Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fear Not

"Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things." Joel 2:21

If you watch the news lately, you will see plenty of reports which could incite fear.  From worldwide plagues to civil unrest, from violent crime to economic uncertainty, from terrorism to global warming, etc.  Satan is doing his best to instill fear in the masses.  The world wants you to operate in fear, because then you remain controllable.  This is why it is so critical that we take everything to the Lord in prayer.

Even those in the world can pick up the changes in the atmosphere and are feeling the need to make preparations.  The issue is that - in spite of the physical manifestations of trouble - the problem at its core is spiritual.  In order to endure the times which are coming, we must find our refuge in the Lord.  In all of this, we must remember in Whom our hope lies (Psalm 39:7; Psalm 62:5-8).

Some might look at these things and say, "Oh no, the end must be near!"  I say, "Rejoice!  The end must be near!"

How do you maintain peace in a whirlwind?  How do you remain steadfast when the very fabric of the world seems to be disintegrating around you?  You die now.  Of course, I am not speaking about suicide; I am talking about cold-blooded murder (Romans 6:6; Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5).

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Standard of Care

As I have interacted with the medical community in recent years, there is one phrase I have repeatedly heard, "standard of care".  What they are offering me is the "standard of care".  All the statistics prove that this is the "standard of care". Why don't I want to proceed with the "standard of care"?
standard of care: A diagnostic and treatment process that a clinician should follow for a certain type of patient, illness, or clinical circumstance. In legal terms, the level at which the average, prudent provider in a given community would practice.
The implication behind these statements is that it doesn't get any better than what they are offering.  I am getting the best the world has to give and should accept it gratefully.  I have even been told that following the "standard of care" is a demonstration of faith, while not doing so is an illustration of fear.

Yet, here is the thing.  I am not a statistic...and neither are you.  As a child of God, He not only knows our names, but He is concerned with everything pertaining to us; even to knowing the exact number of hairs on our heads.  Man's best is not always God's best...and neither you nor I should settle for anything less.

Friday, October 24, 2014

By Their Fruit

"For every tree is known by his own fruit..." Luke 6:44a

Not to state the obvious, but "knowing Christians by their fruit" does not mean that everyone who does something "nice" is a Christian.  It does not mean that God is pleased with someone just because they give to the poor, attend church regularly, or sing in the choir.  It doesn't mean that everyone you think is a good person is saved.

Fruit here refers to the natural attestations of the life one possesses within; it is the fruit of the Spirit.  Apple trees naturally produce apples.  Orange trees naturally produce oranges. They don't have to try to do this or work at it.  In fact, they cannot help it.  Even if they tried to produce some other fruit, they do not possess the genetic make-up to do it.  Each must and does produce after its own kind.

So it is with the Spirit.  To identify those who belong to Him, God has denoted the one thing which cannot be faked: life.

Prior to salvation, we were by "nature" children of God's wrath (Ephesians 2:3).  After salvation we can become partakers of the divine "nature" of God (II Peter 1:4).
nature: Greek word physis; it means the nature of things, the force, laws, order of nature; birth, physical origin; the sum of innate properties and powers by which one person differs from others, distinctive native peculiarities, natural characteristics
When we speak of our "nature" we are talking about the very essence of who we are...and whose we are.  Do we belong to the Lord or do we belong to Satan?  How do we know?  It is not about what we say or even what we do.  It is not even who we think we are.  It's about the nature we possess, and each nature has its own fruit.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Sin You Defend Is the Sin You Are In

God is so merciful.  It is easy to see the sin that plagues us.  Whatever we fight against in the word of God is what ensnares us.

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3

One of the purposes of the word of God is to allow us to see where we are out of sorts with the mind of Christ so that we can be changed.

If you justify lying, you are in covenant with liars.

If you justify adultery, you are in covenant with whoremongers.

If you justify homosexuality, you are in covenant with sodomites.

If you justify disobedience to God's word, then you are in covenant with witchcraft (I Samuel 15:23).

It is really not that hard to understand.  Our own words give away what has us bound.  People think they are showing off their intelligence, biblical acumen, or spirituality when they debate Scripture, but what they are really doing is loudly & proudly proclaiming that they are still in covenant with sin.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Honor Your Father and Mother

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:34-37

A sister in the Lord contacted me recently in turmoil, asking how to honor parents who are not saved.  She could feel the oppressive tangles of the spirit of witchcraft vexing her soul when dealing with them (which is the spirit walked in by those who are not born again - this link is a Derek Prince study sheet download).

There always seemed to be manipulation, condemnation, control, and discord at work in those interactions.  There were even physical affects from those interactions, whether it was a terrible twisting in the gut, raised blood pressure, ulcer pains, etc.  All because the parents were not in agreement with their decision to live for the Lord and obey Him.

Things had so deteriorated that the parents were trying to use her children against her and her husband.  It had escalated to such a point where she felt like she needed to cut off contact with their parents altogether.

This is a situation - and a feeling - with which I was familiar.  I had even written about it once before. And while I believe the previous article to still be true, it is not the end of the matter.  Yes, choosing to serve the Lord will often bring about variance between you and those who are closest to you. However, what I learned is that the answer lies in the cause of the variance.

The sword is what we need.  It is the answer for how we are to still honor our father and mother, even when they do not currently belong to the Lord.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Charge to Keep I Have

charge: an amount of electricity; 
the responsibility of managing or watching over something; the amount of an explosive material (such as dynamite) that is used in a single blast; 
an obligation or requirement; 
an expense or cost; 
a violent rush forward or attack.
A Charge to Keep I Have
by Charles Wesley

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify!
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky;

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfil;
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master's will.

Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And, O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give.

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely;
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall for ever die.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Don't Let the Bible Become a Stumbling Block

Yoked to the Letter

Years ago when I was on Facebook, a professing believer in Christ Jesus started a thread arguing how the phrase "When praises go up, blessings come down" is not in the Bible.  There were dozens of people engaged in this conversation, talking about how foolish "church folks" were when they repeat/believe this.

"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. 

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. 

Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him." Psalm 67

Confused by the fervor this post was garnering, I stated that perhaps it is a reference to Psalm 67, echoing the sentiment that there is a relationship between pure praise to God and being blessed by Him. At this, the original poster responded and said, "You know that this is not in the Bible so stop trying to make excuses for these false preachers."

Then I understood.  These were not people seeking after truth.  These were individuals desiring to use the Bible to mock others.  Indeed, as such, they were no better - in terms of motive - than the so-called false preachers they criticized.  The issue is so much bigger than that one phrase.  A true search for truth needs to go beyond just what the Bible says, but seeking wisdom to understand what God means.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Whole Counsel of God

The following message is from Min. David Wilkerson:
The first evidence of revival is a great desire to hear and obey the Word of the Lord.

 “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. . . . And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people . . . and when he opened it, all the people stood up” (Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5).

The cry of their hearts was, “Bring us the true Word of the Lord!” Ezra stood on a raised, wooden pulpit and read God’s Word for six hours while the multitude stood at attention, learning that the cause of their suffering was their own stubbornness and rebellion. The surest evidence of revival in a soul or a church or a city is a hunger for God’s Word. 
Backslidden Christians don’t want to hear the Word—it bores them! What they want is excitement. Backslidden preachers don’t preach much of God’s Word; instead, they give short sermonettes. They don’t preach the Law because that produces conviction and shakes up the church! It makes compromisers squirm!

Where the Holy Spirit is at work, the people in the pew are clamoring for the Word. I get hundreds of letters from famished saints crying, “We are so hungry. We don’t hear the true Word. We get the dead letter with no anointing!” Where God is at work there are Bibles everywhere. There’s an excitement about preaching and teaching with a true reverence for the Word.

How sad it is that in many Charismatic churches, preaching is merely endured. They just want music, entertainment, and special singers on center stage! When the Holy Ghost comes, the Word will be hailed. The cry of the people will be, “Lord, I want it all: the good, the bad, the commandments, the promises, the whole counsel of God!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Not That Outward Adorning

"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 

For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement." I Peter 3:1-6

Most people understand that this text is in part about the true beauty of a woman being on the inside and not the outside.  It is not an admonition to not wear jewelry or braid your hair.  It is an encouragement to value that which God prizes most: a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

This is true, not only for women in general, but for the Bride of Christ as a whole.  Much of the churchworld is promoting worldly extravagance as the evidence of their holiness before. and acceptance by, the Lord.  They use Jesus as an accessory to their lives; some flashy adornment which draws accolades their way.  They point to the outward works to prove that they are saved when such is a delusion (I Timothy 6:5).