Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Struggle With Sin

I need to write about my struggle with sin because, I tend to write things that are very hard for us to digest, and I don't want people to think that I am some kind of saint sitting on a cloud looking down on everyone because they are sinning! Nothing could be further than the truth!

   The Bible says that we are to look at our own sins before we address the sins of others. See Matthew 7 for this. We can address the sins of others, but we must do heart work on ourselves first.

   Ever since I was small, I had a problem with anger. When I didn't get what I wanted, I threw temper tantrums. One time, my mother said I held my breath, and turned blue, because I was angry about something (I was around 1 1/2). When I was 4 or 5, I would be so angry at my mom because she wouldn't take me to the amusement park or wherever I wanted to go.

  I remember one time, my little brother was invited to eat dinner with some little boys at their house. I was so angry about that. I was angry at the little girl across the street, because she preferred playing with my little brother instead of me! One time, she hurt herself on our swing set. I thought to myself, 'Good. She deserves that'.

   My anger continued and when I got angry, my blood pressure soared. My face turned beet red. Where would I get help?

   One time, I wondered who could deliver me from my anger? But as I got older, the anger took different forms, and I didn't see my anger problem anymore. That is, until I got married and had children!

   The anger came back when something challenging happened with my first daughter. I don't even remember what it was, but I took a brush and threw it across the room. It broke. That was just the beginning of things to come.

   When I had two children, the anger flared up again, only this time, many more episodes of anger occurred. I found myself throwing things again, and breaking items. I could have hurt my children, but God was merciful and protected them from my anger. I began to be afraid of myself. It seemed like anger was bigger than I was. I couldn't control it. Again, I was wondering, 'Who can deliver me?'

   I would listed to our wonderful Bible teachers and pastors in the 80s and 90s. They would teach us on idolatry and worship. We all worship something. I would argue with them in my mind. They would talk about the power of sin, and I, for the life of me, couldn't see my sin. I trusted in Jesus Christ and thought that my life was totally sin free now. My sins were forgiven, but I didn't understand the power of sin still in my life.

   The root of my sin (anger) was idol worship. You are probably thinking, 'Yeah right. We really have totem poles and statues out there to bow down to.' Worship is an issue of the heart. The second commandment says to not make a graven image of God. We are not do design a 'god' that we want to believe in. God already tells us who He is in His word. I was worshiping a 'god' of my own desires. You see, I believed that the death of Jesus Christ reversed the curse of Adam on the earth. I thought that my labor would be painless. God forbid if I would have had to have a C-section. I believed my children would be in perfect health. We would never have to go to doctors because of sickness. I would nurse my babies perfectly and they would be plump and healthy. I really believed Deuteronomy 28 applied to me today, and had those expectations for my life.

   Deuteronomy 28 tells the story of the Israelites, as they were going through the wilderness, and getting ready to establish their own country. During their adventure in the wilderness, God would provide for them whatever they needed. For example, there were no shoemakers available in the desert. God told the Israelites that He would make sure their shoes didn't wear out. There were no hospitals, and maybe no midwives? Women would deliver healthy babies in the desert. If, the Israelites obeyed God, God would take care of everything they needed, because it was necessary for them to reach the Promised Land. That is how God would carry out His plan for redeeming mankind. God saw to it, that every detail was worked out for them. However, they were not removed from the curse that God placed on the earth, when Adam sinned. God's plan was progressive, not instant.

   I totally misunderstood that, and I believed that if my relationship with God was right, then I would experience God fixing everything wrong in my life. But that didn't happen. Now I know why, but I didn't then, and I was angry.

   By the time I had my third child, I knew that my anger had to be dealt with. I could no longer get away with being violent. I could have hurt my children and God was going to hold me accountable. I wanted to represent God in truth. By living in anger, I was dishonoring God. I was making God look like something He wasn't. But I felt so trapped. I couldn't not be angry. Who would deliver me from this anger?

    Now that my belief system is in line with the word of God, I understand why difficulties come my way. It is not God punishing me, or showing His displeasure with me. God's word guarantees hardships will come our way. It is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle we have to put together. Most of us do not want to take the time to put something like that together, but when it is finished, a beautiful picture is depicted. God gives us difficulties each day, for us to work through, which will bring us to the place where we trust God more, and we will become more like Christ.

  I am grateful for my pastors, and many good Bible teachers whom I have listened to on tape. I have learned to look at my own heart and not be afraid of my sin, because there is hope. Now that I know the root of why I was angry, I don't have to deny my anger or pretend it doesn't exist.

   You may be struggling with anger. Or you may be struggling with something else altogether. The devil loves keeping us in bondage with lies. The devil wants us to live in guilt and shame. We fall into sin, then we try to get out, only to slide back in again. Then the devil rubs it in. We feel like trash. But, we don't have to!

   God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to die for your sins and mine. But not only that. He died so we don't have to be slaves to sin anymore. We don't have to worship false gods. As we learn who God is, from the Bible, we will learn to trust Him more. The lies will fall off, if we don't hold on to them.

For more on the Gospel, go to: http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Unfair Cop - The Ticket That I Deserved But Never Got

  You've seen it. You've driven in it. You are only going 8 miles over the speed limit and there are cars buzzing around you everywhere. Where are the cops when you need them?

 Imagine you're driving down the road, going only 53 miles when the sign says Speed Limit 45. The car on the left just raced past you. Cars are going around you because they think you are going too slow. Another car speeds by. Then you realize there is a cop on a motorcycle behind you, wanting to pull you over. You pull over and get a hefty ticket for going 53 miles, 8 miles over the speed limit. What about the other cars? Didn't the cop see them as they were speeding by? You ask him, why didn't they get the ticket. The cop assures you that they did wrong, and should have gotten tickets as well, but his radar gun was aimed at your car, not theirs. Bummer.

  I worked at Eckerd Drugs, many years ago. I was very naive and didn't understand rules very well, but I was learning quickly. When at work, you really need to be doing work, and when there are no customers around to tend to, you need to be doing something else related to your job. A young girl who was a cashier who also worked there, decided she would read a book during work. She was successful in reading the whole book over a period of a couple of days. I wondered why she didn't get into trouble or even if she should have gotten into trouble, so, I decided I would try to read a book and see what would happen. Long story short, I almost lost my job!

   Why do some people get caught while others don't? One thing to remember is that everyone will be caught, One Day, if not here on earth, it will be before the Judgment Seat of God!

  It is an act of God's mercy when we are caught and penalized for wrongdoing. Cops are not omniscient nor are they omnipresent. Their radar guns can only be pointed at one car at a time, and that helps them to get an accurate record of how much the ticket will be, should one need to be given.

   The Bible gives a story of an event recorded in John 21. Prior to this event, Peter denied his Lord. Jesus was asking Peter if he really loved Him. If Peter really loved Jesus, then he would tend to the flock of God's people. Jesus continued the conversation and told Peter what kind of death he would face. Then Peter asked a question. "What about him?" meaning one of the other disciples. Now that Peter knew what would happen to him when he was to die, what about the rest? Shouldn't they have the same thing happen to them? Peter may have been thinking, "Why me, Lord? Why do I have to die like this? What about the others? That doesn't seem fair."

    Jesus response to Peter was basically, that is was none of Peter's concern how the other disciple would die. Peter is only responsible for Peter, not for the other disciple. The man who gets a ticket is only responsible for his own careless driving. I am responsible for what I do at work. If I do a good job, I will be commended. If I goof off, I might lose my job. No one can rescue me if I lose my job. I can't answer the question as to why the other cashier never got caught reading a book.

   One day, I was running late in picking up my son from band camp. I was going down the road and wasn't paying attention to how fast I was going. I saw a cop on the side of the road. He had his radar gun aimed at me. My speedometer said I was going 52 miles when I looked at it. The speed limit was 40 miles per hour. I went past the cop and nothing happened.

  Whenever I go past that spot, I always remember the ticket I never got, but should have. I don't know why I didn't get a ticket, but I am grateful that I didn't.

   So, when you are going down the road, going the speed limit or within reason, and people speed past you and don't get a ticket, keep in mind that they will be fined on That Day. Unless they repent and put their trust in Jesus Christ, they will perish in hell one day. All of us will, unless we come to Christ in repentance and faith.

  God, in His great mercy, doesn't want to have to punish us for our wrongdoing, but He has no choice. God is perfect and holy. His very being demands that He punish sin. So, in His great love for mankind, He sent His only Son, to live on earth for about 33 years, and then to die in our place. He died to take the punishment for our sins. Now we can go free, but only if we turn away from our sin and selfishness, and turn to God, trusting in Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross for our sins.

   Just as I didn't get the ticket that I deserved, you and I don't have to experience the wrath of God, that we deserve. But we must respond to God.

  For more information on the Gospel message, go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com
or http://test4gp.wordpress.com

Friday, July 18, 2014

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged and He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone!

   If you found out that you had a terminal disease today, and there was a cure for it that you could take, and it was a definite cure, would you take it?

    Of course you would. If you had access to it, you would take it, knowing that your terminal disease would be gone. Only a foolish person would not take the medicine.

    Then why is it, that when the part of the Gospel that has to do with sin, is presented, many respond with statements like, 'who are you to judge?' or 'let him who is without sin case the first stone.'?

    Whenever a standard is presented (a standard of right and wrong), you will hear these phrases. But why? I can come up with two reasons why.

    One is, because the person who is making this kind of statement, has seen arrogant 'Christians' holding signs up. pronouncing God's judgment on some group of people. Most of these so called Christians are Pelagians, followers of a doctrine that says an individual is completely responsible for their sins. The Bible says we are responsible to repent and turn away from sin, but sin is part of our fabric since the fall of man, and we are so enmeshed with sin, that it takes a powerful Rescuer to help a person be free from sin. Pelagians don't believe that, and neither do they hold an internal view of sin (sin coming from the heart vs. sin being an action, example, lying or committing adultery, which most of us can choose to not break those laws if we really decide not to do them). It is like chopping off the branches of a tree. You can cut all the branches off, but the root of sin is still there. In time, sin will blossom again unless there is a new root given to the tree (new heart).

    The other reason is, people want to hold onto their sin. What happens when a person first hears that lusting sexually after a person whom he or she is not married to, is the same as committing adultery? The person reacts, many times, by saying, 'Judge not, lest ye be judged' (I get a kick out of the KJV language that is often used when people react). Or, they might say, 'He who is without sin, cast the first stone', as if presenting the Law is casting the first stone!

   Telling people what God says is right or wrong is not casting the first stone! No one is claiming (except Pelagians) that they are without sin! The same rules apply to me as they do everyone else. It's not like I can commit adultery, but other people can't.

   Matthew 7 tells us not to judge, at least in the beginning of the paragraph. The whole point of the paragraph is to deal with our own hearts about our own sins, before we do anything else, then we can help other people deal with their sins. We can't give away what we don't have. We can't teach others how to deal with their sins, unless we have dealt with our own sins first.

    The medicine of the Gospel is the cure for our sin sick souls. The Gospel is the only cure for sin. A person would be foolish to not take the medicine of the Gospel, or to believe that the person presenting God's standard hasn't taken the medicine of the Gospel first.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Experience With The Demonic Realm

   People tend to have overactive imaginations. Combine that with the adrenalin flow that comes while watching a horror movie!
  For those who live in the demonic realm, it is like living in a horror movie, but it is real life, not just a stretch of someone's wild imagination.
  I received a Ouija Board for a present one year. It was something I requested, but after I opened it up and started using it, I wasn't so sure I wanted to continue to use it.
  A friend would come down to my house and we would play on the Ouija Board. He seemed like an expert at it. I more or less sat and watched, but I did participate some in it.
  About this time, I was probably in sixth grade, and I was already scared at night. But there were things that were happening now, that were more than just my imagination. I heard a man's gurgly voice, occasionally during the night. I could never hear what the words were, but whenever I heard the voice, it was always the same one.
  This went on for a long time. Then we moved. The Ouija Board came with us. The voice also came with us. I heard it at night again.
  After a couple of years, there were more voices. They were men's voices, and sometimes they would laugh. They were having a conversation during the night. Just short conversations, some laughter, then it would stop. I was scared.
  I have to inject here, that I was not a Christian at this time in my life. I knew that there were probably ghosts that existed, but didn't really know exactly what they were. No one believed me when I tried to tell them about the voices.
  The final episode came when I was almost 15 years old. One morning, after my dad left for work, and it was still dark, I was lying there in my bed. I heard the voice. This time, it called my name. It sounded like surround sound. Couldn't tell where it was coming from. It called my name again. Not too long after that, I got rid of the Ouija Board and never heard the voices again.
  I write this for a couple of reasons. First, I know there are a lot of young people who take the occult lightly. We don't think much of the demonic realm. We dabble in the Occult fearlessly. We don't fear God, nor do we take the occult seriously. We are asking for trouble when we get involved with Occultic activities.
  Parents need to know that, even if you have a good solid Christian home, there is a good possibility that your child is involved in the Occult. He might not have a Ouija Board, but he might be listening to demonic music. He could be involved with drugs. Don't be surprised when your child does sinful things. He might be keeping it from you and blocking you from his private life, but look for signs of the works of darkness.
  Also, being involved in Satanic activity can be traumatic for a child. Don't ignore his or her fears. Don't pretend things aren't happening or deny the presence of the supernatural. This kind of activity could lead to mental illness if left untouched.
   I have to remember back to a story I read about Jamie Buckingham's son, who listened to questionable music during a period of time in his life. He knew the music he listened to was not good, nor was it based upon truth, but he listened to it anyway. One day, a force held him down and he could not talk (he was on his bed in his bedroom). If I remember back correctly, he was unable to break free. Whatever this demonic hold was, it had to do with the music he was listening to, and something to do with the label cover of the album in question.
   We are not playing games here. This is real life. When we poke at the demonic, there will be consequences. We need to rid ourselves of anything that will open the doors to the demonic realm. We need to be freed from them, not enslaved by them.
" 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." Acts 19:16-20 ESV