The Fundamentals

A group of theologians, pastors and laypeople published a series of volumes titled “The Fundamentals”. Published between 1910 and 1915, these booklets defined what had been the non-negotiables of the faith since the Apostles’ Creed:

1) the infallibility of Scripture
2) the deity of Christ
3) the Virgin Birth and miracles of Christ
4) Christ’s substitutionary death
5) Christ’s physical resurrection and eventual return.

These were then, as they are today, the backbone of orthodox Christianity. If a fundamentalist is a person who affirms these truths, then there are fundamentalists in every denomination – Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Episcopal …. Everyone who believes in the orthodox truths about Jesus Christ – in short, every Christian – is a fundamentalist. And we should not shrink from the term nor allow the secular world to distort its meaning.

– An excerpt from “The Body” by Charles Colson.

Intercessions

Lk 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

1Kng 19:15 And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:

1Kng 19:16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

3 Annointings

Hazael – Government

Jehu – Military

Elisha – Ministry

1Tim 2:1-8 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

– Pray for All Men

– Pray for Kings and all in authority

– Pray for Ministry

My Sheep Know My Voice

John 10:4-5 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

I’m not sure where I got it, but somehow “my sheep will hear my voice and not hear the voice of another” got stuck in my head. I can’t find a verse like that. Instead it could be summarized “my sheep will hear my voice and not recognize the voice of another”. Otherwise, according to John 10:5, the sheep can hear the voice of the good sheepherd and the voice of the stranger, however, they follow the voice they KNOW and flee from the voice they don’t recognize.

Now, how do we KNOW the Master’s voice? The answer is to have His word abide in us. What you spend time on, you will be sensitive to.

John 15:4-8 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

Lk 14:28-33 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

 

Mt 13:44-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

 

If you truly understand the greatness of God and weigh that against any of your wordly possessions, then it is obvious that the cost is miniscule compared to the gain.

Contrary to the opinions of many media moguls, those who follow Christ are not uneducated fools who don’t know what they are missing. All the believers I have ever met have been very intelligent, educated individuals who have tried what the world had to offer and found it wanting. They finally found what they were looking for by following Jesus, and the kingdom of heaven caused anything in this world to pale in comparison.

 

 

Pride is the source of contention

Pro 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Pride is the source of contention.



The well-advised are those who are willing to listen to others. Pride prevents you from listening to correction or good advice.



Jam 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

2Ti 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Love God, Hate Sin

Note: This is a study in not tolerating sin. There is a difference between hating sin and hating people.  We are to love people even if they are unlovable the same as God has shown us love when we were unlovable.  What we cannot give place to is the bondage of sin. Loving someone does not mean you approve of their behavior.

Mt 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Lev 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

Amos 5:15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

Zech 8:17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.

Ps 5:4-6 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

Ps 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Ps 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

Ps 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

Ps 101:1-8 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

Ps 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

Ps 119:113 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

Ps 119:127-128 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

Ps 119:163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

Ps 139:20-24 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Prov 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Prov 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Ps 31:6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.

Isa 61:8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Ex 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:

Deut 12:31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.

Deut 16:22 Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.

Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Don’t be a victim

I have spent the majority of my 34 years struggling and drifting from extremes of guilt on one side, to trying to rationalize or legitimate the sin in my life on the other.

Finally I got to a point where I found I had to stop struggling under my own power and submit to God and trust Him to show me. What I needed was a teachable heart that would receive God’s Word and wisdom. I also began asking God to plant in my heart a desire to learn everything I can about Him, about what Jesus has done for me, and about what it means to have His Holy Spirit living in me. Since then, I have had the greatest turnaround in my life and I have learned so much (though have barely scratched the surface), and am eager to learn more.

Below are some practical things that I found I could do to overcome sin. Each point could easily be a book on its own, but I’ll hit on some ideas and explain them further in future posts. I encourage folks to get a bible and concordance and dig further.

1. Get a revelation of what Jesus has done for us and who we are in Christ.

The devil’s #1 priority is to make us forget who we are. The fact is, Jesus took our sin and iniquity to the cross and bore the curse so that we don’t have to. Satan lies to us and tries to make us a slave to sin in order to separate us from the love of God. What we can do is resist these lies by speaking back to them according to the Word, according to the fact that we are set free through Jesus. The battle has already been won, Satan is defeated. He has no power over us except that which we allow him.

2. We are not victims.

Everything that God has commanded we know we can do, because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We can’t do it alone, but we don’t have to. Jesus has already promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He wants you delivered and free more than you do. God has delivered us and given us the strength to resist. It is up to us to believe it and not let it pass out of remembrance. God has set before us death and life. The ball is in our court, it is up to us to choose.

3. God is not in love with our behavior — He is in love with us

God loves you unconditionally and independent of your behavior. We are saved by grace, through faith in Christ Jesus. It is not by works of the law that we are saved.

When we get a realization of this, what Jesus has done for us, how much God loves us, how much it hurts God and breaks His heart when we rebel against Him our actions cannot help but change. We have works of Love and His love reflects in our lives.

4. Crucify the flesh

Jesus took away our sin and our spirit is reborn. It is then up to us to master our desires. The more you feed the flesh, the hungrier it gets — it always wants more. Satan cannot tempt us except with that which is common to man. Where God works through our spirit, Satan comes at us through our flesh. The more we feed the flesh in any one area, the more we “give place to the devil” and the stronger foothold he gets.

I had problems with lasciviousness, overeating (gluttony), hiding things, lying, slothfulness, fear, depression, feeling sorry for myself, complaining, (just to name a few).

Each of these would feed off each other. Guilt from one would drive me to indulge in another to try and quiet or at least “drown out” the guilt and the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Trying to tackle these individually under my own strength did no good.

Realize that God has already delivered us. Receive that in the spirit as a fact and you will have the strength to resist. We have an alternative.

The key is to believe God’s Word and not feelings.

OK.  So… Now what?

We are supposed to be doers of the word.

What are some practical things to do to demonstrate being an overcomes instead of a victim?

If you try to just fight and suppress thoughts and/or urges, they only come back stronger.

Get the focus off of the sin, the more you spend time thinking about and dwelling on the sin, the stronger the hold it has on you.

Redirect thoughts and attention onto God’s word.

Here’s some things I started doing (in no particular order):

A. Have verses ready to fill my mind with and/or speak them out loud (keep a bible handy, put verses on notecards, put up sticky notes, have a bible program in the PC)

B. Thank Jesus that He set me free

C. Sing songs of praise and worship (praise God in all things. Don’t wait around for feelings. Feelings will catch up when you offer a sacrifice of praise)

D. Look at pictures of my wife and kids and pray for them

E. Listen to bible teaching tapes/CD’s

F. Listen to Christian music/radio

G. Pray in the spirit and with understanding, fellowship with God

H. Fasting. Fasting definitely disciplines the flesh. Keep in mind, that you are not trying to kill your body, your body needs food and water. The goal is to subjugate the flesh. Start out small: fast off sweets/sodas, fast for a meal, or fast for a day or two. Continue to drink water. You are not out to do “penance” or try and impress God. You are telling your flesh that it isn’t in control anymore and that you are no longer a victim.

Over time there have been lots of things that I quit doing, but I didn’t realize I quit doing them because the desires of my heart have changed. What my attention is focused on, I want more of.

5. Hardness of heart

‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.’ (Phil 4:8)

It is very true and worth repeating. Matter of fact, in the bible, repetition is used as a way to emphasize a point. It is repetition and “mulling” God’s Word over and over that gets it off the page, in your mind, and dropped down into your heart.

Your heart “softens” to whatever you dwell on, and hardens to whatever you don’t spend time on. The more time you spend meditating on God’s Word, the “hungrier” you will be for more.

God never leaves us or forsakes us, He speaks to us all the time. The reason we don’t have a sense of His presence or hear His voice is because our hearts are hardened to Him.

Don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself. If you don’t know where to start, then personalize Ephesians 1:17-23 as a prayer for yourself. Read Romans, Galatians, the Gospels and James. Prepare your heart to be fertile ground, plant seeds of the Word, fertilize with repetition and prayer, water with love.

6. Passion is not bad

Feelings, emotions, and passion are not bad things. God created them. Just like everything else they can be a positive tool for you to use to be an overcomer, or they can utterly defeat you if you let them.

One example I’ll deal with here is that you need to hate sin.

As long as you are tolerant of sin–as long as you justify, legitimate, make excuses for, and rationalize sin–it will rule your life.

Does that mean you hate or are angry at people?  NO.

Does this mean you get angry at yourself and beat yourself up? Absolutely NOT.

I’m talking about hating the sin, hating the bondage, hating the sickness. Hate the same things God hates.

You love people, you are compassionate with people, you listen to people.

Listening with empathy does not mean that you condone, approve of, or tolerate their behavior.  Be willing to see what is causing pain in people’s lives.  If you spend time judging people, that means you are focusing on the sin and not the person.

In our personal lives, we need to get back to the point that the mere mention of adultery or fornication get us angry and outraged. The mere thought of lying to your wife should cause anger to rise up in you. The thought of participating in any kind of impurity or deception should get you mad at the devil.

This whole politically correct society that wants you be tolerant of every kind of sin is right out of satan’s playbook.  Today’s society wants everyone to be passive watered down milquetoast where nobody gets angry about anything and men are supposed to be passionless wimps. If you tolerate sin, it will rule your life.

We are taught that these “negative” feelings are bad, and we should feel guilty because we have them. This is wrong, the problem is that we not being taught how to deal with them and direct them into the right things. So we end up striking out at people and the ones we love. Anger and hatred need to be directed at sin, the devil, bondage, and slavery; not at people.

Hating sin will harden your heart against sin, and you won’t listen to the voice of the stranger.

Whew, ok I’m off my soapbox. I haven’t “arrived” yet, but I believe that I’ve left the station and am on my way. In and of myself I’m not better or different than anyone else. There’s nothing special about me, God’s love and deliverance from bondage is available to everyone. The only thing we need to do is choose to believe God and His word instead of our feelings and circumstances.