Tag Archives: Devil

Dealing with the End of All Things.

Dearest Brethren, The end of all things is at hand.  It has been for some time now.  Each generation of Christians have thought the same as we do today: “How can things get much worse?”  Each generation has had to deal with a turbulent and spiteful world system, while at the same time loving the souls that are captured by it.  How did they do it in the past?  How can we deal with this awkward and evil situation ourselves? 

Well, it is safe to assume that they took comfort and instruction from the Word of God.  In 1 Peter 4:7-10 we are instructed to be “…sober and watch unto prayer.”  Most importantly, to “…have fervent charity among…” ourselves because charity covers a “…multitude of sins.”  Furthermore, to be hospitable “…one to another without grudging…” and to take care of each other as we “minister “…as good stewards of …” “grace”. 

To not get duped by this world system, we need to be sober.  This deals directly with the intoxicating influence of alcohol, liquor or spirits.  But too, it addresses the influence of any passion of worldly influence.  In other words, it addresses keeping one’s “right mind.”  You have heard it said that in any stressful situation you should not panic, to keep your wits about you?  This admonition speaks to keeping a sober mind.  If we do so, then we will be attentive to the sneakiness of the Devil.  He is more deceptive than one can ever imagine.  How can we combat this deception?  How can we keep sober?  We must pray.  But not just any old praying.

Dealing with the deception of the Devil is like suddenly realizing we are in the middle of a field of land mines.  We find ourselves in such precarious situations because we do not pay attention to where we walk.  By ourselves, we can never detect the mines; they are so well hidden.  So we need a mine detector to sweep the area in front of us so we can find the mines.  Only then we can traverse the field safely.  Our prayer to God needs to be for a mine detector of spiritual deception of the Devil.  We need to ask God to show us were the mines are that can so easily trip us up.

“God please show me where the Devil is working on my life.  He wants me to fall, and I cannot see His deception.  Please identify them and help me to go around them so I can walk through this day for you without being a casualty.”

Charity (i.e. Love) is our combative weapon for dealing with a love stripped world system.

Love does not beat people down for their problems of failures.  Love either exalts someone else or says nothing at all that would be derogatory about them.

People of the world system love too!  There is no doubt about that.  They were created in the image of God as well, so they too have the attributes and emotions that God has.  It is just that they use them for things they are not meant to be used for.  Have you ever needed a screwdriver for some household chore and couldn’t find one?  I’ll bet you headed for the utensil drawer of the kitchen and picked out a butter knife to use it as a screwdriver.  What happened?  Did  you bend the tip because the screw was too tight?  Probably.

The world uses love to love self and not others.  They use something God gave them for helping others for themselves.  They bent the tip and ruined it.

Christians need not “bend the tip.”  Loving one another is the only combative weapon that Christians have to fight back against this world system.

How is it so effective in fighting the world system?  It covers the multitude of sins.  It looks beyond peoples faults.  You say, “But he/she does things wrong.”  Yes, you will notice the faults of others.  We all do that.  But love is when we know someone’s faults, but we choose to ignore it.  We choose to not bring it up.  We choose to not make a big deal about it.  That is love.  That is how Christians treat each other, especially during these last days.  We have enough enemies.  There are enough people in the world telling us to love self, pointing out our faults and directing/establishing blame.  With love, we don’t need any of that.

This is where “grudging” or begrudging comes in.  There are enough people in our lives that hold grudges.  “Grudging” is: being uneasy at another’s possession of something which we have a desire to possess.  Somebody else has something and we want it.  That is holding a grudge.  This can be with a physical object (new car, tv, dress, etc.) as well as prestige, honor or focus.  When someone gets special favor and you don’t, that is grudging.  Why does he/she get attention and I don’t?  Usually, we won’t say it out loud to someone because we are afraid of sounding petty or immature.  But we should not even think it for even one second, and if we do, we should shake that thought out of our head immediately.  That is called love.  That is thinking better of our brother or sister and rejoicing in their blessing.  This is how we minister to one another—LOVE.

With this type of living, all of our Christian ancestors have survived under difficult circumstances.  In fact, the trials for some was death, torture and degradation.  Yet they still loved.  Why?  They did so to cope with the difficulties they experienced.  After all, what kind of life would you have if all you ever did was begrudging and hating your entire life?

So, let us be sober and watch unto prayer.  Lets look for ways to love each other and the community in which we live.  What can we do in the life of another person that can make their journey along the pathway of this life a little easier?  Then, let us turn it into a fervent love so we can cover sin.  Sin does not need to be exposed and exalted.  It needs to be disdained and covered over with the blood of the Lamb.  Lets have a little grace.  With grace we can minister to each other.  The primary ones to “hold up” are those of our own church first.  It is no good to help other Christians while overlooking those of our own family.  In this we are “…stewards of the manifold grace of God.”        ~Pastor

Help for Sifted Saints in Trials

Luke 22:31-34 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

A shipwrecked man managed to reach an uninhabited island. There, to protect himself against the elements and to safeguard the few possessions he had salvaged, he painstakingly built a little hut from which he constantly and prayerfully scanned the horizon for the approach of a ship. Returning one evening after a search for food, he was terrified to find the hut completely enveloped in flames. Yet by divine mercy this hard affliction was changed into a mighty advantage. Early the following morning he awoke to find a ship anchored off the island. When the captain stepped ashore, he explained, “We saw your smoke signal and came.” Everything the marooned man owned had to be destroyed before he could be rescued.

The trials and adversities of life are never pleasant, but in them we learn the secrets of His presence. None of us wishes for trials or adversity, but it is through them that God refines the metal of our lives and molds us into His image. Just as metal is placed in a furnace and heated to a white hot state so the dross can be removed, God allows us to enter the furnace of affliction so that He might refine and purify our lives.

In our text, Simon Peter is made to understand the fact that he is about to be tested. He is encouraged in this revelation by the fact that the Lord Himself will take an active part in his trial. I know people who are going through adversity. I know they face battles and trials that cannot be imagined. However, I also know there is hope! This passage lets us know that we do not have to fail in the attacks of life. We do not have to crawl away in defeat, never to be heard from again. Anyone can endure the trials, tests and adversities of life. Even if you have failed, you can still rise from the ashes and salvage what Satan has attempted to destroy. There is Help For Sifted Saints.

“Satan Is Determined To Destroy Your Life with trials!”

Jesus tells Peter that Satan has made a request to have “all” the disciples to test the reality of their faith. The word “desired” means “to demand, to ask for oneself.” The word “you” is plural in nature. It is a request for all the disciples. His demand is that he might “sift” them. This is an agricultural term that refers to the savage process of separating the husk of the wheat from the grain. The wheat was crushed under foot, then it was agitated, or thrown into the air. The chaff, or husk, was blown away by the wind and all that was left behind was the good grain. Satan wanted to tear at the heart of God by proving that there was no reality to the faith of the disciples. Satan believed that he could crush them, sift them and that nothing would be left but a lost heart. He had already done this with Judas! He believed that he could do it to the rest.

We battle a determined enemy. He wants nothing more than to cut the heart of God by sifting our lives. He wants to prove that we are phonies. He wants to show God and the world that there is nothing to our professions of faith. He wants to destroy everything of value in your life.  The Bible tells us in 1 Pet. 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  He wants to ruin your testimony. He wants to destroy your home. He wants to wreck your influence. He wants to take away everything of value in your life and leave you with nothing but a devastated shell of what you had!

If he can get you to believe a false profession, he will. If he can get your eyes off Jesus, he will. If he can drive a wedge between you and the members of your family, he will. If he can drive a wedge between you and the members of your church, he will. He will do everything he can to cut the heart of God and ruin your life! He will use whatever tactic he deems necessary to get you to fall, just like he did to Adam and Eve in Gen. 3:1-6. He will never stop until you fall, or you die!

If the devil gets his way in your life and you succumb to his attacks, remember this: Your sin doesn’t just affect you, it affects everyone around you! It is the absolute height of selfishness to live just to please yourself, while having no regard to what your sin is doing to your family, your church and to others in your sphere of influence! Surely you will agree with the Bible where it says in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”! David’s sin with Bathsheba, (2 Sam. 11), affected him, Bathsheba, their baby, Bathsheba’s husband, and the house of David for years to come! You never walk away clean when you choose to walk away in sin!

“The Saints Have A Powerful Ally In Their Corner during trials!”

While all the disciples were in Satan’s sights, Peter received the promise of intercession. Jesus was praying for them all, but He spoke especially to Peter, because He knew that Peter was about to take the biggest fall, v. 34. Sin isn’t a maybe in our lives, it is a given!  The Bible tells us, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10).  All the disciples failed the Lord that night, Mark 14:50 “…they all forsook him, and fled.”  But Peter went beyond simple failure into the realm of outright denial of any relationship to Jesus when he said in Luke 22:57, “…Woman, I know him not.”

The times of testing and failure will come in our lives, but in the midst of them, let us take courage in the fact that we have Someone pleading our case, taking our part, praying for us in Heaven:

  • Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
  • Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
  • 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Satan may have his devices and his schemes to tempt us and try us, but he doesn’t have the last word! In the midst of his scheming and planning, Jesus “butts” in to stand by our side until the trial has passed! He will never leave us, regardless of the task or trial.  He says, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”, (Heb. 13:5.)

Just because a temptation is offered to you, that does not mean that you have to fall into sin. Jesus has equipped us with all the resources we will ever need to be able to withstand anything the devil throws at us:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  • Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
  • James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

“No Failure from trials Should Ever Be Considered Final!”

Jesus makes it clear that Peter will fall, “when thou art converted”, means “when you have repented, or come back to me”, but that his fall will not be the final statement of his life. He was going to be restored and he was going to be used of the Lord in a great way. His preaching at Pentecost, and the great acts of faith of his life are some of those ways.

People may come under this kind of attack someday and fall into sin. Some have fallen and have already come back. Others have fallen and are still in that fallen state. It is comforting to know that your fall does not have to define your life!

God has made provision for the cleansing and the restoration of those who fall into sin. Those provisions include Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness. When we come clean about our sins and turn from them, the Lord will forgive and restore the fallen one to a place of service and blessing.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  This truth is illustrated in the life of the Prodigal Son and what happened when he returned to his father, Luke 15:11-24.

When a person walks away from the things of the Lord and goes into sin and stays there, it means that one of two things is true:

  1. They were never really saved.  1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would not doubt have continued with us: bur they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

  2. They are in open rebellion and are subject to the wrath and chastisement of the Lord.  Rev. 3:19 says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Genuine faith will falter, but it will never utterly fail! Peter came back because he was saved. When he was sifted, it was proven that his profession was genuine. There was some chaff, but there was a grain of real faith too!

When a believer falls into sin, those who genuinely love them will seek to restore them, Gal. 6:1-2. They will not condone or support their sinful actions, but they will not abandon them completely either!

“Never Say Never during trials!”

When Peter hears this prediction he, in typical Peter style, boasts of his love and devotion to the Lord. He vows to go to prison or even to death to prove his allegiance to Jesus. Peter forgot a very important principle of life, “Never Say Never!” No one is above falling into the snare of the enemy. Only when you are in his sifter can you know exactly what you will do! It is a dangerous thing to rely upon yourself and your ability to withstand temptation and testing.  The Bible says, “…let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10:12). We’ve all seen someone act in certain ways and we have said, “I would never do that!” Be careful!

You are weakest in the area of your greatest strength! That may sound like a contradiction or a paradox, but it is true nonetheless! When you begin to think you have an area of your life absolutely conquered and that sin cannot possibly occur there, you will tend to let your guard down. When that happens you can be sure that the enemy will target you for sifting! Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 28:26 says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”  If you have the feeling that “It can’t happen to me!”, you are in danger of falling today!

The way an Eskimo kills a wolf is grizzly, yet it offers fresh insight into the consuming, self-destructive nature of sin. First the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder, the wolf licks the blade in the Arctic night. So great becomes the craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more–until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!

Such is the power sin has to destroy our lives. Thankfully, it does not have to be that way. Jesus has done everything necessary to provide a plan of salvation that will work for all people. He has promised to pray for us and to see us through the times of temptation and sifting. He has promised to receive, forgive and restore us when we do fail. There is no need for anyone to allow sin to devastate their life. If you want help as you face the times of sifting in life, you will find it in Jesus, and in Him alone!

JUST DO IT!

2011 Family Street Preaching 004I was pleased and overjoyed when God’s people go out on the streets preaching His Word.  I know that this really makes the Devil mad.  He would like nothing better than to discourage the entire church from doing anything for the Lord, AND he knows that the best time to do that is now.

It is so easy to just go to church and receive all of the blessings of God, and not really do anything to get people saved.  It takes a real love for the Lord to transcend from being a “taker” being a “giver” of the blessings of God.  Jesus said, “if  ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).    It takes a love for Jesus to do what He says and the final thing He told us to do before ascending into heaven was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:”  If we are not actively engaged in trying to get people saved, then we are not following His commandment, and our love for Him should come under evaluation to see if it is appropriate.

I know that it encourages me to see others love the Lord so much so that they are really out there on the front lines doing something for Him.  Likewise, I know that it discourages me to see people doing nothing for the Lord.  I know one may say, “Well, I teach a Sunday school class.  Isn’t that doing something for the Lord?”  True, it is doing something for the Lord, but is it doing what He has commanded all Christians to do?  Is it what He wrote down in His Word?  Another might say, “Well, I have a family so I know that I already have a ministry; my first ministry is to my family and If I don’t take care of them, I am worse than an infidel.  Isn’t that doing something for the Lord?”  True, it is doing something for the Lord and He has made that clear in His Word that we are to take care of our family, but is that doing what he commanded regarding getting people saved?

 I know that it is easy to get distracted with the cares and burdens of life.  There is always something to do; some sickness to deal with; some appointment to keep.  All of these things are necessary, but we must be careful to not get out of balance and one day find out we have replaced them for the endeavor of getting people saved.  Why?  Because people are watching.

Everyone is watching our lives to see how a Christian is supposed to act; what they are supposed to be doing.  Our children are scrutinizing our life and learning by our actions how they are to approach living for the Lord.  For example: are they learning that going to church is something you show up “just on time” for, or even show up late?  Do they see you show up late for work?  For appointments with the world?  This is not to say that such things are not important, but what message are they getting when they compare those things of the world you are involved in with your relationship to God’s things?  Do they see you staying up all night to prepare for work, but “throwing together” something to teach in the House of the Living God?  What message do we think they might get?  Perhaps you are more vocal and straightforward with your attack upon God’s work by gossiping; running down the church or badmouthing the preacher or other Christians with your mouth (James 1:26; 3:5, 6, 8).  You are not doing anything to help God’s cause.  You are intentionally hurting God’s cause and discouraging your brothers and sisters as well.  Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).  I would certainly not want to find myself in that situation.  If I did, I would repent of that quickly.

It has been said that we cannot see the forest for the trees, likewise we cannot really see what message we are portraying by our actions because we are too close to the situation.  But, others are seeing the situation of our “life message” from a much greater vantage point.  They can “see the forest.”

Doing wrong things certainly preaches a message about how we really feel about something, but there is something more damaging:  that is when we don’t do something right.  Usually people think that: “if I just don’t do anything to hurt the cause, then I will be okay.”  But, this is not true.

Doing something you choose to do can be even more destructive than doing nothing at all, for it may border on the line of hypocritical.  That is to say, people may think that you are doing just fine, when all the time you are still not doing what the Lord commanded.  You certainly don’t look like you are against the Lord, you look like you are doing what God said when all the time you are doing nothing.  The message this preaches is: “How to look like you are doing what you should be doing, but not do it.”  The Christian who is not doing anything to witness or get people saved, is undermining the Lord’s work because of his/her inconsistency.  If they were actively witnessing (passing out tracts, holding signs, coming to visitation, etc), they would be inspiring and teaching others how a New Testament Saint is supposed to be acting.  This is very important, especially in this Laodicean age in which the entire world is void of true gospel witnesses.

Maybe it has been so long since you passed out a tract that you have become frightened.  Most people reason this down to one of the most popular lies of the Devil: “I don’t want to offend anyone.”  How offended do you think they would feel at the Great White Throne Judgment being dragged away by the angels to be thrown into the Lake of fire as you watch on, knowing that you could have at least done something to give them a chance.  I know I would wish you did something for me.  In fact, I am glad that someone did do something for me.

Sometimes the Devil convinces us that we just need to wait for the right moment; the right opportunity.  This is such a damaging lie that it is not even worth contemplating for the Child of God who loves His father.  God said, “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).  Today is the day to tell someone about Jesus.  Now is the time to say something to your friend.

Instead of offending somebody, we should be thinking about offending the Lord.  He certainly would think highly of us if we were at least trying to get someone saved.  Inversely, how do you think He feels about us when we are doing nothing?  How will we really be able to stand before Him one day and give accounting for why we didn’t do what we were supposed to do?  Will it not be a question of love?

I know that most people feel inside that they would like to do something for the Lord.  In fact, they know that they should be witnessing, but they just don’t do it.  It becomes like so many “ruts” we experience in our lives when we get to that stage.  I would like to say I sympathize, but I really cannot, because I don’t want to endorse not doing what we should be doing.  Like giving advice to a smoker who is trying to quit; I don’t really want to tell them “its okay” because I don’t want them to give up trying.

So, while the Devil gets mad and tries to keep us in our “rut,” the only way out is to “JUST DO IT!”  The only way to change this situation is to just begin witnessing.  You can write a letter to a stranger, send them a tract, give a word of testimony outside the church, or hold up a Scripture sign.  There are many ways to “get onboard.”  Best of all is to come to the visitation time on Saturday mornings, even if it is just for a little bit.  You know there is strength in numbers, and if kids can do it, then we can too.  I’ll be there, and for your own spiritual health, I pray you will be there too!

~Pastor

If I were the Devil

By

Paul Harvey

If I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree—THEE.  So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States.

I’d subvert the churches first.  I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.”  To the young, I’d whisper that the Bible is a myth.  I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would convince that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”.  And the old I would teach to pray after me, “Our father which art in Washington”.  And then I’d get organized.  I’d educate authors how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the Devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves, until each in it’s turn was consumed.  And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the devil, I would encourage school to refine young intellects, but to neglect to discipline emotions; just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

Within a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography.  Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of congress.  And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science.  I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.

If I were the devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle.

If I were the Devil, I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.  And what do you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich?

I would caution against extremes, and hard work, and patriotism, and moral conduct.  I would convince the young that marriage is old fashion, and swinging is more fun; that what you see on T.V. is the way to be.  And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.

In other words, if I were the devil, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.

Paul Harvey, Good Day.