Category Archives: Uncategorized

Test It, (Part 1.)

Discerning spirits- 1 John 4 tells us to “test the spirits to see whether they be from God,” and Jesus told his disciples to test the fruit in the lives of those who claimed to know God, “by their fruit you will recognize them” —over the years I have gotten many ideas, heard lots of advice, and felt many impressions to take this course or that in life and feel as though over the past 2 years it has become easier to see what God’s voice sounds like.

God leads more often then not away from self, not to say God does not ever tell us to take a particular course of action that involves self interest to a small degree yet in the Christian life he primarily wants to develop Christlikeness in all of us. I will use self interest vs selfishness as two separate things- There are times where the right choice will benefit our own selves such as getting out of a harmful situation or a number of other things. Yet selfishness is not from God, he in Ephesians 2:9 created us “to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do so we may walk in them.” Also, “It is more blessed to give then to receive.” (Acts 20:35) and Jesus taught us to “Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) and the scripture clearly shows us God’s view on pride.

So if a choice, action or idea involves some element of ego- test it to see “whether it be from God,” it may indeed be from the flesh (sinful nature) or even the Tempter.

Does this choice or thought align with Philippians 4 in the list of “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy” that it tells us to think on?

Does it align or contradict James 4’s list of “Wisdom from above” that is “first of all pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”?

(James 3:17-18) But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Does it point you toward the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 or acts of the flesh?

(Galatians 5:19-26) The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Most of all we know that any voice or impression from an origin not of God’s Holy Spirit whether temptation or feelings of condemnation won’t make us want to draw closer to God in prayer but rather make us shrink away and hide—the voice of the Spirit points people to Christ, His Sacrifice and Resurection, Power, Authority and Glory, His Love and Worth, yet a voice that undermines his power, his love or goodness is that old serpant “Did God really say?”

“If you are the Son of God” he said to Jesus- and he will also whisper condemning words to us too, “If you really were a child of God you would have never blown it there!” And the key distinction is that The Holy Spirit will show us our sins yet not to drive us to despair nor will he tempt us into sin. God’s Spirit speaks life and freedom from guilt and lifestyles or habits of sin yet the sinful nature and devil would try to trap us further in sin and lies, half truths with half lies and whole lies are from Saran not God. “God cannot lie” as Scripture says.

When you sin, the voice that prompts you to pray and humble own your fault and seek to live better with the help of God is the voice of God’s Spirit. Yet the voice that prompts us to over focus on self and our own shortcomings is not. When did God ever tell us to hyper focus on ourselves? Rather “Set your mind on the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” Colossians 3 tells us. The Spirit of God points us to The Son of God!

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Theological Pharisees. Beware Of Pride!

Theological Pharisees,

The accuracy of Christian theology and Biblical understanding is crucial yet a Theological Pharisee is the kind of person who whether with full knowledge or hidden motives that they do not even fully discern, is a kind of person who may unknowingly value perfect doctrine over deep love- it is noble to want to be as accurate in our understanding of Scriptures as possible yet we can never substitute knowledge for the Love of God and love for our neighbor as well as fellow believers in the family of Christ.

This may offend some Christian on here but if what I am saying is deemed to be necessary or beneficial in the eyes of God then may he bless my words, if not may my words fall on deaf ears. Yet one very frustrating thing I have seen is a lot of fancy theological words yet at the same time a felt atmosphere among some Christians who many are most likely genuinely saved but may be falling into a ditch without realizing it.

There are times where I come across that seems to almost enjoy using big theology words and concepts and if we are all not careful, including myself, Im just as fallible as anyone else, but if we are all not careful we may be tempted to be in some degree of blindspots of our own be doing so for the show of it. And Jesus would never be pleased with this, and what will matter more then anything you read or what theology text books you memorize quotes from will be, how this practically works in ones life. You can quote Tozer all day and listen to Spurgeon sermons all you like, and yes these were great men of God yet doubtful they would be happy if they were cited just for any of us to look smart rather then to better grow in our faith in Christ, love for Him, and neighbors. There is a great need for truth without compromise in our day yet lets “do the latter and not leave the former undone,” as Jesus said.

Matthew 23:23-24 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

How are we doing treating those who from a human standpoint are adversarial toward us? We are called to love our enemies and not just smack them back saying the “truth hurts” or “you need to hear this” kind of thing. Yes I agree there are times to be direct and forward and we must NEVER change God’s word to approve anyone’s sins but the crucial question is Motive,

We all must examine our underlying motivation of why we say what we believe is truth- and of course appropriately discern with God’s help what he thinks is needful at the moment- because the Bible also says there is a time to speak and time to hold our tongues, Jesus before Pontus pilate “remained silent” and wisdom of God tells us not just what we ought to say in accordance to Scriptural truth but in what time and context we should speak as well as when to refrain.

There is a need I think, and I know I need to do this just as much as anyone else, but there is a need for us to ask God to give us wisdom and “pure hearts” so that in sharing truth and speaking God’s Word we do not “make any provision for the flesh” Romans 13:14

Romans 13:14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

http://niv.scripturetext.com/m/romans/13.htm

Trusting God Empowers Us to Defeat Sin and Unbelief.

This Psalm has been a very powerful reminder in my life, especially when I read it in one of the worst times of my adult life.

(Psalm 106:6-22) We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them. In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

Part of the people’s problems was their unbelief God could be relied on or trusted to obey fully. Yet that is what all of us are tempted to do. When we encounter problems, it can seem like our faith tank goes dry and we fret and try to devise plans or if you are like me at times, just grumble and get cynical. Yet the truth is, faith in the reliability and goodness of God can free us from worry, taking control and doing things our way and taking advantage of those around us, or doing something we know is wrong just to get our needs met.

(2 Peter 1:4) Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

If we trust the promises of God we can overcome temptations to sin to get our needs met. I am trying to preach to myself today since this is something I need to keep working on myself but part the struggle is putting our weight down on God’s promises and patiently wait when he seems to delay his answers, see how it says in Psalm 106 “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold”

1.) They forgot how God had been faithful,

2.) They did not wait in a posture of trust for him to do the good he was planning for them

As a result most died in the wilderness in unbelief and only a few made it in. For the non Christian their unbelief can keep them from receiving God’s mercy through faith in Christ yet many

Christians allow themselves to stay stuck in a desert of not reaching all the potential and purpose God wants to give us, the “abundant life” Jesus referred to. Many of us like Israel can give way to,

1.) They gave way to their cravings

2.) Put God to the test

3.) They grew envious of Moses

4.) They made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass.

5.) They forgot the God who saved them,

See how all their other problems flowed from that one major heart issue of unbelief. They gave into sin in their lack, they tested God, they envied, created a useless idol they thought could save them and meet their needs and forgot God.

The root of most all our issues if not all is pride and an unbelieving attitude and we must pray God enables us not to give way to these in times of need and discouragement but see Him as enough as well as trust Him to take care of us in His best ways and timing.

God Owes No One, Yet Is A Generous Blesser!

The Christian life can also be prey to extremes, one extreme I would like to focus on here specifically in this writing is more on the spectrum toward legalism. God's commands are good, wonderful and necessary for our life and well being but if we are not careful we can fall into the extreme of being so hard on our selves as believers and other Christians we give very little room for breathing room in the form of grace to grow and progress! When we err on the extreme over over focus on "do's" and divorce it from the true way to gain victory over sins and struggles, we drain the joy, excitement and thrill right out of being in a relationship with God. This is like a man who may do all the good things he does for his wife because he "ought to" versus "I adore my love, my bride, my dear that I would go out of my way to please because I delight in her and never want to hurt her." Or vice versa, a woman who feels as though her relationship with her husband is more just some wife duty as opposed to her heart being enamored by his love for her.

We cannot thrive in our human relationships as a to do list and if we treat God as anything less then a personal being who longs to fellowship with us and be close to us, we do not truly thrive in the Christian life under such mindset either.

-Legalism seems to come in two forms, one: People who buy into the faulty erroneous thought, "I can be good enough for God to save me and go to heaven," two: "I must be the perfect little do gooder Christian otherwise God will not be happy with me, he will not bless my life and will withold good things from me and not answer my prayers." Sometimes yes, we limit God's blessings through our disobedience and rebelling, but none the less I have even seen God be incredibly gracious when I was even being stupid or stubborn. Our view of how God sees us will affect how we interact with Him. God wants us to be holy and walk uprightly, however, we must assess how we are going about this. Do we see God as just up there watching us to make sure we just behave? Or is his desire for us to walk in holiness, wisdom and righteousness more then just Him wanting us to just "be the good little believers we should and he is boss so I better behave." Such a mindset will often even slowly creep into born again believers lives because old habits die hard. We often feel this pressure from others but we cannot filter God throw what others do since he is flawless and good, perfect and righteous, more so then even the greatest human friend or parent!

We do not have to be perfect or never have our struggles for God to be good to us, we should not take his grace for granted and harm ourselves by sinning, if at all we can avoid stumbling because God may not bless us as much in those times as he wanted to. Never the less because we cannot earn his blessings by even our own obedience, but rather because he is good and delights in us, he wants us to learn to walk as often in obedience as we are called to and if we do sin, repent and recieve all he wants to bestow on us. Like any good parent wouldn't ground a kid just to smear it in their face, but a caring parent would correct a mindset that would keep the child from truly prospering as an individual, and that can include discipline. Yet parents that are ideal ones really do not take much pleasure in just spanking their kids or grounding them. Even if our human parents were not perfect, most of us had decent ones that actually wanted us to succeed in life more then anything else!

The Galatians got into some stinking thinking, and they had been saved purely by grace through faith in Christ yet then reverted to trying to keep laws and commands in Jewish law. They stopped letting faith fuel their good works, but instead they chose to get sucked into "do's and "do nots." There Christian lives became less then a real satisfying relationship with the living God and more of a tradition, and law, and checklist of religious formalities and stringent regulations. When Christian churches in our time fall prey to this, they become dry and more lifeless then ever, more of social clubs instead of a family of faith. Ever been to a church where the teaching was good and people were friendly enough but you sensed something a little stagnant?

Well, often these churches are full of Christians that are genuinely saved yet it is easy for any of us as we progress in our walk with Christ to let the fire grow a little cooler over time. We see this take place in Revelations 2 when Jesus address the church in Ephesus. This in a sense was also happening in the Galatia church:

Galatians 3:1-14 You foolish Galatians!

Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Deadly Delilahs

Steer Clear Of Delilah

(Judges 16:1-25) One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.” But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron. Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.” Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered. Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.” He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads. Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.” He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric and tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric. Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.” When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.” While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, 

I find some interesting points we can take to heart from the story of Sampson

1.) Sampson had God strength and supernatural power to defeat large armies of Philistine men yet his achiles heel was he had an eye for pagan women that caught his eye, the first incidence was he married a Philistine woman, and she did at the hands of her own, her and her fathers household because the enraged Philistines nursed a grudge against Sampson so they took vengeance by burning her and her father.

2.) Sampson relied too greatly on his pride and I am led to believe his victories over the Philistines led him to get careless and wreckless.

3.) At the end of the story the very eyes that led Sampson astray ironically were the very eyes the savage Philistines poked out.

4.) Sampson later met smooth little Delilah who had a way to butter a man up. She was one smooth serpant that knew just how to coex a man to fall trustingly into her suductive arms and Sampson revealed his weakness that if his hair was cut he would lose all his strength.

Ever met one smooth talking tigress thar knew how to wear you down? That was Delilah for you and she was persistent and her lust for money was all it took for her to through the man who thought she loved him under the bus. Just like Judas betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver, little miss Delilah was easily bought to with just a little incentive.

She how she responded when Sampson for the first few times did not tell her his secret? She had an emotional ace up her sleeve and said, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”—Did Delilah care if Sampson truly loved her or not? Most likely not. Yet as many suductresses of our time even also do, they know they can smooth talk a gullible man led astray by his passions and desires. She had a fine way of preying on Sampsons greates kink in his metaphorical armor. Yes that is, his desire for women. 

Many young women in our day and time learn from Delilah of yesteryear and this is really all the unredeemed know. Using their powers they believe they possess to accomplish their desired end.
Before Jacob encountered God, he was the “deciever” and had learned to also get forward in life by tricking others, especially his own brother Essau who fell prey namely to his own lack of self control.

Hebrews 12:16-17 refers to Esau this way, “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.”

Delilah was probably no more guilty then any other Philistine in the land in her time as well as any non believer residing in our day. The person who does not know Christ, the Living God or ways of the Lord has no one really to rely on fully but themselves and what they concoct and devise to get by in a ruthless world dominated by unbelief.
To the person who neither trusts God nor believes in a God, he or she really thinks they must do what they see fit, as earlier on in the book of Judges said, “Israel had no king, so each person did what they thought best” and self preservation for the lost soul is at the very end of the day their driving focus. For they make friends even on this premise, and they are loyal only to those who they derive some recipricative benefit from.

Yet for the one who follows Christ, this is not the way of the cross.

(Matthew 5:38-48) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. 

In a world that knows only love by strings attached, Christ tells us the better way that we must follow his example and not as Sampson said in his revenge, “I will do to them what they did to me” since this only escalated the thirst for blood on both the side of Israel and the Philistines:
We are called to “Take up our cross daily and follow him” and “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good”

Sampson’s unwise playing with fire cost him his life yet at the very darkest God still brought light when Sampson prayed in his repentence as he was chained to the pillars in humiliation. He looked back to The Lord and although he perished with the Philistines he made it into the list of great people of faith in the book of Hebrews.

“All Employees Must Wash Their Hands Before Returning To Work” 💩

Wouldn't it be gross if you knew someone took a big ole dump then prepared your food and never washed their hands before hand? Well this is a unpleasant thought in the food industry. Yet many a Christian may think they can serve God and be a light to others while having the unrepentent poop stains of sin on their fingers.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:3-5 )

The truth be told is that we cannot truly be useful for God's service or acceptable to Him unless we are first cleansed by the washing of grace. No matter how intent your heart is on bringing the blessing of spiritual burgers or the crisp fench fries of good works. The truth is our sin can corrupt even the most noble and righteous looking things we can do. So we are first by faith in Christ washed clean when we believe the Gospel, yet a believer can have dirty fingers also if they refuse to repent of some ongoing sin also.

" Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (James 4:8-10)

There is of course no sinless disciple of Christ, so repentence is a daily process of self examination and letting The Spirit show us any wrong attitudes, actions or thoughts that we have entertained.
Scripture says in 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness"

To confess is more then just saying "yeah I sinned and then going on your merry way flipping spiritual burgers with dirty fingers." True confession does involve acknowleging our sin and agreeing with God but sincerely asking Him to remove the stench and sin from us when we did wrong!

Faith Switches

Imagine a switch on a floor to open a hatch or door, or a switch on the floor to engage a mechanism that created some result that can only be manifested only if you put all your weight down on it. Now many of God's promises in the word are this way. In order to see the Lord's answer or for Him to do what He promises, on somethings you must just put all your faith down on the promise before the result comes. Faith is not wishful believing, but saying, "God said in His word, I therefore believe" yet faith that is strong goes a step farther and says "God said if I do this, he will provide in this way, so as intimidating as this task is, I choose to go forward believing God will come through"

Some people think God failed to answer, not because he did, but because either they tried and still yet do not see the result of their faith or in some cases they did not fulfill the prerequisite requirements. 

That is why it is good to know when coming across a scriptural promise, if that promise requires some form of action on our parts first, or if it will require a season of waiting patiently for God to manifest His good word in His wise time he sees best.