He Is Able

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“To Him who is able to do far more abundantly” Eph 3:20

How much freedom do I give the Holy Spirit to guide and direct the ship of my life? Yes, I am a believer and know absolutely that I will dwell with my God for eternity. But—what about now? Is the Holy Spirit free to change the direction of my ship mid-stream? Or do I smile and say, “Praise the Lord” while holding firmly to my rudder, sometimes with both hands.

Ephesians 3:20-21   Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

In Christ, our lives have no limits except those which are self-imposed. Before Christ, our lives were like a series of boxes stacked upon one another. Each box had restrictions and constraints. We believed in the boxes and their supposed value to our lives. But, thanks be to God, through our faith in Christ, those boxes have been demolished. And now we can see horizons without limits.

Phil 3:7-8  “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that I consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Phil 3:13  “But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

The past and its sins belongs right there, in the past. Leave it alone and be refreshed daily as God’s new creation created in Christ Jesus.

Gal 6:14-15  But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For both circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing; what matters, instead is a new creation.”

2 Cor 2:10  “For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”

2 Cor 5:17  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”

You’ll notice that the Scripture doesn’t say, If anyone is in Christ he has been given a new, shiny box to live in! Quite the contrary, God tells us the elements, strategies, foundations and ideas of our old lives have PASSED AWAY! We are miraculously new creations with a fresh start. New hope. New power. Eternally forgiven. Let us leave our former burdens at the foot of His cross and walk away from them. They are no longer an option.

1 Peter 1:3-4  May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! On account of his vast mercy, he has given us new birth. You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You have a pure and enduring inheritance that cannot perish—an inheritance that is presently kept safe in heaven for you.

 

Demons

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit- 1 John 4:1

This is a true story taken from “I Talked With Spirits” by Victor Ernest who grew up in a home that conducted seances and believed in spiritualism. Later, Vic became a Baptist minister who understood the absolute truth of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

        “I began to read Genesis. The story of creation was familiar to me, but before long I got bogged down in the genealogies of generations. Thinking that the Bible was like any other book, I decided to turn to the end to see how it all turned out.

        I got mired down again, this time in the symbolism of the Revelation. A little discouraged, I almost set my bible to one side. However, I was reluctant to let my investment lie idle (he had bought his first Bible), so I decided to explore the middle, shorter books of the New Testament.

        The First Epistle of John was the first book I read in its entirety. When I got to the fourth chapter I read with amazement: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits.”

        This was just what I wanted. This must mean there were good spirits and bad spirits. I read on: “. . .to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world.”

        I concluded from this that Jesus had come in the flesh to be a Savior, and that if I didn’t believe this, I was wrong. I decided at the next seance I attended, I would “test the spirits” although I didn’t know how to go about it.

        I was amazed when the control spirit at the very next meeting announced it would be a question-and-answer seance and even specified that the questions were to be of a spiritual nature. This had never happened in any seance I had attended. At such meetings a megaphone (called a trumpet) would float around the table, pausing at each person.

        I directed my first question to the control spirit. In fear and trembling, I asked if he believed that Jesus was the Son of God. I was so excited that it seemed as though someone else were asking the question.

        The control spirit answered smoothly, “Of course, my child, Jesus is the Son of God. Only believe as the Bible says.”

        I had never heard a spirit affirm this. In other seances I had often heard that Jesus was a great medium or a Judean reformer, and that now he was an advanced spirit in one of the higher planes.

        Before long the trumpet was back to me, and I had to ask a second question. Since we were each allowed only three questions, I was anxious to make mine count. This time I falteringly asked, “O thou great and infinite spirit, do you believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world?”

        Almost before my words were uttered, the answer came: “My child, why do you doubt? Why do you not believe? You have been this long with us; why do you continue to doubt?” Then the spirit began to quote Scripture about believing.

        I don’t remember what the verses were, but they sounded authentic to me; the spirit quoted Scripture readily even if not accurately.

        When the trumpet returned for my third and last question, I reviewed what the spirit had said. “O spirit, you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he is the Savior of the world–do you believe that Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood for the remission of sin?”

        The medium, deep in a trance, was catapulted off his chair. He fell in the middle of the living room floor and lay groaning as if in deep pain. The turbulent sounds suggested spirits in a carnival of confusion.

        We all rushed forward to help him. The control spirit had prepared us with instructions about how to revive a person in such an emergency, and we massaged the pulse areas until he revived like a person who had fainted.

        I never went to another seance. I had tested the spirits and found they were not of God. What I had thought to be a great power of God, the Utopia of religious experience, had burst like a bubble. I realized that I had been in contact with the counterfeit of what God has to offer–and I wanted his reality. From that time I began to search God’s Word to find the truth.”

        I know this story to be true because I knew Vic Ernest as a pastor and friend. The reason he wrote this little book was to help Christians understand that seances are real and Satan uses them to confuse and misguide people seeking a spiritual experience. Remember to “test the spirits!”

1 Tim. 4:1  The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

Ephesians 6:10-12  Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

When we take the step of faith to believe in Jesus as the Christ, He does not smile, pat us on the back like an amiable salesperson, open the door to life and say, “Good luck, I’ll see you on the other side!” Instead Jesus says, “I will not leave you alone (Jn 14:18)…I will send you the Advocate, the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify about me.” John 15:26

There are many demons but only one devil

A Renewed Mind

Little Roper (2013_06_21 16_53_37 UTC)

 

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”  Romans 12:2

Charles called the adult Sunday School class to order as he sipped his latte and sniffed the fresh donut in his hand: “Good morning everyone and to those who made it to the opening night play on Saturday…wasn’t that a hoot?”

        Many in the class applauded with enthusiasm, smiling and sharing brief words of encouragement. As they settled down Charles said, “Now I know there was some coarse language scattered here and there, but I think we are all adult enough to put those things out of our minds and just enjoy the brilliant performance. After all, it’s not every day that our city presents professional stage performers of this caliber. Am I right?” Again, lots of enthusiastic response.

        “And before I forget,” Charles continued, “mark Saturday the 25th on your calendars for the annual Rent-a-Slave auction. Last year was probably the best so far and we hope the women will loosen their purse strings this year because we have a few of those hunky firefighters who adorned the latest calendar pages up for bid!” At that the class broke into laughter and thigh slapping which, unfortunately knocked Stella’s soy latte to the newly installed beige carpet.

        Then one of the new class members stood and spoke, “Can I ask a question?”

        “Of course,” Charles said, wiping tears of laughter “go ahead Rick.”

        “I’d like to read a verse from James 4:4…” Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.”

        Silence swept over the class!

        “Maybe we have allowed ourselves to slowly walk away from the Lord, to make friends with the world. Here is another verse from 1st John 2:15-17…Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father.  Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.  The world and the desires it causes are disappearing. But if we obey God, we will live forever.”

        Some in the class hung their heads, wondering what path they had taken and why they’d become so callous toward God’s righteousness. But others sat rigid, stiff-necked, fighting against those feelings, waiting for Rick to stop talking.

        “And in the Gospel of John, chapter 15, verses 18 and 19…If the world hates you, just remember that it has hated me first. If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you as its own. But I chose you from this world, and you do not belong to it; that is why the world hates you.” Rick sat down and prayed, wondering what would happen and if he would be welcomed back to this class.

        Then Simon stood and said, “I’d like to read from Romans 12:1-2…So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”

        By now, tears were streaming down faces, heads were bowed and repentance was in the air. Charles left his place at the podium, sat his coffee and donut aside and knelt in prayer, seeking God’s forgiveness. The class went from jovial, worldly approval to Godly redemption, calling upon the Lord, laying aside worldly cares and pleasures.

        After several minutes, Charles stood, Bible in hand and read from Romans 13:12-14, “The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light. Let us conduct ourselves properly, as people who live in the light of day—no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy. But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires.”

        “Class, I have guided you down a sinful, self-gratifying road and wish to repent,” Charles said. “We can no longer allow ourselves to walk in the flesh as we have been doing. We are grieving almighty God. Read with me in Ephesians 4:22-24…So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new,  and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.”

        “Thank you, Rick for exposing our sinful behavior. As for me, I am kneeling to pray, asking God to forgive me. I don’t know how long I will be here praying, just leave when you must.” At first the class was stunned by Charles’ show of repentance. And then, many of the class followed suit, kneeling in prayer. The Holy Spirit swept through that class, bringing true repentance.