Minimum Requirements For My Future Spouse!

God gave me this in 2015 and still holds true!

1. We must have spiritual unity.
We believe the same thing about God. It doesn’t mean we are in total agreement about something just that we believe God and are both growing and have our own one-on-one relationship with him.

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil ? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 NLT

Marriage Magazine released some statics that back up this scripture. 1 in 2.5 marriages end in divorce. When they are spiritual united and practice 3 things 1. Attend church weekly together. 2. Pray together. 3. Read the Bible together the odds change to 1 in 1105.

I know alot of people like to analyze things so analyze that. When God is centered on the relationship or marriage the odds are in your favor.

When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.
Romans 1:12 NLT

We are united in spiritual unity.

We must have life purpose compatibility. This doesn’t mean that we have the same same vision or even the same purpose. It simply means that we have seen our purpose and are in tune with each other concerning it.

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? 
Amos 3:3 NLT

We are Shaped:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT

We are Gifted:
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
1 Peter 4:10 NLT

He has called us:
And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house.
Hebrews 3:1-2 NLT

We must have life purpose compatibility. We know God Shaped us, gifted us and called us to glorify him. We have our individual purpose and together we will have our combined purpose.

We must be emotionally healthy! (Not perfect)

Everybody has been, is or is headed for brokeness. Some more than others. A recent study cited that 80% of marriages that end in divorce or separation end because one or both are emotionally un-healthy. There are alot of contributing factors however there are some Biblical Red Flags that we should watch out for.

1. Whoever I marry must have no uncontrolled anger. Yes anger in an emotion however uncontrolled anger can lead to many things such has violence for one.

Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.
Proverbs 22:24-25 NLT

2. Whoever I marry must have no addictions. This one is a tough one to swallow. It seems nowadays everyone is addicted to something myself included.

Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.
Proverbs 23:20-21 NLT

2. Whoever I marry must have no bitterness.

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
Hebrews 12:15 NLT

3. Whoever I marry must not be selfish.

Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.
Proverbs 28:25 NLT

Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.
Proverbs 18:1 NLT

The #1 cause of conflict in marriage is selfishness.

4. Goes along with #3, Whoever I marry must not be greedy.

Greed brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate bribes will live.
Proverbs 15:27 NLT

Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies.
Proverbs 23:6 NLT

5. Whoever I marry must be generous and kind.

Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
Proverbs 11:24 NLT

Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you. Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
Proverbs 11:17, 24 NLT

6. Whoever I marry must tell the truth!

The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.
Proverbs 20:7 NLT

Yes this is a pretty tight list I know. God is still working on me with many of them. I did notice that not once did he reveal to me anything about appearance. Our cultural does teach the exact opposite.

The longer we date someone the more it’s going to hurt when we break up. God has provided in scripture what we should be looking for. It most certainly does not mean that if they match this list they are the one. This is just the minimum requirements that He wants us to find in the one we choose. If you want to get married or date, you need to get spiritually connected with God. Commit yourself to God’s standards. Don’t date until your own emotional hurts are healed or at least in the healing process. Marriage does not create problems it reveals them. Discover and clarify your purpose together and let God be the center.

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KILL, STEAL and DESTROY

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly”.
 
A thief is one that takes that which does not belong to them. They will often try to acquire that which does not belong to them without being noticed; however, they will destroy things in order to get what they want and will even kill you to get that which doesn’t belong to them.
 
Now let me give the identity of the thief. 1st Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. WATCH THIS;- your adversary is not the person that made you upset, it is not the person that cut in front of you on your way to church. It’s not your spouse that got on your last nerve. It’s not the praise team that didn’t sing your favorite song. It’s not the pastor that preached the message that ended up whipping you up one side and down the other. Your adversary is the devil.
THE THIEF WANTS TO KILL YOUR PURPOSE.
What is purpose? Your purpose is not to be famous, your purpose is not to be a millionaire, your purpose is not to be a super star, if by the Grace of God you attain those things then that is great; however, that is not the purpose for which you were created. Your purpose is the very reason you were put on this earth. It is the plan that God has designed for you that will bring glory to Him. The adversary, the devil is out to kill your purpose. He’s going to try everything in his power to get you to neglect and turn away from your purpose. He wants to deprive you of love and of life. He wants to destroy and do away with the very reason you were created, he wants to muffle and neutralize your glory unto God the Father. God deserves the glory, but the devil wants to steal the glory for himself.
He wants to get you to neglect your purpose by allowing things and situations in your life to become distractions. You have heard me say before I don’t do distraction, because distractions are only designed to cause you to lose focus on something, in this case your purpose. He will send a distraction in your life that will cause you to lose your focus on the reason why you even come to church and that is to worship God.
Not only that but that distraction that he has caused you to focus on will cause you to say I can’t be comfortable in this place so the next thing he causes you to do is to turn away from your purpose. He will speak lies and say you have no purpose here, things aren’t what you thought they would be, see look at how everyone is looking at you and no-body has even looked in your direction, he says and makes you feel that you would be better off if you just left, he will begin to make you feel as if your life is useless that everything you do is ineffective.
So, how do we combat this attack? We must keep our eyes on Jesus at all times. David said in Psalm 121:1 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help”. His focus is heavenward. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thought I have toward you thought of good and not of evil to bring you to an expected end. We must focus on the good things God has for us, for whose report are you going to believe I’m going trust the report of the Lord. We must learn how to silence the lies of the enemy. Understand that a lie is weapon andIsaiah 54:17 says “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD”. So what we need to do is study and learn the Word of God. 2 Timothy 2:15 says “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. Study in the Greek means to be diligent and labor for.
To STEAL, according to dictionary on line, means: to take without permission, to gain or seize, or to appropriate without right or acknowledgment.

The devil would like nothing more than to steal your worship, which would bring glory to him. He wants you to be so distracted, depressed, and selfish that you can’t worship God. Worshipping God is what we are created to do. Everything we do and are should bring glory to God. The enemy is so jealous, that he does everything in his power to steal your worship. This is what he tried to do with Jesus.

Matthew 4:8-9 “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me”. The devil understands that worship equals acquisition and he said he would give Jesus all this stuff if he would worship him. Worship glories God here the devil was trying to steal Jesus’ worship.
That’s what he wants to steal from you and I our worship because our worship glorifies God when it is done in spirit and in truth and he can’t stand that. So if he can cause us not to worship then we are not glorifying God.
So, how can we combat him? We have to maintain a lifestyle of worship. It’s a mindset that we have to constantly keep up. When you constantly have your mind focused on God, it’s very hard for the enemy to distract you. It’s also important to live a life of repentance, since sin is what separates us from God.

Isaiah 50:7: Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame

Matthew 4:10: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

To DESTROY, according to dictionary.com, means: to reduce, to put an end to , to kill, to render ineffective or useless, or to defeat completely.

THE ENEMY WANTS TO DESTROY YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

This is what he did in the Garden of Eden and caused the relationship between God and Humankind to be destroyed. There is a story my father would use sometimes and it went like this “The devil had a yard sale and sold all of his tools except one and that was a wedge. Everyone wanted to buy the wedge but the devil said this wedge is priceless and is not for sale. Someone asked the devil why did he consider the wedge so valuable and wouldn’t part with it. The devil said that’s all the tool I need to be able to get in between any two things. All I have to do is just be able to get the tip of the wedge between it then I can work it until I have finally separated the two things; therefore I refuse to sell this tool for it is priceless to me.”

The enemy wants to put a wedge between you and God, between you and the church, between you and your worship of God. He tries all he can to destroy this relationship. It doesn’t matter if it is through, physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, or just simple little life stuff. Any of these things he uses to create distractions, pain, hurt, and resentment.
LET ME PARK HERE FOR A WHILE:- If you don’t understand your relationship, your place in God, you’ll find yourself trying to do what only God can do and falling for every little distraction that the devil sends your way. Many people in church today are confused, messed-up, discouraged, depressed, unable to praise God the way they are supposed to because they are spending all of their energy trying to be their own god. They are trying to bless themselves, heal themselves, promote themselves, climb the latter of success themselves, trying to solve their own problems, answer their own prayers, trying to cover up for God, because they feel as if he’s not doing it fast enough, trying to make God look good through their own human efforts and it cannot be done. They are distracted by the enemy and not understanding the relationship they are supposed to have with God.

In John 15:5 Jesus said “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” That is relationship and as long as you don’t get distracted and stay connected. All you have to do is trust me to give you what you need. I will supply all your needs not according to your circumstances, not according to your time line, but according to my riches in glory. The important thing is we have a godly connection with God and worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Many people are so connected with church, not the organism but the organization, the flow, the position, that they are not connected with God. They are like Saul more worried about the position, about who did what or who was doing what, who was going to shine or be promoted, when we need to be more like David who was more concerned with Worship because he knew that this was how you enter into the presence of God.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches…” He was explaining the relationship.
The devil understands that communication is foundational in building a strong relationship.

Communication is the most vital element in any relationship. The loss of it will cause the collapse of that relationship. Understand in the natural, no matter how good that person may look and how nice they may seem, if there is no communication between the two of you there is no relationship. Man’s relationship with God failed, in the Garden of Eden, and has been on a downward spiral ever since because the element of communication had been lost. When Adam ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he lost that communication he once had with God, thus causing the relationship to suffer and collapse. WATCH THIS:- Worship is how we communicate with God. When God communicates with us, he reveals to us in our spirit His thoughts, plan and purpose that He has for us to bring us to an expected end. We will reach that expected end through WORSHIP and a proper RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
This relationship with God requires a lifestyle of purity. Purity means being pure in our heart, head, eyes, mouth, and hands.; It’s pure in our love, in what we think, what we see, what we say, and what we touch or do. Psalm 51:10-17: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. .Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. .Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit ; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise”.

It is important that we recognize the plans of the enemy and take action against him. However, do not let that distract you from Worshipping God.
We must make sure we keep focused on Him and fall more in love with Him.
Study to show thyself approved.

Learn the Word of God and hide it in your heart for it is the “Sword of the Spirit” and “sharper than any two edged sword. It will protect you from the enemy’s distraction.
Never give up and always allow the Holy Ghost to lead and guide you. And remember God is a holy God who deserves nothing less than WORSHIP from His people.

Choices: The Redeemed Life

Choices: A Redeemed Life

Ephesians 4: (22) that, in reference to your former manner of life, lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, (23) and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (24) and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Being who we are in Christ means a radical new way of living. Paul called it in Romans 6 ‘to walk in newness of life’. It is leaving off the old and putting on the new.

THE FORMER MANNER OF LIFE suggests that something about who we were outside of Christ should have been left in the dust of our past.

1) LAY ASIDE THE OLD SELF: old man, old who you once were: lost, thinking empty thoughts, living with a dark understanding, separated from the life of God.

Lay aside is the language of one taking off a coat and putting it to the side and wearing it no more.

TWO REASONS TO LAY IT ASIDE:
1. Because of what it is: being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of
deceit Foul, rotten, putrid,
2. Because of what we have: the new self, which in the likeness of God has
been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
a. PUT ON: To clothe yourself with God.

Rom 13:14 Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to it’s lusts.

2 Pet 1:4 For by these(grace & peace) He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises that by them we might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

The lost man has a problem with his mind and his heart. In Christ we have a renewed mind and a new self. The characteristics of our new life are to be two-fold: Righteousness & Holiness.

Beginning in Verse 25 we can see some practical things that should be true about us if we have put off the old man and put on the new.
Series of verses that reflect a definite change in life.

(25) Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. (26) Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, (27) and do not give the devil and opportunity. (28) He who steals must steal no longer, but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. (29) Let to no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

We quickly see from reading these verses that the OLD MAN has a problem in several areas.

1. THE OLD MAN HAS A PROBLEM WITH THE TRUTH: (25) Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Treats truth like we used to treat silly putty: stretch it, change it around, hide
it, put a new face on it.
Paul gives the MAIN reason why falsehood is so bad is that we are all
members of one another.

Whenever we speak the truth, the Spirit of God works but whenever we tell a
lie Satan goes to work.
Lying always disrupts unity and destroys trust. It tears down relationships.

2. THE OLD MAN HAS A PROBLEM WITH ANGER: (26) Be angry and yet do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger, (27) and do not give the devil an opportunity.

Paul begins a warning on anger by reminding us to BE ANGRY.

One of the biggest problems we face today is the lack of proper
anger.

We tolerate what we should be angry at and get angry at what we should tolerate.

1) When was the last time you got mad about sin?
To avoid the pitfalls of anger make sure it has the proper aim and also
make sure it does not smolder:

2) Handle it in a proper and timely manner. The longer is sits in our hearts the more likely it will open a door for Satan to work through our lives.

3) When our emotions are high strung it makes something that is wrong to more likely sound right. Wrong words seem more right to say, wrong attitudes seem more
reasonable to hold.
4) Satan is constantly looking for a foothold in our lives, an opportunity work through our emotions to harm others in the body of Christ. To justify our negative feelings, we deserve to be angry, have the right to be mad, all makes fertile soil for his evil garden.
3. THE OLD MAN HAS A PROBLEM WITH STEALING: (28) He who steals must steal
no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that
he will have something to share with one who has need.
Paul says that if a person has had a problem with stealing in the past then
there is a two part solution:

3

1) Take those hands that used to steal and put them to work. Make some honest dollars

Someone said it this way, “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”

Paul says that the person who stole should “steal no longer but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good.” There is great value in good hard work!
2)Take what is earned and share it. Don’t just meet your own need and splurge on your own wants. See the power of good money and how it can help hurting lives. Learn the value of working not just for your self but for others. There is great reward in working to serve others.
4. THE OLD MAN HAS A PROBLEM WITH CORRUPT SPEECH: (29) Let no
unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for
edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who
hear.

See the pattern: Take what you used to sin with(hands/mouth) and change
how you use them and then find a way to benefit others with them.

Take what the devil used to use and use it to serve God!
a. Unwholesome means corrupt, worthless, It was a word used to describe
rotten fruit. Rotten in the sense that it spreads it’s rottenness. It makes
the worst kind of air pollution.
b. Not just foul language the world might use but in the church things like
slander, gossip, backbiting….

I think that verse 30 shows us that Paul is struggling to save the punch line for last but I am going to leap-frog to 31-32 and come back.
5. THE OLD MAN HAS A PROBLEM WITH BITTERNESS: (31) Let all bitterness and
wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
(32) Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ
also has forgiven you.

Porcupine quills have barbs on the end of them that make the pain all the
more significant. When Satan wants to inflict as much pain as possible:

You can take these words Paul uses and spell out spiritual barbs.
B – Bitterness – a settled hostility that poisons the inside, to refuse to reconcile
A – ANGER – A rage under the surface that can suddenly explode into flames.
R – WRATH – The explosion of anger which can leave illrepairable harm
B – Brawling/Clamor – loud self-assertions to make grievances known
S – Slander – destroying another’s reputation and name through gossip and rumors and lies.
In the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles went to Boston to play a routine baseball game. But what happened that day was anything but routine. The Orioles’ John McGraw got into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes all the players from both teams had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the grandstands. Among the fans the conflict went from bad to worse. Someone set fire to the stands and the entire ballpark burned to the ground. Not only that, but the fire spread to 107 other Boston buildings as well (Daily Bread, August 13, 1992).

The better choice is to take those negative emotions and turn them by the
power of the Holy Spirit in our lives into positive and loving actions.

The Holy spirit is waiting to work through our lives in a positive and loving way to reach out into others lives. When we don’t allow that to happen and especially when we instead do the opposite and harm others then VERSE 30 becomes very true.

(30) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

It doesn’t just cause displeasure or sadness to God when we hurt one another but it causes grief. The highest form of sadness, the sadness that brings the greatest pain.

Don’t walk like the world but live different.

1. When it comes to lying, anger, stealing, corrupt speech and bitter hearts learn
to put off the old man and put on the new man in Christ and love others
through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I heard a story of a man who, one day, visited both heaven and hell.
He went to hell first and there he saw people who were starving and wretched and miserable, in terrible condition. He noticed that the problem was that everybody in hell had stiff arms. They could not minister to their own needs, they could not clean themselves up, or feed themselves, they could not do anything, so they were in misery. It was depressing to him, and he was delighted to have an opportunity to visit heaven.
There he found people who were well fed, sleek and happy, enjoying themselves. It was just what heaven ought to be. But he noticed something remarkable. They too were suffering from the same problem. They all had stiff arms, and could not minister to their own needs. The difference was that, in heaven, they were feeding each other.

A young boy about nine years old went with his parents to Europe one summer. Part of their tour was visiting the great old cathedrals of the past. As he would visit cathedral after cathedral he saw the massive stained glass portraits of the disciples and of other saints. He was so impressed as he stood in these great empty halls looking through the beautiful stained glass windows. Upon return, when asked by his Sunday School teacher, what about the great churches of Europe did he like the most and he said the windows of the saints. She asked what was his definition of a saint. And as his mind went back to those massive beautiful stained glass windows, he said, “A saint is someone God shines light through.”

You may remember the story of the boy who thought he would teach some sparrows to sing like a canary, so he put them in a cage with the canary, hoping the canary would teach them to sing. In a few days he found the canary chirping like the sparrows. This is always the case, is it not? If we give ourselves to the attitudes and ways of thinking of those around us, we will inevitably do the same things, there is no avoiding it. The only way to help them is to demonstrate a completely different level of life.

Endorsement for the 2016 Elections

In 1938 the name Boston Curtis appeared on the ballot for Republican Committeeman from Milton, Washington. Actually, Boston Curtis was a donkey. The town’s mayor sponsored the animal to demonstrate that people know very little about the candidates…..He proved his point. The mule won!
It’s sad but true Americans know very little about their government … constitution, the freedoms & rights we enjoy & those elected to office!

Let me remind you: -We live in a Republic…that is governed by the consent of the people! -We are a Democracy…we have a voice & a vote to choose! -We have a constitution which is the law of the land!
We don’t live under Monarchy! -We are not Anarchy! -We aren’t Communists or Socialist!
When it comes to our country…our government…& The elections… What we are…. I’m afraid…it’s laziness……Many just don’t care! -Many are Indifferent & Passive! They don’t want to get involved. -Many are ignorant! They don’t know & don’t want to know the issues.

My friend you need to understand something! Legislators…. Legislation…. Politicians … Politics … Democrats … Republicans even Independents offer little change as it relates to the vast number of issues that face this nation!
Real & Genuine change come from the heart & its God alone who can change a heart for he holds the hearts of men in His hand! Scripture says…

Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Proverbs 21:1
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.
Psalm 47:8 God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.
Illustration: An elderly gentleman was sitting on a park bench, basking in the sun, when another elderly fellow sat down. They looked at each other for a moment but did not speak. Both men sat there, staring straight ahead. After a while, one of them heaved a big, heartfelt sigh. The other jumped up immediately & said, “If you’re going to talk politics, I’m leaving.”
I’m not gonna talk politics…so don’t leave! But what I am gonna do is remind you that Christian’s had better be informed & involved in the political process for it effects you….your family…this nation!
Proverbs 29:2 When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.

Scripture has much to say about our involvement in Politics: “Politics” ~ The affairs of government…politicians….& political parties.
-Christians are to be peaceful & law abiding citizens. Romans 13:1-7 -We are to pray for & honor our government leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1-3

-We are to pay our taxes. Matthew 22:21

-We are to work for the highest good of all people. Proverbs 3:27

-Jesus’ call for His people to be salt & light to a dying world…that includes those who govern us & the decision they make that involve us! Matthew 5:13-14
-We are to submit to those who govern us. 1 Peter 2:13-15
-We are to promote Godly principles in politics and government Pr 29:2 When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.

My friend, the people of God must be informed & involved in our government….& in the process of electing those who govern us!
Quote: The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. ~Plato
Let’s look at some things to consider as you get informed & involved in Politics & the election that is underway.

  1. You have been given the Right to vote:

Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.

Again, this is a democracy! You have a voice…You have a vote! Use It!

-You’re an American! -Born in the land of the brave & home of the free! -Thousands before us have bled & die for the rights & freedoms we enjoy! -As I speak young men & women are in harms way in Iraq & Afghanistan.

My friend, you are blessed by God to live in this nation…You’re not: -Struggling in Iraq or Afghanistan due to war & civil unrest! ….Nor… -Starving in Sudan for lack of food! 70,000 have died & 1.5 million is refugee camps. -Searching for hope & meaning in the west bank or Gaza Strip in Israel.

You live in the land of …baseball…hotdogs…apple pies & Chevrolet’s!

You have the right to vote…take it & make it count for good!
Quote: When it comes to a showdown, Washington must never forget who rules —— the people. ~Will Rogers

 

You have the opportunity to be heard through your vote…to elect those who embrace the things of God!

2. You have the Responsibility to vote: Romans 13:1
For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God…

As a citizen of this great nation…&…as a child of God you have the responsibility to get involved!
Your involvement … -Makes a difference! -It has an impact! -Brings about change that is Godly & good!

There’re plenty of examples in scripture where God’s people got involved in politics!

“Politics” ~ The affairs of government…politicians….& political parties.

For example:
-Genesis 41:39-41 Pharaoh gave Joseph political control of all Egypt.

-Exodus 5:2-4 Moses went before Pharaoh as God’s ambassador asking for the freedom of God’s people.

-Samuel 3 Samuel the prophet & judge choose Saul as Israel’s king.

-Esther 1 Esther the queen saved the whole Jewish nation from execution.

-Daniel 1 Daniel served in the king’s court, while obeying God.

-And of course there was Jesus who was one for the most divisive figure in history religiously….socially…& politically!

As Americans & as Christians we have a responsibility to vote!

We also have the responsibility to pray & support our leaders.
Jeremiah 29:4-7 The nation of Israel in captivity & bondage!
The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, sends this message to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food you produce. Marry, and have children. Then find spouses for them, and have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of Babylon. Pray to the LORD for that city where you are held captive, for if Babylon has peace, so will you.”

Look you have a right to vote…then when all is said & done if your man or party doesn’t win you have a responsibility to pray & support that man for as he goes…so goes the nation …&…so goes you & your family.

3. You have a Reason to vote: Proverbs 29:2 When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
We are Christians first….Americans second!

Christian live under a Theocracy ~ in other words we are subject to divine authority! We answer to God first & for most! It’s about His agenda!

As Americans…we live under a Democracy…we have a say & vote in government.

Therefore, we should seek to elect those whose beliefs ….morals…& values best line up w/ the word of God!

-It’s not about party…personality….or promises! -It’s about character … integrity….truthfulness & uprightness!

The reason we vote is to bring about an atmosphere & environment in this nation that honors God & draws us closer to Him!

However, the mindset seems to be….I’ll vote for the one who honors me & draws me closer to the things I want in life!

The Preamble of the Constitution says… We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

From there the articles & Amendments unfold that protect us from the tyranny the founders, fathers & framers had known in Europe!

I said that to say this… -It’s not the government’s responsibility to provide you a job! -It’s not the government’s duty to provide you healthcare! -The government is not obligated to give you prescriptions drugs. -Or a house…an education…nor a retirement check!
That my friend is communism & socialism & not the democracy & capitalism on which this nation was built!

The government job is to stay out of your life & allow you to work hard…study hard & reach for what ever star you so chose!

In other words the less government the better!!!

As a Christian your vote should enlarge the kingdom of God & not the kingdom of self!
Healing Keys ministry and I are proud to endorse the Lord Our God in this election cycle.

Can We Be Banned from Church…

They ban people from Facebook? Did you know that? Well, I knew it… I just didn’t know how common it was.

Now, there is a Biblical equivalent of being kicked off of Facebook.
It’s called shunning or ex-communication. Shunning is the practice of ostracizing an unrepentant sinful member of a congregation. In essence – these folks are being banned from church.

The most famous Biblical example of “shunning” is the one found in I Corinthians 5. From what we read here, it appears that one of the members of the church had decided to co-habitate with his stepmother (sleeping with his daddy’s wife).

AND it appears that the church knew about this and looked the other way.
Paul was amazed. How could the church tolerate such sinful behavior? Even the Pagans didn’t live like this.

Well – how could the church folks “tolerate such sinful behavior?” How could they just “look the other way” when a fellow Christian was so obviously immoral?

Well, apparently it seemed like a good idea at the time. To their way of thinking, it was the “loving thing to do”. If they could just be more patient and understanding, maybe he’d change. I mean he was probably just sowing his wild oats. And maybe they took into account problems he’d had earlier in life.

Besides… it wasn’t their problem.
Many would say: “It really isn’t any of my business.”

But Paul said: “Yes, it is your business. And you better understand – you need to step up and confront this sin.”

He wrote that they NEEDED to shun this man  And the reason they need to do it is “…so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” (Vs. 5)

Notice what he’s saying.
He saying that
1. Shunning would destroy/break down/cure this man’s sinful behavior
2. BUT IT’S MORE THAN THAT, it’s also going to save him from damnation.

So if they didn’t punish this man… he could very well end up in hell. And they would be responsible because they didn’t want to get involved.

God says something about this in Ezekiel 33:2-6. God says to Ezekiel “Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I WILL HOLD THE WATCHMAN ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS BLOOD.’

Essentially Paul is saying that God considers the church and it’s leadership to be watchmen. We are responsible for the lives and salvation of the Christians in church family. It IS our business to confront sin so that our brothers and sisters in Christ don’t go to hell.
If we don’t step up and meet our responsibility, God will hold us accountable for the blood of that lost man/woman.

I read about a congregation dwindle from being a congregation of over 600 down to a little over 100 people rattling around in a big museum of a building. What had they done? Years ago, they’d had a wealthy Elder who had a couple of girlfriends on the side… and they looked the other way.
And this once great congregation wasted away to nothing. All because they wanted the Elder’s money more than holiness.

This is a serious matter.
But then Paul goes beyond the effect this lack of concern with holiness would have on that sinful man and tells of how it would effect the congregation itself.
Paul wrote: “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?” 1 Corinthians 5:6

In other words – if they didn’t confront and punish this sinful behavior NOT ONLY would this young man go to hell, BUT an attitude of sinfulness would spread like yeast thru the whole congregation. Others in the church would take it as a green light to live whatever sinful way they wanted to. I mean – if they’ll let that guy get away with that – why should I worry? Why should I change?

In short: a church that avoids disciplining unrepentant, sinful members risks 3 things:
1. The sinner’s eternal damnation
2. God’s wrath on their Church
3. AND the spread of sin and disobedience throughout the congregation.
This is serious stuff.

Now, does everybody agree that shunning is something a church should be willing to do?
And does everybody agree that they find this whole idea… very uncomfortable?
Me too.

In this world – just about everybody shuns somebody, sometime. There are certain people I’ll not have in my house. There are certain people I don’t want to spend any time with.
There are certain people I don’t want to waste my time talking to on the phone.
There aren’t many of these folks, but I literally shun some people.
And – in reality – most of us do.

So, it’s no surprise, that a responsible website like Facebook would try to protect their patrons from being abused by people who would embarrass them/ manipulate them. It’s no surprise that if someone does something they shouldn’t do on Facebook, they get shunned/ banned/ ex-communicated.

So if everybody does it, why is it that when the church does it – people get upset?

There are 3 reasons I can think of:
1st – A lot of people would rather BE God than OBEY God.

I Corinthians 6:9-10 declares:
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

There are certain people that aren’t going to be in God’s House. They are not going to get in the door. Paul is telling the Corinthians that they shouldn’t allow people to deceive themselves into thinking otherwise.

That’s why Paul writes: “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” I Corinthians 9-12

It’s God’s house. And God calls us to periodically confront sinful people that don’t want to change.

The 2nd reason some people get upset – is that churches sometimes would rather BE God than obey God. They’ve seen churches that want to stand in the place of God and be a sinner’s judge, jury and executioner. In those churches, there is no place for repentance or no place for a changed life.

In those churches a person is kicked out and there is little or no chance of coming back. It’s a lot like the experience some have had on Facebook. If you remember, in the video, one of the experts noted: “If you get booted, all you can do is send them an email stating your case. You’ll either be reinstated… or not.”

In other words – Facebook can be capricious in how they discipline people.
On that internet site, the administrators of Facebook are God and they don’t need to accept you back in if they don’t want to. And there are plenty of churches who treat sinners in their midst in the same way.

I recently read the story of a young man in a very large church on the West Coast. As is the case in churches of that size, he was part of a smaller group to help with his personal growth and fellowship. This man had become engaged to a Elder’s daughter in that church. But before he married her, he got physically involved with old flame (not sexually, but he’d betrayed his fiancé’s trust nonetheless). He felt guilty about that and shared it with his intended. Then he confessed to that before his small group, including confessing that he and his fiancé had also gotten physically involve (to what degree I don’t know).

So he confessed his sins – first to his fiancé – then to the small group he was part of. The small group leaders apparently passed this along to preacher and elders of that church and they had a meeting with him. That was appropriate. But then things got a little weird.
Apparently the leadership began to push him to confess EVERY sexual sin he’d ever committed in his life. He tried to comply with their request, but even after doing that the church began to have little to do with him.
Finally he just quit. They never seemed to be satisfied with the repentance he had already shown.

From the story that I read it would appear that this church was less concerned with restoring this man to fellowship, than they were with controlling him.

Now that was never the objective of I Corinthians 5.
Paul said they should discipline this member because he REFUSED to repent.
THAT sinful man wanted to CONTINUE in that lifestyle, he had no intention of changing.

And because that man refused to repent 1 Corinthians 5:5 Paul wrote they should “hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.”

The objective was never to play God. It was to change the behavior of this sinful man. To make him realize what he’d done was wrong and then to bring him back in and restore him.

So people object to shunning sinful people because either:
1. They want to BE God
2. Or they’ve seen churches who want to BE God.

The 3rd reason many churches don’t exercise church discipline – they don’t think it works.
But it does.

One of the videos I watched in preparing for this sermon told the stories of 3 people who’d been banned from Facebook. Each of them had used the site for building their businesses and they had overused some of the tools there. The next morning they woke and found they couldn’t get on their Facebook page.

But they had no idea what they’d done wrong! I was impressed by each of their comments:
Each of them said “If I’d only known what I was doing wrong… I’d have changed”

The threat of losing their access to Facebook would have been enough to get them to “repent”. And that’s true in the church as well.

You see the point of a church is to make people right with God. Most of the time that means doing things that are pleasant. Things like listening to people share their pains and their sorrows Crying with them, and laughing with them. Giving them the security of being part of a loving/ caring family. Reminding them how much God loves them.

But there are times when a church has to remind people – our God is Holy and righteous God. And if we love God, we will strive to reflect our God’s holiness.

A church that ignores sin…
· isn’t loving God.
· and it really isn’t loving it’s people.

And a church that exercises church discipline (the way the Bible says they should) needs to understand two things:
1st They serve a Holy God – a God who DEMANDS holiness
2nd NONE of them were holy when God saved them.

Paul writes in I Corinthians 6 (where he’s still talking about discipling the sinful man.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And THAT IS WHAT SOME OF YOU WERE. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Too many times churches look at themselves as being righteous and worthy, whereas the sinful member is just so much trash to be swept to the curb. The sinful member deserves nothing more than to be stepped on and trampled down because they have proven themselves unworthy to be part of the holy ones in church. That’s not God’s message in this. God wants us to realize that we have been unholy and unrighteous. But we were saved by a loving and merciful God who sent His son to die for us even when we were disobedient and deserving wrath. So we who have been made holy by a holy God need to show the same compassion for the Christian who has sinned and refused to repent.
Shunning does not mean destroying.  It means disciplining an unrepentant sinning brother so that he/she changes their minds.

That was the goal of Paul’s instructions in I Corinthians 5. And in the next letter he wrote them, we see that this story has a happy ending.

“The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven— if there was anything to forgive— I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” II Corinthians 2:6-11

I heard the true story of a church which started out as a storefront congregation. There was one member of that small group who gave everything he had to make them successful. He involved himself in every ministry, and financially supported them.  Eventually, they grew in size and eventually built their own worship center. But then it became known that this active member was committing adultery. The church leadership met with him and his wife several times, but it became evident that he had no intention of changing his behavior. Basically told them to take a hike… he could do what he wanted to. He loved this other woman and he wasn’t going to change a thing in his life. So the leadership took it before the church and they shunned him.

They didn’t eat with him, they didn’t talk to him… they simply walked away from him.
Now they didn’t do this because they hated him. They seriously wanted him to back in their fellowship, but since he wouldn’t change it left them little choice if they were to obey God. About a year went by and the man’s life began to suffer. He lost his job… he lost his health.
And eventually he ended up in the hospital. There, in his hospital room, he called the church leaders and asked to see them. When they came – he admitted his sin and asked for forgiveness. That church leadership gladly accepted his repentance. They prayed for him that night. They helped restore his marriage… and ultimately they helped him restart his life again.

Why did they do that?
Because this man mattered to them.
His eternal salvation was important to them.
And ultimately they loved him back into the church… and into a right relationship with God.

Social Network

It seems that when people get on Facebook they always reveal WHO they are.
It’s like they believe they’re somehow anonymous because no one is looking them in the eye. And thus, they don’t think anybody is really paying attention.

Now, some people are very nice folks in private… and so they’re nice on Facebook. But others – if they’re mean spirited, lewd, crude and generally despicable in private that’s how they behave on Facebook. And some of these people will post pictures on their Facebook they wouldn’t ordinarily want anybody to see, but they’ll put them online because they think they’re being funny.

I was sent a friend request from a lady that joined the Bible study I led.  At first it was just normal. But then, after a few weeks I noticed a disturbing pattern in her postings. What she wrote on HER Facebook (and thus shared with me) often had foul words, and she would talk about things a Christian shouldn’t be talking about.
So, I sent her a private message explaining that this wasn’t appropriate. She was remorseful and said it wouldn’t happen again. But it did. So I sent her another message… and she “unfriended” me. And that was ok.

You see, what she began to realize was – the things she thought were private – were being read by a Man of God. And she came to the conclusion that if she wanted to do what she wanted to do she had to make sure I didn’t know what she was doing. So she unfriended me. She cut me off from her Facebook page. Because (in her mind) if I didn’t KNOW what she was doing… she could keep on doing it.

Now, she can hide that from me… but she can’t hide those things from God
In Jeremiah God tells us “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.” Jeremiah 16:17, Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

That woman may have thought she’d gotten away with something by “unfriending” me, but she can’t hide anything from God. He sees it all. And in Luke 6 Jesus is essentially telling us that God has a Facebook page for each of us. On that Facebook page God sees exactly who you and I are. Every word we speak is recorded. Every action we do is shown
Because God sees us as we really are.

Now just to put your mind at ease – none of us come off looking all that good on the Facebook page God has for us. As Romans says – “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

But here in Luke 6 Jesus is telling His disciples that, while that may be true, they shouldn’t get real comfortable with that idea. While all of us do mess up in our lives on occasion, God Jesus is saying is this: what you say and what you do are reflections of what is inside of you. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.

How you and I TALK… and how you and I WALK are reflections of what we’ve stored in our hearts. In computer language they have a scientific description of that process. It’s called “Garbage in, garbage out.” If you put bad things in a computer… you’ll get bad things out.
And conversely, if you put good things in… you’ll get good things out

So, as Christians, what’s INSIDE of us?
Well, it’s supposed to be the Spirit of God.
And how do I know if I’m filled with the Spirit of God

If I’m filled with the Spirit of God… I’ll show the FRUIT of His being inside me.
Galatians 5:22-26 says “the FRUIT of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other, is looking to see what kind of fruit we’re bearing in our lives.

He says: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” Luke 6:43
Then Jesus points out what kind of fruit God looks at:

God looks at what we SAY
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth SPEAKS.” Luke 6:45
AND God looks at what we DO
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not DO what I say? Luke 6:46

What Jesus is saying is this: what you say and what you do are reflections of what is inside of you. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.

I want to look at Galatians 5 and ask you a series of questions:
· In the past 6 weeks have you been showing love to each other?
· In the past 6 weeks, have you been trying to create an atmosphere of joy?
· Have you been promoting peace?
· Have you been patient with one another?
 

“Or are you living according to the works of the flesh? Galatians 5:19- 21 which speaks of “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, etc.”
Verse 21: “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” What Paul is saying is, if you live like this you’re going to hell.”

What Jesus is saying in Luke 6 is that God EXPECTS the fruit of Galatians 5 to be IN us. God expects us to show love to each other, create an atmosphere of joy around us, promote peace , show kindness to others… etc.

THIS should be our objective as Christians. Because we know God is watching… He’s reading our Facebook page.

A man by the name of Larry Zinck told of making some purchases on Ebay.
“All of my transactions turned out okay in the end, but one seller did not communicate well with me and was very slow to deliver the used laptop I purchased. So when it came time to give feedback on eBay, I clicked on the button for negative feedback. I was quite surprised when I saw a message something like this:
CAUTION! DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THIS? THINK ABOUT ANY NEGATIVE
COMMENTS YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE, BEFORE THEY BECOME A MATTER OF
PUBLIC RECORD.
Zinck said: “I have to say that I was taken by surprise! That sounded like something right out of the pages of scripture. Here was a company was telling me to act like a Christian!”

Why did EBAY say people should act that way?
Because somebody would be watching!
Ebay warns people their comments would become a matter of public record. And they’re names would be attached to their comments – they would not be anonymous. Their words could/would be revealed to everyone.

And God is telling us exactly the same thing.

So, if God wants me to bear this fruit, and this fruit is the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit… how do I accomplish that? How do I fill myself with the Holy Spirit?

Ephesians 5:15-21 says:
“Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise – making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Paul tells us here that there are a couple of things:
1st – the days are evil. All kinds of people are doing all kinds of things that aren’t nice.
Don’t you be one of them!
2nd – you are expected to understand what the Lord’s Will is. This is NOT optional. God expects you to know what His Will is.

So how do I know what God’s will is for my life?
Well, I need to fill myself with the right kind of Spirit.

There are people who fill themselves/get drunk with the Spirit of Alcohol.
Now, how do I know when someone is drunk? (Act/Think/ Walk/Talk)
Paul says – don’t be filled with that kind of Spirit… it leads to debauchery/lack of salvation

Then he says… instead be filled with the Spirit (Holy Spirit).
If you’re filled with the Spirit of God, you can tell that by how you Act, Think, Walk and Talk.
How do I do that? How do I fill my life with God’s Spirit? (He’s already there when I’m saved, but I continue to refill myself with His presence by the following actions).

I fill my life with God’s Spirit by being careful what I store in my heart.
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart

So what good things should I store up in my heart?
1st, Music – “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord”

In 2005, researcher analyzed the lyrics of the top 279 songs. And they found that…

Nearly 80 percent of rap songs contained references to illicit drugs, alcohol or tobacco
· followed by country (37%),
· R&B (20%),
· rock (14%)
· and pop (9%).
That study didn’t include the references to immorality and illicit sex. If they had, the percentages would go up dramatically.
Jesus said: The evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
Garbage in – garbage out. Evil music will have an effect on my heart

BUT – if I fill my heart with songs that glorify God… that changes things
In fact, it changes ME.

Clarence Darrow, the famous atheist lawyer – once took part in a debate at a church in Chicago. In his attack on the Christian faith, he tried to play on the emotions of the black people who were there, and on their social misery. This was the heart of the depression he said – no money, jobs and little hope. He amplified their despair and frustrations. In one moment of eloquence Darrow said:
“I don’t understand it – you sing such great music – I have heard you singing here today – amid all the woes of life – how can you sing? What in the world do you have to sing about in the face of life like this?” Darrow had asked a rhetorical question, not expecting an answer; like a flash a woman stood up right in front of him and said,
“Why do we sing? What do we have to sing about? We have JESUS to sing about!”
They all shouted “amen”!

Secondly, Paul says we need to fill ourselves with Thanksgiving.
“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

There’s a reason why people in this world are depressed
There’s a reason why a lot of folks have trouble sleeping
There’s a reason why many face each day with a lack of hope.
They’re not thankful people.
They spend all their time thinking about what they don’t have/ rather than what have.

In Philippians 4, to rejoice in the Lord always. And then God tells us that when we learn to do that we end up having a peace that passes all understanding. It doesn’t even make any sense… but it’s there. 1Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Psalm 127:2 tells us God “grants sleep to those he loves.”

If we learn to be thankful people, the good stored up in our hearts because we’re grateful removes our anxiety, gives us peace, gives us sleep.

Lastly, Ephesians tells us to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Eph 5:21
To be filled with the Spirit you need to fill your heart with a priority that’s higher than you

Philippians puts it this way:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Most of the evil – in the lives of evil people – comes from their being focused on themselves.
Self-interest. Selfishness – I, ME, and MINE
Evil people do evil things because they want to take care of THEIR needs/not yours
So they fill themselves with themselves.

But Jesus said: Mat 23:11 “The greatest among you will be your servant.”
Thus, to bear the fruit of God’s Spirit… you and I need to fill ourselves…
· with the right music
· with the right attitudes
· with the right humility to serve others.

Lastly, and most importantly, we need to fill ourselves with Christ’s Spirit for salvation.
Without His Spirit inside of us we cannot be saved. Acts 2:38 we’re told we need to “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Satan Attacks

Jesus prepared His disciples for everything, including war. They saw Him casting out demons. In fact, He sent them out doing the same. But before He sent them out, He charged them to become “wise as serpents yet innocent and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16).

This combination of divine wisdom and Christ-like innocence is the source of all spiritual victory. We can defeat the enemy. But we must learn the ways of God, which means we must think with wisdom. And we must be pure of heart, that we may see God and gain discernment.

Remember, Adam and Eve were in paradise when they fell. Solomon wrote 3 books of Scripture; he actually gazed upon the glory of God, yet he fell. And don’t forget, Lucifer himself was once in heaven pouring out praise to God.

We have all seen many who have fallen. Jesus warned that the love of many would grow cold. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Our enemy has been deceiving mankind for thousands of years. So, be bold – in your prayer life. Many well-meaning Christians have approached the field of battle with flippant attitudes and have suffered greatly for it.

3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through      God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Cor. 10:3-6

Satan is out to deceive us…to torment us…to destroy us. He wants to keep us from the truth…because he knows that the truth – the truth of the Word of God – when it is applied to our lives will set us free. And the attack of the enemy is raging, among individual lives all over the world.

But what is Satan’s real strategy…how does he bring about all this turmoil? The attack starts in the mind…this is his primary means of beginning his destruction. And, few Christians realize this important fact.

The Bible speaks of the “weapons of our warfare”…and it’s important to realize that we are at war. And when I say war, I am speaking of all out conflict…life and death…a fight for our very spiritual lives. So we must come to the realization, that like it or not, we need to fight if were to survive.

And this whole war is one that begins in the mind. The area of our thoughts is the main battleground. The warfare starts in the mind…but then if allowed, it will spread to other areas of our lives as well.

Verse 5 speaks of “demolishing arguments and pretenses.” The KJV says “casting down imaginations.” The word we find translated imaginations or arguments, in the Greek, actually means “a reasoning, or decision.”

And this speaks of the way we so often are able to take the plain truth of God’s word and twist it and turn it in such a way that it’s no longer absolute…that our specific situation is so special or unique that we are not bound by the same rules as everyone else. We rationalize…and excuse…and “reason” the truth into exactly what we want to hear.

And this is quite profound when we look back at Genesis 3 and the deception of Eve. That subtle snake whispered a thought…and she reasoned it out in her mind until it became acceptable to break the command of God. But Paul is saying we are to use our spiritual weapons to break down these arguments that go on in our minds…put there by the snake himself.

So once again, the battleground is in the mind. And thoughts are what Satan wants to slip in there. Let’s look at a few examples. In Acts 8 we have the story of Philip going down to Samaria for a great revival. Multitudes were being saved, healed and delivered from the power of Satan. Many were baptized in water and also baptized in the Holy Spirit.

But in this story we also see a man named Simon, the sorcerer. And Simon wrongly offers Peter and John money for the gift of laying hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit. Peter immediately rebuked him and said, “Man, you’re full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Now think of what he’s saying here. Look at what Peter says was at the heart of this man’s problem…he was full of bitterness – and that bitterness made him a captive to sin. Bitterness blinded him to the truth of God’s ways. And in verse 22 he says to Simon, “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.”

Do you see…Simon was motivated by a thought! And where did that thought come from? Satan! What Peter was saying was this…”Satan has put a thought in your heart…And you have accepted that thought as your own and acted on it. Now pray for God to forgive you for that THOUGHT!

And notice that he didn’t say thoughts…but thought – singular! Pray that God will forgive you for that ONE THOUGHT that leads you into wrong action. And it’s so often just one little thought…placed in our minds by old Satan himself…that will make us say and do things that are so destructive and hurtful to people and to the body of Christ.

You see, the enemy’s primary approach is to drop a THOUGHT into our minds. He wants us to accept it and then act upon it. And the danger is that once we do…that thought can become a stronghold. And let me tell you…Satan’s lying thoughts can really have a strong hold on people!

Thoughts can hold you like a vise and keep you from the truth. One mighty lie from Satan can hold you in a place of sickness…of suffering…of torment…of bitterness and unforgiveness. And it will last just as long as you permit it…as long as you accept it!

Many of you are held captive by a thought. And that thought brings fear. Some of those thoughts are:
“You’re no good”…”You’ll never make it to heaven”…”Your children will die and go to hell”…”You’re going to have a wreck”…”You have cancer…or a tumor”…”You’ll never get well”…”You’re of no use to God’s kingdom or His work at this church” ….”You’ve messed up so much what’s the use of even trying”

The thoughts go on and on…the devil brings thousands of thoughts to our minds. These thoughts bring fear, and when they take root in our mind we begin to speak them…and what was once an accusing voice now becomes your voice saying – “I’m no good…I’ll never make it to heaven…I have cancer…I’ll never recover…I’m no good to the kingdom of God….I’ll never make it…and so on.

And this is nothing more than a trick – a subtle but deadly trick of the enemy. So don’t fall into his trap. Just as Paul says in verses 4&5…we need to bring every thought into the captivity of Christ. We need to replace that lie with the truth of God’s Word! Paul was speaking this as he was undergoing a difficult trial personally.

Paul’s credibility was called into question and he responds that he may seem weak, but he fights his battles using God’s mighty weapons – not man’s. He says, “I’m doing it Jesus’ way! Because these weapons are the only ones that will tear down the strongholds of the enemy. These are the only weapons that will ensure spiritual victory.”

And this is the only way to overcome the devil…by using the Word of God! Remember, the devil is not only a liar, he is the father of all lies! He can’t tell the truth.

Have you become convinced that your destiny is to suffer defeat…to suffer pain…to suffer from sickness…to suffer from broken relationships? Have you become convinced that your life is messed up and can’t be fixed…or maybe that your family…church…

Well I’m here to tell you that you can change your “destiny.” But let me tell you this…You will never be healed…you will never be set free…you will never be delivered and revived as long as you think that your present state is all God wants for you!

It’s the devil who wants you to suffer…it’s the devil who wants to rob you of your joy…and your peace…and your family…and your relationships…and your church. It’s the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy!

Faith is an action. And to believe, to have faith in the Word of God is to act on the Word of God! Paul says the weapons available to us are mighty through God not just to get by…but to demolish these strongholds! Do you see how this works?

When the enemy comes in with these thoughts, and tries to torment us or cause us to live and act contrary to the Word of God…we need to begin to fight with the same weapons Jesus used to defeat Satan. And that is to quote the Word of God, with faith and assurance.

If the devil says you’re not saved…replace that thought with the words of John 1:12 – “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on His name.”

If the enemy tells you God will not forgive your sin or heal your particular disease, replace that thought with one of God’s precious healing, delivering thoughts like Psalm 103:2-3 “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”

If the enemy tells you that you’re rejected and without hope or resources…replace that with Psalm 102:17 which says “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute, He will not despise their plea.”

We need to remind Satan of 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature…the old has gone, the new has come.” So we can boldly stand up and say…”I’m a new creature in Christ! I’m more than a conqueror! Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!

We can boldly stand up and say, “I rebuke you, you lying demon! In the name of Jesus Christ I cast you and your thoughts out of my mind! Go, in Jesus name!

And he will go…and the fear will go…and you can smile and stand up tall and proud for Jesus – HALLELUJAH!! This is the plan Jesus used when He whipped the devil. Satan placed the thought in His mind, “Turn these stones to bread.” But Jesus rejected that thought and replaced it with one of God’s thoughts by saying, “IT IS WRITTEN!”

And you can whip the devil every time by saying, “It is written!” Then go on to say what is written in the Word of God. Bring every thought into the captivity of Christ! That means we need to make the devil’s thoughts bow to the infallible Word of Almighty God. We need to drive them out with the power of His Word! We need to pull them down with “Thus saith the Lord!”

Jesus has conquered Satan for you…and now He has given you His authority to demonstrate the devil’s defeat. In Luke 10:19 we read these powerful words, “I have given you authority…to overcome all the power of the enemy!” And in Mark 16:17 Jesus says, “In my name YOU shall cast out demons! We have the power…we have the authority…Hallelujah!

The thought life is the battlefield. So guard your thoughts! Watch what you read…watch what you look at…watch what you let into your mind. Be careful who you listen to. Don’t let wrong thoughts linger there. Romans 12:1-2 (READ)

How are we transformed? By renewing our minds! And that means to live in the Word! Walk daily in the Word! Think God’s thoughts daily! RENEW YOUR MIND! Learn to think like God thinks about salvation, forgiveness, mercy, sickness, healing, deliverance, goodness…and all the other wonderful things in the Bible.

David was a man who said he was blessed. WHY? Listen to Psalm 1:1-3 (READ) Notice that it says his DELIGHT is in the law of the Lord! And on His law he MEDITATES…and meditates when? Day and night. It is the one who delights and meditates on the Word of God who can pull down strongholds and cast down imaginations. Now you know that God has given you the power to pull down strongholds…and what are you going to do with it.

This is warfare…and the battle is raging. But we do have weapons. And they are mighty through God! He has given you His Word…the Blood of Jesus…and the name of Jesus. If you dare to do your part…all heaven will come to your aid – and you will be victorious!