What possesses you?

Deuteronomy 11:16 – Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

How much time do you spend upset about “things”.

You know how strong a hold “things” have on you by how much time they occupy in your life.

How many idols have possession of you?

We are instructed to “take heed of ourselves”. Otherwise it is up to us to continually keep ourselves in check in order to keep ourselves free from making an idol out of commonplace things. If we are not watchful, then according to this verse we will be deceived.

5 Things Not to be Deceived About

Deuteronomy 11:16 – Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

Luke 21:8 – And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Priorities

Think about it. On your death bed, what will you be thinking? Will you be regretting not having more money? How about having watched more TV? Putting more hours into work, watching sports, getting one more promotion, getting the fancier car, spreading more gossip?

Will you be regretting time wasted on things instead of people?

On your death bed, what you will regret will be lost opportunities to build more and stronger relationships.

You can’t take money, jobs, cars, or TV with you when you die. These things are temporal and do not last.

The only thing you can take with you are the relationships you have built. The only thing that lasts forever are the time and efforts invested in developing relationships. Your relationship with God, your spouse, your kids, your relatives and friends will last on into eternity. Relationships with saved loved-ones will last forever in heaven.

Your #1 priority while here on earth is building these relationships. You will not find satisfaction in any other activity.

Satan and the world continue to try and sell anything and everything else as *the* source of fulfillment. These things may provide distraction or pacification for a short time. However, they cannot provide a source of fulfillment, purpose, and strength.

1. The first relationship you need to build is with God.

God has an unlimited supply of strength for you to draw on. He is your source of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If you expect to draw love from anyone else, you will drain them and sap the strength out of them. Your relationship with God must come first, in order for you to be continually filled to overflowing with love that in turn you can pour out on others around you.

2. Your next priority is to minister to your spouse.

The bible says that husbands should love their wives (Eph 5:25, Col 3:19). Notice this is not optional, nor does it say “love your wife when you feel like it”. God wouldn’t tell us to do it without giving us the ability to do it. You must decide and make a commitment to love your wife regardless of your feelings. Once you make the commitment and take action on it, your feelings will catch up. Loving your wife is your most important ministry. You need to treat your wife better than you treat anyone or anything else. You need to speak highly and kindly about your wife to other people whether she is around or not.

God’s kind of love must be learned. (Titus 2:3-5) The natural, fleshly kind of love centers on self fulfillment and is only concerned with what it wants. God’s love is not concerned about self, and instead is more concerned about the other person.

When the husband/wife relationship is out of balance, then there is strife and contention in the home. This strife is like a cancer that destroys everything else in the home and steals any and all blessings that God wants to pour out on the family.

Children look to the parents for love and security. If the parents do not have a loving relationship, then they cannot strengthen each other, and the parents do not have anything left to pour out on the children. The children then become a drain.

3. Train up your children

Next is to pour your love and attention into your children. Time is the most valuable asset we have. Children value time and attention higher than anything else. Too often we bend over backwards trying to buy the best, latest, and greatest toys out of guilt for not having spent enough time with our kids when all they need is your attention.

Train up your children in the way that they should go. If you do not maintain discipline over your children, you are setting them up for failure. They need to learn there are consequences for behavior. They need the consistency and security of a stable, firm, loving home environment. You provoke your children to wrath by being inconsistent with your discipline, or spoiling your children by not disciplining them. They are provoked to wrath because they gain an expectation of being able to get away with bad behavior and then resent being disciplined for things they have gotten away with in the past.

Children learn more from watching you. They learn how to develop relationships by watching how you develop relationships. This again leads back to the importance of a healthy husband and wife relationship in the home.

4. Know your role

God has especially created us to fulfill certain roles. We are “coded” and tailor made to fulfill specfic purposes in our lives.

Satan and popular culture have sold most of the world lies that fulfillment only comes from a career and accumulation of possessions. Those who buy into this lie, end up bitter and/or depressed due living an unfulfilled, aimless life.

We will only truly enjoy the things that we have been created to do.

The role of a husband is to submit to and willingly love and obey God, love his wife, and love his children. After that, his next priority is to provide for his family. The bible says that if a man doesn’t provide for his family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1Tim 5:8).

Only Human

Too often I hear believers say “Well, I’m only human.”

If that is what you believe, then all you will ever get is human results.

The statement “I’m only human” is not true for a disciple of Jesus. You are no longer “only human”. The bible says you are a new creature. If you have accepted Christ as savior, then you are born again in the spirit and one-third of you is “wall to wall” Holy Spirit.

If all you look at is in the natural, then all you will see is natural results.

Let God be true and every man a liar. Choose to believe God’s Word and walk in the Spirit. Walk by faith and not by sight.

The Good News

There is a concept that pops up every now and again that the “Gospel” somehow overrides or is a more reliable revelation than the Bible. That the introduction of Grace somehow makes the rest of the Bible merely interesting reading. That the Gospel allows for us to go about and do whatever feels good and go about our business without any thought of consequences.

Unfortunately, this is a serious misrepresentation that leads many folks astray and away from all the awesome things God has laid out for us.

The truth is, the Gospel isn’t one or two verses taken out of context, nor is it one or four books taken by themselves. The truth is, the Gospel is revealed through an understanding of the entirety of God’s Word. The Old Testament points to and describes Messiah, the New Testament fulfills prophecies about and reveals Messiah.

The Gospel is not about being free to feed your selfish feelings, the Gospel is about being freed from your selfish flesh and being led by the Spirit. (Gal 5:16)

Feeding selfish desires only brings temporary and fleeting pacification that lasts only for the moment. Walking in the Spirit leads to ongoing peace and joy that are independent of circumstances and sources of strength not that are not only for the here and now, but have benefits that last into eternity.

Instead of serving your flesh and emotions, your body and emotions become your servants.

The Bible gives us the foundation for understanding the good news of salvation and prosperity. The entirety of God’s Word is there for us to maintain balance and to use as a standard by which we can test the plethora of messages that are out there.

2Tim 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.

Seek and You Will Find Part 2

Truly unbiased and objective science is a good thing. The eventual answer to science’s questions and observable fact based reasoning will ultimately point to the laws that govern the universe.

We are supposed to seek, and keep on seeking for truth with the hope that eventually we will indeed find it. This is not arbitrary hope, but hope based on God’s promise that if we seek and keep on seeking we will find. If we knock and keep on knocking, the door will be opened.

The problem comes when we “shop” for the truth that best fits our own designs. Too often we stop when we find the answer that we want to hear, instead of continuing until we find the truth. Too often we believe what we want to believe, and ignore anything and everything that doesn’t fit into our neat little model of how we want the universe to function.

Shopping for truth has its consequences:

Pro 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death.

The world tends to go through several “flat earth theory” phases. There will be times when some ideas seems reasonable to cursory observation and become very popular. However when taken in the whole body of evidence (geology, physics, mathematics) it just doesn’t add up right. Eventually, as we learn more about our universe, we will grow out of this phase — and very likely right into another.

An advantage that we as believers have the Bible as a foundation and the benefit of a Helper who will lead and guide us into all truth.

Joh 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come.

Seek and keep on seeking, and as you seek keep the bible as your foundation and plumb-line to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Strength to Fly

I have not been able to track down the original source of this. I wouldn’t base a theology on these kinds illustrations, but they can be thought provoking.

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force it’s body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life struggling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved it’s freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.

And we could never fly.

What God thinks about Witchcraft and Divination

What God thinks about with Witchcraft and Divination…

Lev 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Lev 20:6 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

Mic 5:12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:

Deu 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one who calls to the dead. For all that do these things are an abomination to Jehovah. And because of these abominations Jehovah your God drives them out from before you.

2Ki 21:6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times and used fortune-tellers. And he dealt with familiar spirits and wizards. He worked much wickedness in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger.

2Ki 23:24 Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

1Ch 10:13-14 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

2Ch 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

Isa 19:3 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.

Jer 10:2-6 thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen,
and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord;thou art great, and thy name is great in might.

Jer 27:9-10 Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: 10 for they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish.

Isa 8:19-22 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.  And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.

Zec 10:2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie,
and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.

Nah 3:4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

And in case anyone thinks anything changed from old testament to new…

Act 8:9-24 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

Act 13:6-12 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: 7 which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 and said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Act 19:19-20 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Why Sex and Witchcraft sell: Why are shows about witchcraft and divination so popular right now? Note that witchcraft is listed as a “work of the flesh” right along with sexual sins and idolatry. While men are most often plagued with sexual lusts of the flesh, women are most often plagued with a fleshly lust for spiritual power (witchcraft). It is an easy sell if marketers target built-in appetites and lusts, stuff the bible calls “works of the flesh”. Praise God that we no longer have to be servants to the flesh because of Jesus. We can choose to walk in the Spirit which is life, and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh wherein is death.

1 Corinthians 10:19-23 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Note that no matter how pretty the idol looks or who it looks like, there is a devil behind it.

1Ti 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Rev 9:20-21 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Exo 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Lev 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Should we kill them? Do like Paul and cast the devils out of them!

Act 16:16-18 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Why bother seeking after lying spirits? They are a cheap imitation of the Holy Ghost. Why settle for a spirit of fear, when you can have a Spirit of Love, Power, and a Sound Mind?

 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

Matthew 22:32

You can change your tastes

The more I read the bible and listen to bible teachings, the more I want to read and hear more. The more I feed the spirit, the more the spirit has influence over me.

When our daughter became ready to start on solid foods, we would puree fresh and cooked vegetables and make our own baby food. Of course at first our daughter did not always like the concoctions. We found if we would spoon feed her and put a little on the roof of her mouth, she would have to work her tongue over it again and again to get it off. Eventually, she developed a taste for and liking of vegetables and salads that persists to this day.

Even if you have trouble “getting into” the Word of God at first, keep spending time in it. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Ask Him to reveal His Word to you and bring to rememberance everything He has said through His Holy Spirit. Ask Him to plant a desire in your heart to learn more about Him. One day you’ll find God’s Word “jump” inside you with revelation and power, and you will find that you want more and more.

Go and Sin No More

Consider the following:

John 8:3-11

And the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman taken in adultery. And standing her in the midst, they said to Him, Teacher, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such should be stoned. You, then, what do you say?

They said this, tempting Him so that they might have reason to accuse Him. But bending down, Jesus wrote on the ground with His finger, not appearing to hear.

But as they continued to ask Him, He lifted Himself up and said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.

And again bending down, He wrote on the ground.

And hearing, and being convicted by conscience, they went out one by one, beginning at the oldest, until the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

And bending back up, and seeing no one but the woman, Jesus said to her, Woman, where are the ones who accused you? Did not one give judgment against you?

And she said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I give judgment. Go, and sin no more.

Jesus forgave the woman of adultry, but he did not say anything about adultry no longer being a sin. He told her to go and sin no more. This both acknowledges that adultry is still a sin, and even after we are forgiven we are not to go about doing it again.

Another example can be seen in John 5:14 where Jesus had told the lame man at the pool of Bethesda to take up his bed and walk.

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, Behold, you are made whole. Sin no more lest a worse thing come to you.

Recently, I’ve seen where some folks are going around saying that sin has ceased to exist because Jesus has forgiven us all of everything no matter what.

I definitely agree that we are saved by grace and not by works. God has done His part, and there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve it. However, we still have a part to play. We still need to confess our sins for what they are and repent of them, and then receive the forgiveness of our sins that has already been purchased for us. Note that this is not a religious work, but an act in faith to recieve what God has promised.

Grace does not stop sin from being sin. God’s forgiving a sin does not mean that the behavior is not longer a sin, only that the eternal consequences of the sin are no longer held against us.

Sin is still sin. Just because we are living in grace does not mean that anything that was once considered to be sin, an abomination, a work of the flesh, or rebellion has stopped being so.

God still hates sin and will not tolerate it to exist in His presence. It is because He loves us so much that He made a provision for the forgiveness of our sins through the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish.

Do not cover sin

Those who try to rationalize and redefine behaviors as not being sin are only trying to cover or hide their sin. Something is sin because God’s Word has called it sin.

No group can vote to make something no longer a sin, no TV personality can casually laugh it away, no popularity poll can change God’s opinion of it, no court can redefine it, and no psychology can help you cope with it.

Psa 32:5 I confessed my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgression to God; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Repent of sin

Repentance is turning away from the sin and not returning to it.

When we repent of our sin, God wipes away the eternal consequences of sin; however, we may still have some immdediate consequences to deal with. There are always consequences to sin. There are both temporal and eternal consequences to sin. When we sow to the flesh (sin), we reap of the flesh.

Luk 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

The most effective way to repent of sin and not repeat it, is to develop the same attitude toward it that God has.

Exhortation

It takes faith to please God. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Faith works by love. Love motivates us to want a closer relationship with God. Love motivates us to not let other junk (sin, rebellion, lusts of the flesh, doubt, unbelief) get in the way and come between us and God.

Even when we don’t necessarily feel love, we can choose to continue to act in love. This is the prime aspect of believing — the acting on the basis of what the Word of God says instead of what our flesh desires.

We have been delivered from slavery to sin, don’t let the flesh try and convince you otherwise. Having been delievered from this bondage gives us a choice.

It is utterly foolish to dabble in petty sins and give place to satan to come in and steal, kill, and destroy all the blessings that God has in store for us.

God has so many good things laid out on the table for us through His Spirit. Anything that the flesh has to offer pales in comparison!

God has written His law on our hearts. When we seek Him first and act in Love, when we are consumed with His purposes, the temptations to sin loose their hold.

Taste and see that the Lord is GOOD!