And why not this “sign?”

April 2, 2014

There is an ever-increasing need out there in the world today. In my years of ministering out and about with people, I see a huge need that is basically going unnoticed. In some cases it falls under not wanting to believe that it exists, or in other cases, it is not wanting to address it because of fear.

And what might this need be?

People from all walks of life are increasingly being possessed with demonic spirits, or as biblical and mildly put, unclean spirits. From a worldly perspective, most are considered as “mentally ill”. Precisely. That is what happens to one who is filled with unclean spirits. The physical manifestation shows up in their speech and actions. Most would say that when they have seen a person acting strangely or talking to themselves, that person would be mentally ill and needs medication and help. Certainly there are cases where a person has been affected physically that would alter their mind. But to put all under this classification is a grave mistake.

Certainly the world in most cases would not look at something through spiritual lenses. The physical is the much more readily acceptable way to deal with things, right?

But, in this post, I want to address a huge need for those of us who are believers. To be awaken to and hopefully come to a place where we will take action. For the time will soon come where this need will be so prevalent that many hearts will fail because of fear. It is pass time to look into what Jesus taught us believers, and what would “follow those who believe”.

Most of us have no problem with believing that Jesus taught that his followers would pray for the sick and they would be healed. In fact, many do this on a regular basis. Some are healed immediately, others are not, and some are healed later. We have understood and believe that “healing” is common and does occur. For most of us, our understanding and faith takes in physical healing. And at times, even takes in “mental” healing. But what about demonic spirits? What did Jesus have to say about this type of healing? Was it something that should be occasionally done? Was it separate from physical healing? Was it in a classification all by its self and only practiced by a few who were chosen to do so?

Let us take a look into what Jesus taught about this.

First off. When Jesus sent out the Twelve Apostles, “he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out,” (Mt.10:1)

“and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils (Mk.3:15)

“and gave them power over unclean spirits;” (Mk.6:7)

“and gave them power and authority over all devils,” (Lk.9:1)

Not only were they sent to “preach” and “heal the sick”, but just as equally, they were equipped with the “power against, power to cast out, power over, and authority” over all unclean spirits/devils.

But you say, “that was the twelve, that was their calling”. One could stop here and rightfully say that. But…

Jesus made sure that one would not fall into this trap of thinking. And how did he do that?  He commissioned “the seventy”. He made sure that if you were (key) one of his disciples, you are sent and you are equipped.

This is also why he first said to them,

“The harvest truly is great, but the labourers  are few:” (Why? Because not many want to be his true followers, obey his commands and go out into the world). “pray to the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into the harvest.” (Lk.10:2)

Jesus says to the seventy labourers, and he says to those of us who are followers of him,…..

“Behold, I give to you the power to tread on serpents (Aramaic idiom for enemies) and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Lk.10:19)

Here he says that we will have the “power” and the “protection”.

Now to address those who still might have doubt as to whether this would still include all his followers.

In the book of Mark we have the very well-known “Great Commission”. If you are one of those who would say that this was only for the “eleven” that he appeared to after his resurrection, then all we would have to do is read all the books of the New Testament that follow the gospels and see if that is true. What about all his followers after him? History bears the fact that his true followers have always followed his commands, and are still doing so today.

Jesus said that after his followers go out into the world (this is key) and preach the gospel, these “signs shall follow them that believe” (Mk.16:17). This word “signs” means “an indication, a mark, to indicate-signify”. So we can safely say that those who are true followers will have these marks. Namely, “they will cast out devils, and lay hands on the sick, and they will recover”.  These signs will signify that they will either be believers and doing the works of God, or unbelievers. The dividing line between believers and unbelievers will be much clearer and profound in the coming days. This is not just for a select few that are gifted or called to the ministry of casting out devils as most would think.

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name (key) shall they cast out devils; they (those with whom had the devils cast out of them) shall speak with new tongues.”

If you have ever dealt with a demon possessed person, one of the first things that is noticed is their speech. Their language is not comprehensible. Here Jesus says that once they are set free, they will speak again with a new language.

In closing, the two main reasons that we are not seeing more unclean spirits cast out of people is because of fear and unbelief. However, the good news is that in the coming generations, God will be raising up many younger people who will be fearless and believing. They will not only be that, but because of the times at hand and the prevalence of demonic possession, they will either be in or out as a believer. In fact, the generations that He is raising up, will no doubt be showing and teaching the older believers who never had the wherewithal . When this begins to happen through us, we must remember what Jesus told them that came back rejoicing because the demons were subjected to them.

“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Lk.10:20)

The times are a changing. Will we be ready and active? Will we believe by our actions all that Jesus taught? Or will we be only selective followers and thus not be a disciple at all?

(PS. The Lord laid this on my heart last week when a spotted a young man (maybe 20-25) on several occasions during the day. One look at him would tell the story. Each time i saw him walking, he was in a complete trance as if he had no control of where he was going or what he was doing. I had never seen him before. He was not a drug case. His eyes were pure darkness and piercing. He was talking quietly to himself as he walked all around the downtown area. He appeared to be completely robotic and controlled.

I have been in prayer since. My heart is heavy for this need. This man is someone’s son. Should we just sit back and say “oh well, that so sad?” Should we just go after the easy? Again, i say that unbelief and fear will keep us from being all we should be for the Lord. May God help us all.)

“Not ignorant of Satan’s devices”

January 29, 2014

“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2Cor.2:11)

In this text of scripture, the Apostle Paul was saying that “unforgiveness” is one way that Satan could take advantage of us. (see previous verses 1 through 10). However, as we all know, this is certainly not the only way in which he works. Our main emphasis here should be that we “are not ignorant of his devices”. The word “ignorant” here meaning that we are “not knowing through lack of information”. And in some cases, it could be that we don’t want to know for many different reasons.

But according to this verse, there is a good reason to know. Because if we are ignorant of Satan’s devices (purposes), then he could well get an advantage of us. Yes, even us believers. Who wants to be taken advantage of by Satan? None of us. Thus we need to be informed, aware of his purposes and how he works.

There seems to be a thread that circulates through the many churches today. That being, that all we need to do is just draw close to Jesus. Don’t worry about the enemy. Don’t give him the time of day. Don’t look into how he might work. The only problem with this thinking or teaching is that Satan is the god of this world, and we being in this world but not of it, should be wise to a certain extent of his wiles or ways in which he works. Why? Because those who have yet to be born again, are under Satan’s influence. He has them blinded.

“In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not,” (2Cor.4:4a)

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God,” (Acts.26:18a,b)

One good reason to understand Satan’s purposes, is so that those who are lost and under his control, that we come in contact with, we might have a better understanding how he is working in their lives, and through the Holy Spirit, be able to minister to them.

The Apostle Peter knew a little how Satan worked, right? He said that we must be “sober” and “vigilant”. Why? “because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet.5:8). The word “sober” here means, “be discreet and watch”. Where have we heard that word “watch” before? “watch and pray…..”

The word “vigilant” here means, “keep awake”. Keeping awake keeps us not ignorant.

We are not to be learning of Satan’s devices so that we can give him credit for all he is doing today. No. We are to be wise so that he would not have an advantage on us. Oh he has never had an advantage on me, you say? Well, if that’s the case, then you have just put yourself in a class above the Apostle Paul.

“Therefore we wanted to come to you, even I Paul, time and time again; but Satan hindered us.” (1Th.2:18). He said “time and time again”. Sounds like it might have happened more than once, you think?

Another main reason to be wise of Satan’s devices, is so that when we are tempted of him, we will be quick through our understanding of him, to resist the temptation. This is where the being “sober” and “vigilant” comes in handy. Also, always “watching and praying” so that we “will not enter into temptation”. If any one knew about this, Jesus did. Thus, he gave us this admonition.

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt.26:41)

It is a no brainer that Satan works through our flesh. They are in kahoots for sure. Being in the Spirit is the key to overcoming the works or the temptations of the flesh. (see Rom.8)

Another good reason to “not be ignorant of Satan’s devices” is so that “our minds would not be corrupted from the simplicity that is found in Christ”. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth, said…..

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2Cor.11:3). In these verse, he speaks of the reality of Satan and how he can deceive believers. In the context of this verse is the fact that Satan can come through false teachers and false doctrine. Just one of the many ways he works. Thus the need to be aware of how he works.

We must always be reminded that we must be pro-active. There is no automatic’s in this life. Like I have said many times, if we think that all we have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride, then we have been deceived already and Satan is very content.

In our pro-activeness against the devil, there is a very important thing that we must do daily. And that being….. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph.6:11). If there was no need, or no battle to fight against the devil in this life, than why are we instructed to “put on the armor?”

The reality is that we are in spiritual warfare. Now of course, if we bury our heads in the sand, and say that the battle has already been won, and that there is nothing we need do except just abide, then we are not in reality and we are not out in the world which is the battlefield.

Now to bring it home and to close this post, lets look at this the next verse in this passage. It is the reality of the world in which we live in. Remember, this passage was not written to non-believers, but believers. “Finally, my brethren,…..

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities (chief in rank or order), against powers (delegated influence, authority, jurisdiction), against the rulers ( a world ruler, an epithet of Satan) of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph.6:12)

Now, for all those who have been taught that this is only about spiritual warfare in the “heavenly realm”, I remind you that the word “places” here means, “in all places, everywhere, all”. So, it is not only in the heavenly realm, but right here where we are living on earth.

In closing, be open and prayerful about becoming more aware of Satan’s devices (purposes) so that he would not have an advantage on you and so that you can know how to battle in this world (the battlefield) for God and his kingdom. God bless you!

A Major Blockade

December 22, 2013

It is so important to understand that one must be re-born of the Spirit to be able to “see”.
Like Jesus taught, one can see, yet not perceive (know, understand). They can hear, but yet not understand.

Without a conversion, which includes sins being forgiven, one will never “see”. This is the very first step.
“Except one be born again, they cannot “see” the kingdom of God.” (Jn.3:3)

“Seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted and their sins should be forgiven them.” (Mk.4:12)
Understanding cannot come to one who has yet to be forgiven of their sins. We might say that it is THE MAJOR BLOCKADE that prevents being able to “see”.

The Greatest Deliverance

December 13, 2013

Do you know of the greatest deliverance that there has ever been?

It is that of our soul (the real us) being delivered from death. Of course, we are not referring to physical death. That is a given death of which we will all take part in.

The death we speak of here is the death required by law, and that being God’s law, his word. This law actually goes all the way back to the beginning of mankind. We see in the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, where God had given them one commandment to obey.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of the tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen.2:16-17)

Most of us know the story. After they ate of the forbidden fruit, did they fall over and die physically? No. They were expelled from the garden, and thus separated from God. So we see the consequence of their disobedience in breaking a commandment of God, death.

This death we speak of, is the “just due payment” for sin.

The Prophet Ezekiel also taught of this law. “The soul who sins shall die” (see Ezek.18:19-32).

The Apostle Paul taught of this death. “For the wages (payment) of sin is death,” (Rom.6:23). In Roman’s 7 and 8, he speaks of the “law of sin and death”. There is no escaping it. It is settled in God’s word.

Besides the law of God, there is one major fact that clarifies the need for death to be the just reward, or payment for sin. And that being, God’s righteousness and holiness. He is Holy. He cannot even look upon sin. And because He is JUST, RIGHTEOUS, and HOLY, sin of any kind, demands to be killed or put to death in His very presence.

When we begin to “see” (understand) a little into how Holy, Just and Righteous He is, then the demands for sin make total sense. Outside of His Holiness, sure the demands seem way too unjust, way too unfair, way too unloving etc. This is only because we have not been given the understanding, or that we refuse to look into the Holiness of God. If we refuse and turn our face from it, it is an act of rebellion.

If we would but turn towards a Holy God, and look and catch a small glimpse of understanding, then it would began to make sense. We would then “see” our greatest deliverance, and that being, a DELIVERANCE FROM DEATH. This death in its finality, is recorded in the final book of God’s word, and that being “The Revelation”. Here we see that the final death, the second death, is none other than “The Lake of fire and brimstone” (see Rev.20:14, 21:8)

Why this second and final death? Because God’s holiness demands it. He is God, and He is Holy.

Have you been delivered from this death yet? Have you received “The Greatest Deliverance?” Do you know the one who has conquered this death? Do you want deliverance? If so, there is only one way. It is through Christ Jesus. The only one who has been resurrected by the power of God to bring deliverance to all those who believe. Put your faith in the one who provided this great deliverance from the wages of our sins. And its all because of God’s love for us. He provided the way through His Son on the cross who was buried, then rose again to bring us life which is the total opposite of death.

Have you? Will you?

A Cannabis bus ride

November 22, 2013

Sittin in the back corner and here comes a guy with a “Cannabis” hat on and sits right next to me in the center seat. I asked him if he knew a guy that i know that gathers signatures for legalizing it. He said that he has seen him at the square.
That led into him sharing for the next 20 minutes about his Cannabis life. I listened to him talk about the upcoming legalization of it and how its going to be marketed etc.

I soon told him about my “pot smoking days” in my earlier years. We had common ground and this guy was really into it. He even pulled out of his backpack, a very detailed binder with all kinds of technical info., pics etc. He was a third generation expert in the care of, the study of, and the actual growing and selling also. Soon he even broke out his jar and showed me some of his finest.

I saw my stop coming up the road and was telling the Holy Spirit how i really needed his help in causing this guy to stop for a second so we could leave him with something.
He did.
I thanked him for sharing and gave my testimony of how i used to be all into that, but after about six years, i was born again and soon that desire was taken away and replaced with the power of the Holy Spirit. I told him that i can honestly say that experiencing God as you are living in the Spirit is no where even on the same planet as being temporarily high.

He had this look on his face as i smiled and shook his hand and handed him a “Born of the Spirit” card and said, “God bless you!”. And off the bus we went.

Hearts melted on the bus

November 15, 2013

Tonight on the way home, in walks a mentally challenged guy and takes a seat. He is sitting up front on one of the side seats. I am two seats back across the aisle. He looks at me and smiles. I look back and smile at him. A few minutes later, i hand him a “Jesus card”. He says, “what is it?” I share a little about the card with him. He says, “No thanks”. I say, “thats ok. God bless you”. He smiles.

Another few minutes go by. Then he takes center stage for the next 10 minutes. The rest of the bus is stone quiet listening. I’m sitting there beholding the words spoken as if they were pure gold.

He said that he had not yet been baptized, but that he loved God and that he was born again. He shared about his conversion as if a newborn child was able to talk about their new birth. It was sweeter than honey 

Then he said something that i believe was straight from the heart of God. He made mention of how he was the least of them, and that heaven was going to be filled with people like himself. Wow, i thought. Sounds like what Jesus taught. Then i shared what Jesus had said in the bible. He smiled and agreed. All the while, it was still quiet, not a word could be heard.

Once again, God showed how awesome he is in placing someone right at the perfect time in just the right place for all to see and hear. Straight from above.

My stop came. I got up and shook his hand and blessed him. As i was walking to the back door to leave, i looked around at the people. They appeared to be deep in thought. One lady smiled at me with a smile that was deeper than the ocean  She looked as if she was ready to cry an ocean.
HEARTS MELTED.

Idol worship

November 15, 2013

Idol worship.
Idol worship is that of the heart.
Out of it comes our devotion.
Knowledge of our worship is verified by our thoughts, words, and actions.
What is first in our worship comes from the majority of these combined.

We must be reminded that Jesus said idolaters will not make it into heaven. (see Rev.21:8, 22:15)

To bring us up to date on “idolatry”, and coming from the definition for “idols”, we see that it can be any “image, form, view, appearance, fashion, shape, or sight”.

Worship, coming from its definition, can be whatever or whoever we give reverence to, or adore. So, at the core of our being, the most of our heart, that is who or what we worship.

Some food for thought.

Fearful and Unbelieving

November 15, 2013

In the parable of the Talents, the servant that received one talent and buried it, what was the one thing that kept him from using or multiplying his talent?

FEAR. “I was afraid”.

What did his lord call him?
“You wicked and slothful servant,”

What happened to his talent?
It was taken away from him and given to those who did multiply their talents for their lord.

What happened to the “unprofitable servant?”
He was cast into outer darkness. All because of “fear”, which stems from “unbelief”.
(see Mt.25:14-30)

In the book of Revelation, what are the first two classes of people that Jesus mentions that will have their place in the Lake?
The first is “the fearful”.
The second is the “unbelieving”. (see Rev.21:8)

Some more food for thought.

PEACE

November 14, 2013

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Mt.14:27)

This statement was given just after He told about “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name. He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (vs.26)

This is the Spirit of peace. It is a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal.5:22). And being a fruit of the Spirit of God, it cannot be any part of this world. It is not worldly peace. It is not a false peace. It is not an external peace brought on by external means. It is a spiritual peace, an internal peace, brought on only by the Holy Spirit through Christ Jesus.

This is “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, (and it) will guard your heart and your mind through Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4:7). In this verse, it says that it “surpasses all understanding”. That is quite a statement, is it not? Sounds like quite the PEACE doesn’t it? And not only that, but it will “guard your heart and your mind”. Now that’s PEACE! That is the kind of PEACE that all should want!

And it only comes by way of Jesus, and that being through Him.

Again, this is not external peace of this world. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, (why?) that in Me you may have peace. (But) In the world you will have (did you get that? “You will have“) tribulation; (meaning: “pressure, affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, trouble) but be of good cheer, (why?) I have overcome the world.” (Jn.16:33)

Abiding in and through the peace that Jesus gives, we overcome all the tribulations that this world brings on. Overcomers, through the peace that is provided in the heart by having a new heart through Christ.

Disqualified in the race?

November 12, 2013

download         As a kid growing up with “stock car racing” in the family, I remember the “Black Flag”. If you were racing on the track and the official waived that flag as you went by, you were disqualified and you had to pull off the track and go to the pits immediately.

After the Apostle Paul had just finished writing about how he “became all things to all men that he might save some” and “for the gospel’s sake”, he then likens it to a “Race”.

If we have been born again, we are put into this race. We should look at this race as if “one is going to receive the prize”. We should thus run as one who is going to run in such a way that we will “obtain”, or “win the prize”.

In this race to win, there is no indication of sitting back folding the arms and enjoying the ride. If that were the case, then of course, one would not even be in the race in the first place. Sitting on the sidelines watching and doing nothing would be the case.

The Apostle Paul then lists the key to “obtaining the prize”. And what might that be?

TEMPERANCE. Basically, self-control. It is one of the “fruits of the Spirit”. He said that everyone who “competes for the prize”, or actually is in the race, is temperate in ALL THINGS. What! All things? Whoa!

And what might this “prize” be that he is referring to? It is an “imperishable crown”. Nothing of this world. This is not a literal crown. This is “THE CROWN OF LIFE”. It’s the crown that Jesus refers to that will be given to all those that will be “faithful unto death”. (Rev.2:10)

Paul goes on to say, that because of this, he runs “not with uncertainty”. There is NO not knowing where one is going. No haphazardly living involved here. One is to be “striving to win”. He likens it to a “fight”. It’s a battle. And if we are not in the race, there is NO battle, NO striving.

Fighting to win the crown of life. Not “effortless” living, but spiritual fighting, spiritual living.

He then closes his discourse with the main subject that he is referring to. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection”. There is NO winning without discipline. Any coach will tell us that. And here, the Apostle Paul is coaching us. Not only here, but throughout God’s word we find almost unlimited references to spiritual discipline. We find how very important it is to keep our fleshly appetites at bay. Why? Because the Spirit wars against them. One is going to win. The question is, which one?

The bottom line is this. There can be NO winning the crown without discipline/temperance. NONE.

He sums up the reason why this is so important. Because all of us are “preaching” to other’s. We might not be up on the podium at church, or on the street corner preaching, but our lives are preaching to other’s everyday. They are watching and listening.

Would we want to become “disqualified” in this race?

(see 1Cor.9:19-27)


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