Friday, 28 April 2017

As we Come to the End.~ Ganeida

Scripture teaches us that there is an end to all things.  A time is
coming when the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll & the earth will disappear in fire & smoke. Before that happens Jesus taught that there would be signs indicating that the Last Days were upon us.

We are in those Last Days & it is just as 2 Peter 3:3&4 says: Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

Because we believe that Jesus is coming back again, just as He said He would, the love of God compels us to speak of these things, in season & out of  season. 2 Peter 3:4 goes on to say: The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

We do not want you to be ignorant of the Truth or be destroyed for lack of knowledge. [Hosea 4:6]

There are a lot of excuses people give for not believing Scripture, for not attending Church, for not wanting to be labeled *one of those Christians* ~ & they are just that: excuses. Not everyone who calls themselves a Christian actually is one so to reject God on the basis of what a church or a pastor or a *christian* has done is not only illogical; it is dangerous. Rejection of God is not new.  Even back in Job's day And yet they say to God, 'Go away. We want no part of you and your ways.' [Job 21:14]

God's invitation has never been to church, or to a pastor or to other Christians.  It is an invitation to know Him personally; an invitation to shed guilt & shame & to be freed from the stronghold sin has on your life.  The choice has always been ours ~ but true choice is based on knowledge of the facts so it is no surprise to find Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

Satan doesn't want people to know the Truth least they turn from their rebellion & are healed. [Matthew 13:15] 

How then should we live?  What should we do?    If you have not repented of your sins & made yourself right with God through His son Jesus Christ then that is the very first thing.  The promise has always been that if you draw close to God, then He will draw close to you. [James 4:8]

The rest of us need to understand the Times we are living through, informed by scripture.  Understand that you are in a battle.  Two Kingdoms are coming together in a final cosmic battle: the Kingdom of God & the kingdom of satan. It is a battle between the children of Light & the children of Darkness. It involves the wrath of God, of satan & of the Nations. [Revelation 14] It is why we are seeing such turbulence among so many nations, so much conflict, so much cultural turbulence. The world is being polarized because satan knows his time is short. [Revelation 12:12]

Matthew 24:7~8 talks of the pre~tribulation signs & events that occur on earth to indicate the sort of world we will live in. I do not have the time to teach on prophetic fulfillment. I will confine myself to 4 signs Jesus mentions in Matthew 24, warning of the coming of the end. 

  • The first thing Jesus warns about is deception ~ false messiahs, false religion, false truths.
  • There will be wars & rumours of wars.
  • Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
  • famines and earthquakes in various places
These are the birth pangs, the beginning of sorrows.  Now some people would tell you that there will simply be a steady increase in these things & they will come more & more frequently but anyone who has ever experienced childbirth knows that's not how it works.  Labour pains will increase in strength, duration & proximity, falter, even cease for a period, then begin again & build until there is a final tipping point from which there is no return. 

So the first thing we must do is Watch. [Matthew 24:42] "So you, too, must keep watch! For you don't know what day your Lord is coming." 1 Thessalonians 5:6 confirms thisSo be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded

 Or I could point you to the parable of the 10 virgins: 5 of whom were wise, 5 of whom were foolish. In these days we cannot afford to let our lamps go out, or the oil of the Holy Spirit diminish in our lives for to do so imperils us & leaves us outside the Kingdom. 

Watching helps us to guard our minds. We will be alert when it comes to doctrine for we remember scripture warns us to not be deceived.  We will not worry because we know that wars, rumours of wars, Nations & kingdoms squabbling, earthquakes & famines will happen but Jesus says they do not indicate the end.  We have time yet to obey the command to preach the gospel to every creature.

The 2nd thing is Pray.  Perilous times are times to don all our spiritual armour & pray in the Spirit. [Ephesians 6:18] It saddens me when I hear so called Christians condemning tongues for 1 Corinthians 14:2 says: For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries in the Spirit. This is prayer that is fully in the will of God because the Spirit of God is Himself directing our prayers. Jude 20 commands us to pray in the Holy Spirit & Ephesians 3:16 informs us that the Holy Spirit strengthens our inner man & 1 Corinthians 14:4 tells us, “He that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself.”~ so praying in the Spirit helps us guard our Spirit, builds our faith & strengthens us spiritually for the spiritual battle.

The 3rd thing is something we are not to do.  Enter not into temptation. It is perfectly possible to freely choose to enter into temptation ~ & we will reap the consequences. This is the reason we must watch & pray for they guard our hearts & minds so that when we are tempted we recognise the deceit of the enemy & are strong enough to resist.

The fourth thing Is Oil in our Lamps. This of course refers to the parable of the wise & foolish virgins & the oil is the unction of the Holy Spirit.  However as I was researching this I came across something interesting & I believe it is pertinent to this discussion.  There is a close relationship between the Greek word for oil[elaion] & the word for mercy [Eleos].  In these last days it is going to get harder & harder to keep our hearts tender & loving & merciful towards others. Matthew 24:12 says Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. The next verse tells us that the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.  What's more  God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 The love & mercy we need to persevere to the end are obtained through the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is vital for our spiritual well being.

Like the parable of the 10 virgins the parable of the Talents is an End Times parable. The 5th thing is Don't Hide that Which Belongs to the Lord. The men in question were given money to invest & that is certainly one way to interpret this parable because robbing from God has always been a religious pass time. Malachi 3:8 "Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! "But you ask, 'What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?' "You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me."

However I believe there is another way to understand this parable. Acts 2:17 In the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.

God has always blessed His people with gifts.  When we hide them, refuse to use them, make excuses to not obey a call of God on our lives, we effectively rob Him. Paul explicitly instructs Timothy to *stir up* the gift that is in him. 2 Timothy 1:6. God's gifts have been given to use to use in His service. To not do so robs God & dishonours us.

Lastly there is a specific prayer for the end times.  It is mentioned in Luke 21:36 & comes at the end of Jesus discourse on the End Times. Keep alert at all times. "And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man."

I can't think of a more important prayer for believers in these times. In Matthew 13:starting at verse 24 Jesus explains that in this world Jesus & His followers sow the good seed of the Kingdom while Satan & his disciples sow tares in amongst the good seed. The wheat & the tares are allowed to grow side by side until the harvest but when the harvest comes the wheat & the tares are separated, the tares to be gathered up & burnt, the wheat to be gathered into God's barn.

The end times creates a great schism. The world becomes clearly divided between those who believe & those who don't; those who follow the spirit of God & those who follow the god of this world; those who continue in love & mercy from those who have allowed their love to grow cold; those who are exercising their gifts for God & those who are not. Stay vigilant.  Remain alert.  As his time grows short satan is seeking to take as many as he can down into hell with him.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Discerning the glitter from the Gold. ~Ganeida

This week we are going to have a quick look @ true & false prophets. For the purposes of this study we include all teachers, ministers, & prophets together collectively. 

 Hosea 4:6 says My people are being destroyed because they don't know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests.

I do not want to see any of you fail to receive your reward because of a lack of knowledge. These are confusing times & more now than ever we need to be grounded in the word of God.

One reason for this can be found in 2 Timothy:
You should know this, Timothy,  that in the last days there will be very difficult times. You should know this, Timothy,  that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

In other words, according to 2Peter 2:1,2 But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.

There has always been a problem amongst God’s people, & within the church, with false prophets~ people who, for whatever reason, teach untruths.  I am not speaking of those who speak the occasional untruth by accident but of those who wilfully & deliberately set about teaching things that cannot be found in scripture, cannot be supported by scripture, ~ or twist the scriptures to suit their own purposes.

Jude hadn’t wanted to write about the trouble in the church.  He wanted to write about the salvation all believers share in but he was impelled by the times he lived in ~ & so are we ~ for …some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.
The word for immoral is aselgeia & it means intemperance; licentiousness,  lasciviousness,  insolence, outrageous behaviour ~ & the definition for licentiousness is lacking legal or moral restraints; disregarding sexual restraints. Lasciviousness means reflecting or producing sexual desire or behaviour, especially that is considered indecent or obscene.

Jude isn’t writing to unbelievers.  He is writing to believers & we have seen the disasterous results in the Catholic church when immorality is found acceptable. However there is a less obvious, far more subtle, & generally accepted poison that has worked its way into the body of Christ. Romans 1:29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarrelling, deception, malicious behaviour, and gossip

Greed, deception [lying], quarrelling, gossip aren’t seen as such terrible things but such thinking is completely unbiblical.  It is roundly condemned throughout scripture. [Romans, Corinthians, Galatians & Ephesians all have something to say about it]. Two are listed as an abomination: a lying tongue & a false witness ~ gossip & lies! [Proverbs 6:16~19]

Jude says that wickedness suppresses the truth[v.18] & he gets quite blunt in verses 18 & 19. They [that is the apostles] told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires

These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God's Spirit in them.  Again, we are not talking about unbelievers but people within the church.  Without God’s Spirit you get religion & without the Spirit to restrain the natural instincts you get ungodly desires uncontrolled.

Perhaps the most needed gift within the church today is the gift of discernment, that ability to sift the truth from lies, to tell the false from the genuine, sound doctrine from corruption.  Not all churches are the same.  Not all doctrine is sound.  According to Galatians 5:9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!

That being the case I am going to give you 7 things that will help to separate the wheat from the chaff.

We know that satan is a liar & the father of lies.  All false doctrine originates with him. There is a different gospel. Galatians 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.

There are false ministers.

2 Corintians11:12: But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

They produce false Christians…. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not2 Cor.11:26
As Jesus stated The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. Matthew 13:38

Therefore how do you discern the Truth?

2nd Peter describes genuine & false believers.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. .[1:5~10]

2nd Peter 2 lists several ways false teachers operate.
·      They deny the Master who bought them. [v1]
·      Immorality[v2]
·      Greed [v3]
·      Lies [v3]
·      Proud & arrogant [v 10]
·      They scoff @ things they do not understand [v 10]
·      They delight in deception [v13]
·      They commit adultery with their eyes [v14]
·      They brag about themselves [v18]
·      They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin & corruption [v19]
1.We see that false teachers have a different source.  They invent cleverly made up stories [2P1:16] Matthew 15:9 says Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. Colossians 2:22 also speaks of man made doctrines.
2. They have a different message.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

Jesus is central.  Anything else, no matter how clever, or how wise it seems, is not of God. We have everything we need because we have the Holy Spirit.  Without Him we have only ourselves & this leads to people making up things to compensate for the lack of power in their lives.
3. They have a different position.
They do not have the freedom that a true Christian has for if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36 Peter condemns them as promising freedom yet themselves being slaves to depravity. [2:19]
4. They produce a different character.
The Holy Spirit produces fruit according to Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
The counterfeit produces arrogance and slander (2:10). *experts in greed*, *eyes are full of adultery* (2:14)& they “despise authority” (2:10).
5.  Different Appeal
This is, I think, pretty self explanatory.  The true prophet, the true teacher, the true minister, will always appeal to scripture.  What does God’s word say?  They will speak the hard things, exhort people to grow closer to God & live according to His standards.  The false will offer comforting lies, refuse to confront sin, & appeal to people’s flesh.
6. Different Fruit
[v8] The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We looked at the preceding verses earlier so we know we are meant to grow in knowledge, understanding, faith, moral excellence.  A stagnant Christian is a dead Christian.
The false people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. [2P2:17]
7. Lastly they have a different end.
This is the most appalling thing of all & the reason that we must be vigilant as a church & as individual believers.
For the true believer:  So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; [2P1:10~11]
But for the false there is only *swift destruction.*

Remember last week we said everything reproduces after its own kind.  Satan reproduces himself in those who knowingly or unknowingly follow him.  Christ reproduces Himself in us through the work of His Holy Spirit.

Friday, 14 April 2017

All Things New ~ Ganeida

2000 years ago a grief stricken woman made her way to a tomb. Her name was Mary Magdalene & she had come to finish the burial rites that had not taken place due to the Sabbath for the man they called Jesus of Nazareth.  It was very early ~ pre~dawn ~ but there was enough light to establish one inescapable fact: the stone sealing the tomb had been rolled away & the tomb itself was empty.

Shocked & distressed she ran to find Simon Peter & John & together they returned to the tomb. There were the graveclothes; where was the body?  The Jewish religious leaders would not have removed it.  It would have made them unclean.  The Roman authorities would not have removed it without the grave clothes it was wrapped in. The soldiers guarding the tomb would not have removed it: their very lives depended on it.

Even after Peter & John had returned home Mary remained, weeping. It was as she turned to leave she saw someone standing there. I want you to note something.  It the early morning light, in the gloom under the trees of the garden, Mary did not recognise Jesus.  She mistook Him for the gardener.

She was not expecting to find the dead among the living. She had expected to find a body in need of washing & rewrapping in herbs & spices. She *knows* that Jesus is dead.  She saw Him die.  She saw His broken body taken down from the cross. She knows the signs of death~ the blood separating into its component parts, the *dead weight*, the lack of breath. She has followed Him to the tomb & seen Him laid inside. Even so, how did she mistake a man she had followed for 3 years for the gardener?

In her grief I suspect Mary did not really look at the man who confronted her in the garden but I also suspect she did not recognise Jesus clothing either.  His robe, prayer shawl, sandals & belt were gambled for at the foot of the cross.

Instead He wore a linen tunic, linen trousers, a linen belt, some sort of head covering & barefooted ~ which was the common garb of a gardener.  Now this is absolutely fascinating because this is what the High Priest wore at Yom Kippur ~ the Day of Atonement ~ & what did the High Priest do on Yom Kippur?  He entered the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the people!

Jesus statement to Mary makes sense in this context: Don’t cling to me for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father… [John 20:17]

In the wilderness Jesus dealt with satan’s assault on the flesh, the soul & the spirit. On the cross Jesus dealt with the issue of mankind’s’ sin. One thing yet remained to be dealt with ~ sin in the heavenlies.
Sin did not originate with mankind.  It began in Heaven. It began with satan. It began with the angels who rebelled. I know of no approbation for the sin of angels.

I believe the bible is very literal.  Jesus is not metaphorically our High Priest.  He  is  our High Priest.  The duties of a High Priest fall to Him.  And He had a duty to fulfill in heaven as our High Priest, the very first thing needed:  He atoned for our sins in the heavenly temple.  With His own blood.  Shed for us.

However when Jesus went to the cross, something happened that changed the course of world events.  God tore the veil that lay between us & God. Though the Jews did not realise it the old order had changed.  

The High Priest disqualified himself when he tore his robes [Matt.26:65] according to Leveticus 21:10. The office stood empty over the Passover.  Men may not have realised that but God did. The time of blood sacrifices was ended for the final, perfect & only acceptable sacrifice had been made. Jesus died as the Passover lamb; He rose as our High Priest & His first order of business was to enter the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Temple & offer His own blood as appropriation for our sins. And because His was a perfect sacrifice it only needed to be made the once.

Hebrews 4
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Here is the thing: the resurrection of Jesus changed everything forever.  He completely destroyed the works of satan. Yes, we still see them because satan is still the god of this world & people still give him his allotment of death, of suffering, of disease, of destruction, of robbery. But Jesus is coming again & when He does all that He achieved through His death on the cross will be fully implemented.

But I have been redeemed out of the hand of satan by the precious blood of Jesus.  I am a co~heir [Romans 8:17] with Jesus Christ & all the promises are mine to claim.

Jesus has made everything new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! Or as the KJV puts it ~  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Jesus not only died for us ~ He died as us! “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” [ Gal. 2:20]

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” [Col. 3:3]

When you believe on the Name of Jesus the Holy Spirit does a remarkable work in you.  He joins your life with Christ’s; He puts His Spirit within you; He crucifies the old life & gives you His abundant life because if you are  “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” – Col. 2:12

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” – Col. 3:1

The unregenerated life cannot live the Christ life. You must be made new & there is only one way for that to happen. John 3:3 Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

John 3:36 And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment."

Up until the moment Jesus rose from the dead the whole world remained under God’s wrath.  The Law had been given so that man might know how far he was from God’s standard but the law revealed all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,[Romans 3:23]

Jesus changed that.  He imparts to us His own righteousness. And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:23~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.  We are not appointed to wrath…

So as we come to communion put aside Easter eggs & chocolate for they have nothing to do with the King of Kings.  Instead consider Passover, with all its rich symbolism.

At that final meal Jesus told His disciples: “I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer…” [Luke 22:15]

Egypt symbolised sin, & the Israelites were brought out of Egypt as Christ brings us out of sin.  Jesus, about to become the Passover Lamb, understood the enormity of what His sacrifice would achieve & we have considered all that is hidden in Passover when we celebrate the seder.  

In the garden of Gethsemane Christ laid it all down, even His very life. He was beaten that we might be healed.  He was stripped naked that we might be clothed with His righteousness.  He died that we might live. You can stand with the mockers around the cross & cry, If you are Christ ~ save yourself, or you can stand with the thief,  acknowledge that you are a sinner & say, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Communion reminds us implicitly:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

Jesus is the Way, The Truth & the Life so let us rejoice & give thanks for…

When we bless the cup at the Lord's Table, aren't we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren't we sharing in the body of Christ? And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 1 Cor. 10: 16~17

The Healing Word ~ Ganeida

We have talked a lot about the Word of God; its transforming power; how God esteems His Word above His Name. [Psalm 138:2] We have pointed out that God & His Word are one: [John1:1] God, Jesus, Holy Spirit ~ One.  The Holy Spirit in us makes us one with the Word, one with God. The *New Creation* [2 Corinthians 5:17] has made us supernatural beings capable of living supernatural lives because God's Word does not return void.  It does accomplish the purpose for which it has been sent.

Sadly many, many Christians get saved yet neve learn how to release the supernatural power of God in their lives through the indwelling word.

It is essential we learn to live according to the Word of God in a way that will release God's supernatural power into our lives.  Just imagine the impact our witness & testimony would have if we lived & acted just like Jesus! Well, Guess what?  We are meant to!

The Law of Creation as reveal in Genesis states *everything reproduces according to its own kind.*

When you were born naturally you were *conceived in sin* [Psalm 51:5] ~ as every single human being has been since Adam & Eve.  The only exception is Jesus.  Adam & Eve reproduced after their fallen state.  They reproduced according to their own kind.

Well, so does Jesus! John 5:24 says that the one who believes in Jesus *has passed from death to life* & Jesus states that He came that we might have abundant life. [John 10:10]

We are so used to living the natural life we scarcely believe in the supernatural life yet we were  created for the supernatural life. We are designed, not only to bear the image & likeness of Christ, but to carry His power & authority. The spiritual realm understands this.  They are terrified of *The Word*. They know the power & authority implicit in the word.

The supernatural life challenges us to live by faith, rather than by sight; to trust in the Lord with all our hearts & lean not on our own understanding. [Proverbs 3:5]

After Jesus' baptism the Holy Spirit drove Him into the desert where He fasted for 40 days. At the end of His fast the devil came & tempted Him in 3 ways:
  • He was tempted through the flesh: "If you are the son of man tell these stones to become loaves of bread..." [Matt.4:3]
  • Through the emotions & the will by manipulation of the scriptures: "If you are the son of man jump off..."[Matt. 4:6]
  • Through the Spirit: ...kneel down & worship me...[Matt. 4:9]
The devil, not being very original, uses these exact same tactics today, targeting these same 3 areas.  He will wait until we are at a low ebb, preferably when we are at our weakest, & attacks our flesh, our soul & our spirit.

Each time Jesus was attacked He countered with the Word of God. If Jesus Himself neede to counter satan with God's Word, what makes us think  we can get by without it?

It is in this passage of scripture we learn a very important Truth:

The very first place the Holy Spirit sent Jesus was into the wilderness to deal with satan & Jesus states clearly: People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. [Matt 4:4]

Did you catch that? Man lives by the Word of God! Later in 1 John 5:12 John says He who has the son [ie the Word] has life; he who does not have the son of God does not have life.

Everyone here has seen at least one miracle; everyone has seen someone raised from the dead!

Ephesians 2:1 says ~ And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses & sins...

These are Gospel Truths.  This is the Good News of Jesus Christ. Can you see that this is our inheritance as children of God?

You have a choice.  You can be ruled by your flesh.  When it hurts you can believe the devil's lies~ or you can live by the Word of God & believe what the Word says.

Remember how the Israelites lost the promised land?  Moses sent spies into the land.  You can read all about it it in Numbers 13.  They explored the land  & reported back to the people.  They agreed that the land was indeed flowing with milk & honey just as God had said but they differed on one essential: the word of God.  The majority of the spies refused to believe that they could indeed conquer the land  as God had promised & scripture says they spread *an evil report* about the land amongst the people. [Numbers 13:32]

when you differ with what the Word of God says you are, essentially, arguing with God~ even calling Him a liar because you do not believe what He has said already in His Word. To contradict the word of God is *bad* or *evil*.  Nothing good comes of it.

Some people are led completely by their souls~ by how they feel & what they think but we are to be led by the spirit of God. [Romans8:14]

"Where was God when...: ~ but God's Word says * I will never leave you or forsake you* [Hebrews 13:5] ; lo I am with you always... [Matt. 28:20]

It does not matter whether you can *feel* God or not.  It doesn't matter what you think.  God says He is with you so He is, whether you think so or not, whether you can feel His presence of not.

Now this level of trust is only acquired by knowing the author of the Word. It is one thing to read the scriptures & another thing to become *doers of the word* [James 1:22] but if we try & do any of it in our own strength we will fail abysmally.

Everything we have in Christ we have by the grace of God.  We receive a *measure of faith* to believe unto salvation by God's Grace & it is by God's Grace  we grow in our faith. We are not merely passive recipients. James 4:8 says *Draw near to God, & He will draw near to you.*

We can ask the Holy Spirit to teach us.  We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom & understanding.  We can ask for revelation ~ & all this will be imparted by Grace.  We must believe that we have received  but having received we must act on the revelation imparted to us.  We must believe the Word, Speak the Word, Act on the Word. It won't always be the easiest thing to do.  Our flesh will scream.  Our minds will shout about *facts*  & our emotions will protest but the more we act on what we know is true [God's word is Truth [John 17:17] the easier it will become & the more our faith will grow.

In Matthew 11 Jesus told people to *Take my yoke upon you, & learn from me...*. This is an allusion to the Jewish method of discipleship wherein a disciple took on his master's training & discipline but there is a practical application also.  The traditional yoke had both a large hole & a smaller hole for the oxen.  In this way an older, stronger & more mature beast could be teamed with a younger, weaker, immature animal to learn by being guided by the more knowledgeable beast while the stonger beast bore the brunt of the burden.  This is a wonderful picture of how we are meant to walk with Jesus for He said to learn from Him.

According to Steve Hannett: *If you've been praying hard & it's been fruitless, the root is that your prayer hasn't the right mixture of faith & God's Word. If you have faith but no word, you won't have power.  If you have God's word but no faith you won't have power.  When you have both, you will have a release of God's miracle power.*

You must believe what scripture says: that God's Word never returns void; it always accomplishes the purposes for which it was sent. So don't get discouraged if you have prayed & do not *see* results.  God's word always works.

Remember the story Jesus told about the widow & the unjust judge told in Luke 18:6~8?  She badgered him until she got justice.  So we are encouraged to persist in prayer until we receive what the word has promised.

We cannot preach the full Gospel until we fully grasp all of creation must obey the Word of God. Only then will we understand that when we lay hands on the sick & pray for healing that no matter what the sickness it must obey for by Jesus stripes we were healed because our God is a healing God.

Now I want to add a particular caution here because sometimes we find in charismatic circles people who point fingers at those who have been prayed for yet are still waiting to see their healing manifest.  Such things should not be so among the people of God because Romans 14:1 says ~Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions & 1 Thessolonians 5:14 is even clearer Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Sometimes it is easier if it is not us.

This is the Word of God.  In Jesus all the promises are yes & Amen [2 Corinthians 1:20] but all of scripture can be used for teaching, reproof, instruction, discipline ~ so we too can be like Jacob & taking hold of the Lord cry: I will not let you go unless you bless me. [Gen 32:26]

God likes bravery.  His Spirit in you is not timid & weak. He is bold. He is stronger than anything in this world & He desires that you trust completely in the Lord & lean not on your own understanding.