Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘spiritual’

Our feelings are as changeable as April weather.  They are affected by an infinite number of subtle causes – our physical health, the state of the atmosphere, overweariness, want of sleep – as well as by those that are spiritual and inward.  No stringed instrument is more liable to be affected by minute changes than we are.  And we are apt to take it sorely to heart when we see the tide of emotion running out fast.

At such times we should question ourselves, to see whether our lack of feeling is due to conscious sin or worrying; and, if not, we may hand over all anxiety in the matter to Him who knows our frame and remembers that we are dust.  As we pass down the dark staircase, let us hold fast to the handrail of His will, willing to do His will, though in the dark.  “I am as much Your own, equally devoted to You now in the depths of my soul, as when I felt happiest in Your love.

 

This is the 5th excerpt taken from F. B. Meyer’s book on The Secret of Guidance, under the section on Burdens, and What to Do With Them – EmmausTrekker

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It has been a while since I last posted part 5 of our Panoply Series.  To review each section of the series, please go to the sidebar under Categories and choose Panoply Series to take you to the full list.  With thanksgiving to God, we proceed now with part 6 by reading Ephesians 6:13:

Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Therefore, Take Up the Whole Armor of God

Panoply of God

 

 

Because of the spiritual schemes of the devil (v. 11) and the variety of spiritual enemies (v.12), there is no other recourse but to take the armor up. Paul’s use of the word “therefore”, which means ‘because of, exhorts us to no further action but to do that.  Furthermore, let us consider the following reasons:

 

  • We are not supposed to leave the armor, as a warrior, at any time, for the enemy is always looking for an opportune time or a time of spiritual vulnerability (weakness) on our part.
  • Remember that it is a gift of God; He made the armor, He made it available to us and we are to use it.
  • As this is a parenthetical sentence together with verse 11, we now know that this is the only means to defeat the enemy of our soul.

That You May Be Able To Withstand In the Evil Day

Let’s take the phrase ‘you may be able’ which when read in the Greek forms only one verb dunethe. This is another form of the Greek word dunamis which we have studied earlier.  It means power, particularly the power that only God can supply to us, and this He did through His Son (see verse 10). Paul described this power in Ephesians 1:19-21 –

and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power an dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but in the one to come.”

If you have already noticed, the power is so great and is made available to us so that we can withstand – fight against – the enemy who is the source of all spiritual wickedness in the evil day. You might ask, “When is the evil day?” Firstly, there will surely be evil days – days in which the devil and his army of spiritual wickedness will do every cunning and wicked device to entice the people of God into confusion, spiritual weakness, and disillusionment, and if possible, deceive the elect into trusting someone or something else apart from the Lord Jesus Christ.

These evil days can be short, long, or repetitive, and can be done by the evil one through the unbelieving world and sometimes, through confused Christians and ourselves when we are not careful in our handling of God’s written Scripture.

For sure, through the armor of God, we are able to withstand the enemy any day!

And Having Done All to Stand

The Greek reads kai hapanta katergazomenoi stenai. What is particularly interesting here is the word katergazomenoi which is a combination of two other Greek words. Let’s consider the following observations:

  • It gives us a picture of a synergistic work. The word synergy means two parties working together, in this case, God has given us the power through His Son, and we are to avail of this power through our use of the armor.
  • The word tells us to “work it out” – not produce something, but rather bring out what is already available to you.  To understand this, may I take you to another verse in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in chapter 2 verses 12-13 (see below).  Surely Paul is not telling the Philippians to work for their salvation – to obey God’s various laws and commands to be saved – certainly not! For salvation is by grace through faith in Christ Jesus who is the message of God for our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 1:16-17).  The phrase to “work out” (katergazomai) is controlled by the phrase “for it is God who works in you”.  That is, God has already done something for us, we just need to bring it out as evidence in our life.  In fact, the fullness of grace is further understood as it is even God who gave us the power to bring the reality of His salvation in our daily lives that submit to Jesus Christ. Having this in mind, we are exhorted in our verse today to bring out that same power of God in Christ by availing the armor which God has already given us and display the reality of it in our thinking and actions.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”- Philippians 2:12-13

  • Next, the word menoi (literally means “remain”) tells us to consistently and persistently use the armor.  Therefore, the phrase “having done all” is a picture of a soldier to is at all times alert and ready to fight with his armor on. Also, he has the resolve to win at all cost against his enemy. His goal is victory. He is an overcomer.

I am reminded of a section of John’s first letter to the church he pastors where a false teaching about Jesus Christ has entered the church through unbelievers who were at one time in the church. The purpose of this false teaching is to confuse the believers and entice them to a differnt teaching than what they have received from the Lord through John.  But John dispelled this by refreshing them with the truth – in a sense, he used the armor to not only protect himself, but also has reminded others to do the same.  In this way, they were able to resist and reject the heresy and overcome it.  That was their goal – to remain in the truth concerning Jesus Christ.  Remember, that the primary goal of the enemy is to entice us to doubt God.  In the garden his modus operandi is summed up in one question, “Did God really say…?”

But the true sheep of the Lord listens to Him as the Holy Spirit reminds the each believer of the truth. Now, I would like to end this section of our panoply series with what John told the believers, and essentially to us as well:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that does confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit if the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God, and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” – 1 John 4:2-4

Read Full Post »

 

IT’S WELL PAST TIME TO GET READY By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Oct 20, 2009 *

Red Sky

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired [Jesus] that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” – (Matthew 16:1-3, KJV)

Each Morning The Sky Grows A Darker Red

Beloved of God, no doubt as this apostasy accelerates within the very heart of the evangelical community, those with eyes that see can see the dark red sky above us each morning. We also recall that our Lord Jesus has said:

The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  – (John 10:3-6)

Now in it’s immediate context our Master is speaking to us. He’s talking to the remnant of His people that He is currently calling out of a rapidly decaying evangelical Christianity, mortally wounded as it is by the poison of the Church Growth Movement (CGM) vomited out of Fuller Theological Cesspool; essentially good ol’ ruggedly individualistic [read: proud] American business savvy repackaged as a centered on the self spiritually. I offer the following as an exhortation not to be surprised if “suddenly” you find yourself looking at your local church through a new set of eyes almost overnight.

Perhaps you may not have stopped and thought about something else concerning the above instruction from God regarding hearing His Voice; this spiritual principle is also true in reverse. In other words, the children of their father Satan will also follow him because, well, they know his voice. Can you see this means that God is a stranger to them; and it’s also why they cannot hear what we are telling them. Have you wondered why the leaders within The Ecumenical Church of Deceit (ECoD), duplicious daughter of apostate Roman Catholicism simply cannot rightly divide the Word of Truth?

It is as the Master has just told us — “A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Keep in mind that if we are teaching people from the Bible, and they respond in anger or fear, you now know the reason why. And no, we will not know for sure whether they are saved or not; but because of this backward time in which we are now living my brothers and sisters, we are going to have to turn away from prevailing views of “love” and instead — “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24, KJV).

I write also to encourage you dear Christian that you need not fear these “voices” that have been recently raised against you as a resounding gong and a clanging symbol (see—1 Corinthians 13:1), nor should you become discouraged that so few are responding to our teaching. Remember Jesus exhorts us:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)

May We Begin To Earnestly Pray To Be Given Power From God The Holy Spirit

And further the Master tells us — “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19, ESV). However, at the same time, so many Christian “leaders” today in what’s become an anti-Reformational ECoD like Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren, Emerging Church icon Rob Bell, and/or Robert Schuller knock-off Joel Osteen have the ear of the world because they speak their language (see—1 John 4:5).

Dear children, more than ever as we near the end of this Age we need to realize, and to fully believe, that these are not just mere words; but instead, they have even more pronounced meaning in our day. And I’m not talking about some escapist theology. As you know from Holy Scripture, God never does anything without first dealing with His remnant at any given time in history. This truth is all throughout the Bible; it seems that our Lord patiently endures the sin, that is inevitably produced by a corrupt and degenerate mankind in this fallen world, while He gathers in His lambs.

However, when our Lord’s Own people start to be dragged down by corruption and then wander too far off our narrow path, then God will begin His inevitable judgments with His children first. This is most pointedly spelled out by the inspired Apostle Peter when God the Holy Spirit guided him to write — “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18)

And those who truly belong to Christ are now feeling a sense of “urgency”; a quickening, a longing for us to be given the ability to boldly preach His Gospel in the power of the Spirit:

grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:29-31, NASB)

In closing this for now, I remind you of Henry Martyn, who was motivated to become a missionary to India and Persia after reading the biography of David Brainerd, and who was himself a great missionary to the Indians in America. Martyn would write, “The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions, and the nearer we get to Him the more intensely missionary we must become.” But sadly, despite all their blather about being “missional,” these CGM Pied Pipers of pragmatism in the ECoD are really those who are saying — “for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter” (Isaiah 28:15, ESV).

 

(*) original article can be accessed by clicking here;  Pastor Ken Silva’s other articles are linked with the original post.

 

Read Full Post »

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers, against the spiritual forces in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12

In part 4 of our series, we are commanded to put the whole armor of God to protect us against the different methods by which the devil would attempt to lure and deceive us, cause  trouble, and try to make us ineffective in our walk and testimony to our faith. In this section, the Scriptures unmask the enemy through the hierarchy of spiritual forces that seeks to defeat the people of the Lord.

“For we do not wrestle…”

Paul employs the analogy of Greek games, particularly wrestling.  In Ephesus, wrestling matches are regularly held in honor of their supreme idol, Artemis (or Diana). Perhaps Paul has witnessed many of these competitions during his three-year stay in Ephesus.  Try to imagine a wrestling match, and perhaps write down at least a few sentences to describe it.  Most of the time, we proceed to the main details like grabbing the opponent at different parts of his body, or the lifting, banging, suppressing, locking the opponent down to immobilize him so that he will be unable to compete any further, or perhaps throw the other out of the perimeter of the space provided for the match. However, the word wrestling in Greek is palo and not the word ekballo (which means to throw).  Palo is to ‘sway’ or ‘vibrate’ and it is hard to immediately visualize how this word will fit in a wrestling match.

wrestlingBut if one carefully watches the match, he will first of all see that the competitors do not immediately grab their opponent, but rather they spent some moments to move left and right in a circular fashion. In this way, each one can size up his enemy and look for vulnerable areas to grab.  This is, I believe, is the stance we need to take.  We do not recklessly charge but we study the enemy.  You see, the use of the phrase ‘schemes of the enemy” fits well into this explanation of wrestle.  Being informed of Satan’s ways puts us in a place of advantage.  Peter admonishes us to be clear headed and alert (1 Peter 5:8) so that we may not be caught unaware when the enemy makes his move, whatever his move. We get our information through the continual reading of the Scriptures  in a prayerful manner, not haphazardly as some would do thereby missing what God is indeed saying.  A systematic reading is also necessary in order prevent us from being selective.  As Paul did not withhold the entire counsel of God to the Ephesians (Acts 20:18-32), so must we not withhold it among ourselves.

“not….against flesh and blood…”

Although the enemy will use the world system, unregenerated people and even at times our own unsupressed as we choose to depend on ourselves rather on the Lord who promised us to show His faithfulness and a way out when we are tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13), the true enemy is still not human – not flesh and blood.  So our battles necessitate the armor that comes from God to keep us firmly standing.

The verse continues to inform us about the enemies we have.  Here we are given a view of the opposing army.  Just as we take our command from Jesus our King, the commander-in chief if I may use the term, so does  a hierarchy of spiritual cohorts take their command from our enemy – Satan. We infer from the list of enemies provided to us.  In our part 4, we encountered the Greek word pros explaining to us a face-to-face encounter with the following:

  1. against rulers (Greek archas from where we get the English word arch-enemy)
  2. against authorities (Greek exousias which means those given authority to perform evil works)
  3. against cosmic powers (Greek kosmo kratos which implies those given a wider sphere of evil work in this sin-corrupted world system. The word kosmo although it implies a variety of meanings like the world, and the space above the earth, but in the sense of Paul’s theme of two groups of people – the children of righteousness in contrast to the children of disobedience – we can infer the issue of the lack or absence of godly morality can be the intended meaning, thus we can say that this third group of spiritual enemies are those that work freely in its use of the current world corrupted by sin.)
  4. against spiritual forces in the heavenly places (Greek pneumatikas tes ponerias. The idea of their supernatural origin and their wicked nature is definitely implied). 

I realize that there are many available writings, commentaries and some spurious explanations of who are these different forces. We must, however, hold on to the main point – the enemies are not human but are of a nature different from ours.  They are unseen, pernicious (wicked), and they do their work here on earth using various means directed against every believer of Jesus Christ, and ultimately against the Lord.  You see, the battle of good and evil has witnessed at the beginning of the Bible, in the garden of Eden when the serpent coersed our first human parents to doubt and blaspheme God.  The enemy seeks to convince us to doubt God and His Word.  So it is no surpise to know even today and until the last day, the enemy of our soul will seek to defy the very God who created him.

Regardless of whether they have ranks or not, the fact is they are our enemies and we engaged them face-no fearto-face without fear.  Although they will continue to do everything opposite the desires of God, the Bible also tells us the following truth that will help strengthen and encourage us in our fight against them and their evil ways:

  • The Lord Jesus is their Creator (Colossians 1:16). All things were created by Him.  All things in heaven and earth.  Nothing was made without Him (John 1:3).  There is no escaping the conclusion that all these spiritual enemies were created by Him. The created entities are limited in everything including their powers. Therefore it is a comfort to know that although we are to wrestle against them, the One who created all things is infinitely more powerful to protect us and preserve us to the end. Dualism, the teaching that says God and the devil are equally powerful is a heresy and a scheme of the enemy.
  • Jesus  has dominion over them (Ephesians 1:20-23). Our Lord is exalted above all creation and has  purposed that His Church be the beneficiary of all spiritual blessings. None of our enemies really has any freedom to do anything they want. Only the Lord Jesus who has dominion over them can permit them to do so. R. C. Sproul encourages Christians to understand that because God is in His very nature righteous, then even His permitting of the enemies activities is a righteous act of God.  That is not to say that evil is good but God allowing it will still, in the end, result for His glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Consider Job 1:6-12 and 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.
  • Jesus defeated our enemies through His cross and resurrection (see John 12:27-32 and 1 Corinthians 15).

Finally, we hold on God’s revealed truth concerning the end of our enemy and the continuing grace we have in Christ:

The God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” – Romans 16:20

In our next post on this series, we will be identifying each piece of the armor of God and how each armor is a reflection of the glorious Gospel of God concerning His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Read Full Post »

There is no better test of our spiritual state and condition than our missionary zeal, our concern for lost souls. That is always the thing that divides people who are just theoretical and intellectual Christians from those who have a living and a vital spiritual life.”

The man who is a true Christian is a man who has had a glimpse of Hell, and who knows that there is only one reason for the fact that he is not bound for it.”

 

Daily Readings-MLJ

 

A First Book of Daily Readings by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones can be accessed through this link at The Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recordings Trust website.

Read Full Post »

Christian ‘Yoga’, contemplative spirituality/mysticism, spiritual formation movement, New Age,  theosophy, ecumenism, Purpose Driven, pragmatism, relativism, Emergent Christianity and universalism…these are but a few yet the most significant  serious errors and heresies that has made in-roads into evangelicalism in at least the last few decades in increasing potency though not necessarily in chronological order. 

Matthew recorded these words of the One true Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God – now enscripturated in the Bible’s New Testament, about the two gates set before all men:

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is [wide and] easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13-14

Lighthouse Trails Research newsletter recently brought my attention to an article published by Newsweek  in its end August 2009 issue about a survey of those who claim to be Christians and how far they have wandered away from the absolute truths of God’s Word.  Although the country in focus is the USA, I am certain that this is but a good sampling of the widespread reality.  Having been in touch with numerous Christians of different nationalities, I have personally heard the kinds of erroneous doctrines that have peppered some of their beliefs already. The most common of which are mysticism, pragmatism and the purpose-driven types. Mysticism particularly finds its roots in Hinduism but it has clothed itself with Christian terms that a good number of Christians became unsuspecting victims and are being tossed to and fro by every wind of these demonic doctrines.

Now the assurance for true believers is what Jesus said about His sheep.  They will listen to His voice [through the Word] and they will flee from other voices [false teachers] (John 10:3-5). Also Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth that God allows factions [in verse 19 – Greek: hairesis, from where we get the English word heresy] in order to visibly distinguish true from false believers (1 Corinthians 11:18-19).

This article below is not only informative, but should serve as a warning to the Church of how currently widespread the effects of false doctrines and the need for vigilance through the serious study of the Word and sincere prayer to God for the Holy Spirit’s continual work to empower believers of the Lord Jesus Christ to be discerning. And we should not be passive bystanders but must always contend for the truth. As it is written,

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude 3-4

 

NewsweekLogo

NEWSWEEK Published Aug 15, 2009

From the magazine issue dated Aug 31, 2009

 

WE ARE ALL HINDUS NOW  by Lisa Miller

America is not a Christian nation. We are, it is true, a nation founded by Christians, and according to a 2008 survey, 76 percent of us continue to identify as Christian (still, that’s the lowest percentage in American history). Of course, we are not a Hindu—or Muslim, or Jewish, or Wiccan—nation, either. A million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.

The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: “Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.” A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”—including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious,” according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005. Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”

Then there’s the question of what happens when you die. Christians traditionally believe that bodies and souls are sacred, that together they comprise the “self,” and that at the end of time they will be reunited in the Resurrection. You need both, in other words, and you need them forever. Hindus believe no such thing. At death, the body burns on a pyre, while the spirit—where identity resides—escapes. In reincarnation, central to Hinduism, selves come back to earth again and again in different bodies. So here is another way in which Americans are becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll. So agnostic are we about the ultimate fates of our bodies that we’re burning them—like Hindus—after death. More than a third of Americans now choose cremation, according to the Cremation Association of North America, up from 6 percent in 1975. “I do think the more spiritual role of religion tends to deemphasize some of the more starkly literal interpretations of the Resurrection,” agrees Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard. So let us all say “om.”

Find this article at http://www.newsweek.com/id/212155 © 2009

Read Full Post »