Monday, March 17, 2014

Trick of the Enemy!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

To address this fad of ‘church-hopping’.   Church-hopping - an insidious trick of the enemy – moving from one church to another or just giving up on God altogether because someone hurt or angered you without even acknowledging your covering is wrong! What happened to staying in your test and allowing God to bring you through it; allowing God to correct the wrong? Do you not recognize the work of the enemy? It is our tests that bring us closer to God; that builds our relationship in God. Jesus told Peter that Satan desired to sift him as wheat. 

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  
Luke 22:31

Think of Apostle Paul after his conversion. The church, such as it was at that time initially did not want to receive him and He had to be presented to the apostles 

And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.  (Acts 9:26-27).

But that did not deter Apostle Paul; he didn't pack it in and go his own way without the approval of the apostles. He knew he had been given an assignment through divine intervention and he was not to be stopped; especially because a few 'church people' had heard of him and were fearful of him. Paul was not always treated with respect within the churches that he founded and at one point had to write an epistle regarding certain judgments against him. He didn't stop his God-given purpose. And so we should not either. 

And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:  Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. I Corinthians 4:12:13

I speak of my own church hurt and how I left God behind it. How I regret that decision! If only I had had the spiritual maturity that God has graced me with now. I let the devil use me for many years under the guise of church hurt! I am strong enough in God now to realize that I didn’t have enough of Jesus in me to sustain me and that was not anyone’s fault but mine. When my testing came, I didn't look to Jesus for answers or results but gave in to my self nature instead. I can remember my first thoughts being, 'who do they think they are' and 'I don't have to take this'. That was my flesh whispering to me and not at one time did I acknowledge God in my actions. Satan embraced me with open arms as I left the church physically and spiritually. When we stand before God, we will not be able to say, ‘Well God, I would have ____, but he or she did so and so.’ We alone are accountable for our actions.

Considering the haters that Jesus had, the beatings, the mocking, and finally the horrific death that He had to suffer, how dare I consider the ‘look’ someone gave me, someone talking negatively behind my back and sometimes to my face, sabotaging my work for God – there is absolutely no comparison! What I’ve come to understand is that the other person may be dead wrong in their actions toward me, but I am just as guilty when I allow my flesh to retaliate or when I give up and leave. 

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Hebrews 12:15) 

 How can God get the glory out of your situation when you don't allow Him the opportunity?
That’s the enemy's desire, but we don’t have to let him. He can only do what we allow him to do when we don’t acknowledge God in all of our ways. We should be strong enough in the Holy Spirit to say, ‘not so Satan, get behind me, I will not let you distract or detract me from the path I’m on’. What happened to praying about the situation; giving it to God and letting him handle it? After all, we get upset, angry and hurt on our jobs, but very few people quit over that. Will you take more from the world than you will for God. His word tells us:

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14) 

That's inside the church and outside the church. We have to get it right with everyone and we have to allow the one who wronged us to get it right with us.

Some say it is worse because the hurt is coming from within the church where it is supposed to be full of love and everyone is perfect. Another trick of the enemy! Think of the church as a hospital where you come to be healed, strengthened and edified. Everyone who enters has a different diagnosis and prognosis.

Don’t give up on God and don’t give up on your church unless God is specifically leading you to another area in His kingdom and when He does that, go to your current pastor and get his blessing and endorsement before you leave. You will never build a strong foundation in God going from this church to that church every time things do not go as you want and every time someone says something that you do not like or agree with.

Look first for the change within. Remember:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Bible Study


Friday, March 14, 2014

God Said It . . .

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;  (John 14:16)

Jesus promised us the comforter through our heavenly Father, which is the Holy Spirit.  He promised to never leave us nor forsake us.  He said that we can cast our cares on Him and just as He takes care of the lilies in the field, He‘ll take care of us.  All we have to do is trust and believe.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am , there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know , and the way ye know.  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way , the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (John 14:1-6)

One truth that we should know is that God is unchanging.  He is the unmovable mover and His will and His ways are trustworthy, flawless, unfailing and as long as we’re in His will, we are guaranteed those promises God has made to those who belong to Him. 

God is not a respecter of persons as Paul points out to us:  

But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good; first to the Jew and also to the Gentile:  For there is no respect of persons with God.  (Romans 2:10-11)

So then if you believe in the infallible word of God, you must believe there are some promises of God in store for you!

God speaks to us through the prophet, Malachi and lets us know that He does not change.

 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.  Malachi 3:6  

His word lets us know that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Hebrews 13:8

He lets us know that He is not a man that He should lie.

And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.  1 Samuel 15:29

It’s a wonderful thing to know that we have a God who does not go back on His word.  If He said it, that’s it and that settles it.  His word is already settled in heaven.  All we have to do is believe it!

It is written in His word:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.(2 Peter 1:4)

Through His word we understand: 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

God tells us in His word, that the battle is not ours, that it belongs to Him.  So when we feel overwhelmed with the cares of this world, the Comforter helps us to stand. When we've done all that we can possibly do, the Comforter helps us to stand with our faith rooted and grounded in God.  The Comforter helps us to rely on what God tells us in His word.  When we call on Him, He is right their helping us to bear our burdens.

God promised us rest!  His word says:  

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden , and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall findrest unto your souls.   (Matthew 11:28-29)

God promised us strength:

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary , and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run , and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  (Isaiah 40:29-31)
King David said, “I was young and now I’m old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”  Psalms 37:25

God is our provider; even when we are undeserving.  Our Heavenly Father promises to supply all of our needs:

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

(Philippians 4:19)

When we abide in the will of God, we have nothing to fear:  

But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.(Proverbs 1:33)

God promised a peace that the world cannot give:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world givethgive I unto you. Letnot your heart be troubledneither let it be afraid.
  (John 14:27)

Is it any wonder that Paul dedicated his allegiance to our Lord and Savior: 

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:37-39)
God has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit and equipped us with too much for us to fail Him!

(Biblical Studies)



Thursday, March 13, 2014

With God, it's Possible

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9)

We all face difficult situations at times.  But there is a way in which the child of God handes the adverse circumstances of our lives.  Lets look at three men in the bible who had an obstacle or struggle that they went through:

  Nehemiah    –  rebuilding the wall       (Nehemiah 1 - 6)
  David             – the overtake of Ziklag  (I Samuel 30:1-19)
  Saul [Paul]   – blinded by God              (Acts 9:1-16)

These 3 men faced some seemly impossible situations and yet were, through the grace of God, able to endure and come out of them with their purpose fulfilled.  In the case of David and Nehemiah and with his purpose squarely in front of him in the case of Paul.  How were they able to do this?  Let’s look at the nature of their struggles:

Nehemiah had a desire given to him of God to rebuild the gate or wall of Jerusalem 

And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.  (Nehemiah 2:12)  

And yet, he faced many, many obstacles in doing the work that God gave him to do.  Can you imagine having this task before you – rebuilding the wall for the protection of the city and that God has given you this task, the King that you serve (who, by the way, was not Jewish) giving you his blessing and also equipping you for the journey, having the agreement of the people to do this and yet having to stop and overcome obstacles:

          →   First they scoffed:  

But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the  Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us,  and said, What is this thing that ye do? Will ye rebel against the king?  (Nehemiah 2:10)

          →  Then they conspired:  

But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up , and that the breaches began to be stopped , then they were very wroth , And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.  (Nehemiah 4:7-8)

          →  And then the people complained:  

And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.
  (Nehemiah 5:1)

          →  The enemy tried to deceive:  

That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying , Comelet us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.  (Nehemiah 6:2)

David had been in hiding from King Soul a little over a year.  As he was being sent back to his home, Ziklag, in hiding, after attempting to fight with the Philistines against the Israealites, the Amalekites invaded Ziklag, burned the camp and took all the women, including David’s wives, and all the children.   Can you imagine the agony that he and his men must have endured?   

          →   their wives and children were taken and held captive:

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives , that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way  (I Samuel 30:1-2)

                But David had a greater burden to carry:  

       And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved , every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.  (I Samuel 30:1-6)

Saul, happily terrorizing the Jewish community, was smitten by God and blinded for 3 days.  Can you imagine having eyesight and then suddenly being blind?

And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink (Acts 9:9)

I look at each of these situations and wonder could I have withstood.  Would my discouragement and frustration have gotten the best of me in Nehemiah’s situation?  Would I have sunk into a state of depression in David’s situation?  Would I have been angry at God and said no to the purpose God had ordained for me?  In all honesty, I don’t know.  But I look at the obstacles they had to face and compare them to the obstacles we face today and consider that my obstacles are nothing in comparison to theirs.

We face obstacles in our lives that are certainly discouraging, frustrating, depressing and mind boggling but it is how we handle it that determines how we come out of it.
These 3 men had some things in common!  Namely, David and Nehemiah knew of the importance of prayer.  Certainly all three of them recognized that if there was going to be any victory in their struggle that it was going to have to come from God.

We, the body of Christ, should take note of these accounts and others like them; realizing that God does not change, if He brought these men out victorious in their situation, He can do the same for us today!

God takes what we would refer to as negative situations to prove us, to bring us closer to Him, to give us courage and strength to complete His will, to allow us to see that all things are possible with and through God if we only believe. 

And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.  (Deuteronomy 8:2) 

Our testing is not to kill us but to make us stronger:  Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.   (Psalms 26:2)

Peter tells us to arm ourselves, to get it in our minds, prepare ourselves;  that this is a suffering way – even as Jesus suffered, so shall we.

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;  (I Peter 4:1).

Our suffering is not designed to destroy us, take us out, nor to make us turn our back on God.  We must persevere despite whatever obstacles come against us; just as these 3 men did.  Isaiah lets us know that suffering makes us better:

Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.  (Isaiah 48:10)

  Nehemiah completed the task that God placed in his heart and he completed it to the glory of God:  

So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God. (Nehemiah 6:15-16). 

   David, pursued, overtook and recovered all that had been stolen from him: 

And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled . 18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away : and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.   (I Samuel 30:17:19)

Just think, we, the body of Christ, have something that David and Nehemiah did not have and that is the spirit of God residing within us!  If they could do all that they did and not get discouraged and give up - with Jesus on our side, so can we!  

   Despite the fact that after Paul surrendered to God and was filled with the Holy Spirit, he faced difficulties every day and yet continued every day to fulfill the assignment given to Him.  

With the Holy Spirit within us, the word of God, the blood the the lamb and the name of Jesus,  we have a force with us that is greater than anything that comes against us!

(Biblical studies)