10/24/21 – Enmity Between Me and My Enemy!

Scripture

Genesis 3:15  “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed,”

Greeting to you all! I can’t believe we are almost to the end of October. Time is flying! As time flies by, I find myself rejoicing that we are one day, one month closer to the coming of Christ. Yet, on the other hand, I feel the urgency of reaching all that I can for Jesus, the need to draw my loved ones to the cross, and to constantly go before God in supplication and surrender.

Today, I want to share Genesis 3:15 with you and the revelation that it has for our last day battle for the souls of fellow humans. I want to tie this Scripture to current events and Satan’s efforts to thwart the plan of salvation in the life of each individual. Before we get started, let’s pray!

Father God, we bow down before You with reverence and awe. You are perfect in Your plan to redeem Your people and we come before You asking that You forgive us and cleanse us so that we are worthy vessels for Your purpose. Guide us in understanding Your steadfast love and sustaining power, in understanding that You have always and will always be with us and in us. Impower us to overcome our enemy and his efforts to destroy, give us Your wisdom to discern the evil surrounding us, the courage to keep coming to You – the Author and Finisher of our salvation. In Jesus precious name, Amen!

As we go back to the beginning of human history on earth, as recorded in Genesis, we find that God called everything into existence with the exception of man. Man was created in the image of God. ” “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” (Genesis 1:26) God formed man from the dust of the earth. He molded and shaped him. God wanted man to be different from the other living things He created – to be the ruler and caregiver for all that was upon the earth. He gave man a reasoning mind and a soul and breathed into him the breath of Life, the breath of God Himself. God became a part, gave a part of Himself to Adam – an integral part of Himself that would be passed down from generation to generation. For a period of time, life on earth went according to God’s plan. But one day, things changed.

In Genesis chapter 3, we read about the fall of humankind – the fall that led to all the pain and suffering heaped upon us for thousands of years. The crafty serpent persuaded Eve to take of the forbidden fruit and she ate. Eve went on to tempt Adam and he ate. Thus was started the beginning of the end. Sentence was pronounced upon Adam, Eve, and the “serpent” (Satan.) No longer would food come easily and freely to man, rather he would have to work the ground and toil for his food. Child bearing would be a painful process for women and not the ease with which a sinless existence would have provided. (see Revelation 21:4) Their judgements would carry down the generations as long as sin existed on this earth.

It is the judgement upon the serpent/Satan that I wish to consider for the rest of this blog. Before Satan’s use of the serpent to tempt Eve, the serpent was a beautiful winged creature. But after the fall, the serpent was cursed to slither on its belly from that time forward. According to the record in Genesis, Satan seems to get by fairly unscathed. But does he?

In Genesis 3:15a we read, “I will put enmity (hate) between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed,” In my naivety as a young Christian, I took this at face value to mean that we would hate snakes – which most of us do. But now I see it from a much deeper point of view. Let’s go back to the act of God creating man in His image and putting a part of Himself into man. A part of man that would be passed down from generation to generation. Satan’s curse was the most impactful of all because God put hate in the soul of each being for Satan – that God part in each of us is in enmity with Satan. Satan understood what God did on that fateful day of condemnation and has hit this roadblock time an time again.

So what does this have to do with modern day? Much more than I would ever have imagined. In 2005, Bill Gates gave a presentation to the DOD on ways to change or alter the VMAT2 gene – to change its inherent function. The significance of his gene therapy was to change/reduce our ability to reason, to have deep thoughts, to erase our spiritual connection to God. The VMAT2 gene, in our brain, is that part of God’s image that helps us reason out truth, distinguish between right and wrong, contemplate the deeper meaning of life, to make our own life changing decisions. (See: YouTube video Bill Gates “Pentagon Briefing on Removing the God Gene” there are several videos on this topic)

“The God gene hypothesis proposes that a specific gene, called vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2), predisposes humans towards spiritual or mystic experiences. The idea has been postulated by geneticist Dean Hamer, the director of the Gene Structure and Regulation Unit at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and author of the 2005 book The God Gene: How Faith is Hard wired into our Genes.

The God gene hypothesis is based on a combination of behavioral genetic, neurobiological and psychological studies. The major arguments of the hypothesis are: (1) spirituality can be quantified by psychometric measurements; (2) the underlying tendency to spirituality is partially heritable; (3) part of this heritability can be attributed to the gene VMAT2; [1] (4) this gene acts by altering monoamine levels; and (5) spiritual individuals are favored by natural selection because they are provided with an innate sense of optimism, the latter producing positive effects at either a physical or psychological level. According to this hypothesis, the God gene (VMAT2) is a physiological arrangement that produces the sensations associated, by some, with mystic experiences, including the presence of God or others, or more specifically spirituality as a state of mind.” (https://symbiosisonlinepublishing.com/genetic-science/genetic-science12.php)

Satan is very much aware of the disadvantage he has in his effort to corrupt souls – the enmity put in place by God. This is why he is inspiring such efforts as gene therapy to destroy God in us. But that is just the down side to this effort – which is destined to fail. What I want to end with is the up side. EVERY person we come into contact with to share the Gospel, EVERY person God puts in our path is already on our side whether they know it or not. Everyone has the MVAT2 gene in their brain – that piece of God’s image that makes us hunger and thirst for righteousness, for a better existence. Before we even approach a soul for Jesus we have the advantage.

When following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are given the methodology to reach each souls in need of a Savior. When we empty self and surrender fully to Jesus, we will be used in a mighty way to meet the needs of our fellow humans and share the Gospel with those around us. In the beginning, before sin was enacted on this world, God had a plan, provided a way, put in place a safeguard, that “all who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Until next blog, May God guide you to souls in need of awakening to their God given gift of desiring a forever relationship with Him. Go forward in faith, knowing that God has made a way for you and me.

agoodman.com

10/17/21 – Don’t Count Me Out Just Yet!

Scripture:

Micah 7:8 “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy. When I fall, I will arise. When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”

Roman 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Hi everyone! It’s good to be with you all in spirit and purpose. I am thankful I have been blessed to be able to share my thoughts and study gems with all of you. God has enriched my life through this process. If you have received a blessing as well, please keep coming back and share my blog site with others. Today I would like to talk about the in between moments, the down times, the silent times when nothing seems to be happening.

Let’s pray! Father God, what a privilege it is to come before You, requesting Your power and saving grace – to save us from ourselves and the darkness of this sin filled world, to set us upon the path of righteousness and at last bring us into Your kingdom everlasting. Father, open our eyes, help up to grasp the language of heaven in what we discuss today. Lead us into truth and understanding. In the name of Jesus, Amen!

The scriptures for today’s blog are especially significant to me because I am being attacked quite ruthlessly right now. I have been struggling with one medical problem after another since this past January and find myself in a fragile place – a precarious state of mind. I am in constant pain and short on sleep, so these past months have been very difficult. I tell you this not to gain sympathy but to share a revelation I have been given in the past week. I am not alone in my struggles – in this in between time – and neither are you when life seems to be throwing you one curve ball after another.

Satan and his minions are ever watchful for us to stumble, to fall away from our fellowship with Jesus, to take a pause or show weakness. He is vigilant in his pursuit to destroy each of us and will attack us in our weakest moments. The Bible is riddled with stories similar to mine and most likely you can share one of your own. Elijah fell into a deep depression after praying fire down from heaven to consume his offering to the one true God. Joseph suffered his darkest hours in a dungeon after being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. Paul talks about his depression when imprisoned for preaching the gospel. Job sat on a trash heap while bemoaning his loses. Satan swept in to take full advantage in each of these examples and he does the same to each of us. But, praise God, He never left them nor forsook them in their darkest hours and each of them came back from their affliction stronger in the Lord.

As was the case for each of these Bible warriors, we will have our fair share of trying times but we can’t count ourselves out – we can not think that all is lost. “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy. When I fall, I will arise. When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:8) During these trying times, Jesus is with us. His strength carries us through the rough times, through our weak moments, through our pain and suffering. It is times like these – the silent times, the down times – that Jesus uses to mold and shape us. It is times like these that draw us closer in our relationship with our Savior when we allow His handiwork in our behalf.

Pastor Dwight Nelson, New Perceptions TV, recently preached a series about Paul. His series helped me see the ever present Light shining through my suffering, gave me hope that, what I am going through, Jesus has allowed for a higher purpose that I am not – as of yet – able to see. I am down for construction and repairs but I am not down and out. It is during these “white spaces.” as Pastor Nelson calls them, that I am fitted for the high calling God has purposed for me. Am I happy that I am in constant pain and lacking sleep? No, but I am optimistic about the eventual outcome.

As with the afore mentioned Bible characters, it is my pray that, when plagued by worldly woes, we will turn more firmly to Jesus. We will trust Him at His Word and know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) In our darkest times we need to cling to His promise, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

10/10/21 – What Really Happened in the Days of Noah?

Scripture: Matthew 24:37-42

37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;

39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.

41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your LORD will come.

Hi everyone! I pray you had a great week and a restful weekend. Life doesn’t seem to slow down and we have to grab our quiet moments whenever we can. Time to center ourselves on what is important, is vital to our walk with Jesus. Today, I want to revisit Matthew 24:37-42 as I believe it is one of the most controversial scripture pertaining to end of world events. The topic of the “days of Noah and the rapture (second coming)” came up in a recent conversation and I want to share with you the new revelations as a result of that conversation.

Let’s pray! Father in Heaven, may You be glorified in all things. We find ourselves joining together in prayer to seek Your forgiveness for our transgressions and Your guidance in understanding Matthew 24:37-42 as it pertains to last day events. We surrender ourselves to Your teaching and purpose. In Jesus name, Amen!

Let’s take these Scriptures one at a time and break them down. “As is was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:37) This verse seems to be pretty straight forward. In the days of Noah, the Scriptures tell us that God spoke to Noah and commissioned him to build an ark, gave Noah the blueprints, and the mission to tell the known world that God would flood the whole earth, destroying all life except the lives on the ark. (story starting in Genesis 6) For 120 years, Noah and his sons preached concerning the coming devastation, calling for repentance. The people of his day scoffed at Noah for they had never experienced rain and could not wrap their minds around such a crazy idea. Rain? Gigantic boat? Noah must be out of his mind. The people went on living their God forsaken lives and ignored the message Noah was sent to give. For 120 years, Noah preached the soon coming doom and pleaded with the people to hear God’s call, enter the ark and be saved.

In Matthew 24:38 we are told the people didn’t buy into what Noah was preaching. They went on with their regular routine of living life, having a good time, gratifying self, existing – secure in their Godless ways that God’s wrath would not come to pass. Nothing changed from God’s decree to destroy the inhabitant of the earth to the day Noah and his family went into the ark. The vast majority choose not to heed the call to repentance. Sound familiar? So the old adage goes; “there is nothing new under the sun.”

It is commonly believed that a person needs to hear information at least 14 times before they absorb and own it. Of course, we know this is just an average – we also know that it is often heard the first 13 times, just not pondered, processed. When my girls were teenagers and I repeated myself, they would say “we heard you mom” to which I would respond, “I know you heard me, you just weren’t listening.” So what does my sideways tangent have to do with Noah? I believe this is an appropriate interpretation of Matthew 24:39. Hearing something and knowing it – owning it – are two different things. Noah preached for 120 years. They heard him, made fun of him, scorned him and went about their business as usual. Only the women that married Noah’s sons came out from the world and believed. And the Scripture goes on to say, “the floods came and took them all away.”

This verse is crucial to our understanding of last day events. Who entered the ark? The saved – Noah and his wife, his sons and their wives, 7 of each clean animal, 2 of each unclean animal, male and female – that was the total sum of the saved. Who was lost? All the humans and animals outside the ark. Was anyone outside the ark left alive? No! All those outside the ark were taken away to death. Not a second change, not a retraining instructional period of time – they all died.

“As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man.” In Matthew 24:37-41, Jesus parallels what happened in Noah’s time with what will happen in our time. He paralleled these two events so that we could clearly understand what will happen in the last days. “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” When we compare these two verses with the story of Noah – compare the factual events – we can clearly see the Jesus is not talking about people being left alive. One man is taken up in the clouds of glory to meet his Savior and the other man will be left dead. One women will join the man in the clouds to meet Jesus and the other will be left dead. No one will be left alive on earth. Only those who have entered the clouds of glory to meet Jesus will be saved. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”  (1Thessalonians 4:17) (I underlined for emphasis)

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your LORD will come.” (Matthew 24:42) Jesus shares this verse, warning us that there will not be a second chance to give ourselves to Him and His power to save. The last day Gospel message is being preached – just as it was preached by Noah and his sons – then the end shall come. Now is the time, now is the appointed hour, now before it is forever to late. Surrender heart, mind, body, and spirit to the living God and be forever saved. Amen!

God bless you and keep you until we come together again next week!

10/03/21 – The Fear Factor – Following the World or Christ!

Scripture:

Deuteronomy 32:17 “They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they had not known, to newly arrived gods, which your fathers did not fear.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Jeremiah 1:8  “Now don’t be afraid the way they look at you because I’m with you to deliver you.” Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.”

Hi everyone! Sorry I missed last week. I was out of town and didn’t have adequate internet to complete my blog. I pray you have had a good week and are in a peaceful place as you walk with Christ Jesus. Amen! In my worship this week, I came across a short scripture – although it was short, it spoke volumes to me. As a result of this scripture, I gained a much greater understanding of the word “fear” as it is portrayed in the Bible. In this blog I would like to share what the Holy Spirit revealed through His Word. (Next week, I will cover the topic I planned for last week. I will be revisiting “as it was in the days of Noah”)

Let’s pray! Father God, we come before you seeking forgiveness and the saving blood of Jesus, to be justified and sanctified by His ultimate gift on Calvary’s Cross. We come requesting a fearless heart because You are with us everyday, all the way to eternal life. By the power of Your Spirit, reveal to us the truth as it relates to our Biblical understanding of fear, grow our faith that we may claim the many promises of a fearless walk with You, and help us understand the conditions of claiming this gift. In Jesus precious name, Amen!

As I was studying this last week, I came across a statement about the old testament Jewish nation and idol worship. Over and over again, they surrendered themselves to God and over and over again they fell back into apostasy – they fell back into idol worship. The statement in Deuteronomy 32:17 “They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they had not known, to newly arrived gods, which your fathers did not fear.” brought a clarity to me that I had not seen before. There was no fear of false gods, stone idols, and pagan practices because they knew these false gods could do them no harm. Like us, they struggled with total and complete surrender to the Living God, through whom all things were possible, – relying instead on self, self will, self sufficiency, self governance and hundreds of other self exaltations.

So why does religion of old and today carry such a strong sense of fear? What are its origins and why has it been promoted down through the ages? If the fathers, spoken of in Deuteronomy, didn’t fear the pagan gods, then it stands to reason that their offspring didn’t either. It also stands to reason that, by following the ways of the ancient world, a person had less to fear from the world around them. They suffered less ridicule and persecution – both of which carry a load of fear. The same is true today as we see that the majority of mankind wanders after the beast. (Revelation 13:3) It is less fearful because it is the path of least resistance. It is less fearful because it is rooted in the familiar – what we can see, hear, touch, taste, feel. It is less fearful because the outcome of this life choice is hidden from us – is not spoken of, not revealed except through scripture.

Yet, once a person delves into the Holy Bible, fear rears its ugly head. Why? I am sure we have all experience the fear of the unknown – first day in a new school, new classroom, first date, first visit to the dentist, first, first, first. We are riddled with the fear of firsts so we know the feeling. We fear the unknown and many times the known and this fear can freeze us in place, it can stop our advancement, destroy our goals and dreams. It can keep us from a covenant relationship with our God and cheat us of eternal life. It can be and is often the deal breaker.

And therein lies our answer. When we embrace fear, limit ourselves because of fear, walk away from truth because of fear, we are giving ourselves over to darkness, to the persuasive emotional bombardment of Satan. Satan is the father of fear, he is the initiator of fearful thoughts in our minds, he tempted Jesus in the wilderness with fear of hunger, fear of failure, fear. When we embrace pagan ways, when we embrace the world, we are fear free. We are not at peace and find little contentment in life but we are not plagued with fear.

But when we step out in faith, excepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, Satan’s assaults’ start in earnest. Suddenly we are bombarded with the need to be fearful of God, His vengeance, His wrath, His anger. What we need to reconcile in our hearts and minds is that this fear does not originate with God. Repeatedly, the scriptures tell us to fear not. According to Robin Gunn, there are 365 “fear not” statements in the Bible. Each one of the “fear not” promises comes with a condition – as we abide in Christ, as we surrender to the will of God, as we behold and become changed we can fear not for God is with us. And if God is with us Satan and the world cannot prevail against us. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Until the next blog, I pray we are all able, by the grace of God, to say NO to fear, to step out in faith, knowing we serve a living God Who is able to do all things. Amen!

9/19/21 – Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody!

Scripture:

We are a holy priesthood (1st Peter 2:5) called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We are each blessed with spiritual gifts (1Corinthians 12:11) to be used to edify Christ and His church (Ephesians 4:1).

g Hi fellow believers! I just lit a candle of unity and set it on my windowsill – a representation of my desire to join with like believers in prayer for this Nation and our World family, for the manifestation of God’s will in our behalf. The idea was introduced to me in a podcast and this is my first day. I am excited to be a part of this call to unified prayer, to be a partaker, an eyewitness to the miraculous power of God. Join with us and know that we are not alone, that we are a mighty swelling force for good, that God hears the prayers of many gathered with purpose before His throne. Light a candle in solidarity at 11:20 am each day and let’s pray into existence an unsurpassed victory for God, Amen!

I am sure you have looked at the title of this blog and puzzled over what I might be thinking. Let me introduce today’s topic by sharing a quote. Pastor Chuck Swindoll once wrote; “This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”

Let’s pray! Father God, we humble ourselves before You, we ask for the indwelling of Your Spirit, we pray for Your power to answer Your call, we pray for Your strength to surrender our lives as marred and cracked vessels to be emptied of self and filled full and brimming with Your love and Your witness to a sick and dying world. Father imbue us with Your wisdom and understanding as we move forward in obedience to Your call. In Jesus name, Amen!

Pastor Swindoll cleverly worded a neglect practiced by many people from all walks of life, even by those professing to be the children of God. I must confess that I have, at times, shirked my responsibility, passed the buck so to speak. I praise God that we serve a Savior that has never walked the path of neglect with me, but rather, calls me to a higher path to walk with Him.

Everybody, that is part of the body of Christ, has been called by God to carry forth His work in this dark and dying world. Somebody, within a given body of believers, will be gifted with the Spiritual Gifts needed to accomplish a certain task while Everybody lends a supporting hand, acts in a supporting role. Anybody can help with every task appointed by God and Nobody is without purpose no matter the task. AND, at any time, in every event, the body of believers are called to interchangeably fill the roles of Everybody, Somebody, and Anybody – Nobody is left without the call to serve. It takes to full body of Christ to get the job done, to complete the work in which we are called. Until Jesus comes in the clouds of glory, there is a work to be done, there are souls seeking a better way, seeking a way out of the darkness they are trapped within. We, you and me, have been called for such a time as this. (Ester 4:14)

Now is the time to step out in faith, now is the time to answer the call. Go forth and listen for the still soft voice of God to prompt your witness as you go. A kind word here, an act of kindness there, a timely sharing of the Word. Don’t wait for a daily graven invitation, for a burning bush – go, and the Lord will find you where you are. There is no where we can go that God’s Words of hope and love are not needed. Whether to the left or to the right, you will still find a work commissioned by God, a victory wrought by Him, and a “well done My good and faithful servant” when in the clouds of glory He comes to take to our forever home. (Matthew 25:21)

And in all things PRAY! “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayer less study, prayer less work, prayer less religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” (Samuel Chadwick, a 19th Century Wesleyan minister) “”Daniel would rather spend a night with the lions than miss a day of prayer!” (Anonymous)

Until next blog, be safe, be prayerful, be a surrendered body for Christ! Amen!

margaretstreetchurchofchrist.org/

09/12/21 – A Heart Garden By Perfect Design

Scripture:

Galatians 5:19-23 “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.”

Wow! What a powerfully vast contrast!

Great to be together again! I am sure we have all heard the saying “home is where the heart is.” Let’s give it a little twist for the sake of illustrating our scripture for this blog. The heart is the home of our personal garden, the garden that we display to those around us, our character, the “fruits of our spirits, or lack thereof.”

Let’s pray! Our gracious and merciful Heavenly Father, we come before You again this week to seek Your forgiveness and promise of everlasting life. To ask for the power to surrender to Your purpose for each of us, and through surrender, embrace the privilege of partaking in the Gospel Commission. Day by day, Father, continue to direct our ways, our comings and goings, and keep us steadfast in our devotion to You. Your will be done, and Your understanding be known in this blog today. In Jesus holy name, Amen!

The first 2/3 of our scripture is an uncomfortable mouthful of practices that, in the not so distant past, used to be “behind closed doors practices” – our family skeletons were keep in the closet so to speak. You get the gist of what I am saying… Now, however, the doors have been thrown wide open – all secret indiscretions blatantly on display. So much of the Biblical “bad practices” checklist is regarded as status quo. It has become commonplace for many to wear their indiscretions like badges of “dis”honor, to flaunt their wrongdoing, daring anyone to speak out against them.

Thankfully, praise the Lord, we have the brilliant contrast of the last 1/3 of our blog scripture. The fruit of the Holy Spirit! Getting to that portion of Galatians 5 is like a breath of fresh air, like stepping out of a cloying, stagnant, stench filled place into the fresh air after a cleansing rain. The contrast is overwhelming in its relief.

Comprehending the startling contrast and better choice between the two heart gardens – heart conditions – is obvious to most when looking through the light of Christ righteousness. It just seems logical, a happier path in life. But, for those lost in this dark world, without the glorious light of salvation, the better choices are harder to see. The correct path is so obscure, so hard to distinguish in the impenetrable darkness prevalent at this time in history, that many yearning for – they know not what – fail to find their way to higher ground, a heart garden rich in the fruit of the Spirit. It is these souls God calls us to reach, these souls that need a loving, compassionate hand to guide them to the foot of the cross, to guide them to the life Giver. God is calling us to just such a noble service.

In his book Satisfied, Mark Finley stated, “God invested everything in you. What have you invested in God? He gave it all in the Gift of His Son, Jesus. All that we bring to Him is an empty, broken vessel. Jesus wants to live in that vessel.” Do not delay in surrendering to His perfect purpose for you. Don’t wait until you feel you have sufficiently patched and cleaned out your vessel, surrender now. You see, brothers and sisters, the more cracked and marred your vessel, the more Jesus’ light is able to shine forth and be poured out. Come now, just as you are, and marvel at the outpouring of the Devine – what a perfect plan, a perfect purpose for each of us.

Before you were born, God knew you, He had a purpose for you. Jeremiah 1:5 May you richly experience His purpose in the garden of your heart. This is my prayer for each of you.

studywithfriends.org

09/05/21 – We Have A Problem – But Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled!

Scripture – Revelation 3:14-22 “Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea: Thus says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the originator of God’s creation: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.”

John 14:1  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Hi fellow believers! It’s so great to have you back again for another blog. If you are back because you enjoy my blogs, gain encouragement and fellowship, then please share with others so that we can help them know that they are not alone, there is still tremendous hope in this dark world, and that Jesus loves us all. Today, I am going to bring back an earlier topic and look at it from another angle. I want to delve back in the the Laodicean Church – God’s church of the present day, and turn this bad news in to glad news. I am asking the Holy Spirit to teach us, as God’s chosen, how to find our way out of the Laodicean’s terminal predicament.

Let’s pray! Heavenly Father, Merciful King, hear our requests for forgiveness, our cries for mercy, our desire to surrender completely and fully to You. Guide and direct us on Your paths of righteousness and at last save us in Your Kingdom. By the blood of the Lamb and Your Holy Spirit, enlighten each of us concerning our blog today. Continue to move us away from the Laodicean lifestyle to one that is pleasing in Your sight, to a life that reflect Jesus. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen!

As Laodiceans, we have a problem. In Revelation 3:14-22 God tells us that, as His last day people, we are blind, our senses are dulled, we need to wake up – we are in need of much spiritual healing. We have a heart condition, a much dreaded disease – and it is not COVID. Oh but that we would fear and guard again this disease as so many do with COVID -this disease of sin. You see, this disease of sin have been around so long we have grown accustom to it, so long that we rarely guard against it. Jesus is knocking, calling us forth to a better way, an eternal way. Yet many are so full of self, of wants, of desires, of the world, they don’t realize their great need for Jesus. Nevertheless Jesus faithfully knocks. Amen!

At this point, I think we can agree that we have identified the problem, so God calls us to move forward, move to the foot of the cross for the solution, put the past illness behind and take the cure – Jesus! A great Christian author, Ellen G White, wrote in Desire of Ages, p 489-490, “Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the word of God or though His messengers is a knock at the door of the heart. It is the voice of Jesus asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, the disposition becomes weaker. The impressions of the Holy Spirit, if disregarded today, will not be as strong tomorrow.” As with all things, if we continue to focus on the problem, it remains prominent in our lives in our mind. With each day we continue to focus on the problem of sin we move ourselves further away from Jesus the Solution, we distant ourselves from His knocking, His calling. On the other hand, if we turn from the sin disease, the problem, and focus on Jesus, we find our forever solution, our forever purpose. Let’s not get stuck on the problem, rather let’s look to a future of solutions, a future of victories, a future of saved souls.

God calls us to be a people with purpose and our purpose is doing the will of God – spreading the Gospel. When rising in the morning we pray for purpose, thought-out the day we act with purpose, at the end of the day we reminisce about the purposeful events of the day with Jesus. Who did we purpose to speak kind words to, how did we purpose to ease someone’s burden, who did we purposefully pray for and witness to? We thank God for blessing our lives with meaningful, purposeful witness. We thank Jesus for pouring out His blessing through us. We become changed by beholding day after blessed day the purposeful witness Jesus has wrought through us. Oh what a foretaste of Glory Devine!

Today, I was listening to a recent podcast from Flyover Conservatives and a comment their guest speaker, Doug Billings made caught my attention because it feed into my blog. He quoted President Abe Lincoln as telling people his cabinet would never have an ugly man on it. On the surface that sounds wrong, un-Christ like, but Doug went on to explain that Lincoln was referring to the men’s characters. (I have taken the liberty to paraphrase his comment) Those (us included) that follow Jesus have a peaceful, joyous countenance that is a witness in our itself. This Godly countenance makes us glow with an inter beauty that is compelling, that draws lost souls to us, that instills in them a trust in our purpose.

This is the lifestyle that the prophets of old chose. This is the lifestyle that Daniel, Job, John the Baptist, Jesus and His disciples chose. This is the lifestyle I choose to live. By the grace of God, I pray for more purpose each and every day. Is it easy, is it pain free, trouble free? No, but all that fades deeply into the past as we behold and become changed, as we become daily eyewitnesses to what God can do, as we find extraordinary joy in sharing in such a life changing purpose.

Let not our hearts be troubled, purpose to surrender to the will of God. Amen!

Until my next blog, God bless and keep you.

08/29/21 – Pray Warriors! In All Things, At All Times!

Scripture:

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing. The means of promoting religious joy is prayer. This prayer is to be “without ceasing,” 

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

 Matthew 15:21-28, Romans 12:12, Colossians 4:2, James 5:16, 1 Chronicles 16:11 and so many more!

Hi fellow warriors! What a time to be alive, to be witnesses, to be warriors for God. What swells in my heart and mind, as I ponder our stage in history, is that I can’t help but connect with what the disciples felt in their significant point in history. They experience the early rain, stayed in the race, crossed the finish line and now we are called to latter rain battle as we race to the victory of the 2nd Coming of Jesus. Wow! To be able to witness the culmination of the Great Cosmic battle, while fighting beside our Savior, is awe inspiriting, intimidating, eye opening, and real. Today I want to go into greater detail concerning the area of prayer – being a prayer warrior for God.

In his book Prayer Warriors, Ron Halverson stated; “Prayer warriors on the battlefields – in the earth, the heart, the mind, everyday life, the church – this is God’s key to victory. Whenever Satan attacks there God’s battlefield sensitive warriors, clad in God’s own armor, stand up and do prayer battle. When they do, victories follow.”

Let’s pray! Father God, in humility we come before You, we come in the name of Jesus, asking that You forgive our sins and that You keep us steadfast upon the path to salvation. God, Your Word calls us to pray about all matter, to pray without ceasing, and the crucial need for prayer when face to face with Satan. By Your might and power, please keep up fit armor clad warriors. Give us Your Spirit that we may clearly see and understand the path You have set before us. In Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen!

As we look at Scripture, we begin to understand the tremendous importance of warfare prayer. It is that golden thread of communication between us and God – the golden path of asking and receiving, giving and sharing, the universal connectiveness that will lead to victory. Spiritual warfare, warfare prayer, and the prayer warrior are vitally important to ourselves, our families, our church, and our world. The impact is cataclysmic, the impact is eternal. Today, every day, moment by moment, we decide if we will be doers of the word, if we will continually choose to walk with Jesus, if we will be prayer warriors for Him.

Several years ago, when my daughters and I lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, my two youngest daughters and I were part of a prayer warrior group. There were 6 us of that came together once a week and stayed in contact daily. We prayed in unison on all things, big and small, global and personal. I miss our prayer group and what we experienced together – I count it as one of the greatest highlights of my journey with Jesus. From my experience I can say emphatically that warfare prayer does work. Our small group were eye witnesses to many miracles.

In the early 90’s Rock Hall, Maryland was flooding, many homes were in the path of the flood and the tide was not supposed to recede for several more hours. The Chesapeake Bay was 1 inch from entering the home of one of our warrior’s. The connections were made and we all started our warfare prayers. The results were miraculous – within a short time of praying in unity, the tide started receding 4 hours ahead of its normal time. The miracle was shared by all residences of that small community and was written up in the local newspaper. Amen!

A very close cousin by marriage had been through so much in her life that she was often a prayer topic for us. At this particular time, her husband had accidently shot himself through the head while putting his handgun in his glovebox and my cousin and their daughter were in a terrible place with grief. On a day when we were meeting as a group, I got a very strong impression to pray for them and we did. When I got home that night, I got a call from my cousin. Her 90 pound daughter had overdosed on a full subscription of heart medication washed down with a fifth of whiskey. Her daughter regretted her choice and call the paramedics who told my cousin that her daughter was still conscience when they arrived. They said her last words before she slipped into a coma was, “Jesus, forgive me.” The ER doctors told my cousin that her daughter had taken enough medication to kill two 200 pound men and she had a slim chance of surviving the night and if she did she would be a vegetable. The next morning, at 9:00 am, this young girl woke up in full health with no side affects from her horrific choice. The power of prayer, Amen!

There are so many but I will only share one more. My friend and partner in prayer was at my house and before we got started praying, she told me she was pregnant. We talk about it for a while and then she, my daughters, and I started praying. While kneeling in prayer, my friend screamed out in pain and collapsed to the floor. Immediately, my daughters and I started praying for healing and my oldest daughter called 911. Twenty minutes later, as the ER doctor performed emergency surgery, he discovered that her fallopian tube had ruptured. The doctor told her next of kin that she should have bled out in 4 minutes but the site looked like it had been cauterized. He thought it was a miracle that she was alive. And, yes, it was a miracle, Amen!

God does promise that the latter rain will be greater than the former rain of Pentecost. That direct answers to prayer will be given, miracles wrought, and so much more. So, besides the armor of God, what other tools do we have, what should we ask of God? I would like to suggest that we prayerfully consider asking for the following:

  1. Blood of the Lamb – study and accept the blood and power of the Lamb.
  2. The Name of Jesus – call upon His manifestation in your life continually.
  3. God’s armor – study the armor and don’t do anything without it.
  4. Faith – ask for it, step out, trusting in your Lord and Savior prior to seeing results.
  5. The word of our testimony – make sure it speaks to the Word of God.
  6. Praise and Thanksgiving – study repentance and forgiveness, put them into practice.
  7. Know the types of prayer – intercessory, petition, praise, thanksgiving. Use them all.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Study each of the seven tools. Search out other life and power giving source. Know the scriptures – their place in history – pertaining to each tool. Then just as the Master Carpenter, put the tools into constant use, absorbing them into your continual practice and your soul. As your let the Spirit build and refine these skills in you and you let Jesus manifest Himself in you, call up on God with confidence and boldness. Pray without ceasing, pray in the face of doubt, pray in the face of discouragement, pray in the face of ridicule. Pray, pray, pray, Amen!

Prayer is the key that opens the doors of communication with the our Lord and King, opens us to spectacular, forever experiences that far outweighs the pain and suffering brought on us by the overwhelming flood of sin. Prayer is our golden ticket to understanding God’s Word, to reaching other for Jesus, to our freedom, to life everlasting.

Until next time, may you hear the words “well done good and faithful servant” Matthew 25:23

8/22/21 – God’s Armor, A Template For Victory!

Scripture

Fight the good fight.” 1Timothy 6:15, “Be a soldier of Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:4, “Put on the full armor.” Ephesians 6:11

Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” 2 Timothy 1:9

Hi everyone! It’s great to be sharing with you again. I pray my blog finds you safe and well in Christ. We know, through what we hear and witness, and Scripture, that the months ahead are going to be increasingly difficult, and perilous to navigate. In fact, I believe that our world will be in an upheaval up to the time of Christ’s return. As events worsen and chaos grows, we will realize a greater need to answer God’s call to be soldiers of the Cross, warriors to the end. There in lies our safety and assurance.

There is one field of battle I believe we are all called to and that is prayer. As warriors, we are called to “specialize” in areas that match our spiritual gifts, but prayer is a “universal” gift given to everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus and is saved. I shared last blog that this would be my topic of discussion for this blog. However, I feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to spend more time on the tremendous gift and purpose of God’s armor. So…. my next blog will be about God’s prayer warriors.

Let’s pray! Heavenly Father, great are Your ways, mighty are Your works, perfect is Your gift of salvation. We bow down before You, seeking forgiveness for our sins and asking for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Your full armor, and Christ dwelling in us as we take part in the completion of the Gospel Commission in these last days. May we bring many souls to the foot of the Cross, may we engage in life changing prayer, and may we open ourselves to the complete power of Your will. May Your will be done in us as it is in Heaven, in Jesus precious name, Amen!

How can I move forward doing God’s will, what am I called to do? When I was teaching special education, I used what is called a “scope and sequence” of instruction, electricians use a schematic, builders use a blueprint, cooks use a recipe, tailors use a pattern, and – for me – God uses His armor as His Gospel Template. This analogy has clarified how I am to move forward sharing Christ and Him risen. As I move forward into battle, God’s armor keeps me focused on Him, blocks the attacks from the enemy, and fills my life with the awe and wonder of God. After delving into a deeper study of God’s armor, I have a better understanding of its purpose. Putting on God’s armor means being filled with the Holy Spirit so that I can be a vessel for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – being poured out in battle to win souls. It means my part is to surrender to this process over and over again, day by day, week by week until the end shall come. Understanding the purpose of the armor has taken the guess work and complications out of sharing Christ.

So, does this mean that the battles will all be cookie cutter events where everything happens in a set pattern of steps? Absolutely not! Our part in each battle is the same – surrender to the filling of the Holy Spirit and pouring out the Spirit to others is the repetitive action. But just as no two people are the same, everyone’s path to Jesus is different, the detailed events of each battle will be different. Some battles will just involve an act of kindness, some a request to pray for a person we meet, some receiving a piece of literature, some a walk to the foot of the Cross, some a request to know more about Jesus. All of the detailed events are orchestrated by the Holy Spirit and He will give us the actions to take and the words to say. Blessed be the Lord!

I am sure all of us already find ourselves surrendering to the Holy Spirit when we give a smile and a word of encouragement to a store clerk, when we stop and help a person struggling with a heavy burden – there are so many ways in which we reach out for Christ. So many times when we listen to the Holy Spirit as He brings the needs of other to our attention. So essentially, God is calling us to take what we already do and what we already know and make it a moment by moment life pattern. He is calling us to make the choice to devote our life to this purpose – to become life long warriors for Christ. To humbly wear our battle fatigues with pride and purpose because we serve a crucified, victorious, risen Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has chosen us for just a time as this to save His people. (Ester 4:14) March on soldiers of the Cross, don’t stop to stone the devils dogs, but march on, march on. (Carlyle B Hayes)

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8/08/21 – God’s Armor – Don’t Live Your Life Without It!

Scripture – Ephesians 6:13-18 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the LORD’s people.

Fellow believers in Christ Jesus, we are at war! Our Earth is a spiritual battleground, a war that has been raging for more than 6000 years. Ron Halverson, in his book Prayer Warriors, states that: “Our streets, our neighborhoods, our communities, our states, our country, our world – all are battle zones… The battle to break through the barriers Satan has built around us is not a game. It is part of a war – a battle to the finish.” If I didn’t know that his book was published in 1995, I would think he just wrote it. He has described exactly what we are seeing today – what we are witnessing with our spiritual eyes.

Let’s pray! Gracious Father God, we humble ourselves before You, seeking Your wisdom, Your righteousness, Your acceptance. We know, on our own merit, we are not worthy – therefore we come baring the name of Jesus Christ who bore the pain our iniquity so that we could come before You seeking an everlasting covenant relationship. Today, Father, we need Your Spirit to guide us through our great need for Your armor and the purpose for each piece. For without You we are lost, but with You we are victorious. Seal Your instructions in our minds and hearts. In Jesus precious name, Amen!

In my last blog, we studied Ephesians 6:10-12. In these Scriptures we learned that the events taking place today are bigger than the physical realm, bigger than our day to day physical struggle and worries. The purpose of these Scriptures are to pull our minds away from the physical distractions and bring our focus and efforts into the true battle taking place on Earth. God is calling us into a spiritual battle with everlasting consequences – so how do we prepare, what are we expected to do, where do we begin?

Our first step is to accept and surrender to His great plan for each of us. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. 7Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.” (Proverb 3:5-7) No matter what God has called each of us to do, He calls all of us into a covenant relationship that is renewed daily, moment by moment.

Second, we need God given tools and skills – we need to wield the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:13-18) We need to put to memory each piece in our set of armor, its purpose and power. In his book Prayer Warrior, Halverson states: “Don’t leave your home without the armor. Don’t go into the world without the armor. Don’t turn on your TV without the armor. Don’t talk without the armor.” God is calling us to make His armor our go to choice for outerwear. A familiar and comforting choice that we know so well.

Third, pray without ceasing.  “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1Thessalonians 5:17-18) We are called to pray in all situations, on our knees, in our car, while working – pray always! We need to consult God on ALL things – yes even the small day to day busy work – calling on His power for everything.

As we make the afore mentioned steps part of our daily, moment by moment routine, we are prepared to call upon God to impower the armor, we are prepared to do spiritual warfare. Some may ask why we do battle since Jesus won the battle on Calvary’s cross. Yes Jesus won the battle, the outcome has been determined, Satan has been defeated, with no comeback. The spiritual battle we face today is for lost souls, those entangled in Satan’s snares, those having lost their way, or never finding it in the first place. The spiritual battle is over those of whom are lost and who is saved. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19) Be assured that God’s children, in full Godly armor, will come up against Satan, without fear and trembling. Know that Satan is powerful, but God is ALL powerful.

Let’s study the purpose for each piece of armor. I like the illustration below but have a few areas I believe need more information.

  1. The helmet protects our thoughts and understanding concerning the will of God
  2. The breastplate does not have a back – we are to face our enemy knowing God is with us. He will guide out thoughts, words, and actions.
  3. The shield protects us from Satan’s fiery darts – not every thought that enters our mind originates with us. The shield blocks his mental assault upon our mind.
  4. The belt keeps our minds focused on the truth – keeping us on the Godly path to victory.
  5. The footwear keeps us in a ready state to do God’s will.
  6. Wielding the sword opens the door in a person’s life to respond to the Holy Spirit, giving them the hope of salvation.

The first 5 pieces of armor keep up in a covenant relationship with God so that we are able to wield the sword for the salvation of souls. I would like to suggest that everyone prayerfully study this illustration, memorizing the pieces and their purpose. Our time is short, God is calling us to be about His business of saving souls. Does God need us to get the message out to the lost? No, He doesn’t, instead He gives us the tools and the privilege to take part in the most importance event in our time – only eclipsed by the gift of Calvary.

Please share my blog with others if you enjoy them and they bring hope and promise to your soul. Until next blog, God be with you and yours. I pray He keeps you in His steadfast love. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Psalms 118:1-29)

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