls. But we can try a million different things to get rid of sin's stains, and nothing will work. There is only one thing that can wash away our sins and that is the blood of Jesus Christ, God's perfect Son. He is the only One who has never sinned. He has no sin of His own to pay for, and that is why He can pay for our sins with His blood.

   Around 2,000 years ago, God came to earth and lived among us. He did many good things for people, yet people were mean to Him and had Him executed by killing Him on a Cross made of wood. It was the most horrible kind of death a person could die from. Today, we have executed people by using the electric chair, which sends voltages of electricity through the person to kill him or her. Execution by electric chair, hanging, or beheading is horrible, but execution by crucifixion is the most dreaded kind that was done in the whole realm of History.

    But that death meant that all of our stains of sin can be washed away. No matter how bad a person's sin is, if he or she repents and turns away from sin and receives God's forgiveness, that person will walk away completely clean and pure in God's eyes.

   When Jesus died on the Cross, He disarmed the Powers of Darkness, and now we don't have to be slaves to sin any more! If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior from sin, now is the time to do so. Before you put your head on the pillow tonight, please consider this. Eternity doesn't end, and when you stand before God, you will either stand before Him completely clean of sin, dressed in robes of righteousness, or, you will stand before Him with the stains of your sins. If there is any sin remaining, and we know there are lots of sins in all our lives, God will not accept us. He will reject us and we will spend eternity in a place of horror called 'hell' forever and ever, for eons, and eons, without end.

   For more information on this subject, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com or http://test4gp.wordpress.com 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fear

   What is fear and how do we get it? What are the results of fear in our lives?

   This is fresh on my mind, although I am very tired right now. I decided to write this while I was experiencing a moment of fear, so, hopefully I will be able to communicate well.

   I went to bed around 2 a.m., and was awoken around 6 or so, in the morning. Sleep was restless, and my body was tense. It was hard to go back to sleep, and my mind was actively at work.

   For years, I have had terrifying feelings during the night, and I never really understood what was happening and why, but now I have a little bit of insight, thanks to some of my friends I have met in the past four years.

   As I am getting to know different people, I am learning about the supernatural realm and how the devil gets a foothold into our lives, and then we are caught in sin or we suffer (or both). Let me explain in more detail of how this works and what it looks like.

   I knew a woman who lived in terror. She was so afraid of everything, and there were reasons for this. She was raised in a home where the family worshiped the devil. The parents and other participating adults practiced Satanic Ritual Abuse on this woman when she was a child. While this was happening, she was forced to make pacts with the devil or they would punish or kill her. As a child, she didn't really understand the depth of what was going on, but because she was treated with terror, by default, she opened the door to fear in her life. Now as a believer in Jesus Christ, she is able to be delivered from fear and especially the fear of tyranny. Unfortunately, for reasons I can't go into right now, she chose to stay in fear.

   As a little girl, she opened the door for the devil to gain a foothold into her life. As a believer in Jesus Christ, she could have been set free from that bondage. Unless she desires to be set free from it, fear will continue to be her constant companion.

   When I was awakened this morning, fearful thoughts came to my mind. I was thinking of the terrors that another friend went through, who also was in a family who practiced Satanic Ritual Abuse. While listening to her stories as she unfolded them to me, all I could think of was how badly a person would have been affected by having been in this realm. For example, she married a man who had a daughter from a previous relationship, and the husband's family was giving him a birthday party. By this time, my friend and her husband had a child of their own. They were all at this party, and they watched as the stepdaughter was offered as a human sacrifice. The husband was never mentally stable after this, and understandably so. He had come to know the Lord as a younger man, but once this incident happened, he ended up in a severe depression which he never came out of, and eventually died from a drug overdose.

   I was also thinking about how people in many countries around the world, where the Gospel is not available, are demon possessed. Who is there to deliver them? How terrifying their lives must be. I cannot even imagine. I am having a hard time imagining living like that, then dying and living in hell for eternity. I know this is heavy, and I have to write this to help my readers understand what I am trying to say about fear.

   I don't know about you, but when I think about these things, I begin to be afraid. I tend to put myself in the shoes of other people and try to imagine what they are going through. It doesn't seem fair at times. Life has thrown many people a 'curve ball'. It's not like they decided to go off one day and hate God and choose to follow the devil. They were caught in these situations because they were made to make decisions based upon fear. I am struggling with this, as I'm sure you might be. I understand when we open the door to the devil, he gains a foothold, but what about those who don't know how to resist the devil? How can we know his tactics and how can we prepare to protect ourselves from his schemes?

   But then it came to me. I was taking a class on Biblical counseling and David Powlison was the teacher. I learned a lot from these classes and they are helpful, not only for me to be helping other people, but also for me to be helped myself. If the word 'fear' ever came up, I had always heard that it is because of unbelief and that you need to repent of the unbelief. But there are all kinds of fears we get ourselves into or find ourselves dealing with. Without realizing it, we have given the devil opportunities to create fear in our lives, whether it be fear of loss, fear of rejection, fear of the future, fear of pain, or whatever kind of fear it is. How do we undo this? David Powlison explains that God knows we have fear. Several times in the Bible, God tells us not to be afraid. "Fear not" God says. I remembered that as I had a dizzy spell and was thinking of all these thoughts this morning around 6:30 or so. God doesn't want us to be afraid, and God doesn't condemn us because we are afraid. He encourages us to turn to Him in trust. If we fail to do that, then we sin against Him. We don't have to be afraid of the Enemy of our souls. He will work fear into our thinking if we allow him to do so.

   When Jesus died on the Cross, He died, not only to take our sins away, but there is more to this than we understand. He did die to take our sins away, but He also died to disarm the Powers of Darkness. They didn't realize when they incited people to kill the King of Kings, that they were really digging their own graves. If they did know that was going to happen, they would not have worked in such a way. God is always bigger than the devil, and we have to remember that. We need to become familiar with Scriptures as well. The devil has to bow at the Scriptures. He knows Scripture better than any of us, but his version is twisted and we need to know the untwisted version of what he is saying, in order to counteract what he is saying.

   My friend, whose stepdaughter was given as a human sacrifice, had told me several horror stories of when she and her husband were married. The Enemy did many things to torment them. She was saying that it was too bad that they didn't know anything about spiritual warfare or how to put on the armor of God. I wonder how things would have been different if they did know about spiritual warfare.

   The goal of fear is doubt. The devil uses many things to get us to doubt God. He will lie to us. He will take truths of the Scriptures and point out things we don't understand, and will cause us to be afraid. Could that be the reason God says 'Fear not' so many times in His word? If we take those lies that the devil is feeding us, we will begin to distrust God. We will question God and doubt His love for us. Eventually, we will stop trusting God, because we become afraid of those things which we do not understand. 

   The antidote to fear is faith. How do we get 'faith'? Faith comes by hearing God's word. Faith grows as we learn more about  who God is. God's love casts out fear. Those who are in fear are not made perfect in God's love. The more time we spend with God, the less fear will have a grip on our lives. It will not hold us anymore. We will be able to rest in peace as we wait upon God and listen to Him as He speaks to us. Knowing God's word will help us counteract fear for many reasons, and it will help build trust in God, as we get to know Him better.

   Perhaps you have never come to the place in your life where you have realized that your sins have separated you from God, and maybe you have never understood your need for a Savior. You will not be able to overcome fear until you surrender to God. When you place your trust in the only One who can take away your sins and make you a new creation in Christ, then you will never have to be afraid any more. When times of fear come, you can turn to God and call out to Him for help. It is ok to ask God to help you not be afraid. It is not ok to try to overcome fear without the power of God in one's life.

   For more information on the Gospel and how to know God, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The 'One-Anothers' In The Bible

  I guess, the one anothers probably began in the book of Genesis, when Cain killed Abel, and God asked Cain 'Where is Abel, your brother?', to which Cain answered, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

  In the New Testament, we are to 'bear one another's burdens'. We are to 'love one another'. We are to 'exhort one another'. Some other 'one anothers' are to be kind to one another, comfort one another, serve one another, forgive one another, be at peace with one another, addressing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, submitting to one another, admonishing one another, abounding in love for one another, encouraging one another, building one another up (this is not talking about ego building!), living in harmony with one another, outdoing in showing honor to one another, praying for one another, loving one another, seeking to do good to one another, stirring up one another to love good works, confessing our sins to one another, instructing one another, greeting one another, praying for one another, showing hospitality to one another, using our gifts to serve one another, clothing ourselves with humility toward one another, and having fellowship with one another. John's epistles talk much of 'loving one another'.

  This seems to indicate that those who make up the body of Christ are supposed to be in relationship with each other. Maybe this is part of discipleship that seems to be missing today, in many, if not most, churches.

  If people think of 'going to church' as attending a meeting once a week, without ever getting to know the other people that are part of that body, then the concept is wrong. The early disciples actually met every day, in houses. They seemed to be very committed to 'one another' as revealed by their actions as we see in the Scriptures.

   The Bible also instructs us on things we should 'not' do to one another. For example, we are not to backbite one another. We are not to pass judgment on one another. We are not to compare ourselves to one another. Provoking one another is also not allowed as well as lying to one another. Some of these things should seem obvious to us, especially is we treat others the way we would like to be treated.

   I know there are struggles people have with discipleship and trust issues. How do we know if we can trust anyone? We can trust the Lord at all times and He can guide us into the body of believers He wants us to be joined with. Over time, we can get to know people and we can learn who we can trust and how much we can entrust to them.

   The Bible has a lot to say about love. Everything we do with one another has to be based upon love. If we are manipulative, or use people for our own ends, then we do not love. If we slander and gossip about people, we do not love. If we complain about people and do not try to work things out in our relationships with them, then we are not showing love and respect. We are not going to be best friends with everyone in the church, but we can serve those whom we get to know and who we become friends with.

   You cannot get to know someone by looking at the back of their heads once a week. Getting to know people requires humility and intentionally reaching out to them. You will have no idea of what kinds of struggles the person sitting next to you is going through, unless you ask them questions that are deeper than 'How are you?' every week.

   It takes time to get to know people and to trust them. People might put on a facade for a while, but over time, you will begin to see through it. Sometimes, people put on a mask because they are afraid of rejection. Sometimes, people put on a false front because they really do have evil intentions. Be patient with people and you will learn a lot about someone.

   Relationships do not come overnight, nor do they come automatically. They take a lot of time to build them. Over time, trust develops. That doesn't mean we will never be hurt and betrayed, but the chances are better that hearts will be revealed as people reach out and try to draw someone out and get to know him or her.

   I think we can look at 1 Corinthians 13 and see what love is all about. If we have any other motive than love, or if our love is mixed with other motives, then we need to let God change our hearts. We cannot build relationships without love in our hearts for one another. The Bible commands us to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strengths, and, to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our love for one another reveals whether we really love God or not. We can ask ourselves this question; Do we really want this other person to be successful, even though I will have to sacrifice some things in order for that to happen, or, do we want ourselves to be successful at the expense of our self love in place of love for them?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Confession Of Believing The Devil's Lies Over God's Truth

   A couple of days ago, I was listening to the radio and thinking about the many songs out today having to do with God's love. The love of God always seems foreign to me, or maybe irrelevant for some reason. But I think God wants His people to know that He loves them and they should be willing to respond to Him.

  For many years, I have had a voice in my head telling me that I had done the unpardonable sin. I can't imagine how many thousands of other people actually have this same voice speaking to them. The words were clear and they would come up at various times. Whenever they came, I would go into a depression because I believed they were true. Somehow, I thought God would shield me from this kind of mental difficulty, but He didn't.

   For years, I believed this lie, and without realizing it, I acted upon it, even if just mentally. I doubted that God loved me, and I lived in fear knowing that I was going to go to hell one day, without any opportunity to repent.

  The problem with all this was that I believed the devil's lies. Of course, I secretly hoped God would have a special mercy on me, but I was sure that that was impossible. What I didn't realize was how much sin was involved in my thinking and belief system, for I believed the devil's lies, which meant, by default, that I didn't believe God.

   My thoughts were an insult to God, for I was saying that my sin was too great for Him to forgive me of. I was saying that Jesus' blood was not powerful enough to forgive me of my sin. Once I learned how to resist (not ignore) these thoughts, I gained victory in this area and faith began to increase.

  I will not do this any more, and I have repented of believing these lying thoughts. I am sorry to God for not believing Him and His truth instead. Thank God for His patience and mercy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Do Bad Situations Mean God Has Forsaken Us/The Story Of A Salvation Army Bell-Ringer

I am so full of blog ideas that I don't know which blog to begin in! I have some ideas on items I can make and sell, and now I have ways I can incorporate the Gospel into them! I see God working in so many areas and so many ways, I could write on that blog about the wonders of God. But for right now, I am going to just write about things I am thinking about today, at this moment, which happen to be about how people who have come to Christ and are born again, seem to lose sight of God because of their circumstances.

  How easy it is to depend upon our circumstances to dictate to us whether God loves us or not. I used to do this all the time, before I was grounded in the word. We really do need to be grounded in God's word or we will not see Him as He is, and we will form our own ideas of what we think He is. Of course, the devil will come along and add things to our false belief system that sound plausible to us at the time. Add the devil's lies to our already false belief system and we set ourselves up for disaster.

   Moses was a man who really did not know God. He knew about God because of his ancestor's encounter with God. But one day, all that changed. Moses was not a young man anymore, and he was living in the land of Egypt, even though the Promised Land was promised to the ancestor's by God. Moses was used to the ways and thinking of the Egyptians, and he knew that they worshiped many gods that were false gods. Moses even defended one of his own people by killing an Egyptian who was fighting against the Israelite.

    One day, Moses noticed a bush that was burning, yet it was not being consumed. As he came closer, God told him to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground. God was going to begin the process of setting the people free from the slavery of the Egyptians, and God was going to use Moses to confront Pharaoh and the Egyptians concerning their departure. But God also warned Moses that Pharaoh would not easily let them go. As God was communicating with Moses, Moses asked God what His name is. God told Moses to tell the people that "I am That I am". As the process began and continued, Moses began to have struggles with Pharaoh and with the Israelites as well. There were times he wanted to quit. Then we look at the Israelites. They thought the idea was ok at first, but as soon as problems came about (which they always do), they wanted to give up. They even doubted God. At times, they doubted Moses too.

    Life was very discouraging for Moses and the Israelites. You have to understand, that these people did not yet have a good understanding of who God is. They were about to learn, but they threw in the towel before they had the opportunity to fully follow out the instructions God gave them. As a result, they ended up spending an extra 40 years in the wilderness, when they could have been in the Promised Land. They weren't ready for the Promised Land yet.

   Moses struggled with Pharaoh. Moses struggled with the Israelites. Moses struggled with God. Yet, in the end, it all worked out although Moses himself never entered the Promised Land because he was angry with the people and struck the Rock twice, when he was supposed to only strike it once.

   How do you think Moses felt during his adventure? I think many people assume that everyone lives happily ever after, especially if they know God, but is that true or is that just a fairy tale? It is a fairy tale for it is at the end of the classic story called, 'Cinderella'. Do you think Moses always was filled with faith? I don't. I think he got discouraged and had doubts at times. But God was faithful to what He had promised, even though the Israelites were not faithful to God.

   Or take Joseph, for example. God has revealed Himself to Joseph in some dreams already. But Joseph was hated by his brothers because he was one of Daddy's favorites (remember Jacob had two wives; Leah and Rachel. He loved Rachel, but he wasn't thrilled about Leah. Notice Jacob's attitude toward the two son's born to him by Rachel. They were his favorites). Joseph was thrown into a well and taken eventually to Egypt to serve there. He ended up in Pharaoh's house for a while, until Pharaoh's wife accused him of trying to rape her. Then he ended up in prison for a long period of time. Do you think Joseph was discouraged? I would imagine that he was continually tempted to believe that God had forsaken him. Ultimately, he understood that God didn't forsake him, and he ended up trusting in God.

   Joseph and Moses were not above being human. They were tempted to turn away from God, just like we are today. They had the devil's lies always before them. There were times of doubt. But God did not forsake them. Just as we have times of doubting God's love for us today, they experienced the same thing as we do. But in the end, they remembered and knew God was with them.

   Have you ever felt like God was far away, or that He does not love you? Have you ever been tempted to believe that, even though you had encountered God at one time, that God has left you or forsaken you? I know I have. I think this is a common temptation among human beings.

   Before I was grounded in the word, and in my understanding of God, I was one who looked at situations through a black and white lens. If I prayed for something and the opposite happened, even if it were a small issue, I would look at it as if God had forsaken me.

   When I was in Child Evangelism Fellowship, we were taught how to do 'open air' work, in which we took the wordless book and used the colors to tell the Gospel story with. We learned to pray for God to provide people for us to talk to before we went out. Well, I did that some times, and people did come out to talk with. One time though, I prayed that prayer and went out, and there was no one to talk to. I felt like I was rejected by God. I had prayed for Him to bring people out to talk with and no one was there. I misunderstood how God works, and I was interpreting the situation without the mind of Christ. And that brought doubt into my mind and caused me to pull away from God for a short season, because I thought He was choosing to not work through me for some reason. I felt rejected. But I was the one in the wrong.

   Another time came about when I did this very same thing. We had gone through weeks of training to learn how to counsel people after this special meeting was to take place on the church grounds. I went to the trainings and prepared to counsel with people. I remember we were all sitting on a curb, and I was on the end of the curb. When the invitation came, people came up to those who were trained to counsel. No one came to me though, and I felt, once again, utterly rejected by God. I cried while I was there, and the lady in charge had to help me through and counsel me (I was so distraught that I don't even remember anything she said!).

   It really wasn't until I understood God's love for me that I began the process of not feeling rejected when things like that happened. God's love casts our fear and unbelief. If we are in Christ, God does not reject us. If circumstances go the opposite way of what we think they should have, we know God is sovereign and we are at peace with that. We do not take that to mean that God is punishing us or pulling away from us. Until we understand who God is, based upon Scripture, we will not understand this concept.

   Does God work in our circumstances? Of course He does. He ordains our steps and uses the circumstances in our lives to bring us closer to Him. They are not intended to bring doubt to us. If we don't understand that the devil lies to us and confirms our wrong thinking, then we will continue to live by what we see and feel instead of what is true. Our feelings do not dictate truth to us. Only God tells us what is true.

   We might not like our circumstances. God knows that. He understands. But He has a plan and will use the ugly things in our lives to make us depend upon Him more, and also, so we will continue the process of sanctification in our lives. We tend to take for granted the good things God gives us, but when hard things come our way, we question God and His love for us.

   I will briefly tell the story of a woman who was a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. I will call her Mary. I love giving tracts and talking with the Salvation Army bell ringers, and so one day, I went up to Mary and gave her a tract. Then I asked her a question. I asked her if she had any children, because I had some imprinted items to give to them if she had children to give them to. Just as I was asking her this question, the thought came to my mind that maybe I shouldn't have asked this question. What if she did have children and something happened to one of them? Maybe it would be a sore spot with her. As she told me about her four children my concern was true. She told me all about how her 31 year old son was killed almost a year ago by a hit and run driver while he was on a bike going to work. She rehearsed the whole story in detail to me. That pain must have been hard for her to handle. It was a very sad story indeed, but, as she went on in her story, she told how the Lord met her and helped her. As soon as the deputy (or whoever it was who was in charge of this case) identified her, she asked if there were someone else present who would be with her while she explained what happened. Mary said she just fell to her knees and asked the Lord for help. I think this is where most of us go wrong. We have this subtle idea that things like this don't happen to God's people, so we start questioning and doubting God. But God came through for Mary. He comforted her and provided for everything so her son could have a decent funeral. Mary went into all the details of the Lord providing for different needs that came up with the funeral and burial. (Mary had no money, but God provided money for her to dress her son, pay for the funeral, and all the other expenses that went with this). Mary was not bitter either. She was openly praising the Lord because of what He had done for her during this dark season of her life. I was the one who was crying. She hugged me. We hugged each other. God had obviously carried this woman through this season, and she was not bitter, but healed. It was a lot of pain for her to go through this, I could tell, but the grace of God was there for her in a strong way. Not many come through that type of situation like that!

   I intended on sharing the Gospel with her, but she ended up ministering to me! I know God brought her across my path to show me something very hard, but very important to learn. God does not forsake us when bad things happen to us. Conversely, when good things happen to us, it is not necessarily because God is blessing us, although it is possible that He is indeed blessing us with His goodness. God promises sunshine and rain on all of us, even unbelievers. But when it rains, God has not forsaken us, but is giving us opportunities to know Him more intimately.

   If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ yet, or if you have never put your trust in Him in repentance and faith, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com or test4gp.wordpress.com to learn more about salvation. God will never force you to respond to Him, but, all of us will face Him on the Day of Judgment, and if we remain in our sins, He will tell us to depart from Him and we will end up in hell forever. Please consider the seriousness of this situation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Listening To Bullies And Suffering The Consequences - A.K.A. Throwing Oranges At Cop Cars

  This morning I was listening to my favorite audiobook, 'The Cross And The Switchblade', and remembering the whole story of how David Wilkerson obeyed God and went from a country church in PA to NYC. He ended up reaching many gangsters with the Gospel. They were looking for a way out as Davy's (as the gangsters affectionately called him) words ministered to them.

  The situation in NYC in the 1950s was beyond horrible. Every corner was leaking trouble. One of the worst things happening there was the drug pushers who waited outside the schools to get the kids hooked onto heroin, ultimately. A naive kid would be approached by a drug seller. The drug seller would start him on something 'safe', but quickly got the kid started on heroin. The drug pusher gave the kid free samples and eventually the kid was addicted. At that point, the child either had to resort to crime in order to pay for his new habit, or he had to become a drug pusher himself/herself in order to pay for the habit. In other words, last week, he was just an innocent student. This week, out of necessity, he is a drug pusher.

    Many students in NYC died from drug overdoses. Being on heroin is so horrible, and if one becomes a 'mainliner' he or she can never get off unless detoxification takes place (which, in itself, is beyond horrible).

   Lots of people died because they got onto heroin and couldn't get off. It was a trick of the devil to get them onto the drugs in the first place. I can just see the devil laughing at these students, and now they are stuck in an unbelievably horrible eternity, unless they came to Christ before their deaths.

   When I was 7 years old, we moved into a house which was next door to a family which had a lot of children, and they were all openly bad. The children in this home were so bad that they had been kicked out of Catholic school (which is where most of the children in this town went to school). One of the girls was a year or two older than I, and she would tell me to do certain things, then she would sit back and laugh when I got into trouble. I have to admit, I was pretty naive at the time and it took a couple of her tricks before I figured it out.

   One day, there must have been an orange tree nearby (not sure why there were orange trees in N.J.). This girl instructed me to take the oranges and throw them into the street, to which directions I followed. Stupid me. I had only thrown a couple of oranges when a cop car came around the bend and he saw me throwing the oranges. He stopped his car and hollered at me. Of course, my neighborhood friend was sitting back laughing because I got into trouble. Fortunately, for my sake, that was the last time I ever followed her instructions on anything.

   I think sin is like that though. Jesus says, 'Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin...' (John 8:34). Paul also compares us to being set free from the slavery of sin and becoming slaves of Christ. (Romans 6:18). While the devil can't 'make' us sin, he certainly will tempt us to sin. Why? Because when we sin, we are ensnared in sin. It is like being addicted to heroin, but worse. It's worse because God is opposed to sin and sin brings His wrath upon us. The devil knows this and he wants us to be ensnared in sin, and under God's wrath.

   It's like the devil lies to us, tempts us, watches us fall into his trap, then laughs at us. Not only that, but the devil is the 'accuser of the brethren'. He makes us feel guilty and stupid because of our sin. He tempts us, then mocks us when we sin. How is that for a rotten deal?

   That's why God makes a big deal out of sin. Today, people do not fear God and they even openly sin in front of others. We have perverted people who say things like 'homosexuality is normal. God gives some people a special orientation that they must live out'. Another big lie is that we should get out of our marriages if we are not happy in them, or if we don't love our spouse anymore. If that is the case, then everyone who is married would end up divorced at some point. Maybe that's why the divorce rate is so high in our land. Do you realize though, that this is a lie from the devil to get you to fall. He wants your marriage to end, and he wants your spouse destroyed. He wants marriages destroyed, and he wants babies to be murdered. He sits back and laughs every time a woman has an abortion. That's because he loves death, and people are tricked into thinking that having an abortion is a good thing, when the Bible says it is evil. Not only is a baby killed, but the mother and doctors who kill the babies will be charged as guilty of murder before God on That Day.

   Yes, the devil tempts us, then sits back and laughs at us when we fall for his traps, which are so subtle. Then God is also set against us because of our sin, which now we are enslaved to.

   It is hard to be free from sin, once we choose to get into it. Remember too, the devil is not going to tempt you with something that is obviously wrong for you to do. He will provide plausible reasoning as to why you should do such and such. When that reasoning makes sense to you, you will justify sinning against God, and the devil will laugh at you because you fell into his trap again.

   Be on guard against the Enemy of our souls, and his schemes. If you do not yet know the Lord Jesus Christ, if He is not your personal savior at this time, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com   or    http://test4gp.wordpress.com
There is hope for those who want it. There is no hope for those who laugh at the Gospel and reject the only hope available. They will spend eternity with the devil who deceived them and who they believed in, by falling for his tricks.