A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 16 – PUBLISHED 4/13/19
PRAYER CAN CHANGE ANYTHING
The ancient oriental culture has always been a leader when it comes to herbal remedies and knowing about the internal energy of the human body. Science has proven the body is filled with electrical impulses and psychology declares the emotional state of our mind has much to do with the balance of hormones and chemicals which play a major role in our overall health and well-being. When we bring our spiritual awareness and obedience to God into the mix and blend them with these components, we are producing a perfect atmosphere for genuine faith and being in the position to receive miracles. As Christians, we have learned about praying in confidence with His Word and trusting in God’s abilities and we know that Jesus wants to heal us and we know that healing and deliverance is a part of our covenant salvation. However, does this mean receiving His healing power into our own bodies is more than a possibility? Yes! We read where Christ never turned anyone away for physical healing and today we stand upon the true statement found in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” This is a clear indication that He feels the same compassion in this present time as He did when He walked the Earth.
So does this confirm that Jesus can work through us to heal others? Could we raise the dead if God wanted us to? Could we call financial prosperity to manifest if God gave us a specific mission to accomplish? Again, I believe the answers are yes! As we have said, the key is listening and obeying His voice and understanding that it’s His sovereignty and authority which allows these miracles to happen. Healing and deliverance have everything to do with His desire. We have been given the Holy Spirit, God’s word, angels as ministering spirits and the infinite power and presence of the indwelling Jesus. Yet, we sit on the couch, speak curses upon our lives, and happily live in carnality and spiritual ignorance. Is this a picture of the overcoming church? Is this the representation of a remnant warrior that speaks God’s word and is used as an extension of his signs and wonders? Are these the type of people who light up a room with the glory and authority of Christ? Unfortunately not. Our traditional way to approach sickness is to ask, “Lord, will you heal me (or whoever we are praying for)” and Jesus does respond to these requests, but nonetheless, we must understand He is waiting for our faith to be released. Faith is knowing and being confessed without a doubt. No matter what we speak or deeds we act upon we cannot please God without faith. Hebrews 11:6 clearly explains, “But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” These are the individuals that spend more time on their knees in their prayer closet than entertaining themselves with social media? Miracles come from the holy of holies in heaven and as the Tabernacle of Moses illustrates the Christian life, there is more to being a remnant follower of Jesus than t-shirts and bumper stickers.
When we continue to study God’s will concerning healing, we also notice a very special and important factor – the hands. Why are the hands always used to transfer the power into the situation? Are these conduits for the spiritual energy from God? Evidently so, because there are many references in the New Testament where Jesus laid his hands on those who were sick. Since Christ dwells within his followers, he has also commanded us in Mark 16:17-18 to continue his way of releasing his power. “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Many times, we think the authority is coming from heaven but if we are saved, the power does not have to travel very far – it is coming from within us and going out through our hands. Question: Why can’t we lay hands on our own body as He uses them as an extension of His owns hands? Why would God not want to revitalize and renew the vessel that he lives in? How easy it be for him to heal the physical container in which he dwells and flood the house with his glory?
There is an amazing passage found in Isaiah chapter 6 that many teachers have referred to as God manifesting His glory in an Earthly temple. Others have said this story is a vision which changes the dynamics of the message. It’s true there were brick and stone temples before Christ, but as we have been saying, once Christ resurrected, He started occupying or possessing his disciples and reining within their conscience. We also have continued to build literal structures where God’s people assemble and have sensed His presence, but again, we know that God does NOT live in buildings made with mortal hands. So where does Jesus live on this planet? Listen to these words, is this not a type and shadow of Jesus sitting on the throne of our heart? “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim’s: each one had six wings; with twain, he covered his face, and with twain, he covered his feet, and with twain, he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also, I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me.”
There are different ways to teach this and so many things that can be pointed out and I believe God is allowing us to see more fresh revelation the deeper we are willing to search. I believe this can be seen as a literal and personal experience that Isaiah had and also can be taught as symbolic for an entire nation especially when based on the history of king Uzziah. I am also convinced that since the Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus to be our comforter, all Christians can identify with being filled with the Spirit. The Lord’s train has been said to be the extension of his robe and here the writer tries to describe God’s infinite majesty and glory and how this manifestation of his power completely filled the temple. Oh, if we could only imagine and invite Christ to fill our lives with his presence and splendor. If we would lay down our life and love him with all of our mind and strength, we would be glowing with his nature and character. If we would only allow the refining fire from the coal to touch our lips and purify our mind and our heart. This is a sign of being filled with his Spirit. This is when others will be able to see the Lord not in a building but in us! They will be able to see Jesus in our temple! The post of the door of our heart will move when God speaks and our life or house will be filled with the glory and anointing of his presence. He will ask his overcomers who will go for him and only those who are washed in his blood and speak the word of his testimony will have the faith and courage to step forward.
The main point I am trying to make is that the king of glory lives within us and this same creator that spoke the universe into existence can surely speak healing into your body! The curse of the fall cannot be used as an excuse to why God does not or will not heal the physical body. When Christ walked the earth, everyone who lived at that time was also plagued with the curse of sickness and disease just like we are, yet Jesus overruled the curse, Christ took away the darkness and hopelessness and willingly gave his light and hope to everyone who called upon him. Since he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why would He not respond to everyone when they call upon him today? People will say, “Maybe it is because there is sin in these people’s lives.” This might be true, but was there not sin in the lives of those he touched? When he healed people, did he always ask about their sin first “before” he gave them a miracle? Others will say, “It is because he has a certain timing for his miracles.” This is also true, but can you see any occasion where he told someone that he cannot heal today but maybe he will heal them later? Then we have the group who teaches that miracles have passed away and Jesus does not operate like this anymore. If this is true, we have a major problem trying to explain why the reality of faith has changed and we are now subject to accept and suffer anything and everything that comes our way. This idea would require that we change all of our doctrines about intercession and spiritual warfare, patience, hope, deliverance, the power of God, spiritual authority, God’s promises, scripture interpretations, the reality of mountain moving faith, and many other divine truths. This would mean that we are all predestined to be vulnerable to Satan and the consequences of the fall and the old concept of chance that whatever will be – will be. This cancels the foundation of praying and believing in faith and the battle-cry that declares, that prayer changes everything! The devil would love for us to just stop reading and praying and to leave everything up to fate. This is not the Christian way! God is the God of divine order and His promises cannot fail. Praying in faith is the heart of the Christian life and we will always have love, joy, peace, and trust in knowing that God is listening and will always intervene which fills us with hope and expectation.
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 15 – Published 4/6/19
STAYING FILLED WITH GOD
What does it mean to be filled with God? Are Christians already filled with God and don’t know it, or is God’s Spirit like water that has to be poured in every day because it continually leaks out and evaporates? Could it be both? It would be difficult to imagine that the Holy Spirit would step in and out of our life from moment to moment. The same is true with believing that we could be saved or lost depending on what mood or attitude we are in. I tend to embrace the view that either we are saved or not and that either Jesus lives in us or he doesn’t. Now, with that being said, if we are born-again and he lives in us all the time, there are evidently levels or degrees of his influence within our mind and heart. This would mean that each individual child of God chooses how far they will go and how much they will do to please God. We can be as close and have as much of him as we want. This interpretation declares that our free will controls and decides just how much of God is activated within us. He can only rise up within a person and be a reflection of his image according to the willingness of that individual to surrender and yield their will to him. In this light, we know that God is sovereign, but will not force humans to love him or serve him. He has given them a choice to live however they want but has also warned that he will judge them according to their decisions. “And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15.
I had a dream the other night where I was standing in a church sanctuary and someone was preaching. All the sudden an angry tiger was running around and the congregation were running in fear and jumping over the pews as the tiger was roaring and swiping with its huge razor-sharp claws. The huge beast saw me standing in the corner and began running toward me. I was terrified because I thought it was going to devour me and then I woke up. What should I have done, tried to fight it or rebuked it in the name of Jesus? The next day I knew the tiger was Satan and I considered about how the dark and deceptive influences have infiltrated the modern churches. Unfortunately, the aggressive demons have been able to walk among the saints unnoticed and are causing tremendous deception and destruction. James 4:7-10 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” This implies that we are to not only turn away from evil but to not become associated or entangled with it in any way. The only way this can happen is if we choose to stay focused on God. It is when we are involved and absorbed with the affairs and temptations of this life, that we become filled with compromise.
Since Jesus healed everyone and the only people who were not healed were the ones that did not believe him, we must ask some serious questions about healing. Does Jesus desire to heal everyone today like he did before or was that only a way he used to draw attention and establish his ministry? Since his resurrection and the fact that he now lives inside of us, what is preventing his healing power from being manifested? Is it because of him or us? This is a great question. If we are not seeking him for healing, if we are not involved in study and research about healing, if we are not fasting, praying, or expecting miracles, do you think the supernatural manifestations are just going to come knocking on your front door? If we are not believing it, we are not going to be receiving it. It is NOT Jesus who is holding back his miracle power, it is the lethargy and lack of interest on the part of his people. Instead of dedicating our life to God’s service we have foolishly acknowledged God as our cosmic vending machine. “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” James 4:2-3. We desire to do whatever we want and hope that God will give us everything we need. This in not the way it was supposed to be.
If Jesus is selective and only heals or blesses those he chooses according to his perfect will, then He would be a respecter of persons. Where at one time he answered everyone’s cry to be healed, now the church teaches that miracles have passed away and He does not do this anymore. So, why do we still go through the motions and say, “let us remember brother so and so in our prayers and ask God to heal him if it is his will.” Jesus never told anyone that. Another point is that if Christ will only respond to a person who is pure and filled with His Spirit, then we are being rejected because of our own carnality and rebellion. Again, in many cases, Jesus healed the person before He talked to them about their sin. Have we missed something? It seems simple, a sick person cries out, Jesus heals them and they praise Him. I will use myself as a specific example. I have a serious kidney disease called Polycystic or PKD for short. It is a progressive disease that is getting worse and there is no cure. It affects everything in my body and will eventually ruin the function of my kidneys and they will stop working. The medical world’s only answer for this particular problem is a transplant and this is not always successful. Does Jesus want to heal me or does He want me to suffer in pain and die from renal and heart failure? successful. I believe the salvation of God is based on His word and with His power and authority nothing is impossible. I am praying in faith that God is either going miraculously give me brand new kidneys or He is going to restore the ones I have. I will gladly take a transplant if there is one available and I praise the Lord for giving doctors wisdom and for amazing medicines. I will also gladly receive a miracle directly from His touch just like He did when He walked the earth. I have no doubt he can do it, and I believe He hears me when I cry out to Him. Why have I not received my miracle? I do not know, but this does not deter me from continuing to ask. Even if God does not heal me, I am completely confident that God’s covenant provides spiritual, mental, and physical healing.
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
MORTIFIED OR SATISFIED?
Within the doctrine of Christian salvation, we have been told to accept Jesus Christ into our heart and that He comes to live inside of us and lead us into His will. Through nothing less than a divine miracle, we are able to absorb and be saturated with the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and enjoy the privilege of having Jesus Christ himself, sit on the throne of our conscience as our personal Lord, King, and Savior. Do you agree with this? So, if our old spirit has been transformed into a brand-new spirit and we are now merged together with Him, it would only make sense that His idea is for us to become His hands, feet, and voice. As our Lord, His intention is for us to become His obedient servant and allow Him to do whatever He wants within our life. When we think of God, is this what comes to mind? As we have said in the past, before He can be in total control of our thoughts and actions, we must yield and surrender our will to Him. This means we no longer rule our lives or make our own decisions. We listen to His voice and we do what he says. Is this the vision He is talking about and is this what we really want?
Another consideration is found in Hosea 4:6 which declares, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Here we find a similar warning except this mentions the danger of not having knowledge. We are automatically wondering what type of information and I believe we can agree this is talking about spiritual knowledge and understanding about God and His word. So we see two things that Satan does not want us to discover and our next step is to learn why this is the foundation of spiritual warfare. Since John 10:10 clearly points out that Satan has come into this earth to steal, kill, and destroy, we can logically assume the devil is not only aware of this spiritual reality, but is determined that humans will never obtain these revelations. Satan realizes the unlimited power and authority can be manifested through God’s people when Christ is allowed to move within them. When Jesus walked the earth, He spoke with the greatest authority and miracles were a “normal” part of His life. He promised in John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Jesus is also speaking this hour to His followers. He is proclaiming that it is his desire that His people walk and live in the supernatural realm and do His mighty works, but why are we not seeing these manifestations today? Because we are being distracted from the vision and knowledge of divine truth. We are choosing to ignore His voice and obviously, we are not interested in finding His buried treasure of wisdom and understanding. We have become numb, cold, and calloused, and have not developed our spiritual sensitivity, and are tragically suffering from a severe case of lukewarm apathy. The question remains: “Do we care and have a desire to be awakened, or are we satisfied to remain the same?
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
HOW WILL WE RESPOND?
Have you ever experienced times when you were excited and filled with anticipation, but after it was over, the expectation did not live up to the hype? It’s nothing to worry about because we all have our share of melancholy and despondency every now and then. This is just a normal part of life. Sometimes we even become sad and restless when life is going well, which may seem strange, but we were never intended to live only by our emotions. Feelings are alright when kept in the correct perspective, but when it comes to our spiritual lives, the Bible says the joy of the Lord is our strength. This is internal confidence and peace that is much different from emotional happiness. Joy is a strength and courage we can experience that will edify and empower us with hope no matter what we are going through. However, let us be reminded that our joy has a tendency to leak out and needs to be refilled constantly, which also explains how easily we can fall away from God and become cold and irritable. For example, if we start acting like The Grinch and always blaming others for our problems, we have already fallen into a carnal mindset of arrogance and denial. These snares are deceiving because we cannot see what we have become until it is too late. Usually, after we are exhausted playing the accusation game and have embarrassed ourselves, the truth will expose and reveal that we have been focusing too much attention on myths and fallacies while ignoring the Holy Spirit.
God’s children are spiritually connected to their creator and have undergone a miraculous transformation, but this does not mean they are always walking with Him or even aware of His presence. In the old life, before we were a disciple of Christ, we were led by our feelings without any respect or concern for God, His Word, or His people. But when a person surrenders their life to Jesus, the result is not only a new spiritual identity but also a radical change in the way the individual thinks. This metamorphosis within the conscience includes refusing to allow human independence to lead the individual while embracing a new lifestyle of trusting and obeying God’s voice. The true Christian comprehends that following His decisions is the meaning of life. Even after a person enters into God’s family there is still much self-discipline, sacrifice, and determination needed to resist the temptations of the flesh which is constantly desiring to capture and control our thoughts. When we fail to maintain our spiritual zeal and perseverance to overcome sin, we automatically become detached from our joyful excitement, and this explains why many are miserable, even those who proclaim to be faithful followers.
No matter how wealthy or healthy we are, this temporal realm is hardly a continuous mountaintop experience. Actually, our existence here on Earth was never intended to be a perfect paradise because Heaven is an eternal dwelling place reserved for God, His angels, and His people. It may not be popular, but we will all have our share of valleys in this life as they are meant to teach us valuable lessons. By the way, the fear and darkness of the valley do not matter as long as we are holding tightly to His hand. The good news is that these sad and difficult places were only designed to be temporary situations. God wants us to learn how to be overcomers by allowing Him to open our eyes and ears so that we can know what He wants us to do. Since we all have free will, we have the choice to do whatever we set our minds to, and even Christians can make terrible decisions if this is what they really want. Jesus realizes how easy it is for humans to wander away from Him as He points out in the story found in Matthew chapter 18 about the sheep that becomes separated from the flock. Christ represents the shepherd and says the good shepherd leaves the 99 to go search for the one that is missing. How often do we consider that God loves us so much that He is constantly trying to rescue the ones who have lost their way? How easy it is for any of us to become untied from the harbor like a small sailing vessel that is pulled by the strong currents out into the open sea? This reminds me of the old hymn that warns, “You’re drifting too far from the shore.”
Have you ever felt a sense of emptiness and loneliness? Even when we are surrounded by family and friends and everything seems fine on the outside, we can experience a loss of peace and contentment on the inside as if something deep-down in our souls is missing. This “something” is our personal, intimate relationship with God that we have been neglecting. Have you wandered away from the shepherd? Are you as close to God as you would like to be? Are you tired of running away from His presence and what you know is the right way? Take a moment to pause and consider that Jesus knows where you are and will bring you back into His fold even if He has to carry you. Christ said in Revelation 2:4, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against you because you have left your first love” Can you hear Him calling? How will you respond?
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
DO WE WANT GOD OR WHAT HE CAN GIVE?
It has been said that the Christian life is difficult to understand and I would have no reason to argue. The human mind is amazing when applied but the problem is that only a few individuals allow their mentality to expand beyond the elementary level. Generally speaking, the masses are satisfied with receiving a fish instead of becoming a fisherman as refusing to learn becomes the easy way to avoid responsibility. The motto of the default system is, “The less we know – the less we worry about.” There are many illustrations which reveal how the potential to be intelligent is given to everyone but the development of our potential is rare to say the least. The understanding of spiritual wisdom can be attained if one would apply themselves to diligent study, meditation, and prayer, but it seems that very few want to go beyond getting their toes wet. I wrote a book three years ago, and no has said they enjoyed it. In fact, I’m not sure anyone has read it all the way through. However, I have had a lot of people tell me it was too many pages and too deep. All the feedback I have received about the book and future books is to make them short and simple. I see others who love to read huge books that have twice as many pages and are highly complex. These novels are popular among the masses of the world and sell many copies. My book was about spiritual intimacy and worship with God and I cannot give them away, while these other books are about fiction and fantasy and sell many copies. What is the difference? The subject matter.
We would never have a reason to ignore the simple yet provoking invitation found in Matthew chapter 7 and verse 7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Those who ask will receive, and the one that seeks shall find, and to those who knock it shall be opened.” Yet, how often do we think about this promise and if we do, are we asking correctly? This passage sounds like God is giving us a signed blank check, but it’s actually the basic blueprint for knowing God and finding His truth. If we only see this promise as a way to receive earthly and natural blessings we are only scratching the surface and have actually missed the point. However, if we are seeking the spiritual mysteries of life, we have found a key of faith that will unlock all the wisdom and understanding we could ever imagine. The problem is using this passage as a way to receive what we want instead of what God wants. The conditions for studying God’s Word has much to do with context and not selecting only the verses that appeal to us. Using the above passage as an example, it creates a larger picture of spiritual reality when we include, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” Matthew 5:6, and, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” Matthew 6:33. The intentions of our heart are always in question concerning what are we seeking and why.
Humans can build space stations, dams, bridges, and skyscrapers that take our breath away. Our advancements in the fields of technology, medicine, and science are growing so rapidly that today’s accomplishments will be surpassed next week. Seeing this happen all around us, we can conclude there is not a problem with our intelligence or our inability to learn. When it comes to knowing God, we can blame our ignorance and lack of interest. What if the average person spent as much effort learning how to be filled with God as they do concentrating on their own desires? Individuals are trained in higher education, serve as interns and apprentices, and with never-ceasing research and hard work are driven to know everything from the wonders of the universe to finding the cure to cancer but I wonder if there is another way to unlock even greater wisdom. Are we using all of our brain and is there a much higher intelligence that we are not aware of? We know there have been amazing demonstrations of building and construction with the examples of the pyramids that cannot be duplicated today. We have incredible machinery, genius architects, unlimited resources, and yet we are baffled to reproduce what was accomplished thousands of years ago. Did someone other than humans build them? Was this an example of alien technology? Was this intelligence given to humans by the fallen angels? Another example, is how did mankind know which herbs could bring healing to the human body? Who told them? How did they know about the universe? Since God has every answer and is unlimited in power, could a remnant of people have obtained this divine wisdom from Him? And if so, where is this supernatural power and spiritual intelligence today?
When it comes to spiritual comprehension it’s deeply concerning that we have never quite realized the wall of invisible resistance that surrounds us constantly. What is it that the enemy does not want us to know? Two verses come to mind. One is found in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.” Here the writer mentions some type of vision and it must be very important since not having it causes those who do not have this vision to die. So, what is this vision? The first thing we think of is the vision is associated with seeing. However, is this referring to our physical eyes or our spiritual discernment? It’s true, that seeing with our natural eyes is good but it is not the vision that is the most important. A physically blind person may actually be able to walk with God on a higher level because they are not only able to develop faith, but can also focus their attention on the inward soul and spirit without the temptations, persuasions, and distractions of this world. The danger of being spiritually blind is not knowing God or his ways. This basic idea of this passage is another warning from God to those who refuse to embrace him declaring that a life without him is a road to eternal disaster but embracing him is a life of peace and happiness. Going deeper, we must take a closer examination of this vision in order to see a larger picture. Most people agree with accepting God as being the best way to live, but what do we think of when we consider the vision of God? Do we want to know how to become more like God or do we just want more blessings? How passionate are we about knowing God?
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 10 – PUBLISHED 3/9/19
THE DEEPEST WORK OF GOD
by Carter Conlon
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with its swelling thereof. Selah” Psalm 46:1-3.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” Psalm 46:10-11.
“Be still and know that I am God!” is an incredible statement about which many songs have been written and countless sermons have been preached. But what exactly does it mean to be still? Does it mean that we simply do nothing? Perhaps you are wondering how exactly you are supposed to be still when all around you is noise and flurry – even that which claims to represent God. How do you let down your hands and give up trying to figure everything out when that is all you have ever done?
In reality, the deepest work of God is that which takes place in the hidden man of the heart. It is not something that makes a lot of noise. The Lord Himself expressed this truth as He called to His own people through the prophet Isaiah: “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
In other words, the Lord is saying you would have found true strength by letting go of all human effort and putting your confidence in the work that only I can do. That is the real essence of Christian growth. Remember, the Christian life is a supernatural life. None of us can make ourselves holy – we can only yield our lives to the One who does this sanctifying work within us.
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 9 – PUBLISHED 3/2/19
THE WAR ROOM IS WAITING
There are lost people all around us. Family members, friends, and acquaintances do not know the Lord and are heading toward a devastating end unless they respond to God’s love. There was a time when spirituality was more simplistic as most people considered that life was either good or bad and the answer to being delivered from the devil’s ways was to accept Christ and the gift of His eternal salvation. In today’s modern world, these ideas have drastically changed and not for the best. Spiritual simplicity has been thrown out the window along with the idea that God’s word is the absolute truth. The popular idea now is that truth is relative to whatever the individual believes and no one has the right to tell another person their concept of truth is wrong. In this way of thinking, we can see how sneaky the devil is and how his idea of spreading mass confusion was the perfect strategy to lead even more souls astray.
Much of the younger generation is trying to change spiritual truth into a new politically correct worldview and this presents many challenges for those who have been in the Christian faith for a while. It is heart-breaking to witness this growing spiritual deception that is spreading like an infectious disease and many Christians are experiencing feelings of despair and discouragement. We know that God’s truth is the cure, but how many followers of Christ are taking their responsibility to pray seriously? Are we as Christians accountable for those around us? If the answer is yes, then how can we make a positive difference in our network without fighting and arguing? My first advice is to avoid the subject if possible and focus on issues that we do agree about. “Now brother, we cannot be afraid to confront or fall into compromise.” This is not hiding from the issues or changing our views, but rather it is wise to follow God’s timing about how and when to talk about it. If we attempt to clash and quarrel in our flesh we are only making a bigger mess than it already is.
God is the only one who knows what can convict a conscience and change a mind and He has the perfect plan. An important key is for us is to listen and follow these directions which may not involve words at all. Actually, the Lord could possibly not use us at all in this particular situation because of familiarity and our refusal to follow His instructions. Maybe He just wants us to demonstrate love and humility while He is working on the solution. More than anything, we are called to pray. Some will say, “Of course I have prayed and asked God to save them.” This is wonderful, but it might take more than a ten second petition. There are levels of praying and a more serious matter may require a more serious approach. Fasting and intercession are often associated with going deeper with God and it only makes sense the closer we are to Him the more he will take us seriously. The prayer closet is a quiet place where an individual blocks out the world and spends quality time meditating and listening to God’s voice. This spiritual intimacy creates a stronger sensitivity as the intercessor not only develops an understanding about God’s plans, but are also becoming more confident in their faith. Do you believe that fasting and intercession can bring miracles into our life and the lives of others? Do you believe a person could fast and pray for someone to be healed or born-again and it would happen? If we agree, I am curious as to why we do not consider doing this more. My wife and I went to church with a family years ago and the father was very concerned about his teenage son. The boy had not yet responded to the gospel and the dad was carrying a heavy burden for his son’s soul. This man went on a secret fast of nothing but liquids for 40 days as he began to fervently intercede for his sons salvation. As the fast continued, the convicting power of the Holy Spirit began to speak to the boys heart and within a month of this fathers sacrifice of love, the son dramatically surrendered his heart to Jesus. I would hope we are willing to fast and pray for those we love.
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 8 – Published 2/23/19
The most common question that ministers and counselors hear is; why has this happened? Of course, like everyone else in the world, they have the same helpless look in their eyes and if completely honest, they will also meekly acknowledge they do not know. When there is an opportunity to respond, words need to be chosen carefully in order to effectively relay what God is telling us to say. Sometimes there are no words that make sense and we are left in the humility and reverence of silence. Being quiet may seem awkward and uncomfortable because we are nervous and want to come up with something, but being quiet is associated with peace. There is a time to meditate and it is much easier to think clearly without a flood of unnecessary noise and distraction.
Often in times of crisis situations we find ourselves at a loss in knowing how to comfort someone as they suffer and grieve. I have heard horror stories of insensitive comments that have been made and I’m sure you know some too. One of the best nuggets of advice I have learned is if you have nothing to say this is a sign from above to remain quiet. People do not need to hear rambling voices but rather to just know someone is there. Trying to remind everyone that God knows best or this trial is a part of His master plan is not always helpful besides we are not that smart and most of the time not that spiritual. The truth is that traumatic events are so complex and overwhelming, it’s doubtful we could understand it even if He explained it.
I believe that God intervenes in the affairs of mankind but much of the time He works in ways that are mysterious. I am also convinced that He sees much further than the present situation and is more concerned with the spiritual implications than our worldly inconvenience. We agree that good things can come out of tragedy but when they are happening to us, it does not seem that way. It’s one thing to appreciate signs of new growth sprouting after a forest fire but another thing completely if we lose someone in a car accident. These are times we stand still and realize that we can only see through a dark window and the reality of reason and cause are far beyond our capacity to comprehend. We humbly bow before our maker and trust that He is aware and orchestrating the world while the sovereignty of His perfect will is not always revealed.
I heard a story the other day about a couple who were expecting a baby but were informed from the doctors that something was terribly wrong. It was going to be a girl and even though it was determined she had cerebral palsy and would have certain disabilities the parents decided to have the baby. The mother was a Christian and through prayer was determined to do the best she could to love and take care of her. The father was not a Christian but also quietly accepted the responsibility of her special needs and both parents sacrificially raised her with all the problems and hard work associated with this level of care. The child grew and became a Christian and as she developed into a teenager she actually learned to be proficient with computers and helped with church camps. She was devoted to being a light for God that had been such an endless source of strength in her life. The mother had always prayed for her husband’s salvation and began to notice that he would listen carefully when their daughter would talk about Jesus and how she wanted everyone to know Him. Eventually the father was broken with conviction and reached out to God’s mercy and grace and received His gift of salvation. Today the mother testifies that God used the frailty of a disabled child to melt the heart of a strong man and this thought leaves us standing in awe of how Christ can make all things work together (even heartbreaking circumstances) for good to them who love God and are called according to His purpose.
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 7 – Published 2/16/19
WHOM THE SON SETS FREE
For those of you that have never heard of a woman named Corrie Ten Boom and her remarkable family, it is truly a heart-breaking account of courage and sacrifice. We begin our story with Cornelia (nicknamed Corrie) who was born in Haarlem, Netherlands, in 1892. She was raised in a devoted Christian atmosphere and lived in a large house above her father’s business where he was a jeweler and watchmaker. This loving family believed in demonstrating their spiritual convictions by offering shelter, food, and help to anyone in need. They also held a deep respect for the Jewish community in Amsterdam, considering them precious in God’s sight and during World War II, actually participated in an underground organization that secretly hid hundreds of Jews to protect them from arrest by Nazi authorities. Within their home, they built false walls, and alarm systems, but eventually were betrayed by one of their Dutch neighbors. Unfortunately, all ten of the family members were incarcerated, including Corrie’s 84-year-old father, who soon died in the Scheveningen prison, located near The Hague. Corrie and her sister Betsie were taken to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp, near Berlin. Betsie suffered and died there on December 16, 1944. Corrie miraculously survived and in her book entitled “The Hiding Place” she tells her inspiring story about the power of forgiveness. The depth of what she learned is seen in quotes such as this one; “You can never learn that Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have.”
The evil horrors of the Holocaust are beyond comprehension and a sad reminder of the fallen state of mankind. When Corrie and Betsy were struggling to stay alive with sleeping on lice-infested straw and nothing to eat but a small amount of bread and water each day, she tells of a particular prison guard that was cruel to them and how these nightmares haunted and tortured her soul. When Germany surrendered the war, Corrie was finally released and after regaining her health, she began traveling around the world giving her testimony for Jesus. Another of her popular declarations: “Love is the strongest force in the world especially when we include our enemies.” It was now 1947 and she had been invited to a large gathering in Munich to share with a devastated country how God desires that we let go of the resentment and forgive each other. Her message was centered on confessing our sins, and as we forgive, God is faithful to forgive us and begin the healing process. She said it was common to have auditoriums filled with solemn faces and when dismissed they would not say anything and quietly leave.
One evening, she had just finished speaking when she saw a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat working his way toward her and then it was instantly clear, this was the evil guard from the concentration camp. He did not recognize her, and exclaimed, “What a fine message you have spoken fräulein” as he stretched out his hand. He joyfully confirmed how good it is to know that our sins are washed away forever. She literally felt paralyzed as it seemed the entire world had stopped. Emotionally confused, she fumbled with her pockets and stared at the floor as her mind flashed back to the piles of dirty clothes on the floor and the shame of her and Betsy standing naked in front of him as he mocked and slapped them with his leather crop. He spoke up again and said she had mentioned Ravensbrück and that he had been a guard there, but since that time, he had become a Christian and now believes that God has forgiven him for the cruel things he did there. Again, the hand came out as he boldly asked, “Will you please forgive me?” She admits this was gut-wrenching, but placing all of her trust in God, she followed the Biblical command, grabbed his hand and said yes, with all of her heart. Her words are remembered: “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is the power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” John 8:36.
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
Part 6 – Published 2/9/19
GOD’S TRUTH IS ETERNAL
Have you considered that people are usually more concerned about what they want than what God wants? Some may not know what He wants and the others do not care. Would you agree that only a fervent few have taken the time to discover His desires and dedicated their life to please Him? A common attitude in defense of being lukewarm is that it’s harmless and no big deal. But here’s the thing: not feeling guilty when we are living in the shadows of spiritual apathy does nothing to change how it affects those who see it including God Himself. Even our innermost thoughts do not change the impact our halfhearted attempt of being a follower of Christ has on everyone. Our imaginations can many times be deceptive unless they are filtered through the Holy Spirit. This is easy to comprehend as even Hitler believed he was making the best decisions for his country and the future of the world. God is the absolute truth but His interpretation is critical. Ideas are not always what they are perceived and just because we are convinced something is correct does not mean it is.
In many ways, our intent is irrelevant because the harm is real and much damage has been done. Even if a person really does not know what God say’s about being holy as He is holy, are they not held accountable? When someone says, “I didn’t mean to make God look bad or to reveal my true identity as a hypocrite” we are left wondering just what were they trying to do. For those who embrace their lack of understanding, we must ask, “Why do you refuse to care, and what have you done to make sure you will continue to avoid reality?”According to God, ignorance is not an excuse for running away from truth or saying we are one thing and demonstrating we are something else. It takes just as much effort to keep our distance from the truth as it does to examine it. Truth is associated with light because it allows us to see clearly. Those who seek God’s truth are drawn toward His light but we must also remember that light gives clarity for judgment. This helps explain why those who are uncomfortable in God’s light are perfectly satisfied to hide in the shadows.
Our un-renewed mind is carnal by nature and specializes in compromising and justifying especially when it comes to living however we want. I personally know people that literally live like the devil but see themselves as dwelling in the Holy of holies with Jesus. How can this be? Sadly, These are the same ones who feel they should have the option to live in ignorance when it comes to sanctification and accountability. With the freedom to become as deceived as we want, we do not need to be a psychiatrist to understand how denial works. The ability to be oblivious about the consequences of living however we want is a conventional element of privilege. The opportunity to blame others for being overly sensitive, radical, or extreme is to enjoy the patience and long-suffering of God. This temporary relief from the fear of conviction does not eliminate the haunting of guilt but merely distracts the mind from worrying about the soul. What is true is eternal and it does not matter if we know it or agree with it. Everything that is not true may be accepted in this life but will never be mentioned in the next.
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 5 – Published 2/2/19
WHEN KING UZZIAH DIED – Carter Conlon
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory! And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke” (Isaiah 6:1-4, NKJV).
What an incredible encounter Isaiah had with the Lord! And notice that it took place in the year that King Uzziah died. In order to understand the significance of the timing, it is important to know a little bit about Uzziah’s life. The book of Second Chronicles tells us that Uzziah was sixteen years old when he took the throne, and he went on to reign in Jerusalem for fifty-two years. Under his leadership, the nation rose to incredible heights of political, financial and military power, “As long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper” (2 Chronicles 26:5). The people flourished, talents and gifts were bestowed, and their ability to invent and produce new weapons of war made Judah the marvel of the nations.
You and I can lay claim to something similar in America. We are a young nation compared to most on the face of the earth today, yet it is indisputable that people who came to this country from all over the world were made strong by the hand of God. We were marvelously helped, wonderfully gifted, and became the envy of the world in many respects. However, there is an important lesson that we must learn from Uzziah. His death was an ominous warning to the nation that greatness without godliness opens the gateway to a sorrowful and tragic finish.
PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTION
What exactly happened to Uzziah? The Scriptures explain it rather clearly: “He was marvelously helped till he became strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chronicles 26:15-16, NKJV). Although it was an act clearly forbidden in the law, Uzziah decided to go into the temple to offer incense. This act was a type of a society and its leadership becoming its own judge of what is right and what is wrong. He had known success for so long that his heart was lifted up in pride; he had reached a place where he assumed he could do nothing wrong in God’s sight. Of course, the Bible warns us that “Pride always goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (see Proverbs 16:18).
Eighty priests of the Lord went in after Uzziah, warning him, “It is not for you to burn incense to the Lord!” (see 2 Chronicles 26:17-19). In other words, what you are doing is not right. God has not prescribed it to be done this way. You are taking something that is wrong and calling it right; taking something evil and trying to call it good. Yet, as these men who represented the truth of God withstood this king of pride, he became furious with them. What a stark difference from those early years when he had sought the Lord in humility! Similarly, you and I are living in a time when a fury is mounting against those who speak for God. We are somewhere between persecution and prosecution in the house of God in this nation. Those who stand for truth, as Isaiah said, have become a prey of the ungodly-something to be vilified and cast down (see Isaiah 59:15).
With the censer still in his hand and anger rising in his heart, the Scriptures tell us that Uzziah’s forehead broke out in leprosy. It was a visible sign of the spiritually diseased condition of his mind-an outward expression of what had long ago started to ferment inside of him. He found himself shamed for the rest of his days, and he died in a leper colony. This goes to show that the disease of the soul first manifests in the minds of the people and then in their subsequent behaviors. For example, where did we ever get the idea in this nation that we were as God-that we could declare what is good and what is evil? Why did we assume we could transgress the Word of God, which was once our own foundation, and not pay a price for it? We suppressed the truth we once knew and, as a result, we have subjected ourselves to living in an illusion and opened ourselves to a diseased mind.
It is just as the Apostle Paul warned in the book of Romans: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them…Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened…And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:18-21, 28). Once the envy of the nations, America is now becoming the mockery of the nations. We are becoming increasingly weak and confused; we are paralyzed socially, politically, and morally. It is obvious that the hand of God is not upon us in the way it once was.
So how does God respond when a nation finds itself in such a perilous condition? First of all, remember that it was “In the year that King Uzziah died” that Isaiah saw the Lord. In other words, it was the year when all hope seemed to be gone. It was the year when military might was failing, the economy was in tatters, and enemies were laughing. It was the year when greatness and glory seemed to be something relegated to history, leaving people afraid for their future. It was the year that God responded with a final act of mercy to that generation, and He did so by drawing someone into His presence. That is what He always has done, and that is what He always will do. “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory! And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke” (Isaiah 6:1-4). Isaiah was drawn into God’s presence where he was given a revelation of the majesty, power, holiness, and glory of the One whose purposes were being fulfilled in the earth.
Upon having this encounter with God, Isaiah immediately became aware of his own uncleanness as well as that of the people around him. “So I said: Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). Think about it – Isaiah was a religious man living in a religious nation; he even had some responsibility in the temple. Yet, until that moment, he had never fully seen the holiness of God. Suddenly, in the presence of the Lord, he understood that all of our human righteousness is as filthy rags. He understood that there is nothing we can do of our own accord-no sacrifice we make, no good thing we produce-that will ever give us the right to stand in the presence of a holy God. Keep in mind that the nation had been faltering because of pride under Uzziah’s leadership. At this point, the only thing that could counterbalance it would be a people who were not filled with pride but rather humility, so the timing of Isiah’s encounter was strategic.
Once Isaiah was humbled in the presence of the Lord, the Scriptures describe an amazing transaction that took place, “One of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged” (Isaiah 6:6-7, NKJV). In other words, beyond recognizing his own uncleanness and that of the people, Isaiah now saw the willingness of God to forgive those who would turn back to Him! Isaiah did not have to plead or beg for it. Mercy came and touched him, and he became aware that it was the delight of God to forgive and cleanse. Similarly, in our day those who have been humbled because they have been in the presence of the Lord begin to recognize His incredible mercy. They understand that it is in God’s heart to forgive every man, woman, and child in America. He doesn’t want to judge! It is His desire to gather a people to Himself once again.
A DIFFICULT MINISTRY
After being touched by mercy, Isaiah began to hear the thoughts of God’s own heart as He was conversing with Himself-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (Isaiah 6:8). In other words, who will go and be an ambassador of mercy to this undeserving people? “Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me. And He said, Go, and tell these people: Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long?’ And He answered, Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, as a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump” (Isaiah 6:8-13, NKJV). Isaiah was eager to be sent as an ambassador of mercy, yet God was warning him that this ministry was not going to be easy. Nevertheless, it would make an eternal difference in one out of ten people that he would speak to.
By drawing a parallel to a tree that is cut down but still has life remaining in its stump-eventually causing a new tree to sprout forth-God was essentially telling Isaiah that this society has reached a point where the majority are against My ways. Despite the fact that you have stood in My presence, they are so bent on being their own god that most will not repent. Nevertheless, for your effort, one in ten will hear what you have to say. Even though the nation goes into trial and cities are laid waste, there will be one in ten who will have My life planted within them. No matter what happens around them, they will live. They will stand and endure; they will be like a tree planted by the rivers of living water. One in ten! Of course, that one in ten will still have to go through the same sorrow and trials as everyone else. However, a seed of God’s life will be found within them, enabling them to live when all around them seems lost.
WHO WILL GO?
And so this is my question for you now: Is the one in ten worth it? Is it worth suffering the rejection, the scorn, the vilification, the sneers, the lies of the nine-everything that we will have to endure in this generation if we desire to stand for God? Now bear in mind that if God gives us one in ten, it means that more than 30 million people in the United States will turn back to Him! Some who are already walking with God will be strengthened, others who are backslidden will come home, and many who do not know God will find Him. Oh, can you hear the voice of God calling out once again, “Who will go?” Who will be willing to stand, facing the fear of rejection and the pride of wanting to be loved by everyone? Who will go and tell the people of this generation about My desire to forgive in spite of their folly? Who will tell them that if they will just come and stand in My presence, I will touch them and plant within them new life and new hope?”
Perhaps you have thought lately, I cannot even bring myself to speak the name Jesus in my workplace. I am such a coward! Or maybe all you can see are your struggles and failures, and you wonder how you could ever be a mouthpiece for the Lord. Yet the beauty of the story of Isaiah is that at the point when he says, “Here I am, send me!” he is still undone. He is weak, and he knows it. He knows that he has no right to boast of himself, for he has seen what he is without God. In the same way, when God is about to use your life in a deeper way, you will become very aware of your own failures and frailties. However, it is in that place of brokenness and humility-that place where you are completely undone and keenly aware that you do not have the right to even speak the name of Jesus-that you truly recognize God’s mercy in your life. In His mercy, He has forgiven you, cleansed you, covered you and called you. And if He is willing to do that for you, He is willing to do the same for others around you.
Therefore, this is not a time to be silent. This godlessness of our generation is not going to go away on its own. Light must counter it and you and I are the light of this world. We are the hope of this generation. Remember, it is in God’s heart to use those of us who feel like we are undone. People who have been humbled in the sight of God tend to have a natural compassion for people in our society who are indulging in all sorts of behavior. They will not speak with arrogance, simply presenting another argument. No! They will stand humbly before all people, speaking with kindness. Just as they have been touched with the tenderness of God, tenderness will emerge from their lips. These are the ones whom God will use as His ambassadors in this hour, for they will be sent with one message to declare: “God is good, and His mercy endures forever!”
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 4 – Published 1/26/19
WHAT COMMUNION HATH LIGHT WITH DARKNESS?
Allow me to say, that according to God and the first amendment, a Christian has every right to not only believe whatever they feel is correct but to also express these ideas publicly. This is true with any other religious, social, or political group as the Lord gives every person the free-will to believe whatever they want. The new-age movement emphasizes the importance of religious tolerance and is constantly reminding the Christian of their need to accept and respect the views of everyone in the world. However, it seems the liberal one-world agenda should be reminded this attitude also applies to them. We are now seeing that only Christians are being held accountable to demonstrate tolerance toward what has been deemed as politically correct and socially accepted. When the Christian opposes the world they are immediately condemned as a poisonous, hate-filled resistance against the new-world-order. You would think that if the world can hold a sign that declares an adult has the right to kill their own children, a Christian has the right to hold a sign that says we absolutely believe they do not. However, this is not the way it is. When the evil masses grow large and become the majority, they overrule and are in control and this is what we are seeing in this hour. Evil is being allowed to flood the world only because God has given Satan a window of opportunity to roam the earth and to seek whom he may devour. I must include that when any nation violently demands their right to slaughter their own babies, to say the least, that nation is living in danger of God’s wrath. How much more can the God of creation take? How many more hours of mercy and long-suffering will he endure before he intervenes with the fury of his judgment? Can you sense the desperate urgency to repent and pray this hour? Are you listening to his instructions and preparing for what is to come?
Being a friend with someone includes being interested in what is important to them, accepting their thoughts, encouraging them, and respecting who they are and what they believe. So, are Christians called to be a close friend with those who oppose God? How can a Christian evangelize and witness to someone about the gospel of Christ and then compromise this absolute truth by joyfully accepting the views which are completely opposite to what we know is true? We cannot. Any type of idea or concept that is in direct opposition with God’s truth, (especially about who he is and the gospel of Christ) are to be considered as offensive to the Lord – and us. In this way of thinking, we are called to demonstrate his love and to pray for those around us but to never cooperate, agree with a lie, or concede to any type of false doctrine or blasphemy. Spiritual unity between brothers and sisters in the family of Jesus Christ is good, but there cannot be unity between God’s people and those who worship other gods, misinterpret scripture, those who are oppressed with evil spirits, or who practice heresy.
Birds of a feather flock together and when it comes to a bonding friendship, differences in opinions always result in being offended and attitudes of strife and resentment. Jesus mingled and had compassion on people throughout his ministry and loves everyone in the world now, but he has always strongly declared that he is the only way, the only truth, and the only light! There is a huge difference being friendly and being a friend and yes, it’s true, we are NOT to be best buddies with the world. If we join in and love the ways of the world we cannot love God. Listen to these next three verses as we can only have one master as Matthew 6:24 explains, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” I John 2:15 bluntly declares, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” And in James 4:4 we read, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Again, we are reminded that division is not good among brethren but there is an undeniable command for us to live in the light and stay away from the darkness. Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not “entangled” again with the yoke of bondage.” It’s a dangerous deception to think that a strong devoted Christian can be popular and loved by the world. The world will only embrace us as long as we are enjoying and participating in their social lifestyles and political philosophies but lookout when we are put on the spot about what we believe. There will come a time when every Christian will be asked to state their convictions and worldviews and this is the big moment to either stand for God and be rejected or to compromise and become entangled in the sins of hypocrisy. A Christian trying to be nice and always smoothing everything over has become a slave to a compromising trade-off and a carnal settlement that has undermined the convicting, life-changing, soul-saving power of the blood of Jesus.
To endorse, agree, respect, or support an evil person or an atheist is wrong in the eyes of God and is nothing less than boldly encouraging and approving of the individual’s decision to spend an eternity in torment. I have mingled and been friendly with atheist and noticed how they project a dark spiritual presence that is dangerously deceiving. Satan is the father of lies and he leads his children by his spirit and the secret agenda of his dark kingdom is to recruit and distract everyone away from God. II Corinthians 6:14-18 is NOT an option but rather a direct order from our heavenly Father. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord (association) hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel (non-believer)? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out (stay away) from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
We are to be cordial to everyone but to also discern and realize that a wicked heart is an enemy of God. Yes, we are in a deadly spiritual war against the forces of evil and are commanded to love everyone but it’s critical that we intercede for divine guidance and wisdom in order to know how to deal with them.
We cannot out-smart the world, over-power, or convince anyone to give their life to Jesus. We are simply messengers, instruments, and vessels to carry the good news of the gospel. We are to preach the reality of God’s love and use words if necessary. We are to spend much of our time praying because this is the most powerful demonstration of love we have. Since prayer and love are united together we can say with confidence that if we do not pray – we do not have love, and according to I Corinthians 13, if we do not have love, we are nothing more than a clanging and irritating noise. When we pray we release our faith and these petitions will set in motion the potential for a miracle! How many people do we know that needs the miracle of salvation? Who needs healing and deliverance? God is listening and when we pray, the Holy Spirit has the ability to convict a conscience and then Christ can open someone’s eyes and transform a life! How much are we to pray? How many miracles do we want to see?
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
PART 3 – Published 1/19/19
EXPOSING THE DECEPTION OF RELIGIOUS UNITY
I received a letter the other day from a young lady that was explaining her frustrations and disappointments with an outdated and unlearned society within the city she lives. She is educated, charismatic, and originally from a large metropolis who 5 years ago made a courageous career decision to relocate several hundred miles away into a more rural setting. She said she was an average religious person but was very limited in believing the Bible was actually God’s word. She believed in science because that was more solid proof about everything. The unexpected culture shock associated with conservative worldviews and traditional religious beliefs had taken a heavy toll on her mentally and emotionally and she was now resigning and heading back to her familiar and comfortable environment where her liberal ideas are respected and appreciated. Her complaints were centered against this smaller Bible-belt community who refused to embrace the modern direction the world is heading. Imagine that, a liberal thinker disagreeing with those who live according to what God has said.
As an aggressive personality in her politics and religious views, she was constantly running into situations that involved opposition, anger, disagreements, and resistance. She believes the rejection of her progressive thinking is simply the result of social and political ignorance along with a lack of higher education which nurtures a fear of the unknown and a stubborn refusal to have an open mind. She may have a point in some instances, but generally, this is becoming the norm when the younger generation and the older generation attempt to demonstrate tolerance. She was upset and disappointed because the old way of thinking was not willing to throw out their convictions just because someone like her said they are wrong. It is worth noting that she was oblivious to the fact that she also was not willing to consider their way of thinking which in this case is based on a literal Biblical perspective.
I realize that we cannot change anyone’s opinions, so I did not try to argue or beg her to believe that God’s word and Jesus is the only way, truth, and life. I sincerely shared that she had the free-will to believe whatever she wanted and my deeper concern with this scenario is the temptation for her to allow anger and resentment to seep into her soul. Unforgiveness can quietly slip through the back door of our conscience and cause separation between us and God because it is so subtle and deceptive. Whether we are a Christian or not, we can become so upset with people who do not agree with our views that we can become infected with hatred. Yes, we are disappointed, but we can release more miracle power praying than we can with arguing. So, how are Bible-believing Christians are expected to act toward those who are trying to replace Christian values with humanistic principals? The followers of Christ have now become a target of unwarranted hateful accusations and are facing decisions every moment, about when to stand and when to walk away. If Christians are quiet, they will be run over by the liberal masses and if they stand and fight, they are condemned as being filled with intolerance and discrimination. All Christians in today’s world that reveal their convictions are automatically persecuted and personally attacked with the intention of ruining their integrity. Since they are merely relaying what God has said, does this mean that God is also guilty of these allegations?
Let’s look closer as to why this young lady expressed her emotions against those who did not embrace her enthusiasm about other religions and political correctness. Her views are that ALL people deserved to be respected, accepted, and loved. OK, I’ll go along that God feels this way (to a certain point). I know we are to love people’s spirits and to hate their sin but this is a difficult tightrope to walk. Why? Because we cannot avoid offending them. You see, many people do not understand the complexity of interacting with those who do not worship God or embrace his truth. Christians are taught there is only one God, (the God of the Bible) and that every other religion is false and everyone who is trusting any other idea is being influenced by Satan. Just this fact alone is enough to create an extreme amount of tension and anger toward anyone that is not a Christian. How can a zealous Christian become close friends with someone whom the Bible refers to as an enemy without offending them? How can a Christian be excited when they hear a new mosque, a Buddha temple, or a Satanic church is being built down the street? Do you think Jesus and Ahab could have ever become close friends? Do you believe that Jesus could have worked peaceably together in politics with Pontius Pilate and King Herod?
The first thing that comes to a Christian’s mind when presented with the idea to be united with all religions is that Satan is going to draw others into this confusing deception and many more individuals are going to be persuaded into a poisonous lie. Knowing that we are judged for what we believe, does this sound like something where we want to bring them a pie, hug them, give them our blessings and tell them how much we appreciate their spiritual insights? As the religious world continues to promote the idea of unity among all worldviews, we must continue to continue to stand for spiritual purity and reverential fear unto God and his word. We have been called to pray for their spirit and ask God to open their eyes to HIS truth – however, this does not mean we are to join together with them and accept their views and tell them that God is pleased with what they believe. Jesus “mingled” with sinners and reached out to them in love but he never appreciated or respected their idols or their religions. He was demonstrating God’s love as an invitation to accept the “only way” to salvation.
Spiritual unity in God’s word is referring to his people who are born-again and a part of his family. It is not talking about all religions coming together as one mixture. This interpretation of scripture is not based on prejudice, it is clearly following God’s command for HIS church and HIS kingdom. Unity with the world’s religions is directly from Satan who intends to pollute and contaminate divine truth.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye (born-again Christians) are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” II Corinthians 6:14-18.
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
Published 1/12/19 – PART 2
TRUTH IS NOT AN OPINION
When we think about how we build our personal worldviews, it is interesting to remember there is a difference between receiving wisdom from God and receiving it from man. When will we learn that it’s much better to receive information from HIS voice than from books, radio, television, newspapers, or our college professor? It may sound strange, but this also includes pastors and Bible teachers because each child of God must study for themselves in order to rightly divide and show themselves approved unto God. Sometimes teachers are wrong and we certainly do not want to become a blind person who follows another blind person. I believe we are accountable for what we believe as this will be a large part of our judgment. Since God’s word declares that “as a man thinks in his heart – so is he” we cannot overemphasize how important it is to KNOW the truth. We are what we believe.
Matthew chapter 7 gives a wonderful description about how we are all building our life on lies or truth. The Lord uses the analogy of building a house and explains how those who build on the sand will experience great loss and destruction. Those who build on the solid rock of God’s truth will have the foundation necessary to withstand the evil deception of the enemy. When we understand how important it is to receive our information straight from God, we can realize how dangerous it is to put our faith and trust in a person. It is sad and sobering to imagine how many people that have believed certain views that were wrong and these ideas could have very well cost them eternal life. Stop for a moment and think about the different political and religious philosophies that are in the world. There is only one God and He is the absolute truth. Everyone that opposes him is wrong and represents a lie.
Over the years I have listened to what unbelievers think and everyone is welcome to read my views. We would assume this would cause everyone to stand on the equal ground of acknowledging each other with a certain amount of respect and courtesy but that is hardly the case. Why? Because the lost will not consider a Biblical perspective and the remnant will not entertain ideas from a humanistic philosophy. Thus, the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together” is more than just a cute rhyme. It means the lost world will band together and justify each other in their secular humanism, while God’s children will be drawn toward his light and will live within the holy covenant of his salvation. These differences are as far apart as the East is from the West. God’s people have been given a new spirit that is capable of communicating with him while the natural man lacks the ability to comprehend spiritual truth and operates only with his intellect. The secular system will argue this is overly dogmatic but this message is not an opinion. Christians are simply relaying HIS saving message to a lost and angry world.
“Jesus of Nazareth always comes asking disciples to follow him, not merely accept him, not merely believe in him, not merely worship him, but to follow him: one either follows Christ or one does not… We either make him Lord of all lords, or we deny him as Lord of any.” – Lee Camp
“The choice we face is not, as many imagine, between heaven and hell. Rather, the choice is between heaven and this world. Even a fool would exchange hell for heaven, but only the wise will exchange this world for heaven.” – Dave Hunt
When we think about our path, we are grateful that God has provided his light to help us see where we are walking. We have his word that is filled with wisdom and illuminates our conscience so we can listen and hear his voice. We also have the Holy Spirit that has been given to comfort us and help lead us into God’s wisdom and understanding. Even with all of this help, I’m sure you will agree that at times we have a few potholes in our journey here and there that can make the road a little bumpy. This life was never intended to be perfect or without any problems. If every moment was enjoyable and we had rooms filled with gold, we would probably not have time to think about God or have a desperate need to hold his hand tightly. Whatever may happen, we will embrace him and trust him completely. I appreciate his blessings but I do not want so much “stuff” that I forget about his love and grace.
“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.” – Charles Spurgeon
A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
Published 1/5/19 – PART 1
WADING INTO DEEPER WATER
This is a brand new year and I hope this is a good year for all of us. We had a heart-breaking end to last year when we had to put our beloved China down. She was a brush-coat Sharpei and one of the smartest and loyal dogs we have ever had. So far in this first week, things have not been much better as we have been dealing with a serious personal setback with our finances. Yes, life has its share of ups and downs but in the end, we know that God loves us and will take care of us. I pray that with continuing these devotions, that God will continue to give us his wisdom and understanding. It is an honor to share these thoughts and I am grateful for his patience and mercy.
There are many subjects that are considered “deep water” which means that most of the time we end up talking about things we are really not qualified to discuss. What do you mean? I have the right to present my opinion just like everyone else. Yes, I know, but to be honest, the world is not really in need of more opinions. What the world needs is the truth of God! When it comes to the tsunami of thoughts and ideas, I have contemplated that very few people comprehend politics or religion (including myself) as it seems that worldviews are commonly constructed from bits and pieces of second-hand information and are as numerous as grains of sand on the beach. And similar to an iceberg, There is usually only a small amount of content is understood or while the other ninety percent of purpose and reason are hidden below the surface. Thus, things are not always the way they seem and to elaborate about what we do not know sadly only adds to the confusion for everyone. I pray that we can not only read and absorb more knowledge but that we will desire to demonstrate what we know.
I have been challenged to debates in my life even from my own family members but as I prayed about these situations I always felt the Lord saying this would cause more damage than good. I have never wanted politics or religious views to burn the bridges of my relationships because it never accomplishes anything. I enjoy writing about the Bible and the Christian life, but it is not my intention to stir strife or argue about spiritual matters. There are certain areas that I have written about which I feel confident that I have heard from the Lord, but to be honest, I have not really had the confidence to argue about politics or large portions of prophetic scripture for that matter because I have simply not been given the revelation of wisdom that is needed. I am reminded of the old saying, “It is better to be silent and thought to be a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” And of course, let us not forget James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” I want to always be reminded of the huge responsibility to represent God and only say what he wants me to say. As you know, this is very hard to do but I intend to keep focusing on Christ.
Whatever may come, we will obey his voice and stay focused on Jesus! Our spiritual path is meant for us to follow him and I pray he will continue to give us his direction as we humble ourselves and agree to lay down our plans and ideas. Sometimes our path is confusing but the light of his love encourages us to trust him even when we do not understand. God is aware of circumstances and always has our best interest in mind. Faith is the evidence of things not seen so even when we have a lighted PATH, this does not always mean we can see what is up ahead. The idea is to take one step at a time and hold tightly to his hand. Whatever happens this year, let us stay close to God and abide under the shadow of his wings. I hope this year brings spiritual peace and many blessings to you and your family.