CAST INTO EVERLASTING FIRE!

Satan is alive and well (for now). He is not the cute halloweened costumed character in red with a pitch fork and smirk on his face. What he is is the source of all evil sending out demons to draw millions away from God and by using pride and other character traits follow the devil himself.

Any action by any individual or group to remove God’s Word from our daily life is an action inspired by satan. Christ spoke this very sentiment in Mark 4:15. To make mankind turn away from God, satan has to find individuals willing to attack Scripture and Christianity. Those who in any way are part of this are demon possessed not unlike Judas was (John 13:27).

What satan seeks, and has always sought, is to be worshiped like God. This was made evident at the time of the temptation of Christ (Luke 4:6-8). As Christ said so should we say: “Get behind me satan”.

Sadly millions fall for his lies every day as he is the great deceiver (Revelations 12:9). Many in fact may think they are good Christians when in reality they are not following the truth Scripture lays out for our lives. Today we need to beware of any who would cause us to doubt God’s Word (Genesis 3:1) or even those who might twist Scripture as occurred during the second temptation of Christ.

Should any who fall for the ways of satan there is only one ultimate end. Christ shares that end with us in Matthew 25:41. The devil and his followers will be CAST INTO EVERLASTING FIRE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: All who serve satan will be sacrificing salvation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 25:41 “Hell is a place of everlasting punishment”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I never leave your side.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are satan’s methods of deception?
  2. How is God’s Word being removed from our daily lives?
  3. What do you know about the satanic ‘church’?
  4. How does one fight satan?

THE BATTLE WITHIN!

Each of us face many battles within our lives but one battle is the mother of all. It is the battle of our sinful nature versus our new nature and the battlefield is covered with those who have died in this war.

The battle is between living according to the flesh and those who live according to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5) and each decision you make is either a victory or a defeat. In Scripture Paul tells us the old nature is filled with corruption, deceit, lust and so much more (Galatians 5:19-21). Our participation in any of those listed will not lead to the Kingdom of Heaven (vs. 21). It is as Paul tells us in Romans 8:8 that living in this way according to our flesh does not please God. If we do not put these evil acts of ours to death or end them then they as much as become idols in our lives taking over “a place God had reserved for Himself (Colosssians 3:5)”.

The good news is that victory can be ours with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16) Who gives us strength (Ephesians 3:16). Once we have taken on  this new nature then our actions will be those of the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-26.

This then is the warfare so clearly pointed out in Galatians 5:17. It is the Spirit against the flesh. To win this war and each battle within we must first recognize the source of temptation (James 1:13-18) which is original sin and the father of sin which is satan. We must remove our former nature (Ephesians 4:22) and make no provision for it (Romans 13:14). As flesh can experience starvation without nourishment so can sinful spirit.

To win the war between our two natures of good and evil we must completely surrender to God (Romans 12:1-2) and take on spiritual food in the form of the pure milk of the Word of God (1 Peter 2:2). This then is THE BATTLE WITHIN.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The inner nature is edified through the inspiration of Scriptures.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Romans 12:1-2 “victory in surrender”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I surrender to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do the acts of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21 compare to Fruits of the Spirit (vs. 22-26)?
  2. What inner nature battles are you facing?
  3. What needs to be done to put evil acts to death?
  4. Have you  surrendered your life to God?

DOING HARD LABOR

No matter our age each of us wake up every morning knowing that in some fashion we will have to do labor during the day. Some harder than others. The first thought that generally comes to mind is that which takes physical exertion though what should be of greater concern is our spiritual labor.

When we think of heavy lifting we consider what puts a strain on the muscles of our skeletal system but today we look at the strain on our heart and the first heavy lift is our need to subdue the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27). Sin and satan are at every turn trying to convince our heart and mind that many of our desires  are okay and natural. Truth be told they distance us from our Lord and Savior as many of our fleshly desires do.

Some of these fleshly desires are not sinful though not good for our well being but others certainly are as Hebrews 12:4 tells us. Scripture  gives us numerous examples of these as clearly shown in God’s law when we disobey what we call the Ten Commandments.

In the meantime once we enlist in God’s army be prepared for strenuous training and long hours. Your journey will not be easy and you may likely be knocked down on occasion but like Paul we must continue to have as our goal the “price of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). With that as our  goal it makes it much easier when we are DOING HARD LABOR.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual hard labor brings health and happiness.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Philippians 3:14 “reaching goal of spiritual hard labor”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me each day to labor for You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  What is necessary to subdue the flesh?
  2.  What improper fleshly desires are you doing battle with?
  3.  In what ways are we soldiers for Christ?
  4.  Are you enlisted in the army of our Lord?

 

ARE THE END TIMES ALREADY HERE?

One way to know if the end times are already here or coming quickly is because of ‘deception’. To understand how deception fits into end time theology we need to first understand it and that begins by knowing it is a tool of the wicked. It has no political parties. It covers the broad spectrum of life. Those who fall into this as satan would hope devise means to stir up situations creating chaos where God intended peace (Psalm 35:20). It is seen in those who speak peace yet in their hearts they know they are lying (Jeremiah 9:8).

In Romans 1:29-31 we have a list of sins mankind has invented for ourselves and once we start on that downward slide of which deception is a part it starts moving rapidly. Evil will grow worse and worse as 2 Timothy 3:13 tells us. Paul was concerned that this would happen in the church of his day as it is in our time as well. That satan would make himself look like an angel of light and cause believers to think what once was evil is now good (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Paul did not speak well of apostates and tells their end will be everlasting destruction. It would be wise for us to choose our Christian leadership carefully.

Deceiving spirits are a sign of end times (1 Timothy 4:1-2). It may well be that ‘the church’ is indicating this as non-Christian religions including secularism, humanism and even liberal Christianity dismiss the fundamental truths of God’s Word. The time has come that we need to test the spirits to see if they are from God (1 John 4:1-6) or not. We need to understand that not every inner feeling is from God. Many come out of our own wishes and fears. If we do so we will be able to discern if what we are hearing is from an anti-christ or not. If it is as so many people seem to be listening to and deceived by then perhaps THE END TIMES ARE ALREADY HERE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Deceit destroys until the coming of the Day of the Lord.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 John 4:1 “test the spirits you hear”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire to hear only You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Where does deception cause chaos where peace was intended?
  2. What examples exist of the church teaching as good what was once considered evil and how is this apostasy?
  3. Are deceiving spirits more evident in the faith community than in the past?
  4. What are the fundamental truths of God’s Word?

DEPRAVITY AND THE CRUCIFIXION!

During the season of Lent we look to the cross and the forgiveness of sin. Within that truth are many other truths. One of those is the extent of man’s depravity and how far mankind will take it.

Within our human nature lies a vileness that must be controlled. At the crucifixion Pontius Pilate tried washing his guilty hands of the affair. The Roman soldiers depravity was seen in their mocking and savage acts against Christ. It seems to continue yet today in the criminal statistics and the many ways bullying happens. This crucifixion occurs each time we mock someone or abuse them in some fashion.

Romans 1:29-31 is a list of man’s depravity but shows in verse 32 that “not only do they keep doing these things but they applaud others who do the same, thus forming a godless society opposing everything God wants from His beloved creation,humanity” (from the Jewish New Testament Commentary).

The extent of depravity is that it begins in the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9) and it takes over our entire body expressing itself through our senses such as the speaking of evil (Romans 3:9-19). Only a society and people who fear God and learn humility will be saved from this curse. It will not be easy because this condition is in each of us from birth (Psalm 51:5) and covers the entire earth (Genesis 6:5).

To correct this problem we must convince the impenitent (Romans 2:5) to say “I’m sorry” and change their behavior in a positive way. Those who will not hear must somehow be instructed and gotten to listen (Jeremiah 17:23). People must be shown ‘light’ is a far better option than ‘darkness’ (John 3:19). Their mind must convince their heart (Titus 1:15-16). It is only when this happens that we can learn the message that comes with DEPRAVITY AND THE CRUCIFIXION.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The depravity of mankind leads to defilement unless we accept deliverance offered through Christ’s death and resurrection.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Romans 3:9-19 “The extent of mankind’s depravity is in their entire being”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I come humbly before you acknowledging all my sin.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What are contemporary society’s politically correct ways of bullying?
  2. How do we attack people emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually?
  3. What steps would you take to correct a depraved nature/society?
  4. What brings people to say ‘I’m sorry’?

 

THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!

Occasionally  various people will say “the devil made me do  it” with the intent of being humorous or some other less than  serious purpose. Truth be told there is a supernatural realm in which as Christians we believe there are angels who serve God for good and demons who serve the devil for bad (Matthew 12:26-30). The Bible takes these two spiritual realms for granted as should we if we say we believe in the Bible.

This should cause us to want to know a little more about demons and how they can affect us emotionally, mentally and physically. First we must know demons are evil but subject to the Lord and His Disciples (Luke 10:17-18). This is important to know as demons have an enormous amount of power (Luke 8:29) which can do us harm if we do not exorcise them through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When demons attack they come in force (Mark 5:8-9). For many it is a battle that when you feel you have one licked there are others that come at you from another direction. The task is to remain strong in the Spirit. Demons recognize Christ (Mark 1:23-24) and His ability to destroy them. Demons know their destiny (Matthew 8:29).

Despite this knowledge mankind continues to  offer sacrifices to them as to any false god (1 Corinthians 10:19-20) which they gladly receive. The hope being that their deceit will cause people to leave the faith (1 Timothy 4:1).

I believe we need to look at the emotional, mental and physical ailments of people very carefully. Often the case will be that they are not insane or afflicted with disease, but rather a demon or demons who need to be exorcised. Though we may jest there can be a great deal of truth when we proclaim THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Demons desire to deprive man from deliverance.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: MARK 1:23-24 “demons recognize Christ”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen the power of the Holy Spirit’s presence within me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Are demons also able to affect us spiritually and why or why not?
  2. What demons if any do you carry?
  3. What is your plan for fighting personal demons?
  4. How are demons false gods and give examples?

DEMOLISHING THE DEMONS WITHIN!

The story of Christ and His time on earth involve basically four type of miracles: control over the natural elements, healing, bringing the dead back to life and one I wish to address today which is exorcising demons. The historical event I want to address is written about in Luke 8:26-30 as well as recorded in Matthew and Mark. It occurs right after an effort by what I believe are demonic forces to stop Christ from coming to Decapolis. This occurred in the event where the sea rose up and nearly swamped their vessel in coming across the lake. The demons’ arrival would not turn out well for them which is recorded in their being told to leave a man possessed and enter swine which then ran into the lake much like one day all demons and their minions will enter the bottomless pit or lake of fire.

For me what is interesting is that demons de-humanize us (the man they possessed lived naked among tombs) and do not want to leave us. Today we look at treating this spiritual malady like a physical disease and doing so we do it no harm. Demons no matter what form they take are difficult for mankind to give up and treatment for them needs to be ailment specific. Some indeed are physical and can be treated by medical and counseling methods. Others require the hand of God to heal as indeed physical healing also needs.

Healing irregardless of the nature of the ailment involves treating the whole person which includes: physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. The process is neither quick or inexpensive as there are many facets involved. To those who are willing to tackle any illness or sin related situation we need to understand that in some cases we may not be appreciated for our desire to help or even given a thank you for the help that has already been given. In Luke 8:37 Jesus was not only not thanked but was asked to leave and the life of Christ makes it evident that Jesus will not impose Himself on unwilling people in these types of situations. Nevertheless we need to go wherever there is a need and provide not only physical healing but spiritual as well even though others observing may not see it as we do. Our job as medical professionals and as Christians is to always DEMOLISH THE DEMONS WITHIN.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Demons destroy while our Deity God Almighty lifts up.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Luke 8:26-39 “how to handle demons”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me with Your Spirit that I might be a healing force for others.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What examples of exorcism can one point to in our modern world where individuals were spiritually possessed of demons?
  2. Why is it important for Jesus to have come to the land of the Gentiles?
  3. What are ways that demons de-humanize mankind today?
  4. What issues need to be dealt with following the five steps of healing mentioned above?

THE ANTICHRIST!

The times we live in are so divided and quite frankly I believe will not change or get better. That being said we should be observant of satan’s final opponent of Christ and Christians known as the antichrist.

The antichrist is in Scripture referred to as the man of sin or perdition (state of the damned) who many will follow (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and thereby fall away from our Savior and the salvation He brings us. This beast or antichrist along with his partner in crime (false prophet) will deceive the world (Revelations 19:20) and will do so performing wonders that people will swallow ‘hook, line and sinker’ (2 Thessalonians 2:9). What true Christians need to be especially careful of is he will sit in the temple of God “showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4) seeking man’s worship while at the same time persecuting Christians (Revelations 13:7).

Since the time of Christ we have known that the antichrist will one day come (2 Thessalonians 2:5). When he does, it will be a sign that the end times are here (1 John 2:18). The good news is that the antichrist’s arrival will shortly be followed by Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 2:8) and evil will be destroyed (Revelations 20:10) for all eternity.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The antichrist will antagonize and annoy Christian believers causing anarchy until the second advent of Christ.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Thessalonians 2:8 “the coming of the antichrist before Christ’s return”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I look for Your second advent.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Is the world today foreshadowing the arrival of the antichrist and if so in what way?
  2. How will you protect yourself from the wiles of the antichrist?
  3. What is the final destination of satan, the antichrist and the false prophet and those who follow them (see Rev. 20:10)?
  4. What is the role of the temple of God in end times theology and its current status?

THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE IS ON!

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We are in a spiritual battle. To deny this is simply ‘sticking our head in the sand’. Spiritual battles have gone on for centuries but not one such as we face in America now. Good versus evil in all its many facets is taking place each moment of each day. One of our principles by which we need to be guided is 1 Corinthians 15:33 which tells us “do not be deceived (as) evil company corrupts good habits”.

Sadly many Christians and Christian churches have done just that. In their attempt to be politically correct they have as Martin Luther King once said become “thermometers not thermostats”. Instead of setting the temperature they now simply reflect society’s temperature. That has to change and it is time to turn up the heat.

To begin with we need to remove corruption or that which is depraved and rotten from our lives and that begins with the example of Christ who’s holiness was not allowed to see or become corruption (Acts 2:27,31). For we today we need to find Christ and seek His knowledge. Knowledge is good but today so often misdirected. We must seek the knowledge of God.

The spiritual warfare  will at some point be won by God. God promised that in Romans 8:21. Until the moment when creation is delivered our battle goes on saving those who we can and holding or gaining ground on all that is evil. That begins one soul at a time leading others through the Word of God to a born again experience (1 Peter 1:23). This then is perfected in Heaven where no corruption is allowed to exist (1 Corinthians 15:50). Until then remember THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE IS ON!

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Christians cannot ever be content with corruption.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 15:33 “evil corruption”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me to guide others out of a life corrupted by sin.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is the proper way to interact with the tepid or non-Christian?
  2. What corruption do you and your church need to get rid of?
  3. In what ways are we thermometers and not thermostats?
  4. How can you personally turn up your thermostat?

 

 

DON’T EVER BE DISCOURAGED!

All around us are people and events or experiences that try to discourage us. In this mornings news I heard of a group of people who are blocking shoppers and travelers in Minneapolis who are simply looking to enjoy the season and gather with friends and families. The idea of obstructing someone excited about finishing a task has been around for thousands of years. In Ezra 4:4 we read where people tried to undermine the building of the second temple. As it was for them and so often is for us today we must overcome these obstacles and Scripture helps us in this matter.

The first example is seen in the life of Elijah (1 Kings 19:9-18). Discouraged by the unfaithfulness of fellow believers and in fear of his life he showed his commitment to God and ultimately the answer he sought was received. Overcoming that which discourages begins with commitment. It is as James 1:2-4 tells us that we must remain patient and as Elijah did we must cast our burden upon the Lord (Psalm 55:22).

To help this process work itself out we must follow the advice Christ gave to His disciples which was to find a place to rest away from the craziness of the moment or whatever was causing discouragement. Quiet time is a key for everyone and I believe gives us the wherewithal to remain patient and committed.

During this time (in fact at all times) we need to simple look up for the Lord will provide whether now or upon His return at the second coming (Luke 21:28). When we do so there is NEVER A REASON TO BE DISCOURAGED.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Spiritual discernment helps us overcome discouragement and stay true to our calling of discipleship.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Ezra 4:4 “people undermining the efforts of others”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I never be discouraged in the furtherance of Your Kingdom.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What around us is a source of discouragement?
  2. Has anyone ever tried to undermine what you are doing?
  3. How do you overcome obstacles?
  4. Where do you go when needing quiet time?

RELATED BLOGS: Strongest man in the world! and Ever feel discouraged?