Strategic Notes

Moses sent spies for reconnaissance (Numbers 13:13) as did Joshua (Joshua 2:1). What are we to make of that? Here are some observations from a recent meeting that I attended.

Stand firm, repossess spiritual territory, wrestling against principalities and powers (cities have territorial spirits).

Intercession and Prayer:
When you’re ready – you’ll receive (according to God’s will/timing).
He often answers us in phases.
What we’re asking for ( in the Spirit) is already given!
We need to see exactly what things to pray for so that we can focus on what’s specifically needed.
We don’t “have” the knowledge/understanding for intercessory prayer – until we RECEIVE it (the Holy Spirit reveals).
Smaller problems are usually caused by larger “strongholds” – once identified, they are targets to cast down.
Example: There is a problem manifested. It is through the gift of discernment that the deception, lies, or forces that are being brought to bear that need to be broken – all hindrances removed – before someone can receive what is needed.
Asking the Lord for what He has already given/promised is NOT faith!
Thanking the Lord for revealing what needs to be bound/destroyed is faith in action!
Taking action: reconnaissance, evaluation, gathering forces.
Walking into a situation ill prepared often results in failure – that’s NOT God’s fault! Exercise wisdom and discernment.
Unity in prayer is a military “force multiplier”!

Please take what you need from this.

Peace & Maranatha!

Who’s In Control?

How often have you heard someone relate some bad news, and end their remarks with “Well, God’s in control!”? What exactly does that mean? What exactly is the influence of such a concept upon us?

First, many people are trying to offer some encouragement – I get that.
Would we dare say something like that to those Syrians who are marked for torture AND beheading?! It could be somehow doctrinally factual but, is such a statement really helpful?

I think there’s a huge difference between believing/experiencing the sovereignty of God, versus the “God is in control” comment. First, we know that God is Almighty. We also know that God has granted us free will. We also know that bad things can happen to those of us who follow the Lord (2 Timothy 3:12).

Since we are blessed with the full armor of God, are we not to use it?
And before we “use” it, are we not first to have wisdom, love, and discernment among MANY other “prerequisites” like having our minds daily renewed in the Word, fervent prayer, responsibility, accountability, sincerity, integrity, compassion. . . which have much to do with working out our own salvation (Matthew 7:5 & Philippians 2:12) since we have to be potent examples of godliness, repentance, sincere testimony – that Holy Spirit power to inspire others to follow the Way, Truth, and the Life (Romans 14:10). All else is hypocrisy. Dead works.

So, what is the effect upon our psyche when we hear/say those words: God is in control. I believe that it causes resignation, fatalism, and passivity. Just the exact opposite of what we should be doing – in my opinion! If I suffer some mishap, tragedy, or other offense, and a brother says to me: “Take heart, we serve an Almighty God!” Or, “If God is with us, who can be against us!” Or, “His Grace is sufficient for you!” Or, Through His resurrection, Jesus has put ALL THINGS under His feet, and since the Holy Spirit resides in you, all things are brought under your feet!” Or, “We have the victory through Christ Jesus!” Well, these things communicate something TOTALLY different than just throwing up our hands and saying something about how mysterious God is!

Yes, God is a mystery if we don’t know Jesus! We have, should have, the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Meaning that even though we hold this treasure in earthen vessels and look through a dark glass, we have the Holy Spirit AND gifts of the Spirit! We are not under confusion, stumbling in darkness!

Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8)! Obviously, we get blisters if our shoes are too tight – that is not the devil’s fault! My point is hopefully not lost here. Since the will of God is also for us to have life (John 10:10) more abundant ( not to be confused with the “prosperity” false Gospel), we very much need discretion, discernment, spiritual knowledge, and wisdom and all that goes with it to sort out the events of this present life. After all, we are one body (1 Corinthians 10:17), and we need to run the race of life, not as spirit filled individuals, but rather, as one Spirit filled/led team” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

We have the victorious outcome through Jesus Christ! How we arrive there is how we participate with the Lord!

Peace & Maranatha!

Our Father’s Business

Let me make several big assumptions for the sake of discussion:
1) You are already a “born-again” Christian.
2) You are familiar with and regularly read the Scriptures.
3) It feels as though something is somehow missing in your life.

Regardless of your marital or dating status, I’m talking about your
purpose! What is your purpose? I don’t mean to reference the recently
popularized teaching about a “purpose driven life”!

Here are some questions:
A) How would you describe your state of obedience to the Lord?
B) What sense of fulfillment for being alive do you have?
C) Who’s REALLY in charge of your life?
D) Do you see yourself as a participant in God’s grace, or a spectator?

What does this all mean? Well, how many of us are just counting the days for the Lord’s return? Are we insulating ourselves from the collapsing world while we watch the persecution and suffering around us? When the Lord returns, will He find any people exercising their faith?

Peace & Maranatha!

 

The Right Church?

The Right Church?

Many books have been written about which is the “right” or true Church. I am STILL working on my own, and this article may eventually be part of that discussion.
The whole idea of exactly what constitutes THE Church is very interesting. Various influential leaders have, throughout Christian history, attempted to redefine, recreate, or purify their vision for Christianity.

Several effects have resulted from such thinking; most notably 1)violence, 2)confusion, and 3)separation – all for ostensibly noble reasons! ( The road to hell is paved with good intentions.)

If we have the courage to examine the fruit of such contentions which often come in the form of a perceived necessity of some sort, we will come to the painful realization that the evil one is most often the author! OK, easy to say – right?
A most common vilification is that of the Roman Catholic Church. Much of that criticism is rightly deserved. Read your Bible! What REALLY interests me is how those who deem themselves in a position to “correct” such errors, most often labeled as traditions of men, have themselves created a whole train load of traditions of their own! How people miss this is simple – pride.

Let’s take a quick look. Since most who read/follow this Blog have a rather clear understanding of their relationship/experience with the Lord Jesus Christ and His holy Scriptures, I hope no one will be offended, but rather encouraged to pursue the Truth that sets us free. I’m talking about “sacred cows” – that which is generally NEVER questioned in the Church. For example, the words we often use can speak volumes. Have you heard someone utter the word “revival”? Interestingly, it’s not in the Christian vocabulary of the Apostles. It means to bring something “back to life”! Why is it used then? Is the Lord giving birth to sinners ( a new creation – being born again) – yes! Hallelujah! Is the Lord resurrecting dead Christians? At His second coming He is! Hallelujah! Is He giving us life more abundant? Yes, and Amen! Is He renewing our minds through feeding on the Scriptures? Glory to God – yes!

So, what’s being “revived”? Resuscitated, perhaps. But that just doesn’t sound very good in English. I suppose the word ” revival” has more of an emotional impact. Too bad it confuses Biblical truth!

Next:

We all want to help the unsaved so how can a sinner’s prayer be wrong? Well first, it’s not in the Scriptures as such. Sure, people mean well, but creating a “formula” AND a requirement sounds like what? Oh yeah, Catholicism! Should those accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior pray, of course! Creating the formula/requirement opens a door – the wrong door!
Hey, what about an “altar call”? Obviously, we want to invite those to Christ and pray with/for them. However, once this “procedure” became formalized, it began to take on a life/tradition of its own!

Now, I recently read the description of a large ministry. Much of it was filled with controversy, defending and attacking various doctrines. One of those doctrines is called “cessationism” where they believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased after the Apostolic period! This has caused another huge divide! In Greek, one of the names for the evil one is “diabolos”, meaning the divider! Do we have the strength to follow 1 John 4:1 and test the spirits? To do otherwise is to throw the baby out with the bath water! The problem is that if we follow that Scriptural admonition, it requires us to be responsible! And we should know by now that most “denominations” have tried to get us to relinquish some or all of our responsibility!

How about this one: slain in the Spirit. I’ve heard this one for most of my life. It’s also not in the Scriptures. The experience is often part of a church “service” of some type. People almost universally fall backwards, and manifest a wide range of characteristics – some according to godly purposes, many others not!
Again, once something like this becomes “institutionalized”, it often becomes a man made tradition with its unique prerequisites and expectations. God help us! The evil one has had much fun counterfeiting the genuine gifts of the Spirit!

1 Corinthians 14:28 reads that if there is no one to interpret someone speaking in a language (tongue), then that person should keep silent! That is a very polite way of saying “shut up”! I remember being at a spiritual assembly one time where, at one point, people were encouraged to go into their “prayer language” and it was like watching popped corn! I mean they were really going off! Problem? No interpreters. I mean NOBODY!

Here’s a side note about me. I speak three languages – not all of them fluently. I can easily recognize at least 14 others! Really! At that meeting, I didn’t hear a single word of any language I knew. I did hear lots of weird noises, sounds, and especially repetition! If you were so inclined, you could eventually recognize various preferred sounds that certain individuals uttered. Even those didn’t strike me as particularly grammatical. All of these observations from someone (me) who acknowledges and has experienced genuine spiritual gifts! What is one to make of all this? One thing I know is that all this causes SERIOUS divisions!

Is the Church a bunch of divisions that make up one body? Or are there Christians in various denominations that make up one body? Can all denominations, or most denominations be right? Especially when they renounce salvation through any other?

Romans 12:5 … We are one body in Christ
1 Corinthians 12:27

We have a promise from our Lord that the evil one will sow his weeds in the wheat field! Matthew 13:24!

All these denominations are a witness of exactly what? Confusion?
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is NOT the author of confusion but of peace,
as in ALL the churches of the saints!

Conclusion: Hmmmmm.
1 Corinthians 15:2 Hold fast to the word…
Hebrews 4:14 Hold fast our confession…
Revelations 3:3 Hold fast and repent…
Revelations 3:11 Behold I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.

Peace and Maranatha!

Occult Symbolism – Mark of The Beast

Have you ever wondered why there are so many designs, statues, monuments, and structures in the U.S. Capitol that are of clear occult origin? Why is that? Why do we need an Egyptian obelisk (phallic sun worship – Isis/Osiris cult), and a huge reflection pool near the nation’s House of Congress (womb).  The same building that has an elaborate mural depicting the “Apotheosis” (becoming a god) of George Washington, surrounded by Greek gods! UNBELIEVABLE, but true!

The famous Statue of Liberty is also replete with occult significance. That torch (like the one Prometheus snatched from the gods) is supposed to enlighten us? We worship Liberty? None of that makes any sense to ANY of the world’s major faiths. And Christianity?

Right now, there’s a huge economic war over the use of the “petro-dollar”! Some say that it signaled the start of WWIII. What I mean is that the US banking cartel (the so called Federal Reserve) is struggling to continue their stranglehold of the global trade of oil transacted in U.S. dollars. Much intrigue there.

Let’s take a brief look at that “dollar”- why all the occult symbols and references? The more you look, the more you find. Could it be that the God of this world wants his stamp and seal on everything?

Pastors often preach about spiritual things, at the expense of practical things like money! The OT warns us not to be slaves through debt. For example, every 7th year was a Jubilee year where, among other things, ALL debts were erased! Why? Because the borrower is slave to the lender: therefore, freedom, economic freedom is that important! We shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free – free from economic slavery too, if we know how to apply the Word to our lives.

The Watchmen have been largely asleep while all this has been constructed. America has been largely unfaithful to the Word of God. Our slavery will worsen until we line up with the central truths within Holy Scripture and repent of it! “…Forgive us our debts as WE forgive our debtors…” Repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand😀!

Many exciting movies like National Treasure, The DaVinci Code etc. include all the satanic symbolism, yet they offer no real solution. Very pedestrian. Unfortunately, when walking out into traffic, we have to look both ways, or we seriously risk being run over!

Test the spirits. Be informed. Watch over your heart as you renew your mind with the Scriptures! Do not put your head in the sand. Remember, you too are also marked with a sign and seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit! OCCUPY until He returns. That’s an order!

Peace & Maranatha

 

Christophobia?

Why are Christians and the Christian Church seen as some kind of threat? Because of institutionalism! Once we take the teachings of Jesus Christ and manufacture a religion, we have just created a social/political entity with rules, regulations, AND enforcement with consequences!
When governments demand control over us, Christianity is often mistaken for an adversary. Under that scenario, when people discover the Gospel message AND its power, they become unwitting rebels. Rebels who make their neighbors VERY nervous about their comfort zones!
Ultimately, belief in God is tolerated. However, a visible “relationship” with the Lord Jesus Christ is to some, strangely attractive, yet to others, very threatening. Hence, the conflict.

If there were no “good” and no “evil” in the world, things might be fine. We would all just sort out our existence against natural forces and each other. Yet, the very existence of a real Creator with an action plan who has a very active “antagonist” results in the grand chessboard, or as they used to say in Roman times, the “arena” upon which those forces work with us for good or bad.
What I’m trying to say is that there is more to Christophobia than literally meets the eye. The unseen forces. principalities, and powers are waging spiritual warfare against humanity! Reason alone is not sufficient to describe the levels of vicious hatred and persecution that are being waged by so-called Christians, and their adversaries.
That’s just another great reason to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:14; 1 Corinthians 4:12)!

Should we be surprised when we pray for our enemies and they are healed? Should we be surprised when we are hated for bearing spiritual fruit as proof of our Almighty God? These things can either serve to attract disciples, or their effect can be as heaping coals upon the head – the resulting outrage of realizing how wrong a person is!

Has anyone ever asked you if you “believe” you have a dad or mom? So, why do they ask if we “believe” in Jesus? We KNOW Him! He KNOWS us! We SPEAK to Him! He ANSWERS us through His Scripture, dreams, visions, prophecies, words of knowledge, and so much more!

Perhaps men can choose to dispute this with the power of reason. The devil very clearly opposes this with deception, temptation, half-truths, hatred, fury, violence, and every form of evil. Stay vigilant. Be the salt and light while the time remains.

Peace & Maranatha

When They Call Wrong, Right. . .

Please take a moment to enjoy the following article. Here in the U.S., one of the latest controversies is over the government sanction of  the redefinition of marriage by the courts. Although no actual laws have been created to force the recognition of these “marriages”, Christians like Kim Davis of Tennessee (an elected court official, sworn to uphold local laws) have paid a huge price for remaining faithful to local laws that specifically prohibit such things. So, we can see a glimpse of what lays in store for us who take a stand for righteousness!
SEPTEMBER 9, 2015 by John Cosmides

SOME 2,000 YEARS AGO, God the Father gave all authority in Heaven and on Earth to His Son, Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18-20). That act empowered Christ to invite humanity back into a Covenant relationship with God (II Cor. 5:18), a relationship that is offered freely to all who believe in Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection as full payment for their sins (Gen. 15:6; John 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9).

Though Covenant membership is bought and paid for by Jesus Christ, Christians are called to wholeheartedly surrender their lives to God’s authority (Luke 9:23-24; Mark 8:36-37, Mark 12:30, Romans 12:1-2). Christ echoed the words of Moses when He defined the life of surrender as living “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Matt. 5:17-19).

The change in one’s worldview that accompanies their conversion is so complete that Christ defines it as being “born again” (John 3:3). St. Paul describes Christians as a “new creation” (II Cor. 5:17) and reminds us that our bodies are no longer our own to do with as we please (I Cor. 6-19-20). Christ is so transparent about the demands of the New Covenant life that He warns us not to accept His offer until we’ve carefully considered its cost to our life (Luke 14:26-33).

So, though God loves sinners (Romans 5:8) He nevertheless commands us to leave our lives of sin (John 8:9-11, Acts 3:19-20; I John 1:9). Obedience to the Bible is so inseparably linked to the Covenant life that the Apostle Paul describes Christ as washing the Church “with water through the Word, to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:25-27). In fact, I John 1:10 warns us that when we deny that we’re sinning we’re actually calling God a liar.

The eradication of willful sin within the Church is so imperative that Christ and the apostles commanded the Church to confront, to judge, and if necessary to expel members who are living in serious, unrepentant sin (Matt. 18:15-17; I Cor. 5:12-13).

This, of course, is not the Jesus Christ most people want to follow. So, despite these mandates, many of today’s congregations have abandoned the holy prescription of church discipline.

One of the most pervasive examples of this breakdown in church discipline may be the practice of allowing Christian couples to divorce and marry others when neither spouse has been the victim of unfaithfulness (Matt. 5:32; Matt. 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; I Cor. 7:15). It’s a sin the LGBT community has been calling us out on for years, and rightly so.

However, a more sinister rebellion against Christ comes from the many false prophets and false teachers who have infiltrated the Church over the millennia. Christ describes them as ferocious wolves disguised as sheep (Matt. 7:15-23). They don’t merely disobey God’s word; they try to bend its meaning to justify their worldview.

For example, the Judaizers told early Christians that covenant membership required circumcision. A prophet in Thyatira led her congregation into sexual sin. Arians claimed that God created Jesus Christ. Pelagians taught that people could achieve moral perfection through their own efforts. And the Gnostics denied that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. The Church eradicated those teachings through apostolic letters and ecumenical creeds.

In the 1970s, a San Francisco preacher led his congregation into mass suicide. More recently, one of America’s most respected Christian broadcasters falsely predicted the return of Christ — twice (Matt. 24:36).

Today a fresh pack of sheep has appeared, gentle in nature and affirming in speech. They’re approaching God-fearing Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction, and they’re telling them that God actually permits same-sex relations. They dismiss Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9-11 and I Timothy 1:8-11 the way so many churches dismiss Christ’s commands against divorce and remarriage. They claim that Leviticus only applies to Jews or male prostitutes, and that the New Testament passages are either mistranslated or only apply to heterosexuals who engage in same-sex acts.

These pastors, evangelists and authors assert that God has always accepted same-sex marriage, yet they cannot point to a single example performed anywhere in the Bible, or legalized by Moses, or anointed by the Levitical priests, arranged by the Old Testament kings, foretold by the Prophets, consecrated by Jesus Christ, loosed by the Apostles, exegeted by the early church Fathers, written into a Creed, exposited by the great Talmud scholars, or practiced historically in the Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant traditions. Some interpret David and Jonathan’s love as sexual, which if true would be forbidden, as was David and Bathsheba’s love.

And, when confronted with the bankruptcy of their own teaching, some of these leaders react by accusing Christ’s church of hate, intolerance and bigotry, all because God requires gays and lesbians to turn from their sins, just like everyone else.

These false teachers complain that singleness and sexual abstinence are unfair burdens placed on Christians who have homosexual orientation, when in fact Christ requires the same of unmarried (I Cor. 7:1-8) and divorced heterosexual Christians, who far outnumber gays. They argue that God doesn’t want anyone to be alone (Gen. 2:18), but they leave out God’s promised 100-fold blessings to all who give up marriage for Him (Mark 10:28-30). They defy God’s prohibition against asking, “Why did you make me like this?” (Romans 9:20), and they ignore the fact that the Apostle Paul (I Cor. 7:7-8) — and Jesus Christ, himself — were single and abstinent (I Peter 2:22).

The Bible says this about them:

“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (II Cor. 11:13-15).

So, what then shall we say? That God’s all-inclusive kingdom is growing, despite the feeble attempts of Christ’s enemies! Today nearly one-third of humanity identifies as Christian, far more than any other religion. And God’s kingdom is rapidly expanding into Asia and Africa. History is advancing toward the day when, willing or not, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

And all who sacrificed personal relationships for Christ will receive back many times what they lost, in this life and in the one to come (Mark 10:28-30).

So, whether LGBT or straight, let’s embrace God’s love, grace and forgiveness by allowing the Holy Spirit to conform us into the Image of Christ (II Cor. 3:18) as we boldly admit and turn from our sins, and join in the very real expansion of God’s very real kingdom.

John Cosmides has been living in Benicia for 25 years.

1 Peter 3:15 For Teenagers Too?

I’ve often wondered how the Holy Spirit selects BOTH the person with the testimony/witness, and the one who has the potential to hear the Word and respond. Until very recently, I was mostly concerned with adults. It struck me as a little odd that teens would perhaps be witnessed to by other teens. I do know that peer pressure goes both ways.

However, the other day, I experienced a very unusual phenomenon. Unless my spiritual radar was up, I know I would have incorrectly interpreted the events. I was in a high school class room. A conversation came up about various global threats. Students began to argue about how they interpreted those events. Some students began to recite certain passages of Scripture pertaining to the end times. Other students started to proclaim who was going to heaven or hell! And still others were making all sorts of wild statements, to the amusement or annoyance of others!

What an experience! I’m sure that the parents of those Christians (various denominations were represented) would be happy with their responses. They were, after all, mostly, doctrinally correct. Here’s the problem, or perhaps better said, here’s the opportunity: even though the students felt most justified in making their remarks, those same remarks were made in a way that really helped no one come any closer to the Truth!

So, I wonder: what’s the value of a teenager’s testimony if it alienates other teens? Do repentance, conviction, and contrition automatically show up because dogmatic confessions have been uttered? Of what possible benefit is it to “have faith” when it is painfully obvious (in this case) that there was little or no authority and power being manifested? Stereotypical behavior kicks in, and predictable rejection follows that!

Here’s another example to help clarify my point: a Christian student complains that another student rejects Christianity. The other student wants to follow New Age type enticements. The Christian student is VERY frustrated because his classmate finds no interest in learning about Jesus. He is, on the other hand, rather interested in crystals, numerology, and Egyption lore. I asked the Christian student what he thought he had to offer the other student in the way of grace, power, and authority via Jesus. He was puzzled by the question!

I asked if his classmate was interested in going to religious services and conforming to all sorts of personal rules, even renouncing various pleasures and pastimes. The Christian responded, “Probably not.” I asked if he was offering religion or relationship/revelation of the living God. He hadn’t the slightest clue!

There’s such a strong pull to conform or rebel as a teenager. Teens have enough just to struggle with their own relationship with the Lord. Witnessing to others is a real stretch for most. However, if you could see the impact of their actions as I did, you would immediately see the need for a more meaningful defense and answer for the faith than mere recitations of doctrines/beliefs!

If you have teens, work with teens, or know teen neighbors, think about wether they see spiritual power in your words/life. Think about wether they see the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Think about wether they see spiritual authority and discipline in your life. Think about how they experience the way you manifest your love of Jesus. Lastly, please consider how they perceive your relationship with Jesus, rather than religion.

Peace & Maranatha!

Wars And Rumors Of Wars!

Mark 13:7
If there were only one, solitary, armed conflict in the entire world, and you were near it, it would be tragic!
Who would help you? Who would hear about your situation? Who would even care?

I’m enjoying the last days of Internet use. It will either get taken down very soon, or it will be so restricted as to be like network television!

There is so much going on all over the world – at least what we’re allowed to hear about! I constantly hear from travelers, or those with family/friends around the globe – things are absolutely horrible! Warfare and or the verge of warfare!

What will it take to wake people up to the Gospel message? What will be the final straw?

One thing I do know – my relationship with the living Lord, Jesus Christ, REQUIRES by its very nature, that I intercede on behalf as as many as possible! The fruit, or holy works that are born of the Spirit, manifest themselves by their very nature. In other words, we must be prayer warriors, vigilant watchmen, holding fast; not giving ANY ground to the enemy!

Especially in these days of technology, it may be difficult to conceive of, or be aware of just how much Holy Spirit power we have been granted by grace, in order to expand His kingdom with love and compassion! It is still a fact – we MUST act! Faith is action! It is God’s very nature to help. We have to do our part!
Every time you hear of persecution, suffering and conflict, exercise your authority as a Christian to intercede in the name of Jesus! Do not let your light be hidden! Don’t give up! That’s a huge reason why we are here – salt and light – whatever you want to call it. The saved and those not yet discipled are counting on us, even creation itself (Romans 8:19)!

Maranatha!