God’s Word Loves You!

The Word of God.

It doesn’t matter how long this post is (but it’s short), it could never be long enough to explain how awesome, wonderful, and most of all-powerful the Word of God truly is. It supersedes any religion or its beliefs, any man and his display of power with God, any thought or idea we may have no matter how brilliant it is. God’s word is all-powerful, all supreme, all-knowing, undisputed, unmatched, undeniable, and best of all, completely relevant to our time. Every word of it is completely true and will never fade away or change no matter what man may say about it. Every writer was inspired by God himself to pen all the words written within its pages. Every thought joins together with all the other thoughts to make one complete perfect thought. That thought, that perfect thought, shows all of humanity, every last human being to ever walk the face of this earth, the complete power of God and his love toward us. In that love, we see his forgiveness, kindness, and just how gentle He truly is. And no matter what the masses may say, the Word of God shows us that perfect love, from start to finish. Here is that LOVE on display.

The Old Testament God of Love.

Even throughout the Old Testament, God longed to bring his children close to himself. He called out to them in their sin, forgave them time and time again, even when they committed the same sins He had just forgiven them for. His love never failed, even when you see his wrath being poured out. His wrath was an act of love, not hatred.

In the beginning, in the garden, he longed to forgive Adam and Eve. He asked repeated questions, giving them the opportunity to repent, but sadly, they wouldn’t take His act of love and mercy.

Abraham pleaded with God for the people of the sinful cities Sodom and Gomorrah, and God heard his pleas. At one point, God was about to pour out his wrath on a sinful nation, but before He did, He did this act of love for them. “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them…” (Ezekiel 22:30-31) God’s first act was always love and forgiveness.

The New Testament God of Love

In the New Testament when he had to rebuke the Scribes and Pharisees for their evil ways, His rebukes were directed toward the fact that they didn’t love people as much as they loved the Law. But even in his anger and rebuke, you see a broken and bleeding messiah hanging on a cross begging, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  His love, His perfect love, is what makes Him so wonderful!

When an angry mob pulled a woman caught in the act of adultery out of her bed and threw her at the feet of Jesus, they demanded justice, He gave her mercy instead. When all of her accusers had walked away, his question wasn’t, “woman, why have you done this terrible thing?” Nor was it, “woman, are you truly sorry for the sick and pitiful sin you’ve committed?” No, I see the opposite picture here. I see a naked woman, just drug out of a bed of adultery, caught in the very act. Jesus, seeing her shame, asks the most beautiful question a savior could ever ask someone in her state, “woman, where are your accusers?” She looks around and answers, “they’re all gone.”  What he says to her next brings tears to my eyes. “Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.” It’s the perfect act of love and mercy. She wasn’t down at an altar begging forgiveness for a sin that she had committed the night before. She was at the Master’s feet, drug there in complete shame and humility, and He forgave her without her even asking Him to. That’s Love!

That’s His Word speaking to you and I! Are you listening?

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Wake Up, It’s Getting Dark Out!

I want to start by saying I’ve never been one that has put much spiritual stock in my dreams. I generally have a very logical answer as to why I saw the images portrayed, or heard the words that were spoken. This dream however, was much different. It was very intense in its nature, and when I awoke, God spoke directly to me. His words were, “This is the spirit of the age.” I feel a deep need to share this with you, as I believe this spirit has already made its way into some of  our churches, and is even now subtly doing its damage, right before our very eyes without our even realizing it.

Here is my dream, in four parts, just has it happened. It is a bit graphic in some of its content, but I absolutely need to share every part of it with you, so please read on with that understanding.

Part 1
I stood alone with a complete stranger enjoying a very pleasant conversation. As we spoke, I quickly felt very comfortable in the relationship that was being built, as if this were somebody I had been friends with for years now, and could confide in both feelings and secrets. After some time had passed and a few laughs were shared, I felt a sudden need to look down between us, and what I saw, I couldn’t believe was taking place! He had a small knife with a blade of about four inches in his right hand, and with it he was stabbing me over and over again in my right thigh. Blood, from the multiple stab wounds, had already began to soak through my pants, where small holes had been left by the knife making its repeated entrance. I jerked away quickly and screamed, “What are you doing!? Why would you do this!? I trusted you!”

With a very peaceful look in his eyes, and a calm tone in his voice, he replied, “What are you talking about Mark? I would never hurt you, we’re friends.”

“No!” I shouted, “you’re a liar! You’ve stabbed me, and now I’m bleeding. I should have never trusted you!”

Again he assured me I was wrong, he would never do such a thing, “I only want to be your friend, to help you.”

“I’ll never trust you” I said. “I will tell all of my friends about you, and what you’ve done to me. You won’t get away with this again.”

Part 2
Now I was driving in my car with three very close friends who were ministers (none of whose faces were actually known to me). The deceiver was also in the car, sitting in the back seat, right in the middle. He was loud, happy, and most of all friendly. My friends were quickly taken in by him and his congenial ways. I adjusted the rearview mirror so I could get a better look as to what was taking place in the back seat. He had the knife in his hand again, and was stabbing the minister next to him in the thigh the same way he had done to me. The minister was oblivious to the damage being done, so I shouted out, “He’s stabbing you, look at your thigh it’s bleeding!”

He looked at me and responded with a shocked look on his face, “Oh come on Mark, he would never stab me, not this guy, he’s a good man.”

“You’re wrong!” I warned, “just look at your leg, your pants are soaked with blood!”

“There’s no blood Mark, you’ve lost it my friend. You don’t even know how to judge good character when you see it!”

The friend next to me in the front seat had a confused look on his face, while the other man in the back just sat there blank and void of emotion, as if nothing at all were taking place.

Part 3
Now we were all standing alone on a city sidewalk with no passers-by, in front of a few empty buildings.The deceiver was still laughing and slapping the backs of my friends has he continued to hold their attention. The one who had been stabbed was bleeding very badly. He appeared week, and his face pale, from the uncontrolled blood loss. I began to realize, my minister friends were going to lose their lives if they didn’t snap out of this delusion, and see this man for the deceiver he was. I spoke up again.

“You guys, please, please see this man for who he is, and what his intentions truly are. He desires to kill you all.”

Again, I saw a look of some concern on one face, and a blank look on another. While the minister who was wounded wouldn’t even acknowledge that I had spoken. As I watched this unfold, not really knowing else what to do, the deceiver asked the minister who had been stabbed if he would like to go into the ally to, “talk privately, away from the interferer.” As the two of them begin to walk away, I spoke up one last time.

“Please don’t go with him, if you do, you will surely die at his hand.”

I watched as he limped into the ally with the reassuring arm of the deceiver around his shoulder. He showed no regard of the warning given, nor of the fact that he could barely even walk anymore. A few moments passed and the deceiver emerged from the ally, alone. He was wiping blood from his knife on his pant leg as he approached.

“Where’s my friend?” I asked.

“He didn’t want to join you any longer” he replied, with an evil smirk on his face.

Part 4 (This last part is very graphic)
Now the deceiver and I were alone in an abandoned hospital room. He was sitting hunched over on stainless steel cart. I watched as he used his own knife to cut the flesh open on his abdominal area to reveal the lining of his stomach. He then reached into his pocket and produced six razor blades. As he held the flesh open with one hand, he laid the razor blades flat against the center of his stomach lining. They all faced each other in a straight line, three on one side, and three on the other. When he was finished, he reached once more into his pocket where he retrieved a needle and thread which he used to begin to sew himself back up. “What are you doing?” I asked in horror and confusion. What he said to me, shocked me to my core. Without stopping or looking up, he answered. ” “When the physician tries to work on me, he’ll lose his fingers.”

….and that man’s name… was Pride
And Jesus answered and said unto them, “Take heed that no man deceive you. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:4;11;13;24)

It is not time to fear, it is time to work, it is time to love God’s word, it is time to lay aside every prejudice, and it’s time to love each other like never before.

 

How Do I Know When God is Speaking?

“How do I know when God is speaking to me?” If there were one question concerning God I have heard more than all others, it would be this one. I wish I could say that I were an expert in the matter and had the voice of God completely figured out, but that would be far from true. Sometimes I too struggle with knowing exactly what God wants from me, and when He wants it done. I’ve even gotten frustrated and felt like I just couldn’t come up with the right answer.

If there’s one thing I have figured out, it’s that God has a way of using life’s situations to teach us how to hear His voice more clearly. God is constantly speaking, we just need to understand how to listen. I love these words Jesus said,“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”. (John 10:27) I would like to share three small things that have helped me to better understand God’s voice, and how He speaks.

1.  God is rarely in the signs. We’ve become sign seekers due to the fact that we have lost our faith in the ability to hear God’s voice. The prophet Elijah also had this problem, so don’t beat yourself up too badly (see 1 Kings 19). When we seek after signs, we don’t learn to hear His voice, or understand how He speaks. Elijah found that His voice was “still and small” and not in the big things. Why would God choose to speak to us like this? Well, when he whispers, it forces us to be still, move in closer, and block out all other voices. Inevitably, through the process of getting closer, we fall more in love with Him.  

2.  He generally speaks through His Word (The Bible) because it’s indisputable. Problem is, if we’re not reading it, we’re missing out on about 80% of God’s voice. Paul said in Hebrews 4:11, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires”.

Nothing is hidden from God’s word, and it gets right to the heart of the issue. His Word also gives clear direction. “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path”. (Psalm 119:105) David also said these words, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”. (Psalm 119:11) When we hide the Word of God in our heart, there’s nowhere for anything else to hide.

And lastly, God’s Word encourages us when we need it most. “I weep with sorrow; but you encourage me by your word.” (Psalm 119:28) 

3. Satan doesn’t have the loudest voice. Fact is, our own voice often times is the most heard. It cries out in desperation as it jockeys for the top place in our mind. The devil doesn’t need to put much effort in when our own self-will is on top. He plays on our pride, encourages our fears, and manipulates the voice of God against us. “Self” is the most powerful weapon used against the voice of God.

Paul said it like this, “…the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!” (Romans 7:17) This is why John said, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less”. (John 3:30)

I would like to leave you with this. Maybe you’ve tried reading God’s word and felt like you’ve gotten nowhere, but I would like to encourage you to try again. Don’t just read it, learn to study the word. Ask your pastor or a close friend in the Lord to help you learn how, and when you do, you will hear and recognize God’s voice so much better. I promise!

Four Common Tricks of the Devil

The Devil; though a small adversary, he’s a crafty one. He plays on our fears, feeds on our doubts, and works with our misunderstandings. He doesn’t care what it takes to see you fall, only that you do! Nor is he particular on whom he uses his methods, only that we fail, give up, and ultimately self destruct. He is the father of all lies (John 8:44) and uses your own fleshly emotions against you every time. Fact is, your attitude is the key to your successes, and failures. I would like to leave you with a few insights on how the devil works, and uses his power of persuasion against us. Here are four, of many tricks, the devil will use to throw you off track.

1.  The devil wants you to believe he has power over you. He has no power other than what you give him. He comes in with lies and suggestions.  If you choose to listen and act upon them, he gains power over you. The fact is, God has given you power over him! Luke 10:19 says “Behold, I give you the authority… over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. This is the last thing he wants you to know. He would love for you to think that he is all-powerful and can do anything he chooses against you. Remember Job. God had to allow Satan to touch him. If Satan could even touch you without God’s permission, he would instantly destroy you. (John 10:10) “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

2. When the enemy speaks to you, it will always be in the first person as if you are hearing your own voice. It will sound something like this, “I can’t make it anymore, I’ve been doing so bad lately, I just feel like giving up.” The reason this method is so clever, is that it’s the easiest to believe. If he spoke to you in the third person, “You are so bad, you can’t make it, you’re a failure,” you would know it was the devil at work speaking his lies, and you wouldn’t listen. We typically get defensive when others bash on us, and he knows this.

3. The Devil always checks your understanding of truth (God’s word) to see how much deception will be necessary to defeat you. When he told his first lie to mankind in the garden of Eden he started out by asking, “Has God truly said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”  We must know truth in order to defeat him and to protect ourselves. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

4. He will try to make you unsatisfied with where you’re at, so that you won’t care about where you’re going. When we spend our time being ungrateful with where God has brought us from, we lose the power of our testimony. Why is our testimony so important? And why does he want to take the power of it away from us? (Revelation 12:11)  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. Our testimony defeats him every time!

It’s Time to Get the Power!

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:6-8)

If you haven’t noticed, there is a shift happening in the spirit. This shift is happening on both sides, good, and evil. God is starting to pour out His spirit on all flesh like He told the prophet Joel He would in Joel 2:28. He’s doing this because he’s preparing his church for a fight! Fight against what you may ask, the fight that is being brought on by Satan himself.

Let me just stop right here and tell you this, I am NOT a doomsdayer, nor do I even claim this is the last days we are living in, although it very well may be! And as you read on, if you choose to, you will see that it is not my intention to preach or rail against anything, nor to make you feel hopeless or helpless. It is my goal to help you feel empowered, and to give you the resource to fight in these reckless times in which we live.

If you will turn off entertainment for just a moment, let your heart and mind, and most of all your spirit, become clear of all the debris, you will begin to sense the decay all around you. The hurt that is so evident on the faces of those you come in contact with every day. The cries spilling from the lips of hurting people everywhere. The rot of morality in the children that attend the elementary, middle, and high schools with our kids or grandkids everyday. Our streets that have become filled with eleven, twelve, and thirteen year old girls that have been exposed to so much lude sexual conduct that they themselves now looks like prostitutes. Or the young boys whose hearts are filled with hatred and violence because of parents who hated each other and have now turned their own children against the other parent. Or the alarming and ever rising number of suicides in younger children. This is all without bringing into account that which I find most tragic of all; women,  boys and girls of all ages, even babies down to  two and three months old are being snatched off streets, bought from crack whores, or just manipulated into thinking there is no other life for them, then sold  into the sex slave trade industry.

With all this rot and decay, hurt and pain, hatred and fear, how can we be so deaf to their cries? How can we not see what they are so freely displaying right in front of our faces? How can we remain silent when our mouths have been filled with the answers? The only way is if we choose not to listen, not to see, and not to speak. If our lives are lived only for ourselves, only to do what pleases us, and ignore the call of God, we will remain blind, deaf, and dumb.

God is looking for those he can trust. Trust to love those he has placed in our lives, saints and sinners alike. And trust to work with the calling He as placed in our lives. If there were ever an attack by Satan against the church that could tear it apart, it’s an attack of division, Christian against Christian. Jesus is needing us to first love Him with all our hearts, then love our brother as our selves, and next to love the sinner as He did. If we will love, we will work! This is why God is starting to pour out the Gifts of the Spirit in a dynamic way, even to the most unlikely people. He wants us to be the MOST POWERFUL body ever encountered. He wants us to be able to help set the captives free, even when those things that are holding them are powerful.

God has always had a more powerful people than the power of the enemy! But make no mistake, this enemy is more crafty and powerful than ever before. The Bible even predicts this in  Matthew 24:24 when Jesus says about our enemy in these times in which we live,For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect!”  This will only occur because the people on this earth are more lawless and evil than in times past. Remember, the earth’s population is larger now than at any time in history.  As a result, more people are sinning, more sin coming up before God, and more sin giving our enemy even more power. But remember this one scripture, (1 John 4:4),greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

The one thing that has been on my heart more than ever before is Love. First, love for one another, then love for the lost. It has broken my heart to see the bad feelings between people in the church, even pastor against pastor, and finally, church against church. In the past few months I’ve seen God calling His church to unity so that we can bind together and take on the work of God. If we can do this together, nothing can stop us! If we do it alone, we face obstacles far too great in size for one little body to take on!

 Sure, we can claim promises in the word of God such as, “…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” (Matthew 16:18). But you must consider that God’s church is built on love, and this love is what holds the body together.

Consider the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:1 (The Message), If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”

Jesus broke it down very clearly in Matthew 24 to show us what happens when we stop loving one another in the church. Watch how the progression happens. Matthew 24:10, And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”  Notice how it starts with offence, turns to betrayal, and ends in hate? 11,Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”  Now, because of offence not being dealt with, false prophets can come in and deceive many! 12, And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”  And now the “Love of many has waxed cold!”  13, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved”. WE MUST ENDURE (not let offences stick, love with all our heart, and share the good news with the hurting of this world) TO THE END!

And now look what happens if we do this, 14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

As I said before, God is preparing His Body for a Great Work! In this preparation He is calling us to fast. Fast so that we can be broken out of the shell that keeps us from hearing and seeing the needs all around us! He is calling us to prayer. Prayer because it brings more intimacy with Him. And a deeper love and need to read His Word. Read His Word so that He can reveal his secrets to us, and so that we will remain in His truth!  To be prepared takes work, work that some refuse to give until they see results first.

If you want to see results, take a look around you! Jesus gave us these signs to watch for, and if you can’t see these signs happening all around you, you have chosen to be blind! “

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”  (Matthew 24:6-8) Notice how He said, “These are the beginning of sorrows?” He said this because of what I pointed out earlier concerning offences, and the love of many waxing cold. These are the True Sorrows!

I don’t want this next part to discourage you, I only want you to have a clear view of reality as you move forward in your walk with God, and what you need to do in your work for Him.

We all want the hope of a great coming to Christ (revival) in the last days, but in fact, the Bible tells us otherwise. (2 Thessalonians 2:1;3), “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled,… Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” Why am I telling you this if it could only serve to discourage you? The fact is, you MUST KNOW, or you may remain ignorant! If you are ignorant, you are not going to know how to move forward in your work for God. I haven’t made you aware so that you will have fear of being one of the ones who will fall away. I want you to be aware of this falling away so that you will remain strong, and so that God can call on you to help prevent souls from being lost when that time comes. God will use you if you let Him! Remember, the Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9The Lord… is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

I don’t really feel as if I have done this topic justice, but hope that I have left you with a heightened sense of awareness as to what is going on around you, and the NEED for you to be involved in His work. I do want to leave you with this portion of scripture.

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5)