Monday, 15 April 2013 12:59:00
Did you know that a three-strand cord is not easily broken? That’s what Ecclesiastes 4:12 says. I suppose that’s why Jesus sent his disciples out two by two in Matthew 10:5-8 to “preach . . . heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead and cast out devils,” because along with each pair of disciples came the third in the party, the Holy Spirit. In the same way Deuteronomy 32:30 speaks of one chasing a thousand, but two putting “ten thousand to flight” with the understanding that God, who makes up the third, is with them.
So we see exponential power here. What one can’t accomplish two can, and that is especially true in ministry or in matters of spiritual warfare or in times of trials and hardship. In these, and indeed any serious situations requiring God’s hand to move, it is always best to join forces with someone else. We are not meant to labor alone. Christians are part of a body, the Body of Christ. We need each other and should not isolate ourselves. And things always seem easier when two are involved.
Unfortunately, during our most difficult hour we often pull back and withdraw. And that’s just the opposite of what we should do. Satan, who walks about like a roaring lion “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), likes nothing better than to see a wounded sheep isolated because he knows it will be easier to defeat him/her if separated from the flock.
So if you are experiencing hardship or a crisis or some serious problem, reach out to a trusted friend, and partner in prayer with him/her. It’s amazing how much easier the load will seem and how much power the prayers will generate for it goes without saying that God will be there. After all, He has promised that where two or more are gathered in His name there He will be in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20), making the three-strand cord mighty indeed!
Until next time,
Monday, 25 February 2013 18:25:00
Here’s a contrast for you. Both Mark 3:1-6 and Luke 6:6-11 talk about how Jesus went into a synagogue on the Sabbath and saw a man with a withered hand. At once the Pharisees perk up. Maybe here was their chance to get something on Jesus! Of course Jesus knew their mind and at once tells the man with the injured hand to stand up. Then Jesus asks “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life or to kill?” When no one has the courage to answer, Jesus becomes angry because of “the hardness of their hearts,” and at once commands the man, who was probably trembling at this point, to stretch out his poor withered hand. And as soon as he does, his hand is healed. And how did the Pharisees react? They left and took counsel on how to kill Jesus.
What? Kill Jesus for healing on the Sabbath when He had already told them He was Lord of the Sabbath? Not exactly. Then kill Jesus out of jealousy and use this perceived violation of the Sabbath as an excuse? Yes, and that’s exactly what they try to do.
Where does such jealousy come from? The answer is simple: Satan. He used these men to try to prevent Jesus from blessing the man with the withered hand. Jesus had already told these types of Pharisees in John 8:44 that they were of their “father the devil.” And these Pharisees were just acting like their “father.” The truth is, Satan doesn’t want any of us blessed by God. He doesn't want us to have what he cannot. And he'll do all in his powered to keep us from our blessings. He doesn’t want us saved or healed or delivered or prospering in any way. He would prefer to see us lost, sick, tormented and poor in mind and spirit as well as in material matters.
On the other hand, God is jealous, too. In Exodus 20:5 God says, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them (graven images), nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.” It even carries a severe penalty because if you continue reading that same passage, it says “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” But it’s also followed by a promise in verse 6, “and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
God is serious about our relationship with Him. And He wants that relationship to be exclusive, intimate, and deep so He can freely pour out His blessings on us, which are many; the chief among them being His loving presence and fellowship.
Make no mistake. In this life we will be touched by the first type of jealousy or the second. For my part I prefer the second.
Until next time,
Monday, 28 January 2013 16:16:00
Demons are real. Just ask anyone who has come out of the occult and been saved by Jesus. Even so, it’s a subject rarely talked about in Christian circles in spite of the fact that the Bible often mentions demons, and in spite of the fact that Scripture tells us Satan can appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14); in other words, like something benign, even desirable. And isn’t that happening now? Millions of our children are being desensitized to the occult by Harry Potter books full of witchcraft and sorcery, as well as the Twilight movie series depicting vampires, a traditional satanic symbol, and all portrayed in a desirable light.
But make no mistake, Satan and His hoards are anything but benign or desirable. If you follow Jesus to the country of the Gadarenes in Matthew 8:28-34 you see two men under the control of demons. And what a pathetic sight! We are told they are savage, that they shriek and scream, showing them to be wild, without self control, and mentally tormented. And no one can get near these men without injury. In Mark 5:1-5 we learn they don’t live in houses but in the tombs, desolate and alone, isolated from normal life and the company of others. Mark tells us they cut themselves with rocks. The Amplified goes even further and tells us they beat and bruised themselves. Luke 8:27 adds that they wore no clothes. This is a clear and vivid picture of what our enemy wants to do. It depicts the sorry state to which he desires to reduce us, a state of torment and isolation, where we inflict pain upon ourselves and others. And the sad thing is that every day, more and more people are opening themselves up to the incursion of Satan through demonically inspired books, movies, music as well as the use of drugs, etc. It is so pervasive I fear we could lose an entire generation of young people.
The good news is that Jesus, with just His words of “Be gone!” was able to drive out the demons which were called “legion” because there were so many of them. It’s interesting to note that Jesus allowed the demons to enter a herd of swine. Pork was forbidden under the Levitical Law. So what was an entire herd of pigs doing in the land? Illustrating that the Jews were not following their laws, thus opening themselves up to Satanic attack. As Christians we are under grace and have only two laws to follow: 1) Love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength, and 2) love our neighbor as ourselves. Both of which the Holy Spirit empowers us to do.
We need to know our enemy. He is nothing like God. He is no gentleman, doesn’t play fair, lies, deceives, gives no quarter, is cruel and, as 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, goes about like a “roaring lion . . . seeking whom he may devour.” Jesus Himself warns us that the devil has three goals for each of us: to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Therefore, we must be vigilant and not give Satan any place in our lives.
Until next time,
Monday, 23 April 2012 12:54:00
In the eternal sphere, something terrible happened in the heavens. A rebellion of unimaginable scope disrupted God’s perfect order. Things were obviously said about His nature and character, His motives, perhaps even His fitness and right to rule when one-third of the angles shook off His authority. Under the leadership of Satan, this horde struck out on their own with the intention of bringing down God’s rule because Satan obviously believed he could run things better. The Book of Enoch and Jubilees and Jasher all give a sense of just how old this ancient conflict between good and evil is.
So what was God to do? He could easily have struck down the rebels with a flick of a finger or clamped them in irons. After all, they were created beings. His created beings. But that would still leave the swirl of accusations, begun by the Accuser, to possibly foment another rebellion among those angels still loyal.
A definite predicament. How to, once and for all, extract justice for the crime perpetuated against Him and His kingdom, while at the same time illustrate His true loving character and lay rest all those lies and accusations circulating about Him? His plan was brilliant, magnanimous, and terrifying all at once. He would create time, a set span of minutes and hours in which he would unfold His plan and display His true nature, and thus repair the torn fabric of His kingdom. Indeed, we see in Genesis 1:1 where it states “In the beginning, God . . . .” In the beginning of what? Since eternity has no beginning, it obviously means the beginning of time, the beginning of the present age. And what did He do in this “beginning”? He created the heavens and earth for the first time, then recreated them again in Genesis 1:2 for the second time. Since God never creates anything that is void and without form, many Bible scholars believe there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, and that the first world was destroyed sometime after Satan’s rebellion. I think it’s a plausible scenario.
Then God created man, and gave him the charge to replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28) again alluding to the fact that this earth on which man now walked was a recreation. And God did all this while allowing Satan to continue fomenting rebellion, and while knowing that man, too, would sin and need a savior. And God did it all knowing that He Himself was to be the remedy and that it would come at a great cost. Revelation 13:8 talks about the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth,” showing God’s foreknowledge not only of man’s original sin but also of what God’s intended solution would be.
Thus, we are all living in a timeline, a timeline set by God, Himself, and one that will last only until His full plan is accomplished. So where are we on this timeline, now? According to the Bible, very little remains to be fulfilled. It seems that more and more commentary is coming out about it every day: the rapture of the church, the rise of the antichrist, the one world government and monetary system, the seven year tribulation, the return of Jesus.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that time is running out. It’s running out for Satan, for us, for the world systems. And at its end, God will have put to rest all questions of His character, His nature, His love and kindness, His fairness, His patience and long suffering. No angel, no demon, no man, no woman will be able to cast doubts about Him again, for all He will have to do is point to the corridor of time as His witness. And then there will be a clear divide between those who love Him and those who don’t. And that divide will remain forever as, once again, things revert back to eternity.
Until next week,