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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' (discussion) 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, June 20, 2020

6-20-2020 Temptations of Christ
              Stones to Bread                      Angels shall catch you           I will give You all this

After His baptism by John, in the Jordan, Jesus had a ‘little’ encounter with the Devil

Matt. 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13

1          Returning from Jordan and being full of the Holy Ghost, Jesus was led, by the Spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

2          After fasting and having been tempted by the devil for forty days, Jesus became hungry.

3          And when the tempter came to Him, he said “If You’re the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.”

4          But, Jesus answered “It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

5          Then, the devil took Him up to the holy city and set Him upon a pinnacle of the temple.

6          He said to Him “If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down for it is written that He will give His angels charge concerning You and that their hands should bear you up unless You should dash your foot against a stone.”

7          Then, Jesus said “It is written that “You shall not tempt the Lord, your God.” (Matt. 4: 5-7 corresponds with Luke 4:9-12).

8          Again, the devil took Him to an exceedingly high mountain and in a moment of time showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said “I will give You all this power with their glory.  It is given to me to give to whomsoever I will.”

9          And he said to Jesus “I will give you all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”

10        Then, Jesus responded “Get away, Satan, for it is written you shall worship the Lord your God and only Him shall you worship” (Matt. 4:8-10 correspond with Luke 4:5-7).

11        Then, when the devil had ended, he left Him and behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.

Back on February 16, 2019, I talked briefly about how the angels in heaven are organized to fight Satan’s three-pronged attack against man.  I mentioned that there are three spheres of angels, each with three choirs.  Each sphere has a realm of operation and each choir has responsibilities within its sphere.  Origen (184 AD) is the primary source who ordered the spheres and choirs of angels and though others may have adjusted it from time to time, Origen’s version is what we generally accept.

Okay, the stage is set.

Look at the three temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness.  Note that Luke says that Jesus was tempted for forty days, then these last three temptations came as the ‘icing on the cake’ (if your will).
These three temptations are important because they depict the three main areas in which Satan attacks us – the body, the soul and the spirit.  All three of these areas are involved in spiritual warfare.

The first temptation, the bread:
At this stage of the game, Satan knows Father will give Jesus anything He asks so he knows that Jesus can easily command the stones of the ground to become edible bread to satisfy His hunger.  This is the ‘natural’ man, or the body.  Meeting the physical needs of our body, sustenance (where are my twinkies! Lol). 

Jesus knows there is something more important than just taking in physical sustenance.  He realizes that our spirit also needs to be fed.  We do that by reading the bible to gain understanding how Father operates in our lives and then through us.  The bible helps us to qualify God’s Word and how His love operates in and around us.  Yes, we live here on planet earth and (because we are temporal (temporarily here)) we need food to survive but our spirits also need to be fed.  When we don’t eat food on a regularly basis, our bodies will eventually waste away and die.  Likewise, if we don’t feed our spirits by reading the bible and prayer, our spirits will also waste away – become dead to God.  Just as God takes care of the animals of the land, birds of the air, fish in the sea and plants in the ground, He will take care of us and our needs.  Yes?  As we walk with God, He will give us what we need and even our heart’s, desire as we line up with His will (Luke 12:22-31).

We need to trust more in Father rather than what we see in a situation.  So this first temptation addresses what we can hear, see, taste, etc., our physical needs, the body.

The second temptation, Jump off!?: 

Satan knew that the angels were set in charge of protecting Jesus in everything He did.  But, Jesus easily recognized this as a challenge to Father’s intent (Psalm 91:11-12).  Are we flippant in receiving what Father has for us or do we take it seriously?

Paul was unaware of the poisonous snake in the sticks he had gathered on the isle of Miletus.  The snake bit Paul.  The people knew that this snake’s bite meant and it would quickly bring death.  Paul shook it off into the fire having no ill effect (Acts 28:3-5).  God’s protection! 

Israel challenged God about bringing them into the wilderness to die of thirst at Massah.  Father did provide but He was not pleased that Israel had doubted Him (Exod. 17:1-7).  God had already brought them out of Egypt and parted the Red Sea, yet they weren’t trusting Him for a simple drink of water.

Father tells us not to tempt Him (Deut. 6:16-18).  Jesus knows that we should always trust Father for what we need (Psalm 104:1-30).
Paul didn’t see the snake saying to himself “I see the snake, but I’m going to grab this bunch of sticks anyway for God will protect me.”  He was unaware of the snake, and in His innocence, Father did protect Him.  In short, don’t put ourselves in obvious jeopardy, then expect Father to bail us out.  But, when we unwittingly find ourselves in a situation, He will protect us.    

I bought my first motorcycle from a dealership in Hyattsville, Md.  It was a lightweight, dirt bike, a Triumph 250cc, with knobby tires which put out less than 30 Horsepower (hp).  I had never ridden a bike at that time and the salesman asked me if I wanted to take a quick test spin.  Being bold and brazen, I said “sure.”  At the time, I owned a 383, 4 barrel, Hi-performance Plymouth Roadrunner putting out @335 hp.  A no brainer, the bike had about a tenth the power of my car.  A snap, right?  I hopped on, fired it up and took off.  In the blink of an eye, I was off the lot and into the street, narrowly missing a car coming up the road, which narrowly missed a telephone pole on the other side.  I had no clue how quick that little rascal was.  I let off the gas, turned around and came back into the lot.  My buddy (who came with me), the salesman and the staff were all ‘bustin’ a gut.  I didn’t even know God back then, but, as with Paul, He was watching over me (and the lady in the car). 

Jesus recognized the difference between being in a situation and trusting Father than tempting Him so He was obedient to Father.  He told Satan to ‘buzz off’ (get behind Me).  We may still get ourselves into stupid situations as we are learning to live in God’s will, but we don’t deliberately put ourselves there.

This second temptation addresses what I will call spiritual one, the needs of our human spirit, the seat of our emotions and mental functions, our psyche aka or rationale (our soul?).

 The third temptation, the heart: 

This is also ‘spiritual’, but it is more of ‘where is our heart’?  Why do we do things rather than ‘just’ what have we decided to do.  This is the area that connects us with our Father.  This is the area where the Holy Ghost will take up resident within us and become our ‘driving force’ why do we do what we do.  Which drummer do we listen to motivate us?  Father showed me this by having me read “Pigs in the Parlor” by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond.  ‘Pneuma’ is the Greek word translated ‘spirit’ which is mostly used in reference to the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) where ‘psyche’ is the Greek word translated ‘soul’.  I’ve always believed that a demonic spirit and the Holy Ghost cannot occupy the same space at the same time ergo a Christian cannot be ‘possessed’.  Pigs in the Parlor is written to Christians so the church could be clean.  Father had to show me that though pneuma and psyche are in the same body, they are not the ‘same place’.  As Christians, we yield ourselves over to Father.  We give our ‘self-will’ over to being obedient to Father.  That is, we bring our soul (psyche, our decision making) into agreement with the Holy Ghost (residing in pneuma).  We give our heart over to the heart of God, uniting our will with Father’s will.  Without Jesus, our human spirit motivates what we do.  When we get ‘saved’, the Holy Ghost motivates what we do.  Which empowers the pneuma motivates our thinking in the psyche which will generated our actions in the body.   Get the picture?  When the enemy attacks, he attacks how we think and when the Holy Ghost is not present in ‘pneuma’ what’s to stop him?

Satan takes Jesus up on a high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the earth and how glorious (how powerful and magnificent) they are.  Now, the ultimate challenge – where was the heart of Jesus? 

Satan makes Jesus an offer which would be tempting to most anybody.  A typical situation – you do this for me, I’ll do that for you.  So what is the offer?  Satan says “I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world AND their riches and glory.  Basically, “I’ll give you anything and everything you ask and want.”  WOW!  No more worry about winning ‘Publisher’s Clearing House’ contest.  No more trying to ‘hit the lottery!  Never having any needs or wants anymore.  The first ‘trillionaire’!  People at my beck and call!  Who could resist?

The choice is ours and that choice brings results – good or bad.  Jesus stood fast against the devils because His heart was always in the right place (with Father).  Yes, He is the son of man, but He is also the Son of God – God Himself come into this world in the flesh.  Emmanuel (God is with us), Savior (our gateway into eternal heaven).  But consider, Satan thought he could tempt the human side of Jesus because He was in the flesh like us.  Not ‘just’ like us but similar.  Yes, He was born a ‘man’.  His Father is was not human but the Creator of all things, Almighty God!  Jesus resisted because He was filled with the Holy Ghost which Father gives us.  We, too, can resist the enemy because the Holy Ghost abides in us!  All we have to do is listen and obey!

So Jesus responded that we should worship the Lord God and worship only Him.  That is, our heart should be devoted totally to Father and we should always walk in His ways.  Jesus gave the devil a command “Get away, Satan!”  Jesus knew what Satan was doing, trying to draw the Son’s attention, steal His loyalty away from the Father.  Besides, Jesus is God (John 1:1).  He created everything so everything was already His (Gen. 1:1-31)!  Likewise, as soon as we realize Satan has taken the offensive against us, we need to do the same “Get behind me, Satan, for Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  He is my eternal salvation and I will serve only the Father through Him”.

And helping us to make the right moves is the Holy Spirit, God in us.  We don’t fight alone because we have the Holy Spirit and a multitude of brothers and sisters willing to stand with us against the wiles of our enemy.  Oh, and don’t forget, we also have angels fighting with us as well – spheres and choirs of angels.  Father has established three spheres of angel, each sphere with three choirs of angels.  One sphere with three choirs helps us as we fight what we see in the natural, the things of this earth, our body.  The second sphere deals with Satan’s armies in the heavenlies helping us with our psyche, our emotions and values.  The third sphere which surrounds the throne of God helps us with establishing and maintaining our heart in a solid relationship with Father.  So Father has angels helping in every aspect of our warfare as we remember we don’t fight against flesh and blood but against powers, principalities, rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

We get an inkling to this warfare in Daniel where the angel is delayed, by the Prince of Persia, in bringing the answer to Daniel’s prayer (Dan. 10:10-14).  God is with us!  He gives us the Holy Spirit within and angels without.  We are surrounded by God’s angels, HIs love!  How can we lose (Acts 5:39, Rom. 8:31)?  All we have to do is listen to the Lord and be obedient to His Word.  And remember, Father will never put more on that than we are able to handle (1 Corinth. 10:13).

Though we battle in the natural, our true fight is in the spiritual.  When our heart is aligned with our Father, our emotions and thinking processes line up with His will.  When our ‘cognitive’ processes are lined up in God’s will, the body will follow suit. 

Our body and our desires line up with where our heart is and our heart is in tune with God’s love.  Body soul and spirit line up in unity and all is focused in God’s will.  We are not serving two masters, therefore we are not divided.  Jesus tells us that a house divided cannot stand.  So when the body, soul and spirit are lined up under the influence of the Holy Ghost (in the Father through Jesus) we become single.  Who can stand against us?

The body is more than just bread.  We need to know what our freedom and limitations in Christ really involves.  We have to know the Word to understand our relationship with Father so we can make the right decisions. And when our hearts are knitted together with the living God, we know that we are motivated by our heavenly Father and there is nothing Satan can offer us.  We know in Christ Jesus all power and authority lies.  We know who we are.  We know who is Lord and we know the Father!


Friday, June 12, 2020

6-6-2020    Two Masters

 I apologize for the delay in this week's entry.  What I had planned fizzled at the last moment and though I felt that it was what Father wanted me to post, I have to conclude "not yet".  So, instead, we have this post may God bless you:
                      Walk with God                                                          Lured by Satan

                                                                        Who do we follow?

Matt. 6:24
No man can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other or hold on to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.

Matt. 6:16-23

16                    Moreover, when you fast, don’t be like the hypocrites for they show a sad countenance and disfigure their faces.  They appear to be fasting before men, but I tell you, they have their reward.
17                    But, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.
18                    So, when you are before men, don’t appear to be fasting rather fast unto the Father in secret and your Father who sees in secret (and knows your heart) will reward you openly.
19                    Don’t store your treasures in earthly things where moth and rust will destroy it or where thieves might break in and steal
20                    But let your treasures be worthy of heaven where neither moth nor rust can take it away nor where thieves can break in and steal it.
21                    For where your treasure is (those things you value most) that’s where your heart will be.
22                    The eye is the light of your body.  When your eye is single (focused), your whole body shall be full of light
23                    But if your eye is evil, your whole body is filled with darkness and if your light has become darkness, how great is that darkness.

Serve God and mammon at the same time?  We can’t walk down two paths, going in different directions, at the same time.  It is physically impossible for we cannot divide ourselves in two. 
Our lives should reflect what we truly believe and the true inclinations of our heart.  That means who do we follow?  Jesus or Satan?  What values do we cherish the most?  Pleasing God or pleasing the world? 

To follow the world is not just ‘doing our thing’ for Satan is the prince and the power of the air.  Father cast him down to earth (from heaven) and planet earth is now the devil’s domain (thank you Adam and Eve).  We may think ‘I did it all myself,’ but the thought to do ‘it (whatever) pops up into our little pea-pickin’ brains, is not self-generated.  It is prompted by spirits or Spirit. Good or evil.  The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.  Good is an extension of God (an extra ‘o’) while evil comes from the devil (delete the ‘d’).  Hey, it works in English!  Admit it or not, our decisions are influenced by sources beyond our being.  Thoughts just seem to be there.  ‘I don’t know where the idea came from, but there it was!’  ‘I just felt I needed to go left and not right, so I did’ and that was where I needed to go.  Get the picture?

Whether we admit it or not, we follow either Jesus or Satan.  There’s no middle ground.  Some may say “That’s pretty narrow thinking” but Father has given us the freedom to choose good or bad, right or wrong and to choose for ourselves (no matter where the thought come from).  Satan is not so loving to give us that kind of freedom.  Satan is a thief and the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  He finds things to lure us, entice us to make the wrong choice.  The choice which draws us farther from God.

The devil knows that his ultimate fate is the lake of fire and his intent is to drag as much of God’s creation with him – kicking, screaming, whatever.

God is love and (believe it or not) He loves ALL His creation (1 Tim. 2:4-6), but He will not let evil dwell with Him (Psalm 5:3-5).  I said ‘dwell’.  We know that Satan approached God to gain access to Job (Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-6).  But he didn’t stick around, did he?

Because God is love, He desires all His creation to love Him in return (Exod. 20:1-11).  But, alas, He knows that love is not love unless it is freely given.  So He gives us a choice – to love Him because He has loved us (Deut. 30:19-20).  He wants us to give that love back to Him of our own free will.  He will not force our love (Josh. 24:14-24).

I have to admit, when I met my wife, at first, I was in lust with her and I was trying to overcome my own insecurities with women so I forced myself to be bold.  My roommate (who was with me at the time) became irritated because I hemmed and hawed so much, building up the nerve to ask her for her phone number and in the deal, I got so much more.  A little over a year later we became man and wife. 

I also have to admit, I was the “weak” one in our relationship.  At first, from my perspective, my love was “eros” but later, I grew into “philia” but eventually I discovered God’s love “agape”.  If you’re not familiar, ‘eros’ is physical attraction (sex), ‘philia’ is brotherly love – a friend, a brother whom we truly care about but finally ‘agape’ is God’s love.  God’s love is loving us simply because we ‘are’ (alive, exist).  I remember when our first child (and later her brother) came into this world?  The desire to take care of them, show affection for them, to meet their needs and the desire to help them grow into all that they could be and grow as an independent person being able to function in society consumed my attention for my children.  Agape demands nothing in return, but it sure is nice when that love comes back – isn’t it? 

Agape is the example of our relationship with our heavenly Father.  There is no greater love than a man give his life for his friend, yet, Jesus shed His precious blood for us while we were yet alienated from Him.  Deep in our own sins.  Along with affection and adoration, we can show our love for God by being obedient to His Word.  Then we can share God’s love, by doing things that will edify others and encourage them to receive the Lord then grow in Him.  Love is giving, while demanding nor expecting nothing in return.  That love will come back, and even if it should linger, Father will reward us.

I have been a slow learner, but I have learned – God’s love.
I may have mentioned this before, but in High School, an underclassman took a shine to me.  She worked her free period in the school office (student files) so she did some research on me.  She discovered all that she could about me then asked ‘me’ to a dance. 

We have to discover something about God before we can make that decision to let Jesus into our heart.  But, from that moment on, our discovery of who our Father is and what our relationship with Him really is, begins.  We have an initial concept, but that image grows deeper as we grow.  As that schoolmate searched me out, who I was, what I liked, etc. we need to discover who God is, what He likes and what does He expect from me?  How can I return the love He has shown me? 

After my wife had gone to be with the Lord, I was told that my wife had told my son that if he turned out to be half the man I was, he would be OK.  I was surprised but pleased.  Over the years, I must’ve learned something!  My son has a pretty good handle on his relationship with the Lord, his family and the world around him.

When we love God, we focus on God.  As we focus on God, we discover more and more of His love abiding in our heart.  As more and more of His love abides in our heart, more and more of that love shines forth and reveals whom we follow and truly love.  Our love for our Father grows stronger and our lives are enriched.

Paul tells us that he was really perplexed, for it seemed those things he knew to do, he didn’t and those things he knew he shouldn’t be doing is what he was inclined to do.  Thank God for repentance.  When we confess and truly repent our sins, Father is faithful to forgive us those sins.  He puts them behind His back (Isa. 38:17).  Our sins are completely blotted out by the blood of Jesus so they become ‘gone’ (1 John 1:7). 

So Paul encourages us to run this life’s race with all our energy and strength, expecting to win (1 Corinth. 9:24).  Whether we are first or last across the line – don’t give up and press on and finish the race (Heb. 12:1-3).  In life’s race we are all winners (no matter who finishes ahead of us or behind us) because our prize is eternal fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.  And the Holy 

Ghost (within us) gives us that strength to cross that finish line.

We cannot serve two masters.  Will we follow Satan (world values) and end up in eternal separation from God (death)?  Or will we follow Jesus, ending up with eternal fellowship with the Father (eternal life)?  We all follow somebody.  Ask this question “Who do I follow?”