Category Archives: Christian Living

How does a Christian grow?

People who are truly saved have a desire to learn more about God.  They are drawn to anything that will teach them about the wonderful savior who died for them.  They have a desire to grow as a Christian, but how do they do that when they are surrounded by a world of sin?  How do they find light when they are engulfed in a world of darkness?

I have thought about this many times. It doesn’t seem as though any one will grow if they are not related to or surrounded by the Lord Jesus Christ. The light of Christ dwells in every true Christian, but every Christian does not know this.  Or, they know it, but do not reckon it to be true.  They live like Christ is only present when they are in church, reading their Bible, praying or when they are talking to the preacher.  To navigate this world of darkness, we need the light of Christ.  Since Christ lives in us, we all possess the light of Christ, but how do we make it work for us?

I know that it is a very big step to take but the short answer is you must surround yourself, you must saturate yourself with God’s people, God’s music, God’s television shows, God’s books, God’s paintings and God’s word. Douse yourself, emerge yourself in God. If you do it will have an effect on you life. You will grow as a Christian.  When you go out into the world, you will know how to invoke the light that lives in you.

As a pastor I am often asked, “How do I live as a Christian?  I keep failing. I don’t know how to take the things I learned and use them successfully. How do I keep my mind on Christ?”  I too had this question when I was just a new Christian.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Learn to surround yourself with Christian things.  Get rid of all things you know Christ would not like.[/pullquote]

I learned to surround myself with Christian things.  This first involved taking down all NON-Christian things.  I got rid of all things that I had that I knew Christ would not like.  For me, this involved cleaning out my liquor cabinet, flushing all of the recreational drugs and throwing away all related paraphernalia.  I burned all my bad magazines, broke all 300 of my records and threw away all clothing that had disrespectful messages and pictures. it was like a spring cleaning.  I rid myself of any worldly distractions.  It was like cleaning the slate of  my life so there was room to add the new things I so desperately needed.

After this I started reading my Bible every day. I didn’t always understand it, but I read it anyway. Then I began going to church. Here I didn’t understand everything either, but I always asked questions.  The pastor was always happy to give me an answer.  I bought Christian music, posters and books.  I put them all over my apartment.  Everywhere you turned you could see God.  I hung out with the people I met at church and it didn’t take long to see that they were not prudes like I initially thought them to be.  If it had God in it, I was involved.

This filled my mind with thoughts about God which effectively pushed out thoughts of the world.  It was “out with the old and in with the new.”  If you are going to get rid of the old man, you must replace it with the new man.  The Bible refers to this as a purging process (1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Tim. 2:21; 2 Pet. 1:9).  People don’t get this though.  They think that when they become a Christian, they can just start leading a new life.  So, they neglect the old life.  As hard as they try to live the new Christian life, the old life keeps showing through.  They have neglected to purge out the old ways to make room for the new ways.  This is essential if they are going to be successful at leading a victorious Christian life.

Christians can never grow if they do not address getting some of their old ways removed from their life.  There will never be room for the new life to take hold if they are not willing to allow the old to be “pushed out” (purged).

In summary, the way to grow as a Christian is to allow the old to be pushed out by the new.  Get rid of the things that draw you away, or distract you from God.  Then surround yourself with the things that you want in your life.  Then the purging process will successfully accomplish what it is intended to do.

 

Are your affections on things above?

Ron Coale, Rev.

Ron Coale, Rev.

Living a worry free Christian life by setting your affections on things above.

Christians today struggle with how to make it in this world.  Life is hard and there is no respect for the Christian who lives off of “spiritual welfare.”  God has given us all of the tools that we need to navigate this life, but we must not become a part of this world system.  Christians should live above of this world system, and it should hold nothing that would compete for our affections, but it does.

Christians have a choice to make regarding their affections: we can give them to this present life, or to the life to come; we can give them to this world or to the new world.  This present world, and all of the things we are affectionate about is going to be destroyed by God and replaced with a new one.  The choice is whether we will set our affections on the things of old or the things anew.

To live a healthy, worry free life, you must set your affections on things above and not on things of the earth. All true lovers of God know that they are dead to this worldly life and the things that it has to offer. There is nothing in the world that can compete with the life that we have hidden in Christ, which will be revealed to us when He appears. Christians who live for the pleasures, satisfaction or rewards of this life, are misguided in their affections. It is not what Christ can do for you, it is what Christ has ALREADY DONE for you. Is this world your home or are you just passing through?

Colossians 3:1-4

You have to learn contentment

Contentment is not something you simply obtain.

Ron Coale, Rev.

Ron Coale, Rev.

You do not wake up one day and find that you are suddenly content.  Neither do you just get old enough and that makes you content.  Contentment is something that is learned.

Paul said, “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Phil. 4:11).  Paul admits that he had to learn contentment.  It was not one of his personality traits, nor was it a special ability that he had.  It was something that he had to learn from the time he was very young until the day that he wrote these words to the Philippians.

As a young man, Paul sought his fortune and fame, as do other young men.  He thought he found it in the profession of a Pharisee.  As a young Pharisee during the time of the first persecution of Christians, he excelled.  He was poised for greatness because he was in on the movement from the “ground floor.”  He had been recognized for his zeal and was commissioned to root out and destroy Christians wherever he could.  But even though he made a name for himself, he still found no contentment.

He found no contentment when he finally met Jesus face to face on the road to Damascus, but this is where his lessons in contentment began.  He was blinded after the encounter and did not know if he would ever get his sight back.  He needed to learn to accept his blindness.  He could either have felt pity on himself, or make use of his life as he could.  But God had another plan.  And so the trials, troubles, sufferings and persecutions began until one day, in a letter to his friends, he writes, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Contentment begins with knowing God (Matt. 6:31-34.)  A person will never be content living in this world if they do not first learn how to live a Godly life.  If you come to the point in your relationship with God that you seek Him first, then you learn how to live Godly.  But it doesn’t stop right there.  You must learn not only how to seek Him first, but to depend on His love for you; that you will be okay under His leadership, love and care.  In short, you must learn not only how to seek God first, but to give Him your problems and stop worrying over them; depend on Him being bigger than any problem you could ever have.  These are hard lessons to learn.  Oh, it is not so hard to take our troubles to God, but it is difficult for us to leave them with Him.  We show this by worrying about our troubles.  You can already see how to live a stress free, content life when you have nothing to worry about anymore.

Contentment benefits living in this world (1 Tim. 6:6-9).  We must understand that we absolutely own nothing.  We must have the higher view of our life; that we brought nothing into this world, and when we go, we will take nothing out.  Even our legacy is not in our hands, it is in the hands of those left behind.  It is a false understanding to think you have made a difference in the world because any difference you made or not, is in the hands of those you leave it with.  It is not under your control.  We are on a pilgrimage that is preparing us for heaven.  Yes, God can miraculously make us prepared for entrance to heaven when the time comes, but in His infinite wisdom, He has seen fit to teach us about our upcoming life in heaven now.  The sooner we see that life does not surround ambitions of the world, the sooner we will live a content life.  This way, we can go to our jobs and places of work with joy and not stress.  In fact, we can be happy all day long because we realize that the things now trivial, were once big things to us.  You can easily see how contentment is learned by just having the proper perspective on life in general.

Contentment comes from seeking first a life with Jesus. (Heb. 13:5-6)  It comes by understanding that He means what He says and says what He means.  He says, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  You cannot get any more content in life than to live a life understanding that the one who holds you in His arms is the Lord Jesus Christ, and He won’t drop you or let go.  Babies trust their mothers all the way up to the time that mommy makes them do something that they don’t like.  They are content in their mothers arms until mommy does something that they don’t like.  It may be giving a bath, or changing a diaper, but whatever it is, this is where the trust is lost.  When they realize that mommy just did something for their overall good, even though it was uncomfortable for a spell, then the trust is returned.  The baby learns how to trust their mommy.  Likewise, Christians should learn how to learn contentment by growing up in the Lord; communing with Him and learning how to trust Him.  You can easily see that the closer and more often you are with the Lord, the easier it is to be content.

So Paul says that he had to learn contentment.  He is no different than any other man.  We all must learn how to be content.  Is your life troubled?  Do you feel so overwhelmed that you think you need to see a counselor to help you get your life back on track?  Do you have the tendency to turn to drinking or drugs to give you peace?  Then you are seeking an instant, microwave portion of contentment, but it does not exist.  You must learn how to be content.  God will make sure that, one way or another, you will learn how to be content with Him.  The only question is: just how much tribulation, trials or suffering you must go through to learn contentment.

 

Offended in Jesus

Ron Coale, Rev.

Ron Coale, Rev.

Matthew 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

People today seem to be offended about everything.  Everybody you meet gets offended about something you do or say.  There is no getting away from it.  It seems like people go out of their way to get offended about something.  It seems like it is the new norm.  Everybody has a chip on their shoulder just waiting for someone to knock it off so they can get offended and bring attention to themselves.

Jesus preaches not getting offended, especially in Him.  The world would be a much kinder and safer place if people just chose to not be offended.  There would be much more love and caring for each other if there was less getting offended.  There would be less pride and more helping each other.

The first offence that people have tumbling them down a long slope of bitterness is in the Lord Jesus Christ.  More than ever, society is anti-Jesus.  They are not neutral as they claim to be best for everyone, but they have taken one side against God; they are offended in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The more society moves away from Jesus because they are offended in Him, the less blessing they will receive. We need God’s blessing more than ever.  If our country is going to return to it’s former glory, then it needs, no, it must have the blessing of God.

 

The Technicality Game by Ron Coale

Before Dee and I were married, we took her nephew to the drive in movie with us one night. Willie was quite the young boy. He liked everything that young boys like. I said I was going to go get some popcorn at the concession stand and Willie wanted to go with me. We got to the concession stand where he was eyeballing this very large Hershey’s chocolate bar. It was the kind that my dad would buy when I was a kid and it would last him for a month. Willie asked me if he could have one of those chocolate bars.  I said that he could, but he would have to let his Aunt Dee portion it out to him. I thought it best for her to give it to him in pieces and regulate how much chocolate he would eat.  I didn’t know that when we got back to the car, he showed her the chocolate bar and said, “Look what Ron got for me.  Can I have it?”  She looked at him and said, “Okay. I guess its okay.”

We continued to enjoy the movie. It wasn’t until about 15 minutes later when Willie was acting like a buzz saw. He was one big giant ball of energy. He was jittering and shaking and playing the air drums and talking a mile a minute. We looked at each other and wondered why is he acting this way. Then I asked her, “Did you give him that chocolate bar?” She said, “Well he told me that you said it was okay.” I told her I said it was okay if you gave him a piece of it. Willie had eaten a whole giant chocolate bar in about 10 minutes, and we were suffering the consequences.  For the rest of the evening he was wild with energy.

Willie and played the technicality game. The technicality game is  where you’re technically telling the truth but you say it in a misleading manner. Christians are the same way with God. They ask God to give them something when they know that He doesn’t want them to have it. They just play the technicality game to make Him think they are doing something good for Him.

Friends, God cannot be fooled. He knows what we think before we even think it. That is a thought that needs to be meditated upon. I’ll say it again, “God knows what we think even before we think it.” How do you deal with a God who knows what you think even before you think it? It’s no wonder that God tells us that we need to speak the truth. When Jesus speaks of himself saying that he is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), He could in fact be giving us a warning; A warning that we should always tell the truth because God knows the truth even before we think it! He knows what we’re going to do even before we formulate the idea in our heads. So we better come clean!

There is no way you can deceive God.  There is no way that you can play the technicality game with him. He knows exactly what you’re going to do even before you consider doing it. That is a sobering thought! We’re dealing with the God who knows us even better than we know ourselves. There’s no way to manipulate the truth or play the technicality game with God (Matt. 6:8). There’s nothing we can do to deceive or trick God.

We are such feeble creatures. We are so finite because we live within the constraints of time. We don’t know what the next minute will bring in our lives. But God knows. I don’t mean to say this as a consoling statement. I mean to say it as a warning.  It is a statement that should make you think about always speaking truth with God. It’s a statement that should make you well aware that there’s someone who knows what you’re going to do in the next 5 minutes, and you can not deceive Him (Luke 12:27-31). You cannot play a technicality game with Him. You cannot manipulate events to make them work toward your favor. You cannot give an excuse for anything.  God knows!

How is it that He knows everything about your life? He does because He is already there. God does not live within the constraints of time. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev 22:13).  He lives outside the constraints of time. This is how He can live in our past and our future all at once. You and I however are linear creatures.  We exist from second to second, minute to minute, hour to an hour.

Not only can this be a sobering thought, but it can be a comforting thought as well. Because God knows what we’re going to do 5 minutes from now, He can arrange events in our lives that will shield, protect, guide and love us. In this way he has the power to make things happen and give us His mercy, grace and goodness.

 

Offended people don’t really need to be offended

People get offended for the silliest reasons. 

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

 A young lady could not visit her father anymore.  Years had gone by and this unsightly situation prevailed.  Finally, one day it came out why she was unwilling to visit.  It seems as if she was offended that her father made her wear dresses when she was young.

People get offended at the silliest things.  Of course, it doesn’t seem silly at the time, but that is because they are not looking at the situation clearly.  They are looking at the situation from a tainted viewpoint.  They are offended because they are thinking about themselves; how it affects them, or how they are embarrassed…  There is no need to get offended.  In fact, the only way you get offended is because you choose to be offended.

The Bible says that if you love God, His laws and are at peace with others, nothing will get you offended.  You can endure much more when you are “right” with God.  Very little will offend you if you are “right” with God.  When you love the law of God’s teachings, you will put them first in your life.  To put God’s law first is to put the giver of God’s law first–God.  When you are “right” with God, there is very little that the world can do to you because you will be in control of what you allow to affect you and what you will not allow to affect you.

You can take it to the bank–the person that is easily offended is struggling with their love for God’s teachings, rules or laws.  They have either broken them or are having trouble letting them into their life so they can control their actions.  In a finer sense I can say, they are having trouble giving up their “rights” to God.  These type of people think that they are the standard by which things should be done, or even become vocal about the way others live their life for Christ.  Somewhere in Christianity, people have lost sight of God being in control.  Oh, they say that He’s in control, believe that He is, proclaim that He is, yet they still live like He is not.  They fret and fear and worry and try to arrange things to their own benefit, while all the time they have abandoned the peace they can have by living like God is truly their creator and they are the created.

Christians would do well for themselves if they could just visualize they are nothing more than an “object”; created by God; for God (Rev 4:11), and not get offended about that.  Then all of the struggle, worry, fear and fretting will amount to nothing, neither here or in eternity.  If you could just close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself giving your entire life to God, indiscriminately, with nothing held back, and no conditions placed upon the situation, you would be better off.  If you could allow that vision to slowly fade into a scenario of total obedience to God, even unto the death, you would live a much more peaceful life.  Why? Because total obedience, total commitment, total dedication describes love; a love for God.

King David saw a beautiful woman that he wanted to take for his wife.  He took her and she was eventually found to be with child.  The trouble was that she was already married to Uriah the Hittite who was off to war.  Trying to solve the problem himself, he thought if Uriah would come home, then he would surely sleep with his wife then his sin would be covered.  So he wrote orders for the general (Joab) to send Uriah home.  He told Uriah to “Go down to thy house…” (2 Sam. 11:8).  But, Uriah slept on the floor at the door of the king’s palace and did not go home to his wife.  When David discovered this he asked Uriah why he didn’t go home to his wife.  Uriah answered, “The ark of the Lord, Israel and Judah all sleep in tents.  My fellow soldiers all sleep in open fields.  I cannot allow myself these indulgences as long as this situation exists.”  To Uriah it was a matter of duty, honor and devotion to God.  He loved God.  But David gave secret orders for Joab to have Uriah lead the charge at hottest place of battle so Uriah would be killed in battle, and Uriah was killed.

Uriah loved not his life even unto death.  His love for God gave him peace.  Oh that Christians today could have that kind of dedication and love for God.  If they did, they would lead much more peaceful lives because very little would offend them.  When you think of God instead of yourself, little there is that you will allow to offend you.

How many Christians today would lead better, lives?

How much do we really know about God’s character?

It is God’s character to be a forgiver of sin.  Most of the time, when we hear this statement, we think about the forgiveness that WE GET and not about God’s character–THE FORGIVER.  God’s character is to think about others.  Man’s character is to think about Himself (Eph. 5:29).  We know all about ourselves, but how much do we really know about God? It is difficult to find Bible teaching that teaches with this very premise as it’s core.  You don’t very often find teachers who try to teach about God’s character and how He feels about things.  Most teaching falls into the trap of human need for satisfaction.  Man likes to know that he gets what he needs to make himself feel better about being a Christian.  However, teaching about the Bible, from God’s point of view, is out there; although it is difficult to find.  Most teaching is motivated by the need for money or popularity.  The teachers know this and that is why most extremely popular, media induced, Bible teaching is popular–because people hear what they want to hear to nourish and cherish his own self. There is nothing wrong with feeling good.  After all, it is an emotion that God put in us.  But He didn’t put it inside of us to be abused.  He put it in us so we can understand how He can feel, just as He put: hate, fear, remorse and sadness.  We are made in all of the image of God, not just the ones that we want to claim.  Man has abused the emotions that make us feel good by popularizing “feel good” churches.  So, he says, “if I feel good, and everything is positive, then I am identifying with God, but if it is negative and I feel conviction for my sin, then I am not identifying with God.”  This kind of thinking comes about from not grasping the truth that man is just a created being and God is the Creator. Man is nothing without God.  There is not even a thought that man can have without the awesome guiding, and direction of God.  Man is totally subject to God in everything.  There is not a breath our body takes without God moving the lungs.  There is not a beat of our heart that does not receive it’s power from God.  We are unabatedly subject to God. Why then did God give us the Bible?  We thought it was because He was giving us instruction on how to live.  True, but it is much more than that.  The Bible reveals  God’s character. New Tribes Missions author Trevor Mcllwain described it best when he said, “it is God’s love letter to us, telling us about Himself.”  Yes, He is instructing us about Himself, but all we see is how much we are not like Him.  He is showing us how He originally intended the relationship of Creator–creation to be.  It was supposed to be a wonderful relationship of God with man (the image of God) who could completely understand and identify with Him.  But man does not see it that way.  Man sees God as some kind of magic Genie who comes out to grant his wishes when he calls for him, then goes back into his bottle until he is needed again. God’s forgiveness of sin, especially this sin, speaks loudly about His character.  If we just consider ourselves as nothing, and God as everything, we can see God’s character.  If we can put ourselves out of the way long enough to learn something about God’s character, we will be much better off.  Then, we can begin living the Christian life.  Not the “Christian life” as the world supposes it to be.  The Christian life as God indented it to be.

The wonderful quality of mothers

God gave mother a wonderful quality.  In the Morning Glory, January 8, 1994, Ilion Jones writes that, “On the great biographer Ida M. Tarbell’s 80th birthday, someone asked her to name the greatest persons she had ever met. She responded, ‘The greatest persons I have ever met are those nobody knows anything about.'”  She was referring to her mother.

“Once the New York Times was asked to help a group of club women decide on the twelve greatest women in the United States. After due consideration, the editors replied, ‘The twelve greatest women in the United States are women who have never been heard of outside of their own homes.'”  They were talking about someones mother.

Jones concludes, “I ask you, who was greater, Thomas A. Edison or his mother? When he was a young lad his teacher sent him home with a note which said, ‘Your child is dumb. We can’t do anything for him.’ His mother wrote back, ‘You do not understand my boy. I will teach him myself’. And she did, with results that are well known.”

Usually, the greatest people who have had the most influence in our lives are people that other people would not care about one bit.  Chief of these people is our mother.  Our mother will pour her life into us so that we can stand firm in this cruel world.  Our mother loves us like no one else can; who, no matter what we have done, continues to love us.

There is no use denying the fact that we are literally connected to our mother long before we have any other attachment with any other human being.  Our mother carries us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 9 months in her warm and comfortable tummy.  This “bond of bonds” cannot be cut, broken or torn asunder by any hurt we may give them.  Our mother is so important to us that we have wisely set aside a national day to honor her (Eph. 6:2; Exo. 20:12).

Our mother can never be replaced.  There are instances where children have to be raised by their fathers or someone else, but if they have been born into this world, they have a mother.  God arranged it that we cannot enter this life without first knowing and experiencing the love of our mother.  No matter if a child has been raised in a motherless home or not, there is still the beginning influence of this wonderful woman who carried them and bore them into this world (Gal 1:15).  But this is not the cased for the vast majority of cases.  Most of us are born and then raised too, by our mother.

Mother is the most influential person in our lives.  In most cases, she is with us more than anyone else, especially in our younger years.  Mother is our companion, as well as our protector and teacher.  At times it may seem that mom is not present, but God gave mom’s an amazing ability to use all of her senses toward us.  Every mother has had an experience where she has detected something wrong, when no other has been able to.  They dropped what they were doing and ran to our side knowing that we have just began choking on something.  In fact, their senses are so good that they can even detect when we are about to do something dangerous even BEFORE we are engaged in that certain dangerous activity.

When my mother would instruct me about “laying down the law”, she always had the uncanny ability to read my face.  She would tell me, “And wipe that look off of your face young man.  I can read your face like a book.”  Only someone who loved you very much; could be so “in tune” to you that they could “read your face like a book.”

Have you ever wondered why children have to play “under mothers feet” all the time?  It is because they feel safe there.  If they are near their mother, then they know that they are being watched over. It may be difficult for the mother as she moves around the house doing her daily chores, but it is great for the children.  When push comes to shove, I’ll bet you’ll find out that most mothers would rather know where their children are anyway.

Mothers can provide comfort unlike anything else in the world.  If I was outside playing with one of my children and they accidentally got hurt, they would look at me with contempt and go running to their MOTHER!  Dad just could not provide the same comfort as their mother could.  All it takes is some hugs from their mother, and a “kiss on the boo boo,” and everything would be all right.

Mother is crucial to our development, but moms are often overlooked or taken advantage of.  When Jesus was dying on the cross, He told John to take care of His mother (John 19:26-27).  Not that Mary was unable to take care of herself, but after Jesus died, there would be a big hole in her heart where her son used to be; a piece of her would be dying too because, after all, He literally was a piece of her.

We should appreciate all that our mothers do for us.  We should show them honor.  It is sad that at times we need to be reminded to pick up the phone and call our mother and tell her we love her.  I call my mother every week because I want her to know I care about her.~  Pastor Coale

 

 

Sowing Discord

discord

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

While God is a God of love, He is also a God of hate. We know that God loves His Son Jesus, and that He hates sin, but it doesn’t end right there. He loves many more things. As we read the Bible, we can see that He loves mercy, truth, humility and kindness to mention just a very few. But here, in this one passage of Scripture, He gives a concentrated list of some of the more important things that He hates. They are all self-explanatory and even the child can understand what they are. However, when God gets to sowing “discord” among the brethren, He is now dealing with the church only, for we in the church are: brethren.

Discord is any attempt to gender disagreement or difference of opinion. It is attempting to put at variance or opposition to the rest of the body. It win’s it’s evil victory when it produces angry passions of dispute or contest between persons. It’s method of attack is to clash; it does not disagree with a proper attitude of love and therefore seeks it’s own exaltation. This is what the Lord HATES–discord AMONG THE BRETHREN.

You cannot have a group of people where people do not talk about other members within the group. It is common and natural to do so because; well, they all have something in common–the group. Discord therefore, has nothing to do with talking about other members in the group. It has to do with talking about others with the intent to divide and hurt the group. God hates this very much and will not long abide it within the church He is trying to build. It is important to remember that because I will come back to that later.

The greatest example of attempting to sow discord amongst the group (other than the Devil himself) was Judas Iscariot. He thought he could sell out the Lord and divide the group. He was motivated by greed and self. He wanted to be and feel important. He could be up there with the big wigs setting the direction of actions for the nation, but in fact he was used. Yes, the Pharisees used him, but more so, he was used by the Devil to carry out his attack on God’s work. That is what people who sow discord amongst the brethren do today. They are being used by the Devil and they don’t even realize it. They are an instrument of his destruction, yet they cannot see it, and like Judas, the Lord will separate them from the group in His own time. Until that time, they will be continually frustrated that they are not able to gain foothold, because the Lord protects His flock.
Some might say, “Doesn’t the Bible say that we are supposed to divide the word of truth in 2 Timothy 2:15?” Well, not exactly. It says there that we are to “RIGHTLY DIVIDE” the WORD OF TRUTH. This is not for sowing discord, but in being able to interpret it properly. If you continue to verse 16, the next thing it says is that we are to “…shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” So, when a person is continually trying to sow discord amongst the brethren, God’s answer for this is to “shun”. This is not done in the old Quaker or Mennonite sense, but it means to don’t converse with them. Why? Because even if your guard is up, and even if you are determined to change the subject if you hear something divisive, the problem is that you still hear it. You can’t take it back. You can’t get it out of your mind. It is imbedded there and the Devil knows that. Your mind will ponder it, even if you don’t discuss it with anyone else, the seed is planted and it begins to grow into it’s evil work. So, the best thing to do is tell the person that you will not entertain any part of that subject, and if you persist, then I must leave. If there is no change on their part, and they persist in sowing discord, then it is best to not even fellowship with them. Love them, but don’t listen to someone who is saying things that are dividing up the brethren. Once it is in your mind, it will eat you up.

If you think you are unintentionally sowing discord amongst the brethren, then you need to ask the Lord for forgiveness. Then the best rule of thumb is to hold your tongue (James 3:5, 6, 8). Learn to be a good listener and not a talker. If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.

If you are not sure if you are saying divisive things or not, you need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to put His finger on that part of your life and identify it. You will know if the peace of God comes upon you. You will know if you are being true to yourself or not.
The vehicle of discord is GOSSIP. Gossip is a truly destructive thing. I am not talking about talking about each other. That is not gossip. Gossip is when you a person speaks idle tales; tattles; or tells destructive things about each other. You can always tell a gossip because they like to talk allot. They talk so much that it is difficult to end a conversation with them. They also like to say the same thing over and over. And, the subject of their conversation does not brag on or build another person up, it tears others down. Their conversations therefore, are usually filled with self exaltation at the expense of others. And this is where the discord comes in. To promote self, you must put down others, hence–discord.
Recently our church has come together with one common cause. The Devil does not like it when we are united. His attack will come in many forms, but all with the intention of sowing discord amongst the brethren. I trust this article will give you some insight on how to recognize it and what to do when you identify it. May God bless you richly as you serve the Lord.

The Spiritual Battlefield

One thing which is true of all followers of Christ, eventually you will have your time on the spiritual battlefield. 2 Chronicles 32 covers the actions that King Hezekiah took in order to defend Jerusalem from the Assyrian army, and gives great examples of what we should do in order to win our own spiritual battles:

  1. Secure Godly support. In verse 3, Hezekiah first consulted with those he trusted. If you don’t have Christian friends who are growing, advancing and deepening their walk with Christ, PRAY for some. Proverbs 15:22 tells us, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
  2. Stop the flow of sin. Then, in verse 4, Hezekiah stopped the flow of water which would have given strength to the enemy. There are things which we sometimes allow into our lives which give strength to OUR enemy, the devil. One of the most important strategic moves in spiritual battle is to make sure that the flow of un-Godly, unrighteous, sinful “stuff” in our lives is stopped. It can come in many different forms, including television shows, movies, music, books or websites which contain material which is counter to what God’s word would have us consume.
  3. Repair, Restore and fortify. In verse 5, Hezekiah began making repairs to the wall around the city. The very nature of this undertaking required first examining the entire lower wall, to find the problem areas. Similarly, it is necessary that Christians examine their own lives often, to make sure there are no areas which make us easy prey for the enemy. Galatians 6:4-5 tells us, each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.
  4. Weapons for battle. Verse 5 also mentions the weapons King Hezekiah made for his people. You and I are blessed to possess our own “armory”, prepared for us by our King. Read and study Ephesians 6:10-18 to learn more about the spiritual armor. If God’s people go into battle without these resources, we are defeated before we even begin.

The battle belongs to the Lord! Finally, verses 6 through 8 recount Hezekiah’s encouragement of the people for battle, as he reminded them that their enemies were simply fighting in the flesh, but the Israelites had the full power of God with them. He did not simply issue orders and edicts, and tell the people “We’re going to war! Get to your stations!” This king actually took the opportunity in what was a very tense time, to encourage the people, reminding them not of who THEY were, but of who their GOD was.

There are many different verses of encouragement in God’s word which remind us that God doesn’t just go into battle with us, but before us, preparing the way for victory. My wife recently reminded me of one, when she returned from a ministers’ wives retreat months ago. It was part of the short speech David gave to Goliath before he killed him in 1 Samuel 17. He said in verse 47, “the battle belongs to the LORD.”

God’s people will certainly find themselves involved in spiritual battles throughout their lives. However, as the people of God, not only do we need not fear defeat, but we can be assured of victory when we honor our Lord, and use the resources He has given us.