Monthly Archives: March 2018

Broken For Only A Short Time

Arrived at the job a little early and was about to park in my usual spot when saw this- just the other day I had recalled something in a sermon I heard once about ancient times where shepherds that had a sheep wander would find the sheep, break the legs and then nurse the sheep back to health and wholeness. Seems like from our modern perspective inhumane and cruel but in those times sheep were very easy prey for wolves, lions and other predators that would end the sheeps life permanently. The shepherd was more concerned with the straying sheeps life then it’s temporary comfort. The way the sheep would not do that again and endanger its life was often not the most pleasant of circumstances. God allows pain to try to turn us from death- eternal and long term life sorrows. Many people who now are following Christ probably have stories of how they hit rock bottom before they were rescued. I have heard some powerful testimonies. That cane there beside the handicap spot reminds me of how God sometimes disables and wounds us for a short time to bring us to a place he can bestow his even greater favor! Psalms 30 tells us, “For his anger last only a moment but his favor lasts a lifetime, weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.”

A few applications-Trust God’s compassion and loving character when you know someone who you love may be far from the Lord and also entrust your very soul also to him because there have been many times he broke my spiritual legs also but brought greater wholeness out of it. Like a doctor fixing a broken nose- he has to rebreak it to reset the bone. Now you trust a doctor to fix a broken nose so how much more can God fix our broken souls. Jesus died to save us from our brokeness and sin- and he was in a sense broken too in the process under the weight of your sin and mine because he loved us/Happy good friday

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Trojan Horses Of The Heart.

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; [Psalm 66:18]

In Joshua 7, Israel went to battle and a man named Achen disobeyed the instructions of the Lord and siezed some of the plunder from the defeated enemy that was in the camp. In a later battle Israel kept getting defeated and Joshua distraught went before the Lord to find out why.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

Joshua 7:10-12

Who did Achan steal from? Dead enemy soldiers? No, but God. So often as Christians we find ourselves falling into defeat and succumbing to sins, temptations and traps because there is a need for God to cleanse our hearts of “Devoted desires of sin” and if we let our hearts trap us by wrong attitudes, motives or desires we will be easy pickens when temptation comes through our flesh as well as flaming arrows of the Evil One. Take for example Ephesians 4 where it says, “And do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Resentment is a great example of something we can easily allow into the camp of our hearts like the devoted things for destruction- in the story of Achan. We may be tempted to hold onto anger but it ensures defeat.

There are many other things that this can happen with but persomal challenge- What things devoted to destruction have you possibly allowed to grow in your heart? How will you in accordance to Scripture deal with it? See 1 John 1:9 and Proverbs 28:13!

Remodling Projects

Years ago mom and dad had the house remodled, namely the kitchen and bathroom. Now that I look back, we used to have a penisula countertop in the kitchen that mom was not to fond of.

Then it got me seeing a paralel- The Lord often seems to rip things out of our lives and we grieve that certain things, people or what we thought was awesome got removed! However, the new kitchen was far more nice then the old one.

Often we may say, “Lord why did you yank that? Or why are you witholding from me!”

First off, just as the house we live in is for our enjoyment and our use, the house did not build itself or exist for itself- if the house could protest it might say during the process_ “My poor kitchen, why did you rip my kitchen out, my poor kitchen of where you eat and entertain and feed family and guests? Oh this does not make sense! Your plan seems so cruel and I hope you did not move into me to destroy me!”

However, the house was being improved and though there was a season of kitchenlessness- poor house lost some nails and screws all across the ground like we often drop tears over what God does we do not understand.

We are made by God, and for God, and our selfcentered wills can trap us into a lie if we do not watch closely. The lie is, “You can experience more happiness and fulfillment without God managing your life” Yet the Devil used this approach with Eve and her husband in the garden also- he baited them with the lie that the fruit God told them not to eat would give them some enjoyment God held back! So they settled to follow a lie that ended in misery and sin to this day.

So indeed, what if the house I live in had despaired that it would never see another day of laughter and gathering in kitchen life again. Yet the kitchen was not gone forever, it was being remade into something more able to be used for it’s original purpose. The peninsula countertop made it difficult for all of us in wheelchairs, and besides mom did not particularly like the look of it.

The point is, God may seemingly cut into us and remove things or allow us to suffer loss of a dream- kitchen, or so it seems. Yet in reality he is often up to something more magnificent then we could dream up. God’s first objective in us as Christians, according to the Bible, is to conform us to the image of Christ. He wants us to reflect more of Christ’s attitudes, love, humility, patience, purity, holiness, wisdom and more!

See—(Romans 8:29, Romans 12, John 15)

God uses difficulties to develop in us greater faith, deeper love and stronger endurance.

See—(Hebrews 6:12, Hebrews 10:35, and James 1.)

God is not witholding good from us but wants us to trust that his time and his deffinition of good is better then our own. For example: A father who is wise knows that his son is not ready to handle a fire arm and go hunting until he is shown proper gun use. And a father of a teenager does not just let the teenager use the car without knowing how to drive and legally being able to.

So God has times where he delays and puts us on hold yet we may be temoted to doubt his willingness to give us good things.

God always has reasons for his no’s and yes’s or “Wait” and if one is tempted to fall into the error of thinking- I have to do enough good to merit God’s blessing- wrong- God blesses us like a father would with what is best, not making us work for it- though he may look at how we conduct ourselves and show us that we may not yet be fully ready but that is different then him making us a quota of good things to do to have his favor. His favor is in Christ’s work for us, and many of us may have escaped the erroneous and herretical idea that salvation can be earned but for me, there was years that I struggled to believe that God would bless me for good after he saved me if I did not have perfect performance! Wrong! Obeying God brings blessing but does not strong arm God into being favorably inclined toward us- Christ Jesus bought us that. So God now makes all his decisions for us from the standpoint of “Will it be best to give them this and now-“ and “Will it help my plan for their lives succeed?”

God’s Word says “For my ways are higher then your ways and my thoughts are higher then your thoughts”

God does not reason from “Were they good enough to squeese this blessing out of my hand?” No- For us who now know the Father through Christ we believe, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

[Romans 8:28-29]

God works in our lives and does this or that with a purpose- His end result- which by no means leaves us high and dry either- but we see that God does what he so does not because we earn his blessings or in contrast “I was bad so now God is punishing me”- he will correct, convict and discipline because of our need for growth, improvement and correction not repayment for sin. Christ paid our sins in full so we would not be condemned and demolished in the end. Yet as it says “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

Hebrews 12:7 –

So when we go through hardships, it is not as though God is whipping us for revenge- no but he is working good, bad and seemingly mundane things to shape us so we may truly prosper in the end.

Unpack The Trash

Not too long ago I knew someone who moved out of a particular living situation that was not to ideal. I keep names and identities anonymous in these writings yet there was an individual who this occured with.

It turns out that when this person finally got out of that place the person who they had stayed with helped them pack and added in a few of his own fairwell gifts, trash. I am remimded of what Jesus taught about the devil. Jesus taught about the true wheat from the false wheat, and taught a parable about the work of the Evil One in the world.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” [Matthew 13:24-30]

Jesus was teaching a parable here to convey the truth that there would be conterfeit Christians that are raised up by Satan to sow doubts among the non Christians about faith in Christ.

Jesus also taught a parable of the sower,

in contrast the farmer sowing in this story is good, and sows good seed, the Word of God but the events unfold like this:

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” [Mark 4:1-9]

One thing that particularly stood out was the teaching of how the birds came and ate up the good seed on the paths. Jesus later explains the meaning of each of the four soils to his disciples:

15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” [Mark 4:15-20]

“Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”

How does he succeed in this? He sows deception, doubt and confusion. Personally in my life there have been times where I read in the Word and felt so refreshed but not long after something hits me to start to doubt God’s love for me or his feelings toward me and paint him im the wrong light. Or other times I will be convinced God has spoken something really awesome into my life and then doubts shortly after pop in, “It’s too good to be true” or “You are getting delusional and that could never happen.”

Satan also uses false teaching that has a Christian label to sell his lies- we see even in the Old Testament this happened with false prophets. One named Hananiah. Jeremiah was sent by the Lord to warn the nation to turn from their sin otherwise the King of Babylon would come take them far from the Land God gave them and their ancestors. Hananiah though started contradicting Jeremiah and sowing deceit and saying “Thus says the Lord”

In the fifth month of that same year, the fourth year, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, said to me in the house of the Lord in the presence of the priests and all the people: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the articles of the Lord’s house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon removed from here and took to Babylon. I will also bring back to this place Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and all the other exiles from Judah who went to Babylon,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.’” Then the prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah before the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord. He said, “Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord’s house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true. ” Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it, and he said before all the people, “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon off the neck of all the nations within two years.’” At this, the prophet Jeremiah went on his way. After the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You have broken a wooden yoke, but in its place you will get a yoke of iron. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will put an iron yoke on the necks of all these nations to make them serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they will serve him. I will even give him control over the wild animals.’” Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies. Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.’” In the seventh month of that same year, Hananiah the prophet died. (Jeremiah 28:1-17)

Unfortunately, the people liked Hananiah’s prediction more even though it was a lie. Even as Christians today we must guard ourselves from the efforts of the devil to deceive. Satan would love to deceive into unproductive instruments. He cannot steal our salvation but will steal whatever he can get his hands on.

For non Christians, he loves to sow early on skepticism about the faith, who we are as individuals and he uses a world system under the power of sin to lie to us from childhood, “You will never measure uo or be anything special or significant” or “Your ugly and people will only accept you if you look a certain way, have a certain status and have lots of money, only the strongest survive!”

He uses people and events that have been chained by the powers of sin to deceive. He uses wicked and sinful people trapped in his control to reiforce his lies and erroneous beliefs – he uses deception to keep people blind.

He often tells the non believer their sinful ways of living or doing things is just what it takes to survive, thrive or get ahead. The devil would say, “Those things you are told are sin, you cannot help it, you were born this way and cannot change.” And when people accept his garbage and sown ideas and lies they identify themselves with the negative things they do. Then the devil would whisper in the minds of the carnal and lost “That’s just you though, that sin you do, thats just you and if people tell you it is wrong, then they do not love you for who you truly are.”

If Satan can tie our identity to our sin, we may despair change because we may feel that we wont be our unique selves anymore. Yet like the man who scattered trash among the articles of clothes so the devil also sows deception as well as false believers, teachers and preachers among the lost. He tries to do what he can to spoil the influence of Christians also. He can tempt a Christian to sin or fall in the presence of a non Christian- then poisons further the minds of those who are not redeemed by saying: “Look at what that so called God fearing person just did? Did you see how they could not even follow what they speak so much of? Ha! Christ must not be the answer after all!”

Satan is refered to in Scripture as a slanderer (Diabolos- Greek Word that we get the phrase devil) means “Slanderer”

He is also refered to as the “god of this age” though is no god but rather a fallen angel that has power to deceive and manipulate this present world order-

“For the god of this age has blinded the eyes of the unbeliever” Paul writes, and Satan is a deceiver, thief and “The father of lies” as Jesus said.

We must refuse to let him sow what is his among us and as The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Anyone who sins is a slave of sin, and a slave has no permanent place in the household, but if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”