The Top Ten Lies of the Enemy

10.  Being Faithful is Restrictive and Enslaving.  Faith frees us from the shackles of sin and death. Faith is liberating.  Sin is a prison that keeps us from experiencing true joy and separates us from God. Today sin is exhorted as “cool” and something to embrace….yet in doing so, those who sin ultimately face consequences that cause them lasting harm.

9.   Being a Christian means you must be perfect.  Only Christ was perfect, our faith in Him overcomes our sin. We are all fallen, yet those who are saved can forgive more easily because they recognize the sin in their own lives.  A fallen Christian is nothing new and is not a hypocrite.  A forgiving Christian is a sinner who knows God and accepts sin as a stumbling block to salvation.

8.  Believers must Judge and Condemn non-believers.  God is the judge of the heart, which is not always open to man.  We are commanded to first save our own souls and to assist fellow believers who stray, not to judge and condemn those who do not even know the Lord.

7.  Love comes with Restrictions and Conditions.  We are to love unconditionally, even our enemies.  Love conquers all.  Love is the answer to almost all of our problems, and love is the emotion and need of every human being.  It has been given freely to us, and is to be shared freely with others.

6.  God is Responsible For Cruelty and Pain and Suffering.  God is love.  Man created this world and his failure to follow God has resulted in the wickedness all around us.  As God has become more and more removed from society, sin and its consequences have advanced and grown.   The God of the New Testament offers forgiveness and redemption but He cannot and will not interfere with our free will, so often used by man for evil purposes.

5.  Christ was a “Wise Man” but Never Claimed He was God.  Jesus Christ was the son of God, not a son but THE son.  He stated this on many occasions, said that He and His father were one, that he would rule at the father’s right hand, that He would return and judge the earth, and most importantly He is the only one to have ever died, been buried and been resurrected.  His defeat of death is the ultimate proof of His supernatural godliness.   Efforts to make Him “mortal” are efforts by the enemy to reduce the impact of His life and His words, and lump Him together with other “prophets” and religious figures through the ages.

4.  There is no Life after Death.  The greatest lie ever told is that there is nothing after we close our eyes.  This leads to a “live for the day” selfish attitude and a depressing and meaningless existence.  The Bible promises eternal life to those who have faith, and not just life after death but GLORIOUS life.  New bodies, free of sickness and death, free of pain and suffering, jealousy, want and bitterness, surrounded by unimaginable beauty and peace.  A return to Eden.  This is the reward for faith and because it meets our every desire that our lives have “meaning” and have a “purpose” the enemy anxiously seeks to destroy this promise.  I don’t need a book or movie about a near death experience to understand this…my proof is in my faith.

3.  There are Some Sins that even God Cannot Forgive or Excuse.  There is nothing we can do, that without repentance and faith cannot be wiped clean by the blood of Christ.  When Jesus died on the cross it was not to save some sinners but to save all who have sinned and fallen short who come to the Father through Him.  He was the last sacrifice, the perfect spotless lamb.  We could not and cannot ever meet every law to get back to God, and so our faith in Christ saves us.  Christ forgave prostitutes, robbers, adulterers and murderers.  He loves you and wants to free you from your sin, no matter how grave or depraved or harmful.  This does not mean there will not be consequences as all sin has consequences.  It does mean you can still find peace and love and salvation despite your worst.  Man may reject you and condemn you, but God will forgive you and love you!

2.  Being a Christian Means Being a Catholic, or Methodist, or Presbyterian, or (God forbid) an Evangelical.  True Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is not belonging to one denomination or another.  Despite what some faiths teach the Bible did not establish a “denomination” that has a corner on the truth when it comes to faith and Christ.  In fact Jesus railed against the established religious order of His day because they established rules and traditions that kept the plain word of God from the people, all the while living lives that were inconsistent with what they preached.  Sound familiar? The Bible allows us to know and understand God’s word for ourselves…to speak to each of us as God wishes to reach us.  Being a Christian is being a follower of Christ and a reader of the Word.  Being part of a group of like-minded believers is important to help us stay strong, stay faithful and grow in our faith.  However no one church, no set of earthly rules, no statements of a man (no matter his religious title) is a substitute for the Word of God and your relationship with Christ. Paul praised the Bereans in the Bible because they carefully checked everything he preached on against the actual scriptures “to see if it were so.”  We must do the same.

1.  God is Dead.  The greatest lie of the enemy is that there is no living God; That the concept of God is an old tradition and myth, and even the figure of Christ is some long dead historical “wise man” who is no longer relevant.  The word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ are as relevant and important today as they have been for thousands of years.  They are because they appeal to our instincts, our DNA, our very souls.  Only a creator could reach His creation in such a fashion.  No other book has had and continues to have such an impact on the world and on the life of man. Despite every effort to suppress it, rewrite it, reinterpret it, condemn it, ridicule it, marginalize it and even ban it, the Word of God survives.  It is living and breathing as is the Holy Spirit sent by God to each of us, working in us and with us to comfort us, instruct us, protect us and direct us to the calling and blessings God has planned for each of us…some have eyes and ears to understand, many sadly do not.  They are drowned out by the lies of this world.  Those who see and hear recognize the living God working in their lives.  They see the hand of God and appreciate the guidance, instruction, correction and blessings He imparts over their lifetime.  My own faith has been forged and strengthen by the workings of God in my life, visible workings of a living God who cares for me and loves me despite myself.  He has protected me, inspired me, corrected me and instructed me.  I don’t always listen and often to my detriment but I believe and give thanks.  God is not dead, He is surely alive and living in us and among us….we need only to pause and pray and our eyes and ears will be opened to the reveal His glory and our salvation!

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I sometime wonder whether the word “wait” will be excised from the English language sometime within the next generation.  The concept of getting things “now” has so overtaken our culture, dominated by cheap money, large credit lines, sophisticated technology, 24/7 news reporting, online shopping and such, that we often forget that “good things come to those who wait.”

This old saying has roots in Biblical instruction where we as Christians learn that while God is the key source of our life’s blessings, we must inevitably wait on God for the right season before seeing the fruits of our faith revealed.  We need to be pruned, watered, fertilized, and cared for before the fruits are revealed. There is strong truth in this because in our rush to seek fulfillment there is a tendency to avoid taking time to step back and consider.  To think about the circumstances, the costs, the impact on others.  Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of physics tell us that every action has a reaction.  The reaction can blow back and strike us in the face, can cause harm to someone else, or can simply place us in a position for which we are woefully unprepared.  God knows us, knows our situation, and has a plan for us.  These are promises contained in the Bible and as believers we need to demonstrate the patience of waiting on God who knows what is best for us.

This is not easy.  I occasionally rush headlong into things based on my emotion, the excitement of a moment, my own flawed judgment exercised without careful research, consideration and  preparation.  In almost every case I either experience some pain or I do not achieve complete victory in the goals I was seeking.

Are you rushing through life without God’s guiding hand?

Are you often coming up short in reaching your goals?

Are your decisions reflexive and driven by a desire to “get it now”…at any cost?

Has your life fallen short of your hopes and dreams?

God has a marvelous plan for you…a plan to prosper you and to bring you rich blessings.  His love is overwhelming and He knows exactly what you need to fulfill the hopes and dreams that are unique to you.  To see change in your life, change that will result in greater peace, satisfaction, and fulfillment, you need to …..WAIT…..on God.  Prayer and patience will reveal the true plan that He has for you!  Yes, waiting is the hardest part, but true fulfillment is only possible when you are ready, God is ready, and the season is right.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

Sinning is Easy, but So is Salvation!

Every day I am tempted by sin. Every day. There is not a day that passes where this does not take place. I understand it. I reject it in my heart, but yet the lure of sin is there, calling me, and in weak moments winning a victory.

The good news is that the war for my soul has already been won.  Being a Christian is not being without temptation: Christ was tempted by Satan in the desert and in the Garden before the cross.  Being a Christian does not mean sin disappears and you become perfect like Christ.  This is a fallacy the world perpetuates to raise the alarm of “hypocrite” when a prominent Christian falls.  It’s not about us, it’s about Him.  Christ died for us to take away sin and death because for thousands of years the creation God loves tried and failed to follow the rules and be “perfect” for God.  The truth is that we cannot reverse Eve and the apple and become innocent again.  We can however find salvation through Christ be accepting Him as our lord and savior and recognizing the power of His redeeming death on the cross for us.  When we do so the focus is on Him and not us.  He is the perfect one, we try to live for Him and with Him.

Many times people who want to have faith, give up because they feel it is too hard to be perfect.  How in the world, they think, can I do this? That is not what is expected of you.  The truth is that we are all flawed, and all fallen and all looking for a shepherd to guide us.  Christ is that shepherd and we are his sheep.  When we follow Him we find the peace, safety, comfort and joy we are looking for.  We will stray, but when we do He will be there to lead us back to the flock.

Stop trying to be perfect.  Instead know that we are called to follow Christ, the perfect example of a sinless life.  In His broad shadow, under His broad arms, with His guiding hands, we will find salvation and ultimate victory over sin and death.

Have a blessed day!

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.   Romans 3:22-24

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:32

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I know my sheep and my sheep know me.  John 10:11, 14

Why Settle for Less than the Best?

A life without God is a life that is only partially lived.  We were created in God’s image and endowed with a spirit within that allows us to connect to the Creator and live a blessed life of abundance.  The world offers things that are temporal and fleeting.  It is glitz and glamour that feeds a short high that leads to a big crash and the need for more.  We never get enough, and the pleasure never lasts long enough.  The world is like a big drug dealer and we are unrepentant addicts.

God offers lasting peace, lasting pleasure and eternal life.  But He does not only offer a future, one that we have to wait to die to enjoy, He offers a present that is more abundant, more joyful, more pleasurable than anything we can find on our own.  The cruel trick of the drug dealing world is that it hides the Truth of God, distorts it, suppresses it whenever and wherever it can so that you will not lose your need for a quick fix.  The world wants you to settle for cheap candy wrapped in colorful foil, all the while God offers ambrosia and a never-ending feast of delicacies specially crafted to feed our souls.

The Bible tells us that the Lord offers us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20) which means that He offers more than just what we need, much more.

In my own life I have seen how the measure of my devotion has had a corresponding, multiplied effect on my blessings.  The more I have trusted in the Lord, and lived with Him in me, the more success, happiness, and blessings have flowed to me.

Today are you seeking abundantly above all that you can ask or think, or are you settling for the empty promises of a fallen world?  Are you empty inside?  Tired of the constant search for happiness?  Is the fix just not enough?  God has the answer.  Seek Him with all your heart and the empty space will soon be overflowing with a living water that will do more than quench your thirst.  It will offer you eternal life.

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.  Revelations 7:17

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  John 7:38

What Your Life Philosophy May Reveal About Your Character and Your Success

As we begin a new year, many stop and reflect on the past and ponder their future.  This exercise can be painful or it can be exhilarating, depending on your philosophy of life.  If you see the glass as half empty you may tend to beat yourself up over your failures and stumbles, and curse the missed chances that passed you by.  The future is viewed with faint hope but also trepidation. However if you see the glass as half full, the world as full of opportunities, every mistake is a lesson learned, and the future offers renewal, repurpose and unexpected blessings.  I fall into the latter group.

My optimism is firmly founded in my faith in God.  I realize humans are frail, weak, selfish and sinful and I do not hold my colleagues, friends and even my family to standards and expectations that are beyond their capabilities, despite their best intentions.  I am less disappointed, less angry, rarely bitter, always forgiving, and generally at peace.  I realize my own limitations, and work hard at trying to correct them, so that I can be a better husband, father, boss, employee, friend and neighbor.  I give more than I expect to receive, and do not keep score.  I pay attention to people’s pains and fears, hopes and dreams, and try even just a little, when and where I can, to help them reduce the former and increase the latter.  In return I usually find love, respect and mutual encouragement, though not always.  When I falter and fear I seek God’s face through prayer to lift me up and strengthen me, and to feel comfort.  Prayer heals and teaches and its soothes and inspires.  Best of all it lets me shut out the world even if for a brief time so that the noise dies down and I can think more clearly. My philosophy causes me to look outward at others, and to consider them, rather than looking only inward at my needs and wants.

Some of us reject God, or make no time for faith.  We see the life glass as half empty and are constantly wanting more.  Our days are filled with complaints about what was lost or what is out of reach with no sense of perspective.  We cling to the latest intellectual or social experiments, and seek solace in Dr. Phil or Oprah, Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins.  None of these people I mentioned are evil, or bad, rather they share something in common that many people admire: they encourage us to look inward, at ourselves, and using the right words, or methods, create a better life for ourselves.  They believe in the power of positive thinking and a “name it and claim it” process to grab onto success and happiness. They promise great rewards financially and spiritually if we follow the “method.”  These philosophies appeal to many of us because they appeal to our selfish nature.  We can learn to control ourselves with the right tools.  We can build a spirit of success and happiness around us that will meet our needs, fulfill our dreams, and bring us riches.  But what happens next is that we spend all of our time trying to feed the insatiable monster within, and little time caring what is happening around us.  In the past 50 years we have become distant from one another, unfeeling, desensitized, less humane, more violent, and more isolated.   When someone in society engages in an act of selflessness it makes front page news.  Our gadgets mean more to us than human interaction. We have no idea what is happening with and to our neighbors, and don’t seem to care.

I have learned that a philosophy of giving, and outward focus gains more rewards than one that seeks only selfish advancement. More importantly I have learned that in order to suppress and control the selfish “me” I need a close relationship with God and a fear and respect for Biblical truths.  Critics call these “myths” and “fairy tales” yet the 2000 year old teachings of Jesus Christ have permanently changed more lives that the self-help books of every PhD who ever lived.  My life is a testament to this fact, and as you contemplate your 2015 I encourage you to get your faith on and spend more time looking outside of your own little world.  The blessings to follow may astound you!