The Future

We shall be saved much heartbreak if we stop forever expecting what we would call ‘fair’ or ‘just’. Frequently the innocent suffer and evil men prosper. This has been the pattern since the world began.

It is not, of course, the final answer, for that we cannot see in this world, but in the present tangled field of human life, both good and evil grow together until the harvest.

The Christian has such and advantage as he faces a new year. He knows that nothing in life, however painful or distressing, can ever separate him from the love of God.

Always, at all times, waking and sleeping, he is held in that unfailing love. As John Greenleaf Whittier put is so rightly, “I only know I cannot drift beyond His love and care.” ~J. B. Phillips

Foolish Talk

 

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“Coarse and foolish talking are not suitable” Ephesians 5:4

Greg came home early to pack for his favorite twice-yearly Men’s Fellowship gathering at Camp Angelus above the Southern California Valley. Away from the wilting heat, smog and everyday life, nearly 500 Christian men gathered to sing, pray, learn, share and be changed by a desire to serve God with all their hearts.

By dinner, most of the men had checked in, found their room assignments and changed into comfortable clothes. They headed for the dining room to find a dazzling spread of snacks to satisfy their light hunger and prepare them for the evening’s speaker, Dan Wilson.

Dan was a young pastor of an impressive church with more than 3,500 in attendance. He was fast becoming well-known among pastors and book readers. His first book, Jesus Broke the Rules was selling quickly, even though some thought the cover art of a muscular Christ, punching gigantic pillars into rubble seemed rather worldly and crude as though Jesus used his powerful physique to accomplish his examples.

Obviously, the men at this conference weren’t bothered by the muscular Jesus on Dan’s book. Within seconds, the wood-paneled conference room was filled with men laughing uproariously, tears running down their cheeks. Dan was charismatic and excelled with comedic illustrations. Just before he finished, Dan managed to slip in a prayer as he released  the men with a quick reminder to “get a copy of my book while they last.”

At one of the tables, four men were still smiling, except for Steve. “That guy was fantastic,” Bill said. “His stories about wives and husbands hit the nail right on the head. But I’m not sure my wife would appreciate the humor as much as we did. But that’s the difference between men and women, right?”

As the others were nodding  in agreement Steve said, “Are you sure we should have been laughing? At first I thought he was funny too but then I was convicted by the Holy Spirit and I think most of his stories were crude and foolish. I don’t think we would have been laughing so hard if Jesus had appeared.”

Silence at the table. Steve knew they were upset so he left the table, headed for a walk to clear up his mind and talk with the Lord. This was a first for him. Before tonight, he would have been laughing just as hard as everyone else. God was changing him and he wanted the change. Allowing himself to become crude and foolish for the sake of getting a laugh paled in comparison to walking closer with the Lord.

  • Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
  • Ephesians 5:4 “Dirty stories, foul talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, remind each other of God’s goodness, and be thankful.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:15-16 “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.”
  • 1 Timothy 6:20 “Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.”
  • Colossians 3:8-9 “But now put these things out of your life: anger, bad temper, doing or saying things to hurt others, and using evil words when you talk. Do not lie to each other. You have left your old sinful life and the things you did before.”
  • Colossians 4:6 “Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.”

Our words can harm, hurt, divide and create sinful images in the mind. But God’s word is always pure and precise. If we choose to use each other as examples or measuring sticks, then our words will ultimately do harm. But when we choose to follow the Holy Spirit’s Guidance our words will represent God, bringing healing and comfort to all who hear.

 

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

6 Days!

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“In the beginning God created—” Genesis 1:1

 

“Did God create everything in six literal days?” This question has been asked millions of times since God spoke all creation into existence thousands of years ago. As a non-Bible reading person, the question seems logical. After all, the idea of the universe, man, animals, plants, earth, sky and water spoken into being over six days does seem incredible, even unbelievable. But is it impossible for God? According to the Bible, these are the things God created in six days:

Day 1 — light and time (Gen 1:3-5);

Day 2 — the sky and “separated” waters (Gen 1:6-8);

Day 3 — dry ground, bodies of water, and plants (Gen 1:9-13);

Day 4 — the sun, moon, stars, and planets (Gen 1:14-19);

Day 5 — fish and birds (Gen 1:20-23);

Day 6 — land animals and humans (Gen 1:24-30; 2:7,15-25).

On the seventh day God rested from his work (Genesis 2:2-3).  

God also reveals that the days of creation were six normal, 24-hour days.  As God said for each day, “And there was evening, and there was morning” (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31), and as Moses stated, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11).

As the writer to the Hebrews says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3).  Therefore, in the beginning God created the world and everything we see in the universe out of what you couldn’t see, out of nothing.

It is our nature to understand how things are done, created, built, manufactured. We’re naturally curious, seeking a reasonable answer. But God is beyond our understanding isn’t He? Otherwise He wouldn’t be God and could be understood by all humans. However, He is God the creator. He is Jesus the Savior. He is the Holy Spirit, our guide and counselor.

When we ask God why, He may answer, “Because I love you and have a plan for you.” Jeremiah 29:11. God could have created everything in one second but He didn’t. Likewise, He doesn’t need hundreds of millions of years either.

If we decide the creation account in Genesis, chapter one does not mean literal days, we are saying the Bible is in error. If that is the case, how can any of the Bible be accurate? We have opened the door to our own interpretation for all of it. What about John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” We may decide the actual meaning does not apply to people today. This was written for those alive at that time. The Bible is God’s written word for all people of the earth, regardless of location, age or culture.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

 

 

 

He Who Serves God From Love

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He who serves God from love. . .walks in the path of wisdom, not because of any worldly advantage, nor to protect himself from evil, not to inherit good thereafter, he does the right because it is right, though in the end the blessing will not fail him.”

                                                                                                 Moses Maimonides 1135-1204