EXPOSING THE DEVIL…

Spiritual Blog - Exposed

2 Corinthians 2:11 – “…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”  NKJV

Joshua 9:3-4a – “But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors.”  NKJV

Without doubt God’s greatest desire for us that we be saved!  He has no desire for mankind greater than full salvation and complete deliverance.  He wants us to become what He has already declared us – Overcomers!  Most have realized or will that this Christian walk is not a bed of roses and there are battles to be fought.  Most have realized that a battle won is not a war won nor a battle lost is a war lost.  As long as sin lasts and the devil is loosed from the pit there will be conflict.  As long as we live in these fleshly bodies there will be temptation.  However, it is important to remember no one sin can be regarded paramount nor can any sin be lightly regarded.  Any attempt or temptation to compromise with the devil is to invite certain disaster and court sure destruction.

If we can hold it in our hearts and minds that there will be battles lost and times of retreat we can more readily maintain our hope.  However, I firmly believe that if or when we lose a battle and are forced into a temporary retreat it is imperative that we find out the true cause of the setback. How? Through prayer!  If we come before God in repentance and prayer He will open the curtain and allow us to look beyond the veil and see.  Prayer will give us understanding but it takes more than prayer to regain or reclaim the lost ground.  We do not render the devil totally defeated in a moment of victory for the process of deliverance is gradual and often slow.

The Law or Plan of God given to believers that brings peace, joy, happiness, life, and health is not given for the purpose of our ease but to enable us to walk in full obedience.  We are in a spiritual war and that war pits God’s forces against the devil’s legions.  The secret to winning any war lies in strategy.  If you fail to plan you plan to fail!  Joshua had planned the war against the inhabitants of Canaan carefully.  He had taken his forces and driven a wedge westward from Jericho into the heart of the land dividing the forces of the enemy.  He then quickly turned south and destroyed the forces there before coming back North to finish the job. He had a plan, God’s plan!

We face a problem in today’s world in our failure to apply God’s Divine Strategy to our daily lives.  I have witnessed, too often, believers and churches develop a hold the fort mentality and in so doing offer little or no offensive strategies against the powers of darkness.  So it is legitimate to ask, how often do we apply God’s Divine Strategy to our daily action, or planned war against our souls?  Some live hit or miss and miss more than they hit resulting in being outmaneuvered by the enemy.  Satan is not only a roaring lion he is a subtle serpent and the roar of the lion is far less dangerous than the hiss of the snake spiritually.

Joshua 9 is a classic example of the subtility, trickery, and deception of the devil and exposes the gullibility of man, especially when he becomes overconfident through a few victories.  Thank God our God is Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent.  He overrules our mistakes and failures for His glory.  In this passage and account, we find a revelation of the wiliness of the devil and a lesson worthy of learning in today’s world.  In this account, we can learn things that will help us expose the devil and move into the victory possessing the place of promise in God our Canaan.

Due to time and space, we will pause here and pick up next time and hopefully provide some valuable information and tools to use in our daily lives in defeating the devil daily.  

God bless you as you go through this wonderful day!

TROUBLE OR TROUBLED???

Spiritual Blog - Fear

Psalm 46:1-3 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.”  NKJV

Each of us has an option or options when we are faced with trouble.  We can, as many, become troubled and allow trouble to flood over us sapping us of our hope and rendering us impotent in its wake.  The other option is to follow the prescription David offers here and experience a revelation that will release the supernatural in our lives and situation.  There is always a choice.

Many if not most of us have experienced times of deep trouble where we were not sure how we would or if we would come through it.  When in the face of imminent danger or threat we can allow the waves of fear to overcome us, or we can look outside our fears looking through the situation to the solution.  It is a choice but one that is rooted in relationship and anchored to experiential confidence.  I can have all the information about a matter that is available and know, logically and rationally what could or should happen but my confidence in the outcome will be stronger after the experience.

David declared, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  The words ‘present help’ seemed to leap off the page at me when I read this.  Most will affirm that they believe God has promised to be our refuge and that He is our strength, but too frequently we miss the Ppresentness of God.  In the midst of the difficulty, He Is There!  He is in the immediate not the projected.  He is in the immediate not the theoretical.  He IS and because He IS David says, “we will not fear…”  The confidence of God’s promise of a provision of safety and His Omnipotence in the Immediate banishes fear.  Fear and God’s presence are not compatible except for our reverential fear of Him.  Fear that has torment is incompatible with the presence of God.

David described a condition where there are earthquakes either natural, emotional, social, economic, political or spiritual and declares that because of God’s Presence fear is banished.  When he says we Will Not, He is declaring that this is a cooperation between the heart of man and the power of God.  God provides the power and demonstrates His presence and man has to make the choice to embrace God or fear.

The question is always, “Do we trust?”  I suggest that knowing the promise is one thing.   Believing that God is Omnipotent is one thing.  Believing that God is Now in our situation is another.  Just knowing it with our heads does not always equal receiving it in our hearts.  Knowing something theoretically without the experiential may leave one with doubt whereas having both knowledge and experience opens the door and makes it easier to enter into the Present Reality of God’s Presence, Purpose, Promise and Provision.  Therefore, developing a relationship with Him is vital to our forward progress in life spiritually.

Rather than being troubled, I pray that God will help each on to see the trouble simply a condition unworthy of fear because of the Presentness of God.  Look beyond and through the troubles and trials to the solution and in Him rejoice and relax.  He is God and always will be God.

God bless you as you go through your day!

THE VALUE OF VISION – Part Two…

Spiritual Blog - Vision

Proverbs 29:19 – “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…” NASU

Proverbs 29:19 – “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint…” NKJV

As we consider the Value of Vision we must consider the Purpose of Vision.  Vision links and gives direction.  Nothing is ever accomplished without it.  NOTHING!  As we read in our text where there is No Vision, the people perish, are unrestrained, cast off restraint, become demoralized and run wild.  It is interesting that each of those renderings from varying translations has an element of truth and together they give a clear picture of the importance of Vision!  Vision in its simplest definition is the ability to see.

Spiritually everyone has a vision.  It is either a Kingdom vision or a Survival vision.  It is either a corporate (collective) vision or an individual vision.  It is either God directed or self-centered but regardless everyone has a vision.

I have discovered that where there is no clear corporate vision of the whole the people are without restraint or cast off restraint, become demoralized, are easily disillusioned and often run wild.  It often has the appearance of a stampede of horses running in all directions and produces discouragement and disappointment.  Everyone has a different view or idea about where to go, what to do and how to get there.  It is like horses pulling in different directions and the result is they are working against each other rather than pulling in tandem.

Matthew 6:33 tells us to “seek first the kingdom…”  That requires Vision and Discipline.  I must see the Kingdom, have a grasp of the purpose of the Kingdom and be planted in the Kingdom.  I must make the determination that I will willingly allow God’s Master Builders to Fitly Frame me into place. That requires and is the result of Vision.  At that point, it is no longer My Vision but Him and His Vision.  It is no longer what can you do for me but what does the kingdom need.

No one will ever rise above the level of their vision.  But the vision will cause you to throw your hook over a higher ledge and will tie you to destiny!  Please hear me carefully.  Without an understanding of God’s Purpose; His end-time agenda, his eternal purpose and how we fit into that purpose the pressure will become unbearable and we will move in cycles of depression and victory.  It will be victory followed by a sense of sheer frustration, lack of purpose and direction.

It is vital that we receive God’s Vision for the Church so that we can become A House, a Building, a Habitation of the LORD that is Fitly Framed Together rather than being just a pile of individual 2 X 4’s in the lumberyard of life.  Vision links us together and makes us like workhorses pulling together in tandem.

The old illustration I have used many times is:  It was reported that one horse could pull 9,000 pounds and the expectation was that 2 horses would 18,000 pounds.  However, when hooked together in tandem the 2 horse did not pull double but tripled the pulling power.  They somehow gained the benefit of a third invisible horse.  Unity produces more than each part.

No matter how good, worthy, noble or right your vision is if it is not linked to the vision of the whole or the kingdom it will become futile and unproductive.  Vision keeps you moving forward in the face of difficulty and seemingly unfulfilled promises.  Vision links you together with others to fulfill the larger purpose of the Kingdom of God.  So, what is your vision?

May God be with you as you go through your day!

THE VALUE OF VISION…

Spiritual Blog - Vision

Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…” NASU

Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint…” NKJV

Vision or purpose in life is not just important it is vital.  It is vital to a nation, an individual and a church.  Visionless people have no direction and are doomed to experience failure, disappointment, and disillusionment.  I am convinced we are living in the time the Bible calls “The Last Days” and I am equally convinced God is up to something wonderful in our present world.  I say that even in the face of some incredibly bleak conditions but my spirit is leaping as I type that there is something big about to happen.

I am reminded of Ezekiel’s vision or prophecy of the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37.  It is an incredible prophecy and one that still leaves many wondering as to its full meaning.  Is this speaking of the natural or spiritual or both?  Actually, no matter which interpretation you hold you cannot miss some significant pictures.

  • These bones once lived. [They were part of real bodies and real people].
  • These bones are now scattered and divided without order or ability to function. [Not just dead but scattered and separated].
  • These bones are being sovereignly pulled together by the Holy Spirit and joined (fitted) together. [Each bone in its place.  Refer to Ephesians 2:11-22 and Ephesians 5]
  • These bones are returning to a former state or condition.
  • As these bones come together and come alive, they have purpose, direction, and significance. [Though many they are ONE there is a compound unity].

Without attempting to be exhaustive or exhausting on the matter, I believe that is exactly what is happening in a very real way in God’s Church today.  The Spirit of God is crossing man-made barriers, divisions, sects, schisms, denominations, and walls and calling to a remnant to hear, heed and follow His voice unhindered by the man-made barriers, dogmas, and doctrines.  That which has been heretofore lifeless, ritualistic and a mere form without power or substance is being transformed into something powerful and dynamic.  God is, I believe, raising up an authoritative organism The Body of Christ and moving us into the arena of spiritual conflict.  These bones are beginning to live again.

Although there is much disagreement doctrinally on many things and even the beginning of the Church in Acts it is virtually impossible not to see it as a powerful force in its world.  It was dynamic and impacted its world powerfully.  It tore down the walls of legalism and extended grace to whosoever will.  It had a powerful impact on its world with its message, ministry and the lives of those who were called Christians.  Even though its message was not embraced by everyone it was:  Feared (Acts 5), Respected (Acts 17:6), Triumphant and demonstrated the Authority Jesus bequeathed to it (Luke 19:10 and Mark 16).

The 1st Century Church had Vision, Revelation, and Understanding.  It had purpose and power.  They could see what to do and knew where to go as the Holy Spirit led them.  They demonstrated vision, direction, and purpose and to some degree that has been lacking too often in the modern church world.

We are told in Matthew 6:33 that we are to “seek first the Kingdom of God…” and to pray for the Kingdom to come.  So what does this have to do with vision?  Everything!  In Matthew 15:14 Jesus spoke of “the blind leading the blind…” and the subsequent failure.  What is the purpose of seeking the kingdom if we do not know what the kingdom is?  How would we know it if we found it if we do not know what it involves?  Therefore, for us to have Vision and have that vision plugged into God’s Purpose for significant and effective development and service We Must See the Big Picture.  We must have a God-given vision.

Time and space prohibit me from continuing so I will pause until next time and until then pray that God begin to birth in you HIS VISION so that you may plug into that which He has for you, where He desires and accomplish His purposes in your life in this generation. 

Until Tomorrow Blessings!

 

LOVE IS WORTH LOVING…

Spiritual Blog - Love

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”  KJV

 

Here we are Valentine’s Day 2019 and the subject of love and its benefit comes into focus.  Much like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or the many other days we celebrate, one day per year is certainly insufficient but it is good to be reminded.  Valentine’s Day elicits attention from youthful puppy love to the mutual sharing in marriage love.  Not to be left out we must never forget God’s love and our love for Him.

I know that this passage could rightly be applied to ‘friends’ but it is also very applicable for LOVE relationships and especially marriage.  We’ve all heard the old adage, “two can leave as cheaply as one” and the power of working in tandem with “a three-fold cord is not easily broken.”  Do not think I am suggesting a love triangle for I believe strongly in monogamy.  However, do we consider the value of that ‘helper’ or ‘mate’ God has given us in the loving relationship of marriage?

Here the writer advises that ‘two are better than one’ then gives reasons for that statement.  That which they produce from works to children has incredible benefit.  Still, further, he informs us that if one stumble the other provides comfort, encouragement, and assistance.  He also calls to light the incredible loneliness and danger for that person who has no one.  While I do not want to make anyone’s pain more severe because they are alone for whatever reason we know that having a friend or spouse is a God-given treasure.  If you are alone I pray that God will bring that special person into your life and allow you to enjoy the treasures of a loving marriage.

The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:25 that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her.  Likewise in the preceding verses, we learn of the wife’s commitment to her husband.  The inserting of the relationship of the Body of Christ to the Lord Jesus is important for it conveys the image of commitment and fidelity.  We know the great love our Lord has for us and His incredible sacrifice so both husband and wife should invest everything in the development and strengthening of their marriage. The result of the two who have become one is described in the verses in our text. The reward is great!

It is easy to become so accustomed to one another that we take our spouse for granted and that is always negative.  Marriage is not 50-50 it is 100-100 and on this day it is wonderful to invest the effort to rekindle the spark that you knew in the beginning.  Someone told me once, ‘giving flowers is a waste of time and money.’  I have never agreed with that and although flowers are not something one would want to eat and will wither in time they convey the message, “I care, I love you and you are worth this.” 

When we think of our love for each other in marriage or courtship we should be reminded of the greatness and beauty of God’s love for us.  Marriages made in heaven do not live in hell and any marriage can deteriorate if we fail to invest ourselves in the other person.  LOVE is worth LOVING.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to everyone.  May God be with you as you go through your day.

TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS OR DOES IT???

Spiritual Blog - Time

Genesis 50:15-21 – “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ” What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17’Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”‘ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 21 “So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” NASU

 

I guess if you only read this part of the entire story of the “Life of Joseph” you might think that the old saying, “Time heals all wounds” was accurate but if you read the entire story you will see something you probably missed.  It is my simple hope in this brief devotional to point you to a “higher revelation” that Time Heals Nothing and yet there is the opportunity for Total Healing of the Total Man in the Finished Work of Jesus and His Unconditional Love!

I would suggest to you that “time” outside the Finished Work of Christ is an ENEMY, not a Friend.  I only ask that you hear the conclusion of the whole matter before rendering a judgment about what I am saying.  That will require you to go back and reread much of the history of Joseph and Israel in the Bible.  It will take time but it will be a journey that is both interesting and beneficial.  It is my desire that I can somehow get you to see “How” to live out in everyday life the Unconditional Love of God amidst all the “Hurts/Beatings/Wounds/Fears/Anxieties of Life.”  I’m talking about Total Freedom and Total Healing for the Total Man which is something that many do not even believe is possible much less possess.  So my question is, “Are you interested in Total Freedom?”

A BRIEF BACKGROUND:

If you remember the story of the teenaged Joseph with his special treatment from his father, his dreams, and visions you will recall how horribly mistreated he was by his brothers to the point that they “sold him” as a slave while fabricating a story of his death to their father.  Once Joseph arrived in Egypt he receives promotion and problem after promotion and problem until he is elevated to Second in Command in Egypt.  Years later we come to the timeframe of our text and his brothers stand before him in fear and trembling.  They were petrified because the “boy” they had sold into slavery was now the second most powerful man on earth as they knew it and held their lives in his hands.  What if he holds a grudge as they were positive he would?  They expected him to Get Even.  Then their father Jacob dies and they fabricate a story to tell Joseph to try to save their own hides and Joseph responds basically saying, “Do you realize what you are saying?  You are afraid I will Get Even!  Am I in God’s place?  Oh I know what you did to me!  You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”  That is Incredible!  How would you have responded?

The key, I believe, is that long before Joseph arrived in Egypt He Handled This.  I mean he settled it with God.  If you study the timeline of his life you will realize that it is quite likely that he heard the story of Abraham from his grandfather Isaac while sitting on his knee.  From the time of his youth, he had heard the Story of Covenant and He Knew God!  Moreover, he trusted God and knew that for God to fulfill His Promises that God would take care of Him so He was able to curl up in the Unconditional Love of God and Forgive!  He was able to Release his anger, the pain, and any bitterness he had and I believe he did it before he got to Egypt or he would have died a bitter old man in slavery in Egypt and we would never have heard of him again.

It wasn’t Time it was Love that Healed Him!  Time only enables us the time to become calloused to the wound and live through the pain it Never Removes It completely.  That is something that Only love, forgiveness, and releasing it can do.  It takes the Agape Love of God to Heal this kind of wound!  So if you are dealing with something and hoping that “Time will heal it” turn it loose and run to the arms of God and His love.  It is there that there we find Healing and Deliverance!

May God be with you as you go through your day!

WHOLE-HEARTED TRUST…

Spiritual Blog - Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” NASU

Another rendering of this is “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” NKJV  So whether He makes my paths straight or directs my path I know that If I “trust” with All My Heart and “resist the temptation” to follow my own understanding, perception, and perspective while “acknowledging” Him in All My Ways I can totally depend upon His guidance, care, and keeping.

This is the passage that opened the door to “forgiveness” for me and allowed me to enter into the delight of Salvation.  I was convinced that I was Lost and equally convinced that I Had Done too Much to ever be forgiven.  That is a classic example of leaning to my own understanding and a reflection of how little I knew of God, His nature, or His character.  As I read that passage at near midnight on a Saturday night in Palestine, Texas I looked heavenward and opened my heart, mind, and soul to the Lord and in sincere repentance received His Grace and my life has never been the same!  Thank God for The Word of God and Praying People who loved God and people enough to not give up on me!

I cannot say enough about “whole-hearted trust.”  Without that kind of trust in the Lord, we will find ourselves questioning His character, actions, and the events of life.  We will second guess our decisions, those of others, and even those of the Lord and find that we are prime targets for deception, depression, and rebellion.  However, if we learn to give God Our Whole Hearts, in trust, we will find The Peace that Passes All Human Understanding and Calmness in Life that so many fail to know.  You only see the “now” and the “past” but God sees the End from the Beginning.  God sees the now, the past and the future and He is diligently working so that “All things, Work Together for our good.”  Not that all things are “good” but combined and compiled they produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness and His divine purposes in our lives.

God has demonstrated so many times, in my life, that He is completely Trustworthy I have no problem giving Him my “whole-hearted trust” at all times and in all things.  Sometimes, I scratch my head and wonder what He is up to or even why He would take the path that He takes but in the midst of all that I Trust God with a Whole Heart!  As the disciples said when Jesus asked if they too would leave Him – “Lord, where would we go for with you are the Words of Eternal Life.”   Where Could I Go But To The Lord?  I do not want to go anywhere but to Him!

May God be with you as you go through your day!