Military’s use propaganda or misinformation, to lie to and confuse their enemies. Satan uses the exact same tactic in his war on Christians. Ephisians 6 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Spiritual warfare is conducted in the minds of the believer. Satan’s worst fear is for the body of Christ to know who we are, and the power and authority we have received. It’s as though he has put chains and shackles on us, to prevent us from living the life God wants us to live. How can we set ourselves free from these locks and chains? Simply by knowing and believing the word of God. John 8: 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Jesus knew that Satan was wandering about, enslaving all that would listen to him. And the whole world has listened to his lies, even the church of God. Satan is referred to as the god of this world. 2 Corinthians 4: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. This verse indicates Satan has blinded the minds of those who listen to his lies. So we see that anyone who listens to Satan and his lies, is bound and blinded. It is extremely difficult to live any type of meaningful life in such a condition. Jesus died on the cross to win the victory against Satan and his devils, for us. Satan is as defeated as Germany or Japan in the final days of WWII. But Satan wanders about, either distracting us from our victory by the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, or by telling us we have not won, we are lowly and defeated. Therefore by either distraction, or disinformation, we live our lives to a much lesser extent then God would have us live. We need to know all the good promises of God, and proclaim them in victory!
2 Corinthians 1: 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. All God’s promises are YES, in Jesus. If you read a promise of God, in his word, do not let Satan lie to you, and tell you it is not true. If you read you are healed, believe you are healed. If you read you can move mountains, believe you can move mountains. If you read you can heal the sick, cleanse the leper, cast out demons, and raise the dead in Jesus name, believe it! Numbers 23: 19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Lets stop believing Satan’s lies and propaganda, and believe as little children, the word of God.
In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.
Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic journal The Tablet, said the pontiff’s comments were further evidence of his attempts to shake off the Catholic Church’s fusty image, reinforced by his extremely conservative predecessor Benedict XVI. “Francis is a still a conservative,” said Mr Mickens. “But what this is all about is him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world.”
In a welcoming response to the letter, Mr Scalfari said the Pope’s comments were “further evidence of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialogue with all”.
In July, Francis signalled a more progressive attitude on sexuality, asking: “If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?”
Luke 17 : 6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. Jesus disciples came to him and asked him to increase their faith. How could this be. A mustard seed is as tiny as the period at the end of this sentence, yet Jesus said if we had faith as a grain of mustard seed, we could command a tree or even a mountain to be cast into the sea, and it would obey us. A mountain is anything in our lives that hinders us from being more Christ like, or anything that is contrary to God’s will, or opposes his kingdom. God wants only good things for us, and in return wants us to give good things to others. We have to receive in order to give. Not knowing how to use our faith, hinders our ability to receive. Back to the mustard seed, notice Jesus said if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, not as big as a grain of mustard seed. Luke 13: 18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. Jesus gave a parable to describe what the kingdom of God was like, he again used the example of a grain of mustard seed. God created all things to function and work as he created them. A mustard seed does not question what it will become, it does not have the ability to doubt, or worry, or question what its end shall be. Man on the other hand, has been given the intellect to question God, and believe what he sees, over the word of God. Hebrews 11: 1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. To have faith as a mustard seed, is to not look at our circumstances as we see them, but to see them as God sees them, filtered through his word. Speaking of Abraham, Paul wrote this to the Roman’s 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Romans 4:17. Paul said God calls those things that be not as though they were. Jesus did not look at a few small fish, and a few loafs of bread and say, ” this will never feed so many thousands, what on earth will we do?” Abraham did not look at his old body, or that of Sarah’s and say, “we will never have children, it’s impossible!” Romans 4; 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; If we rest in God’s word, and believe in it, it will come to pass. It may not be as soon as we want it, God does not want spoiled children who have to have everything immediately. James 1: 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. The trying of our faith produces patience.
Finally, to have faith as a grain of mustard seed, we must believe God, and not the circumstances we find ourselves in. Psalm 37 : 4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: This Psalm mentions resting in the Lord, and trusting in him. This is what the mustard seed does. It does not say, “look how small I am, I will never become a great tree, birds will never lodge in my branches.” We simply need to believe what God says about us, and about our circumstances, as little children believe their earthly parents. Luke 18: 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Is it true that God helps those who help themselves. This is an age old saying, and many think it comes from the Bible. It is actually quite the opposite of what the word of God teaches. This is not to say we should sit on our hands and do nothing, in the face of trials or difficulties, but the number one thing we need to do is stop trying to solve our own problems. Man by nature, loves to think he is the center of the universe. The world looks with admiration upon the man or woman who has pulled themselves up by their own boot straps. There are many rich and powerful men and women in the world who have gotten to their positions with little or no thought of God. The problem with this is, worldly rich’s and power are foolishness to God. James 4: 9 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Worldly rich’s and power are things that can be seen, and people admire what they can see. 2 Corinthians 4: 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. Jesus taught us to not be impressed with worldly wealth or position. Mathew 6: 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
We all need God’s help and intervention, in difficult times and circumstances. We should seek God’s help and guidance in all our endeavors. Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Jesus wants men and women who look like him, not who look like the wealthy and famous of this world. God wants us to lean upon him, and trust in him. 1 Corinthians 1: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; God says he has chosen the weak and foolish things, but they are only weak and foolish in the sight of the world. Paul stated that when he was weak then he was strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10. If our goal is to be rich, famous or powerful, then we should go about helping ourselves, and taking advantage of every opportunity to get ahead. We may even think that God is blessing our efforts, “look what we have, and how richly we are blessed.” We have to stop gauging our success by the standards of this world. 1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. Jesus was not rich or powerful by the standards of the world, yet we know he possessed all things. The riches of the universe are only a fraction of our inheritance in Christ. 2 Chronicles 16 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Our hearts are perfect toward the Lord when we trust in him and his finished work on the cross, and when our desire is to be like him. Let our motto be, ” God helps those who help others. “
How can we increase our faith? Is it possible to have more faith then another believing Christian, or are all believers given the same amount. Faith is a very desirable quality that God is pleased to see in his children. Hebrews 11:6 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. The above verse states that without faith it is impossible to please God. This is some very strong wording. As children we should desire to please our Father. God loves to see strong faith in us, because it is the only way to salvation. God’s will is to see the whole world saved, and without faith this is impossible. Ephesians 2 :8-9 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. We are saved by God’s grace, but to receive his grace we must have faith in Jesus. Faith that he was God and came down from heaven, humbled himself of his glory and became a man, then lived a sinless life, yet was obedient unto death, taking our sin upon himself. Now if we have faith this did take place, and tell God we believe that it happened, we are saved. But how do we go from here, to having faith that applies to our everyday living? As Christians we believe we have eternal life with God, but that promise is in the future, it is not tested daily. Back to the question of how to increase our day to day faith. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. This I believe, is the key to more faith. I have heard many pastors say we are all given the same measure of faith, it is simply up to us to use it. We can not have faith in the promises of God, unless we know with certainty, what those promises are. We can only come to know God’s promises, and his will for us, by studying his word. Romans 12:2 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. This verse states we can know God’s good will, by renewing our minds. We renew our minds by putting into it God’s truth, and not the deception of this world. John 17:17 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Jesus told his disciples that his word was truth. If we begin to know God’s promises for his children, we will begin to see, more and more, that all his promises for us are good. As we come to better know his good promises for us, and believe as little children believe their earthy fathers, our faith will increase. We cannot have faith in something we are not aware of. For instance, if fear or anxiety plague you on a daily basis, you can have faith that is not God’s will for you, by knowing his word. 2 Timothy 1:7 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. This is a promise of God, I have read it, and now I know it is God’s good and acceptable will for me. If I had not known it, I might easily continue to be enslaved by this fear and anxiety. John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. We are not set free from knowing a truth, we are set free from knowing ,THE TRUTH. As stated earlier Jesus said, “thy word is truth.” As believers, know God’s good will for you by studying his word. If you read anywhere in the old or new testaments good promises, they are ours. If you read any punishments or curses, know Jesus took them upon himself, in our place! 2 Corinthians 1:20
20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Did God create a hell, where sinners are punished for all eternity ? "God is love," 1 John 4.8, would it make sense for a God, who is the very definition of love to create such a place? In Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth, and he looked upon his creation and, "behold, it was very good." Gen.1.31. Man suffers for the sin he commits, Gal.
How should we view God? Does it make any difference how we see or perceive him? I certainly think it does. If we think we know who God is, yet do not understand his true character, then we may find we are worshiping a false god, and not our true Savior.
John4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. This verse states we must worship God in spirit and in truth. How can we do this? First we must worship him in spirit. John 6: 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Jesus said the words he spoke are spirit. The flesh profits nothing. We think with our minds, and our minds are flesh. We may think we know God and his character, but thinking is fleshy. God’s word is spirit, and through it we come to know him, and his character. How do we worship God in truth? Can we know truth from lies or fables? Jesus had this to say to his disciples, John 17: 6 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. So from these two verses we see God’s word is spirit and truth. From the word of God we can come to know God, and worship him in spirit and truth.
What does God reveal to us about himself in his word? If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are children of God. God is no more angry with us, then he is with Jesus. Exodus 34: 6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Make no mistake, God is angry with and hates sin. But we are cleansed from all our sin’s. When God looks at us, he sees the righteousness of Jesus in us. We do not have to work to earn his love. God does not love us based on anything we do. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God loved us before we knew him, before we were his children, how much more after we have become his offspring.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. If God’s love toward us were based upon anything we have done or not done, then why send his son to die for us? If we could please God by our own actions and righteousness, then God could create a family from the good people that have lived throughout history. The problem with this is, no one would be seen as deserving of God’s love.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
We are justified by grace through the work of Jesus, and not by our own actions. God loves us, in the same way he loves Jesus, and Jesus loves us the same way he loves our Father. Knowing God’s love for us, and how much he wants all mankind to come to him, through his son Jesus, is to begin to know God. When we know God’s love for us, we can more accurately begin to share it, and show it to others. And we will begin to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
The Passover and Easter season are approaching, and I have been thinking more on the Lord’s suffering and crucifixion. The Holy Bible indicates that Jesus was beaten for our healing, and crucified for our salvation. 1 Peter 2:24 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. Jesus was the creator of all we see, the vast universe, the Earth, all life, and also those who abused and crucified him. Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Jesus who created all things humbled himself and became a man. Philippians 2 : 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Why would the creator of all things do this? Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Jesus is a merciful and faithful high priest, because he was made like unto his brethren. He calls us here his brothers and sisters. Imagine the very creator of the universe, referring to us as close family members. He wanted to know what the human experience was, and was willing to take on all the punishment and curses that come from disobedience to his laws, upon himself. Isaiah 52: 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: How difficult it must have been, to have been buffeted and abused, physically and verbally, slapped and spit upon, whipped, beaten, mocked and crucified, by his very own creation. What if, in the midst of it all, he had shouted, ENOUGH !! What if he had decided that this mankind he had created, was not worth it after all. That he would start over. He could have instantly vaporized the Earth, and man along with it. Lets be thankful, that our Lord and Savior was humble and obedient. If you have not made him your Lord and Savior, he wants you to be a part of the very family of God. A family that he has paid such a price for you to be a part of. None of us can be a member of this family on our own. Like any family, we have to be born into it. How can we receive the priceless gift that Jesus has paid for, with his own body and blood? By accepting and acknowledging what he has done for us. By coming to a realization that, having never been God our self, we cannot with any of our own efforts, become a part of his family. Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Finally to receive this gift, we simply tell God, this is our desire, that we want the gift he has paid for. Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. There it is. Lets be thankful this Passover season, and each and every day, that Jesus last word were not Enough! But after having been an obedient servant, to his very own creation, having done everything necessary for our salvation, he cried on the cross. “It is finished.”
Daily we sin, and daily we are forgiven. Daily we fall, and daily we are lifted up. Daily we come short of the mark, and daily we are helped and guided toward it. Lets remember that each day, a born again Christian, is washed clean by the blood of our Lord Jesus. None of us have reached perfection, and none of us will in this life. Even though we may see are selves as much improved over where we started from, we should never become puffed up, and look down on anyone, who’s sins may be more apparent then our own.
1 John 1: 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
I think back at the many times I have turned on the television, to see a TV preacher pounding his fist, and proclaiming judgement upon sinners. I am not advocating that any of us willfully sin because we are forgiven. I just believe that willfully or not, each day, in thought, word, or deed, we sin against the high standards of a perfect God. And in so doing, we become as guilty of the punishment we deserve, as the most lowly sinner we might come across.
James 2: 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
It was always the Pharisees that Jesus condemned. Not corrupt politicians, not harlots or thieves, not the brutal regime of the Roman Empire. The Pharisees were the ones who thought they were above sin, that they were righteous because of their strict adherence to the law of God.
Galatians 2: 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Why would God give us such a strict law? Why place something before us, that he knew we could not keep perfectly, and then punish us when we are unable to meet his high standards?
Romans 7: 12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
God gave us the law, to help us recognize our need for a Saviour. Christ did not come to do away with the law, he came and amplified it. He actually made it stricter then it was under the Old Covenant. The Pharisees thought they could keep the letter of the law, and by so doing gain favor with God. Jesus then gave them not only the letter, but also the spirit of the law. If they had not committed adultery, Jesus told them looking at a woman with any lust in their hearts was adultery. If they had not committed murder, Jesus told them yelling at their neighbor, or calling him a fool, was as good as murder, with hatred, or a lack of love in their hearts. He was trying to bring them, and us, to the point of hopelessness. A recognition that, only God, in the form of man, could keep the law perfectly. And only God, in the form of man, was worthy to take away the punishment that we all deserve, for falling short of such a high and holy standard.
There is an old saying that seeing is believing. If someone tells us something we can choose to believe it or not. This is often based upon what we know about the person. If they are prone to telling lies in the past, we might be skeptical that they are telling the truth this time. We may in fact want them to show us the proof of what they are saying before we believe them. This unfortunately is also the way we treat God at times. In fact when it comes to real truth and spiritual matters, it is just the opposite with God. Our eyes can lie to us. They are only one of our five senses that we use to decipher the world we live in. But none of our senses can be relied upon to tell us real truth concerning a matter. The Bible says God’s word is truth. John 17:17 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. God’s word can be relied upon to direct us to real truth, God can be trusted to never lie to us, or lead us astray. Hebrews 6:18 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation… God is incapable of lying, his word is truth, through it we can filter what we take in through our five physical senses, and determine the truth of a matter. Satan on the other hand, is the god of this world. He delights in telling lies and trying to deceive the whole world, including the elect of God. John 8:44 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. When we hear or see something on TV, or in the news, our first reaction may be to believe what we are seeing or hearing. Even our eyes can deceive us, but God’s word never will. Satan can make evil appear righteous and good, and good appear evil. He can turn truth into an apparent lie, and lies appear to be the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Satan can make you believe what you are seeing is the truth. This is why it is so important to know the word of God, and believe it. Even what we are taught from the pulpit of a church may be far from the truth. 2 Corinthians 11: 3 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. Now more then ever we must filter all we see and hear through the word of God, and determine real truth from deception.