When the devil challenges you

Sometimes the devil will give you a free home Demon-stration.  It happened one Sunday. A man named Weldon came up to our table where we were having coffee and donuts before church.  He told Mike, a leader in the men of the church, what was wrong with their last meeting..  Clearly this was not God talking to us.

How did I know that?  He was taking away from the person and work of Jesus Christ, and saying that the believers had no power over the devil at some specific point.

I shot into the conversation “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.”  This is what Jesus did.  When he faced an evil spirit He quoted scripture. Jesus never treated the person as though s/he was the devil; He always spoke to the spirit inside.

Another man and wife sat down next to me and he started quoting scripture too. I was not to be shut up.  I said, “That is not true and I can prove it.”   Weldon took a step backward and away from me.  That is how I knew it was an evil spirit.  If he had been speaking for himself, he would have immediately replied, “OK, prove it.  I’m waiting.”  But he was afraid at this point.  He had been challenged by two of us, and was not getting anywhere with Mike either.

Mike meanwhile gave part of his testimony about experience with evil spirits.  Testimony is nice but it is not what Jesus did.  Testimony strengthens you but in no way deals with the devil.

Lessons from this:

1.I was happy to learn my church had leaders in it that the enemy wanted to challenge.  It means God is planing to use us in some way and good churches require more than good pastors.  They need many more to carry the load of real work of God.

2.Others spoke the Bible out loud without fear.  A fearful church has little future.

3. We need to ask God to expose false teaching in the church.  Otherwise it hides.  It gives us all a way to pray.

You have a future, and hope

Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

“Future” is a word in English derived from the verb “to be” meaning “about to be.”   Everyone has a future – it actually might not be one you’d like!

French: Car je connais les projets que j’ai formés sur vous, dit l’Éternel, projets de paix et non de malheur, afin de vous donner un avenir et de l’espérance.

But the French has a different take on this.  “Future” is translated as “avenir”  coming from two Latin words – “a” meaning “to”, and “venire” meaning “come.”  English-speakers use the word avenue.  An avenue is a path that God has planned for you. Our hope should be in that plan, the one He has selected.  The French translation makes His promise much more worthy.

Why am I unhappy?

The main cause of unhappiness is that you didn’t get your own way. This emotion leads to both physical and continued, expanded emotional problems, bitterness, anger, revenge, even murder. But how to stop it?

If Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart (Rev 3:20), how can you open the door? The knob on your side is named “Forgiveness.”

Jesus’ basic prayer for all persons says, “forgive us our transgressions as we have (already) forgiven others. All that crucifixion, all that victory for the whole world starts at forgiveness, which is not God’s job but yours. Jesus did His job; now you do your part.

But I can’t do that, you protest! Yes you can, your future depends on your ability to release yourself from the bondage. It has nothing to do with your being justified in your position. You may be the victim who appears on a TV program; your story may be so awful no one listens or believes you. Never mind, God knows. And while you are seething with resentment and blame, the person you have not forgiven is living life without any (apparent) sense of loss.

What happens when you forgive? First, you are free. (By the way you may need to voice this forgiveness many times over.) But when you take your hands off the person(s) who hurt you, God is available now to judge and reach them.

Vengeance is mine, says God. (Deut 32:35) Good – now He can step in. And no, you don’t need to know how He is dealing with them. You will find out in due time. This is His promise. (Deuteronomy 32:35-Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.)

“I choose to forgive (name them by name if you can)” and allow God to free you and to handle this situation. And He will.

Do not forget to forgive yourself and God too. Most people are blaming Him for something. People who pray this prayer often report immediate changes in their life. Try it. After all, it is your life and only you are in charge of your own life.

Is hell real?

In a effort to sell newspapers, books or something, people are bobbing up in front of our TV saying hell is not real. If this is so then Jesus must be a world-class liar as He spoke more about this subject than anyone else in the New Testament.

Luke 16:22-25 (NKJV) 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

This is Jesus talking about good and evil being rewarded – precisely what we expect of hell – a place of torment, flames, and suffering based on evil done in one’s lifetime. What is so complicated about this?

  • Neither is hell a place when you and your drunken buddies stand around the piano chugging beer and singing raunchy songs. No, hell offers nothing to drink, and people are isolated from each other.
    Furthermore, would you really like to spend an eternity with the hideous likes of Hitler, Pol Pot, Chairman Mao or a host of unrepentant bad guys? Heaven would not be very heavenly if these rascals shared any space with God. In addition it makes God look like a jerk to forgive these people when clearly they have neither repented nor asked for forgiveness. We know this man (above) has not gotten his life right with God because he expects Lazarus to do him a favor – selfish to the end! In this passage the man is judged not for the evil he i did, but for what he failed to do. If people repent and ask forgiveness, then grace kicks in.
  • Meanwhile I would hesitate to give myself a pass, thinking “Oh I am going to be OK” when life and death may make a surprise change in your plans. Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2) which means accepting who God is and what He says as true, and not thinking you will squeak through.
    Finally, God sends no one to hell – it is every individual’s decision. That is the meaning of free will.
    Small children cannot be answerable to free will, not until they reach the age of accountability – they don’t know enough, so don’t worry that babies are in hell. The bottom line is – where are you going? and have you made your decision?

Never compromise with evil

In the 1980s I faced a wonderful future job, recognition, community status, and clout. A large lobby offered me substantial money, enough to guarantee this position, presumably an offer so good I could not refuse but I must promise to support their goals. I disagreed completely with them, and a bribe is a bribe no matter how you pretty it up.

Over a period of two weeks, I had a long talk with myself and God. This group had evil in mind, the control of other people and political corruption as well. With a heavy heart I refused their offer and lost my investment of $14,000 which at that time was a major piece of cash. I also lost much of my reputation regarded a failure, condemned by many including my family who did not know the facts. In reality, they never asked me anything about it..

It was then that I made a decision, one which turned out to change my life forever. I decided never again to compromise with evil. And I would not need two weeks to think it over either. Since then many, many times I have been faced with that choice and didn’t fold, but the personal costs have been high.

Here is why you can’t do it. First if you compromise with evil you lose. You lose your self-respect, your integrity, and occasionally a lot more. I think of the people who find themselves forever tied to someone who gave them a “break” and then ended up in some criminal enterprise. There are women and men who married for the wrong reason and then have decades of unhappiness to reflect on their bad choices. There are those who go along for a joy ride, ending up in a hospital with a broken leg or someone dead bashed into a tree, with years of legal and physical consequences.

The past cannot be retrieved. If someone is beating you or raping you, you must get out. If you are inadvertently involved in crime you must flee. If you are underage and being abused you must tell someone you trust and hope they don’t drop the ball. God knows who you are and prayer changes situations and things.

But there is a second reason – if you compromise with evil, evil wins yet another victory, and in doing so becomes stronger and stronger. Merchants who pay protection money to the Mob- and this nasty bunch operates in every poor section of every major city world-wide – only gives more money to the very people destroying local business. The whole of society is torn down when we cave like this.

That is two victories for Evil and not one for Good. Count ‘em.

Later I had a nice job teaching my specialty where a fellow teacher tried to seduce the high school boys, most of whom were in this school because of horrid choices involving sex, alcohol, drugs, crime or all four. They were vulnerable; how could they report this? They might be endangered – she was the authority figure. As their teacher I saw they could have a good future, but not if they sunk into trouble again. Finally after three months of this, I quit my job and reported her to the director who listened to my story and said something that shocked me – I am sure he saw my face.

He said, “Oh she’s not doing that again!!!” So I had done the right thing but losing my job caused me a great deal of trouble. I never had another job that paid anywhere near that much money.

That story has repeated itself many times over, corrupt officials, managers, leaders – I’ve had to challenge them. One minister stole $10,000 in tithe money; he was never censured but God knows his address. Another person was a master slanderer and I did live to see her get her comeuppance, albeit many years later, long after I had left the scene.

Compromise itself is not bad; it is only compromise with evil that demands confrontation. Choose your battles carefully.

The Tao & Wisdom of the Bible

Lao Tzu, author of a book of Chinese wisdom 2,500+ years ago, appears to have produced a volume almost idea for idea the same as Biblical wisdom literature, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, with some additional ideas from Psalms. And they were both written B.C.E. as were so many great works of philosophical thought.

Consider the word Wisdom. Proverbs speaks of Wisdom as a person, consequently theologians identify this with the Holy Spirit, the internalized person of God who guides and leads our path in life if we choose to go His way.

The ideogram TAO is made up of several different characters: 1, the character of a leader, 2, feet running and 3, then stopping, with the meaning to advance. A sage allows his higher mind to control whether he moves or stops. Through wisdom he knows how to make good decisions and he advances and so do his followers. The learner is to seek the Tao giving him the power to live profitably.

In Proverbs Wisdom is considered the be-all and end-all necessary for Man’s pursuit of a good life. From Proverbs 3:

13 Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding.
14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retains her.
19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Wisdom is also female gender, whose function is to be the ideal support in the shadows, guiding, self-effacing, and supportive which is the standard view of women in both Old and New Testaments and also of Holy Spirit.

Because the meaning of all the ideograms together implies the proper method or path, Tao is also called the Way, or more precisely “the Way the universe works.” And a person with Tao becomes the Sage. In the New Testament Jesus identifies Himself as the Way and the gift of Wisdom (I Corinthians 12:8) is the ability to understand how God works, His gift. There appears to be no difference in substance with the sole exception throughout of the dominance of a single personal deity.

Oddly enough the term Lao Tzu is Chinese for Teacher. The writer of books of Wisdom in the Bible is also identified as the Prophet or the Teacher. Frequently major works have general “authors” who may or may not be identified personally. Lao Tzu may be an individual or perhaps simply a title for a type. Thus the two books match in many ways.

The Congregation of the Dead

Proverbs 21:16 The man that wanders out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

Betcha never saw that verse? Many today are restless, out of sorts. Maybe your church is lagging behind – maybe it never was very much alive. Don’t dump God. Check out to see where you belong because God is busy all over the world, and no where near dead.

John 5:17 (New King James Version) 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” OK where is all this going on? God is at work – so where is it happening? Does your church support missions – I mean really – not merely passing the plate on occasion.

Are they making disciples (not just converts)? Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Have you seen baptisms? Have you seen the Spirit move? Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.

Have you seen anyone healed? Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.

And what about you – are you growing up in Christ or do you only know him through other people’s witness, the Bible, or leaders – do you know Him yourself? Job said (very surprised) Job 42:5 (New King James Version) 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.”

No, you don’t have to see Him physically, just with new spiritual eyes. That is when things happen. Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart

Start your adventure today and get out of the dead places.

How Japan’s Earthquake fits Bible Prophecy

One surprising result of the Japanese earthquake of March 11, 2011, is that the rotation of the earth actually sped up. It was only a millisecond but after all the earth is very large.

To explain this, consider an ice skater who spins. In order to go faster, she contracts her body which allows her to spin extremely fast in one spot. This is what the earthquake did on a massive scale. The earth contracted ever so little, and time sped up.

But did you know this was in the Bible? Mark 13 (and well as many other chapters in the New Testament) tell of the events that surround the 2nd Coming of Christ. One of these is God’s promise to shorten the days.

Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

And now for every man, woman and child on planet each day is just a tiny bit shorter. Do you think we will see more days made short? probably so. Stay alert. God is coming back!!!

What Should Christians do about the Boy Scouts

A few years back the Boy Scouts decided to accept homosexual members but not homosexual scout leaders. I will not argue the merits or faults in their decision; just what should a Christian parent do.

There are two theories about this. The first is that we are in the world not of it and we cannot police every single contact we make. If their son wants to continue in the scout program, those parents will allow it on the assumption their boy will need to work with these people as adults later on, and they are right.

The second attitude is that sex perversion should not be winked at, that an adult male will have plenty of opportunities to deal with sinners of every stripe, and that youth is for growth and development, not hazardous political controversy and opinion. There is some merit to both ideas.

But the question was not about compromise or lack of that, but what should a parent do according to the Bible?

The Bible is precise about everything if we take the time to parse words thoroughly. Working with someone and fellowship are two different standards of relationship. All our relationships are at different levels.

Fellowship is, as the Bible says, sweet communion with the emphasis on the union. We do have atheists in our churches, but we don’t put them in leadership positions. We hope, perhaps, that sitting through Sunday services with a devoted wife or grandma will help them learn something. But we don’t marry them or include them in the inner circle of our lives.

Conversely the Bible does recognize that we have employment working with sometimes very disagreeable people, people we would not see after work if we could help it. Fellowship is always a thing of value; work in the world on the other hand requires us to be job oriented and nothing more. It is pleasant when the people you work with agree with your standards but if not, you can still do the job.

I worked in retail many years. You may hate God but your job here is to stack the shelves and I, as a Christian, need have no theological association with you as we work together on the job.

With that in mind, consider this scripture. “Have no fellowship with the works of darkness.”

For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

Sex perversion is done under cover and often in darkness. In fact most sins are best hidden as the sinner well knows.

Personally I consider putting straight and homosexual boys together an act of child sacrifice. Kids will be faced with spiritual warfare perhaps before they even know what it is, or how to handle it. Kids have lots to do in their young lives; tossing them to the wolves is not necessary or helpful.

How to Handle Pain

Pain has a legitimate function – to warn you of something wrong. BUT after you have your warning the enemy jumps on a bad situation to make it worse with demons of pain.

Here is where your training in spiritual warfare becomes valuable. Bind that pain immediately in Jesus’ Name, then cast it out and tell it sharply NOT to return.

You should get instant relief.  If not repeat and shout louder – he may be pretending to be deaf.

Your faith will get stronger every time you deal with the devil as an authority.

Jesus said, “As my father has sent me so send I you.”  In other words, you have access to everything did through His name because you are a member of his family,  his little brother or sister.

Casting out demons is called by Jesus “children’s bread” meaning for you the children.  Children of the devil have no such power.

Now the devil always shows up again to test you to see if you are sincere.  Dispatch him again and again as often as need be.

I taught this lesson in the Philippines two decades ago.  One of the young women students came to me and whispered that she had a demon of pain and did exactly what I said. “And it left?” I wanted to know.  “Yes,” she whispered.

“But then he came back the next night just as you said.”

I was so excited.  The more people that know how to command and use the authority Jesus gave His people the more peace we have. This is what it means to live in the Kingdom of god.

Try this.