Two Wrong Assumptions About Deception

“Paul warned that Antichrist’s

…coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of wickedness… (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

This puts in a very vulnerable position, those Christians who accept anything that seems to be miraculous, as coming from God.

Although miracles are important, we must beware of placing greater emphasis upon them than Scripture supports. Jesus Himself said of John the Baptist that there was no greater prophet born of women (Luke 7:28), and yet we are told that John “did no miracle” (John 10:41 KJV). And of Jesus it is said, though He did so many miracles, yet the Jews still did not believe on Him (John 12:37). The Bible does not teach that the great need today is for a miracle ministry, as is so heavily emphasized on much Christian television. Rather, it warns us that we need discernment to know the difference between what is of God and what is of Satan.”

(The Seduction of Christianity – Dave Hunt – emphasis added)

In Kingdom of the Occult, Walter Martin states another mindset that causes the unsuspecting to be snared:

“The modern age, with its wealth of occult material, is proof positive of this fascination. People on the lookout for something real no longer pause at the brink of satanic reality —they plunge into the depth of it, secure in their mantra: if it’s real, it’s right. People are enthralled by evil, and this false sense of security is the catalyst that propels them right over the edge of the abyss. Satan has always offered real experiences with evil spirits, and they are not only wrong but lethal to the soul. The only thing new about the power of the occult is its modern-day audience, a fresh hunting ground at the mercy of a seasoned hunter.”

These two godly brothers warn us about two wrong assumptions:

1. We should not believe that just because it seems to be miraculous, it is from God.

2. We should not believe that since some occult experience is or seems real, that it is right.

When Christ was asked about what would be the sign of His second coming and the end of the age, the first recorded words out of His mouth were

“See to it that no one misleads you, for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ’ and will mislead many.”

He is saying that the end times will be characterized by deception. There will be many false “Saviors” or “Messiahs” deceiving the masses. They are here now.

They are all over the world as I type this post and they will increase in number as the end times draw nearer. Some are using false signs and wonders and occult miracles (demon empowered) to deceive people. Others are deceived by eastern mysticism or the New Age movement, thinking that they are a god, can become a god or can become one with the Universal Mind or Force. The media is keeping the door to sorcery wide open 24 x 7. It is calling out to your sons and daughters. And it is only going to get worse.

Therefore, be sure your heart is not going after signs and wonders or men. May your heart only go after the biblical Jesus and the truth of His word. May you be led and empowered by His Spirit. May He give you a spirit of discernment as you live in these wicked days. As Paul said

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”

Redeem the time.

Tell someone (about Jesus).

Carl

When One Knows Oneself Well….

“When one knows oneself well, one is not desirous of looking into the faults of others.” –John Moschus (ca 550-619 AD)

Woe is me! Woe is you?

Let us not be the judge of others since there is only one True Judge, Jesus the Righteous.

Let us remember that pride always sees the faults of others.

Let us pray for one another.

Carl

SELF

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,…”  Ephesians 2:1

The opening scripture is describing our condition prior to finding forgiveness for our sins in Jesus Christ, our great Savior.  We were dead to God. What an awful thought.

Concerning this “dead” relationship to God, I want to share the following statement from William Law (1686-1761).  Law was a devout Christian Englishman who, through his writings, attempted to wake up the sleeping church in his day. He wrote the following about Self:

“Men are dead to God because they are living to Self. Self-love, self-esteem and self-seeking are the essence and the life of pride; and the Devil, the father of pride, is never absent from these passions, nor without an influence in them. Without a death to self, there is no escape from Satan’s power over us….

To discover the deepest root and iron strength of pride and self-exaltation, one must enter into the secret chamber of man’s soul, where the Spirit of God, who alone gives humility and meek submission, was denied through Adam’s sin…

Here in man’s innermost being, self had its awful birth, and established its throne, reigning over a kingdom of secret pride, of which all outward pomp and vanities are but its childish, transitory playthings….

Imagination, as the last and truest support of self, lays unseen worlds at his feet, and crowns him with secret revenges and fancied honors. This is that satanic, natural self that must be denied and crucified, or there can be no disciple of Christ. There is no plainer interpretation than this that can be put upon the words of Jesus, “Except a man deny self, and take up the cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple.”

The Seduction of Christianity – Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon

I have read this statement numerous times and each time I see something else about my Self.  May you linger over it until the Holy Spirit has shown you everything He wants to show you concerning your Self.

May we evaluate our discipleship in the light of the words of our Lord. Is our discipleship genuine according to His statement in Mark 8:34 or is it just a religious facade like the Pharisees had. Jesus described them as whitewashed tombs, pretty on the outside but full of death or Self on the inside.

Heavenly Father, God of all wisdom, please open our understanding to how deadly Self is. In Jesus’ precious name we ask this. Amen.

We believe in and therefore choose to walk in Paul’s words:

“…knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with , that we should no longer be slaves to sin…” (Romans 6:6)

Take up the Cross,

Carl

Snakes and Self

One Saturday years ago, when our four children were still at home, we decided to clear the forest between the front yard and the creek that was on the edge of our property. With our Aussie, Katy, watching over the kids and my wife and I, we began to cut down the small trees, underbrush and the vines that grew around everything.

After we had worked for awhile, someone noticed that we had a visitor . A harmless, slender, green snake had appeared in one of the small trees and seemed to be watching us. The vibrations we were creating in the forest canopy had gotten his attention and he descended, hoping to find an injured bird or insect, an easy lunch for him.

Instead of finding a meal, he became our captive and we were sidetracked from our work, letting the kids examine him. After a period of time, we let him go. Then it was back to working and sweating in the Louisiana humidity and heat.

The Holy Spirit reminded me of this event recently.  Just as that earthly snake came to check out the vibrations, the devil’s snakes always show up when we cause “life giving” vibrations in his kingdom of darkness and death.

The satanic messenger‘s goal is to divert our mind from being an obedient disciple of Christ and onto Self.

Self is the “old man” or “old self” that was crucified with Christ on the cross (Romans 6:6) and must be reckoned or considered dead if we are to be true disciples of Christ. Jesus said the following in Mark 8:34:

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Self is an endless vacuum that is never satisfied and is a constant slave to sin, seeking its own will and not the will of the Father.   There is a list of Self fruit in Galatian 5: 19-21.

To get us focused on Self, the snake uses sickness, fatigue, hopelessness, busyness, sleepless nights, worries, fears, relationships, imaginations and a host of other things.  Anything to distract us from dying daily (“take up his cross” ) and living in the power of the Lord’s Spirit. The Lord told us the following about this:

“And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and THE WORRY OF THE WORLD, and THE DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13: 22 (emphasis added)

Recently, I realized I was spending too much time thinking about my Self. I therefore decided that every time I find myself in this state, I would repent and pray for the persecuted church in the earth. So far I have prayed for the church in Spain, Portugal, and Ecuador.

If you are focused on Self as you read this, I pray that the Lord will open your understanding to see how you got there and you will repent and return to fighting the good fight of the Faith. God bless you as you put the snake to flight and continue to march forward with your cross.

Let us remember:

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others. Have this attitude in your selves which was also in Christ Jesus….”

Be a witness

Carl

God Made It Simple – Part 2

After posting, God Made It Simple, I felt the urge to write a follow up. While researching in Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, I found the following. I share it for our edification and encouragement:

“God shows His wonderful love in calling us children of God; as expressing community of nature, rather than sons, which expresses the position of privilege.

The world, therefore, does not know us, even as it did not know Him.

We are children of God; and in this fact lies enfolded our future, the essence of which will be likeness to God, coming through unveiled and transfiguring vision.

The result of such a relation and hope is persistent effort after moral purity. “Every one that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself even as He is pure.”

This attempt to purify corresponds with the fulfillment of our true destiny which Christ has made possible. Sin is irreconcilable with a right relation to God, for Christianity emphasizes the law of God, and “sin is lawlessness.” The object of Christ manifestation was to “take away sin”; therefore, “everyone that abideth in Him sinneth not.” “He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” “He that committeth sin is of the devil”; but the Son of God was manifested in order to destroy the works of the devil. The divine seed –the divine principle of growth– the germ of the new life is in the true believer; and the idea of divine Son ship and sin are mutually exclusive.

The being a child of God will manifest itself not only in doing righteousness, but in love— the love of God, taking shape in love and ministry to the brethren. This is the highest expression of righteousness. The whole aim of the Gospel is the creation and strengthening of love; and the type of life in God through Christ is therefore the direct opposite of Cain, who being of the evil one, slew his brother.

Over against this love is the world’s hatred. This is bound up, as love is, with the question of origin. God’s children share God’s nature, which is love. The children of the world are the children of the evil one, whose nature is lawlessness and hatred. Love is the outgrowth of life; hatred, of death. He that loveth not, abideth in death. For ourselves, children of God, we know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.

Christ is the perfect type and revelation of love, since He gave His life for us. We, likewise, ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. The practical test of our brotherly love is ministry. The love of God does not dwell in us if we refuse to relieve our brother’s need.

The fruit of love is confidence. “In this,” —-the consciousness of active and sincere love to the brethren resting upon and moulded by the love of Christ—-in this, we perceive that we are of the truth; and, perceiving this, we shall assure our hearts in the presence of God, in whom we live and move and have our being. It is of the very essence of Christian life that it is lived and tested before God. No assurance or confidence is possible except from being in right relation to God.

Through the consciousness of love, then, which is of God and which marks the children of God , we perceive that we are children of God—of the truth; and in this knowledge we find assurance and confidence before the very highest tribunal. “We shall assure our heart before Him.” Vincent

Wasn’t that concise and rich! I want this “love” to be manifested in my life toward my God, my brethren and those in need of the gospel. He shall bring it to pass if we cooperate with His Spirit.

God bless you!

Carl

God Made It Simple

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a middle aged man who was in the midst of a very stressful situation.  He spoke of his past Christian experience and was confused about the future.   Our interaction reminded me, that as biblically born again believers, when we wake up in the morning, there are only TWO things the Lord requires of us:

  • To Love Him
  • To Love Our Neighbor as Ourselves

The Lord Jesus said:

“…AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’   Mark 12:30-31

and then He adds this statement:

“There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:31

The Lord Jesus says there is nothing greater than loving the biblical God and our fellow man.

The word “love” is the Greek agapao. This “speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and praise.” (Wuest) It is the same word the Apostle John used in John 3:16 to describe how God feels about lost mankind, whom He sent Jesus to redeem. He considers each person precious. That is why He paid such a high price to redeem lost sinners, like you and me.

Therefore, when I wake in the morning, this is all that God requires of me.  I am to consider my fellow man, lost or saved, as precious to God and, therefore, to me.

Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, He gives me the desire and willingness to do this. (Philippians 2:13).

If I love God like Jesus said:

  • I will have no other gods before Him
  • I will not have idols in my life
  • I will not take His name in vain
  • I will treat Him as Holy

And if I love my neighbor as myself:

  • I will not murder him
  • I will not commit adultery with his wife
  •  I will not steal from him
  •  I will not lie to him or against him
  • I will not covet his possessions.

When a person is biblically born again by the Holy Spirit, God begins to change that person from a “hater” to a “lover”.  A “hater”, as I am using it, is someone who sins against God and his fellow man. A synonym of “sinner”.

Take for example the apostle John.

The Lord Jesus nicknamed John and his brother James, the Sons of Thunder. They evidently had a short temper. Luke 9: 54 says that they wanted to call down fire from heaven to kill some Samaritans who did not receive Jesus into their village. Jesus rebuked them saying “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” After years had passed, we see in the Book of Acts, John with Peter returning to the Samaritans to minster to them (a manifestation of love) with Philip, the deacon. Through what John learned from Jesus as a disciple and what God did in his heart when he was born again, he was changed from a “hater” to a “lover” of the Samaritans.

Later in his life, he wrote what we know as I John. In chapter 4: 7-12 his changed heart is manifested in these words:

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is PERFECTED in us.   (emphasis added)

Everything God has done for us through Christ is to help us PERFECT His love in us:

  • We identify with the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection, therefore, we can overcome Satan and our sinful nature and walk in love toward others.
  • When we are born again, the Holy Spirit spreads the love of God in our hearts so we can properly love Him and our fellow man.
  • The Holy Spirit is given to us to comfort, teach, and encourage us as we fight the good fight of faith in learning and persevering to walk in love toward others
  • The Bible is given to us to teach us how to love through the example and instruction of others who had to learn to walk in love.
  • The Bible gives us levees for our love so it is channeled in the right direction and does not overflow into unrighteous.
  • The Body of Christ, the Church, is a place to exercise our love gifts, share love and perfect our love.
  • When Christ returns and we stand in His Presence, we will not turn away in shame because we have conducted ourselves like He conducted himself.

The ultimate goal of the Christian life is to be PERFECTED in love.  To cause us to do what the scripture said in the beginning of this blog. To stop being a “hater” and change into a “lover” of people and God.

Conducting ourselves in love toward others, assures us that we are saved, “God abides in us“.  John said “We love, because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19)

The devil will use religion to heap expectations and distractions on us that will choke the true spiritual life out of you if you let it. If that is where you are, take a time out and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any traditions of men or church that are clouding your understanding of God and what he expects of you. Then ask Him to PERFECT His love in you.

In closing, listen to Paul’s personal priorities as expressed in I Corinthians 13 and 14:

” If I speak with the tongue of men and angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love ,I am nothing. 

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

“Pursue love…” (emphasis and underlining added)

In Paul’s personal life he was pursuing love. He was another disciple that was changed from a literal “killer” of Christians to a “lover”. May we yield to the working of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who is trying to make us “lovers”, freeing us from being “haters”.

Thank you for your time.  May we be enriched in all knowledge and understanding by His Holy Spirit who was sent to lead you and I into all truth.

Carl