Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hostility toward Christians, part 2

I've been thinking a while about what causes so many problems in the political system, what causes people to hate Christians, what causes us Christians to become such idiots and do stupid and sinful things, why do people have internal drives that make them do evil themselves or be subject to evil? Of course, as to the last, we can immediately remember that temptation has to do with our own evil hearts and that there would be no temptation if we didn't have that answering desire in our hearts. Like James says, in James 1:14: "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.".
However, that's not the whole story. Our political problems are caused by spiritual warfare, as are our personal  problems.

I want to discuss this briefly, with the Apostle Paul as our main teacher. He's got good advice for us in Ephesians 6:10 and following:

The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel...

Of course, you got it right away. The government, the evil that we see, the various evils and sins we get into, the murders, the anger, the greed, immigration, the politics--you name it, it's all part of the same thing:
For our struggle is... against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The real problems of this world are all connected to the darkness that rules this world. Satan himself said that very thing to Jesus in Luke 4:6 "And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish."
So there you have it. Who rules the world? The REAL ruler? think hard. What's your conclusion? Figure it out yet?
It's not...Putin.
It's not...Trump.
It's not...Trudeau.
Yup. You got it.
Yet the darkness only rules temporarily, and definitely not completely, but there is tremendous power in evil, and its influence covers the world. That evil is centered in "spiritual forces of darkness;" in other words, evil beings.
So when you ask, "Why are things the way they are," your answer is in the passages you've just seen, and in the passages to follow. It's a simple solution. It's the truth.


Jesus is the Light. The Light of the world. However, the darkness doesn't "get it, nor do those who walk in darkness.
John 1:4: In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (literally, "did not take hold of it;")

Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world; whoever follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life;" so the answer to darkness is light--not "conflict with darkness;" why? because if two dark forces collide, what do you have? Just more darkness.
Peter put it like this (2 Pet. 1:19):
So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts,,,
In other words, it's imperative that we know and understand the principles of Scripture, so that the darkness doesn't deceive and overwhelm us. 
One of the clearest revelations of Scripture is that the solution to the problems of our world is not political, social, financial or whatever, but spiritual--and that solution is embodied in a person, Jesus Christ.

Just as evil is embodied in a person, and in the dark forces that rule over mankind, so good and light and beauty are embodied in a Person, Jesus Christ.

It's possible to be overwhelmed with evil. It's possible to succumb to all the proposed solutions for the problems we face in this world, and actually see at the end that you've failed to solve any real problems.

However, the truth is that you can come to Jesus Christ, worship Him, receive everlasting life, and have THE solution for your own life. He is also the answer to all the evils of the world in which we live.

John said: 1 John 2:8: I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.

The darkness began to pass out of the universe when Jesus Christ entered time and space as a little baby. It has been passing ever since. The war involved in the reclamation of our universe for God will be cataclysmic, but it will be final

It's true today, though, "That the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." 
Nor will the darkness overcome you, if you "walk in the light, as He is in the light," and make God and His Son Jesus Christ your guide and Lord. Instead, God will light your path all the way to the glories of His throne and your future heritage in heaven.
Psalm 16:11: You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Your present may be filled with problems. You may be living your Christian life with difficulty. TAKE HEART! Be of good courage! God will lead you into His eternal home through His grace and glory.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hard to believe, Part 3:

In the last post, I discussed the issue of how evil affects healing. This should be obvious to anyone who reads the Bible:
When Jesus was here on earth, He healed everyone who came to Him, and several times, when he came into contact with people who'd died, he raised those people from the dead (see John 11); demons cried out, and came out of the people who had suffered their invasions; people who were blind and lame were healed; folks with terrible skin diseases got well immediately; folks whose minds were broken (NOT the same as demonization) were instantly healed; folks with fevers, destructive bacterial or viral didn't matter. Disease was nearly eradicated from the areas in which Jesus ministered. Why? because HE had power over the powers of evil that rule our earth so effectively. In fact, Jesus confirms this thought in Luke chapter 10 when he says of the disciples' preaching and healing mission, "I beheld Satan fall as lightning from heaven..." (Luke 10:18)...

So what happened? Is the whole idea of Christian healing dead now? Did God somehow die in the centuries after Jesus' resurrection? NO. God does still heal people. However, the ministry of healing in the Western Christian world is exceedingly difficult to develop, due to several things--which I've learned the hard way:
1. It's a free service. The MINUTE you ask for money, or glory, or something for yourself, any "anointing" you may have had disappears immediately.
2. We Christians really don't believe in God in the same way the apostles did. THEY performed miracles of healing quite regularly. Their spiritual powers were not diminished, and they (as they tell us over and over again), were just men. The difference? They were men and women who were completely in tune with the Spirit, and who followed His dictates.
3. Continuing #2, most Christians have a very rationalistic worldview--which means that the world of the supernatural is relegated to the future and does not enter the present, except in times of crisis, if then. We are therefore not emotionally, intellectually and spiritually prepared to involve ourselves with the totality of the world, which includes the spiritual / supernatural world as well as the physical world. This is why Christians often laugh at such things as witchcraft and the like.
4. Jesus counseled us to "believe in God," and all things would be possible--yet even He experienced the restrictions imposed by the will of God, and He tells us so: "The Son can only do what He sees the Father doing..." (John 5:19-20). In other words, and very candidly, many of us can't do anything because we can't see what the Father is doing. It could be that the Son had visions of what the Father was doing, and so knew exactly what to do in each situation.
5. We bought the lie that medicine replaced miracle. It did not. I am definitely not opposed to doctors. I am writing this today because I can see, which is the result of cataract surgeries. I had to have those to see. So medicine could be in your future. However, you are not limited to medical intervention. God is your only limiting factor.
6. Sometimes we are just not willing to accept the will of God regarding our lives. He may desire for you to come home, and whatever you're experiencing could be the result of an unchallengeable decision on His part. However, I believe many people accept what they think is "the inevitable" when they really are not meant to do so.
7. Death is not really a problem for the Christian. Martin Luther said that to the Christian, death is like someone who brings out your horse, saddles it up for you, gets you seated on the saddle, and sends you off for the ride of your life. Much of our difficulty with the end of life is that we don't have a firm grasp on the future that is ours, and the home we have in heaven.

So...Are you sick today? need someone to pray for you?
Here's the counsel of a great New Testament writer:
(James 5:14 and following):
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Closing counsel: If you're going to do this, be sure you ask someone who believes that God acts in the present, and that He's not just a religious construct or anachronism--someone who does believe that He heals, and puts no fetters on His mighty power.