Welcome to this site. My prayer is that you take a look at the site and as you do, let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and reveal what God wants you to discover. (in Jesus' name)

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In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

11-23-2019         The Temptations of Jesus and What they Mean For                                    Today
                                     Squaring Off, Mixing it up and Victory

On Nov. 24, 2018 the post was “Who is fighting Whom?” and on December 22, 2018 it was “The Flower, the Soldier and the Church”.  These two entries moved into our spiritual warfare with the enemy.  They introduced a three-pronged fight we must fight and be involved with in order to find victory over Satan and his dark forces.  Move over Luke Skywalker.  In Star Wars, the “dark forces” were what motivated Darth Vader and the “dark side”.  Those “forces of dark’ are representatives of our enemy which we face in our Christian walk, the powers of darkness, Satan and his agents.  After all, we do fight against the principalities, powers and rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places, (Eph. 6:12) right?     

Here, we’re digging a bit deeper for a better understanding of this three-pronged battle.  The previous entries suggested that our first fight is in ‘natural’ man”, the area we are most familiar with and our weakest point.  The second stage of battle is for our mind, our thought processes, our soul, the things that motivate us.  But because we have the guidance and support of the Holy Ghost, we have something stronger within us with which to fight back.  The Third is for our heart, our true relationship with the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  When we are abiding in the Lord (the Word, living & written), we have all the power of heaven fighting with us.  Not that they weren’t with us before (through our salvation), but now, as we draw closer to God, we have a deeper understanding of what those resources are and how to tap into them (at least we should). 

Should Satan gain victory over the natural man, the battle is lost.  We become like the seed by the wayside (in the parable of the sower), which were immediately eaten up by the birds (Matt. 13: 1-8).
So as we go deeper, let’s take a look at how Jesus dealt with this three pronged attack – body, soul and spirit.

Matthew 4:1-11
1          Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2          And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
3          Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
4          But Jesus answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "

As the passage says, Jesus had been fasting for forty days, He had to be very hungry.  The natural man needs food and water to sustain existence.  We eventually die without them.  Scientific American has documented cases of people surviving ‘starvation’ diets of between 21-40 days.  Also Scientific American cites that, in comfortable conditions, a person could survive 21 days without water.  When conditions are not ideal, it could be hours instead of days (to put things in perspective between a controlled environment vs not so inviting conditions).

Now, does this mean that Jesus wasn’t tempted at all during those forty days?  I can’t say, the bible doesn’t tell us, but these three temptations are important because they address the three main battlefields in which our enemy approaches us. 

So Jesus, in the wilderness, was at His weakest, physical point when the enemy approached Him. And with what did he approach Him?  His natural hunger.  Turn these stones into something He could eat.  Sustenance for the natural man.  Satan tries to entice Jesus to do that which He could easily do.  He knows that the Son of God can do anything, even turn stones into bread. 

But this also tested Jesus’ trust in the Father to sustain Him and just how deeply did He trust the Father to provide for Him.  He had already trusted Father for forty days.  Why stop now?  Jesus knew that there are things more important than ‘just’ natural food.  After all, didn’t God send the ravens, with food, for Elijah when he was hiding out from Jezebel (1Kings 17:1-6)?    If we can’t trust God to provide us with ‘natural’ things, how can we trust Him for the Spiritual?  Jesus told the masses “If I’ve told you earthly things and you haven’t believed, how can you believe heavenly things?” (John 3:12).  Father allows situations to fall upon us so we can see that He is with us.  We learn to trust God for the little things in this life so we can know to trust Him for bigger things and then eternal life.  Think about it.  We will have to trust Jesus in the rapture.  We’ll be caught up in the air with Him (1 Thess. 4:17).  Who will be keeping us from falling back down to earth?  Remember Peter on the water (Matt. 14:25-32).  As long as he had his eyes on Jesus, Peter also walked on water.

So, in this, Jesus is telling Satan that He trusts only the Father for things He needs.  Satan knows the Word.  He was a witness to or a part of it practically from the beginning.  He knows what God has said, His Word.  Jesus knows the Word, too.  He is the living Word!  And we need to know it then, so we can trust God for what He has said in His Word. 

Satan attacked with a half-truth, Jesus fired back with the whole truth.

5          Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,
6          and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' "
7          Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.' "

On the pinnacle, the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus is challenged again.  Satan knows that God protects His own (Job 1:8-10).  As with Adam and Eve in the garden (Gen. 3:1-6), Satan quotes a partial biblical truth.  God will send His angels so You don’t hurt yourself, but Jesus knowing the full scriptures fires back with “You shall not tempt the Lord, your God.”  Yes, God is over Satan, God created Satan.  If we jump off the Empire State building, we’re going to go “SPLAT!” when we hit the streets below.  Don’t do something harmful or stupid just to prove God is with you.  That’s tempting the Lord.  However, should the Lord tell you to do something, be sure it’s Him, then be obedient.  But take note that God will not tell us to jump off a mountain without a parachute or step in front of a moving bus.  He doesn’t tempt us either (James 1:13). Remember Paul.  A deadly snake was hiding in those sticks he was collecting.  He was bit by that snake and those watching waited to see how quickly he would keel over dead.  Read the passage (Acts 28:1-6), did he?  Paul didn’t know that the snake was there.

Also consider that a country boy, from outside Pittsburgh, Pa., Dave Wilkerson, went to witness to the gangs of New York City in the strength of Jesus Christ (The Cross and the Switchblade).  As Dave lived in God’s love, Father protected the minister in the midst of a dangerous environment.  The result?  The “warlord” of that gang (Nicky Cruz), came to Christ and together they started Teen Challenge.  God does look after His own, but we ought not to put Him to the test.  Dave went to New York because God told him to go, not because he thought it would be a neat challenge.  God says to test Him to see if He will keep His promises (Mal. 3:10), not tempt Him with foolishness.

In Revelation chapter one, Alpha and Omega states in part “… the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches …” and in Genesis chapter one God says “… let there be lights in the firmament …”.  Lights here is the Hebrew word maowr (3974), luminous body, bright, light, etc.  Revelation chapter twelve says that with his tail, the dragon drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth …  Three passages which seem to correlate angels with stars.  Stars were created on the fourth day (Gen. 1:14-15).  Is there a connection between stars and angels?

Nonetheless, Satan is an angel (though fallen) therefore a created being.  And we, also are created beings (Gen 1:27).  So Jesus is telling a created being that we should not tempt the Lord God – that is asking Him to do something not logical just to prove Himself.  God endured Israel even though they tempted God in the desert with food (Exod. 16:1-18) and water (Exod. 17:1-7).  And yet, we should not tempt the Lord.  God will provide what we need.

Our spiritual man must become our Spiritual man for us to press forward in our walk with the Lord (did you note the ‘s’) .  Just where is our trust in the Lord?  For what do we really trust and believe God?  Are we obedient to His Word?

8          Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9          And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."
10        Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "

As our trust grows in the Lord, we discover Father desires our companionship.  Just as He came down into the Garden of Eden to be with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8).  Just as He talked with Abraham (Gen. 18:1-33).  Just as He visited with Moses in the tabernacle (Exod. 20:19-22).  He desires to walk with us.  At the celebration of the Passover, the apostle John lay his head upon the chest of Jesus (John 13:23-25).  Jesus wants a relationship this close with each and every one of us who love Him.  Jesus desires us to come close and commune with Him.

So, when Satan took Jesus to the high mountain and showed Him all the lands and Kingdoms of the earth and said “… bow down and worship me and all this will be yours.”  First of all, Jesus’ heart is always right with the Father because He and the Father are one (John 1:1-4).  Secondly, all things were created by Him (Jesus) and for Him (Col. 1:16).  So how could Satan give Jesus that which was already His, for with the Father, He created everything (John 1:1-3). 

Initially Adam and Eve had dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:27-30) but when Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, because of their disobedience (do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Gen 2:17), evil fell upon the earth en masse.  Satan was cast out of heaven (not necessarily in this order), with 1/3 of the angels, so as to give us a fit (Rev. 12:1-10). Please, don’t split hairs over the order of events here.

So when Jesus told Satan that we should worship the Lord our God and serve only Him, He was asserting that His heart is with the Father forever.  Not only was He resisting the temptation of power, He knew He already had it!  We should do the same.

Satan attacks us in the natural man.  This is the realm we most readily understand and it is our weakest point.  He does his best to keep us out of God’s plan for eternal fellowship with Father.  Once we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, Satan has to change his tactics and deal with our spiritual man, our mind, our intellect, our soul.  We are learning how to stand in the strength of our Savior through reading His Word and prayer.  Our enemy doesn’t forget our body but now both our body and soul are being attacked.  He is still trying to draw us away, or at least, discourage us.  We discover that we stand against not just natural things but we begin to realize that we also fight spiritual forces in high places because they are what motivate people.

But as we continue yielding ourselves to the Father, living in His will, being a true reflection of His love, Satan has to step it up a bit more.  Okay, a lot more.  Now, if he is to succeed, he has to tear our hearts away from the Lord.  He now turns up the heat.  Don’t be surprised when subtle temptations come which seem almost impossible to resist.  He pulls out all the stops to get us to turn away from our Father.  Satan knows that a full frontal attack (“here I am, dummy.  What’re ya gonna do about it!”) would just send us running into the loving arms of God.  He has to be more subtle so we don’t recognize what he’s doing.  False prophets would seduce the elect, if it were possible (Mark 13:19-22).  We keep our hearts right with our Father.  We already know what we have and are solid on (in) the Rock (Psalm 62:1-8), Jesus!  We know our victory is sin Jesus.  Yet, we still continue to renew our minds so our heart continues to follow our Lord (Romans 12:1-2) and draw closer into His love.  We continue to commune with Him, becoming very familiar with His voice.

Complete victory comes when we abide by taking on the yoke of Jesus (Matt. 11:29), for there we have rest, strengthening ourselves by knowing His Word and resting in the peace from God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Ghost.  We strengthen our spirits by communicating with Him – regularly.  Not once a year or once a month, not even just once a week but daily.  Daniel prayed three times a day (Dan. 6:10).  Paul says “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).  This doesn’t mean we spend 24/7 on our knees, for then, we’d be no good to those yet in the world.  It does mean to have a continual attitude of prayer.  As things happen, give God thanks.  We find ourselves in a situation, we ask God for direction at that time, not later.  However, ‘resting’ here doesn’t mean sitting back and taking it easy.  It does mean trusting in the Lord knowing that He will get us through whatever Satan throws our way.

In case you missed the point, as we draw closer in our relationship with the Lord.  We will be putting on the armor of God, through knowing what God’s Word says and our prayers and our understanding (Eph. 6:10-18).

We deal with three battle fronts: the natural man, the spiritual man and the heart of man.  Jesus shows us how He deals with these three fronts.  Knowing the Word (written and living), Praying without ceasing and putting God’s Word into action in our own lives brings us to victory.


Saturday, November 9, 2019

11-3-2019        How Can Jeremiah Possibly relate to Today’s Church?

Jeremiah 1:13-16

And the Word of the Lord came to me a second time saying “What do you see?”  I said “I see a seething pot which is facing north.”
Then the Lord said to me “Evil is coming from the north will fall upon al the inhabitants of the land. 
I will call the families of the kingdoms of the north, says the Lord, and they shall come and each one shall set up a throne at the gates that enter Jerusalem, against its walls and against all the cities of Judah.
I will utter My judgments against them (Israel) because of their wickedness, those who have forsaken Me, burned their incense towards other gods and worshipped the works of their own hands.”

Jeremiah is from the “Old Testament’ so how can what he says relate to today?  Let’s take a look at the meaning of some of the Hebrew words used in these passages to get a better understanding of just what Jeremiah is saying so we can see if it really does apply to us - today.  Of course, we are using the ‘Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance’ as our reference. 

Seething is the Hebrew word naphach (H5301) which is to inflate, blow hard, scatter, kindle, expire, cede, cause to lose.

Pot is the Hebrew word cirah (H5518) which is springing up rapidly, cauldron, pan, pot, fishhook, thorn. (don’t even ask about fishhook & thorn, I have no clue)

North is the Hebrew word tsaphown (6828) north, hidden, dark, unknown (Just as Africa was still considered the ‘dark continent’ in the 1900’s, because it was unexplored it was unknown.  The Romans moved as far north as England, but areas farther north and northeast were pretty much unexplored (by them) in those times.  Yet as with Africa, there were cultures living in those ‘unexplored’ areas of the north.  And darkness represents the forces of evil.

Kingdoms is the Hebrew word mamlakuwth (4467) which means kingdom, reign (realm)

Throne is the Hebrew word kicce (3678) a (covered) throne

Judgments is the Hebrew word mishpat (4941) meaning to pronounce sentence, penalty, be judged, a right, a wrong, discretion 

Forsaken is the Hebrew word azab (5800) which means to loosen (self), fall, relinquish, leave (destitute), refuse

Incense is the Hebrew word qatar (6999), a fumigation (to drive out occupants), fragrance by fire, burn, incense, kindle, offer (as a sacrifice)

So, Jeremiah sees the cauldron, a cooking pot, spilled over and facing to the north, uncharted territory.  A land inhabited by fierce people, people to be feared.  As long as Israel stays home, ‘we’ won’t worry about them.  Right?  But the pot is spilled over being exposed to an unknown enemy, the powers of darkness. 

The seething (bubbling)  pot is trouble and/or turmoil in the homeland and, apparently, but also keeps an eye out for trouble coming from unknown sources as well.  Trouble within and potential trouble without.  Rocked with internal problems and now the enemy threatening.  Not a good situation to be in.

God tells Jeremiah that trouble is coming from that ‘outside’ source.  Evil, hard times, is coming from those northern hands.  For us, our northern lands is that dark presence of our enemy, Satan. 
That evil will come in many forms and not just surround the home city (Jerusalem) but set against the city gates, controlling passage in and out.  Against the city walls which protect those inside the city. It even spreads out against all that which is Judah, the surrounding territory.  Is the house of God being ‘rocked’ internally?  Are those things, where we found protection before, crumbling around us?  What about what the church does?  Is there evidence of enemy activity even there?  This is happening because Israel (as a whole) has turned away from God.  Israel (as a whole) has made sacrifices to other gods.  Israel (as a whole) has decided to worship the works of their own hands, doing what they want to do, when they want to do it and however the decide to do it.  At best, God has become an afterthought.  What about us today? 

Today’s church will be beset upon by problems from within as well as without.  Evil forces will not only stand against the church but those things that have been protecting it (walls) and its surrounding territory, those places where the works of the church have reached. 

The church is protected by God.  However, in order to get our attention and get us back on track, Father will part or remove the hedge and allow the enemy access.  But, as with Job, that access is controlled and limited, yet designed to get our attention.  When we are out of Godly alignment, problems will arise.  Only, should we reject God, will He leave us mercilessly to the results of our own devices.

Israel has forsaken God (more than once) and turned to its own devices (the golden calf, being disobedient to God’s Word, etc.), today’s church has busily setting aside God’s principles and doing ‘its own thing’. 

God blesses his children and promises us prosperity.  We serve God with all our heart and Father will bring those blessings.  But how does Father get the credit when we manufacture our own blessings?  There have been, and still are, ministers who amass large churches solely to increase personal fortune.  They have the best clothes, the best cars and/or the biggest houses.  Yes, God blesses churches where His Word is presented in truth and honesty and sincerity.  But, yes, there are churches whose ministers realize increase for personal gain, not the glory of God.  When people only want to hear soft and soothing speech, Father will let them have it (to their folly).  And, yes, those ministries will endure for a season for they do bring the Word, though often severely watered down so as to ‘not offend’ anyone.  Those who only look to have their ‘ears itched’ will get just that and stay.  Those seeking something more durable will leave and, perhaps, judge all other churches by their experience.  Understand, just as in the wilderness, Satan spoke the word of God to Jesus, but it was only half truths in an attempt to persuade Jesus away from the Father.  Jesus spoke the whole truth in response to Satan’s attempts.  We need to be like Jesus and speak the whole truth to shut that ole devil up.  Of course, we have to come to know it first.

There are ministers who have become puffed up because of what God has shared with them and have fallen into the misconception that it’s all about them and not the Lord.  They present an image of the truth, but in fact, have fallen away from it.  In their hearts, they say “I created the ministry, I prospered the ministry – it’s all about ‘me”!  Make no mistake, God begins every fellowship that truly seeks after Him and builds that church on the cornerstone (foundation) of Jesus Christ.  But those fallen ministers, as with Judas Iscariot, seem to follow Jesus, but really don’t.  Their belly is their god!  They have listened to those half truths coming from the enemy. 

There are ministers who feel they know the Word better than anyone else.  What the h---, they know it better than God!  Just keep in mind, Satan thought that ‘he’ should be God instead of our heavenly Father.  Satan’s efforts have earned him his place in the lake for fire and brimstone!  So ask yourself, just who “inspired” the writing of the bible?  Father dictates, man wrote down.  And those writings are about love.  Don’t forget, love is tender and caring but it also brings about ‘right’ direction.  All Satan cares about is keeping us from eternal fellowship with our Father.  God cares about our personal and eternal growth.

The tares in the field.  The goats abiding with the sheep.  The whited sepulchers.  Make no mistake, on that last day when the angels reap the harvest, if not before (through natural death), THEN the separation between good and evil shall be made.  We may not be able to determine who truly is and who isn’t saved.  At times, the enemy can look pretty good.  He can (and does) imitate ‘right’ speech and deeds (rituals).  He was an angel of light.  Though man may pretend to follow God, those whose hearts are no where near our Lord, shall be separated out and join Satan in eternity.  We follow God from our hearts and not just in word and deed.  Our speech and actions are generated from our love for the Lord which abides in our heart.

Who do WE glorify when we offer up our prayers?  Our prayers of repentance when we mess up.  Our prayers of petition as we pray for ourselves or intercede for others?  Those prayers for salvation, edification, strength, guidance, health or healing?  Whom do we thank for the victories we experience?  I did it myself?  I don’t know, but thanks anyway.  The Holy Spirit is the one who prompts to do and say the right things, even though we don’t always recognize or admit it.  Hopefully, we aren’t offering up our sacrifices to the enemy (Satan) or babbling to thin air.  All those things God gives us or does for us, He asks only one thing – “Thank You, Lord”.  He desires that we acknowledge Him as our benefactor.  As parents, we teach our children to say ‘please’ & ‘thank you’.  Our heavenly Father expects no less.

Our prayers are our incense being lifted up to and before our heavenly Father.  Do we offer them from our heart or are they just a mere formality?  A learned ritual?  Are we a whited sepulcher doing right things yet our hearts are far from God?

When we come before the Father with a ‘right’ heart (no unconfessed sins) and a pure heart (the right attitude), God receives our prayers (sacrifices) as a sweet smelling savor in His throne room.  It IS pleasing to Him.  Our sacrifices are a reflection of our obedience to Him (the eternal God).
We desire blessings and prosperity from God?  Honor Him in everything that we say and do AND say and do it from our heart.   Father tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice.  Why?  We can offer a sacrifice and it can end up being ‘just’ a mechanical repetition.  When we are obedient, we can be obedient, only from our heart.  If we don’t want to be obedient, things don’t come our way.  We can’t pretend obedience.  Obedience comes when we desire to please whomever we are being obedient.  Father wants us to serve Him from our heart.  Who do we serve?  This day, I and my house choose to 
serve the Lord.

The church is in trouble today.  Too much of the church has watered down the gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  It presents a ‘safe’ gospel that won’t offend people so it may keep its membership so they don’t lose any money ($$$$).  Too much of today’s church has set up ministers in a place where they should never be.  They are novices or are openly living in fornication or adultery or other sins.  Too many are hustling the people.   Too much of our church lifts its prayers up to – not our heavenly Father, so just thin air (or even the enemy).  Too much of the church is doing its ‘own thing’.  It’s an easy way to make money, right?  Yet many live ‘high on the hog’ fleecing their sheep.  Those who truly serve our Lord know ‘it ain’t easy’!  It does take work, perseverance and dedication.
How long can the church, as a whole, avoid God’s judgment?  Lest Father judges us on the last day, we need to be judging ourselves daily.  We confess our sins and allow Jesus to guide our steps.  We need to keep our lives aligned in God’s love!  let His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!  When His will becomes real in our lives, it will spread out to the world around us. Heaven on earth?.
So what does Jeremiah have to do with today’s church?  Research the scriptures.  Talk with the Lord.  Then, you tell me.