My wife had one of her keen observations the other day during one our frequent discussions about the pandemic and the state of our nation. “What if God is working in this pandemic to tear down our idols?”
“What a thought,” I said. I suppose that may be what’s going on,” I said.
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
When we use, or you hear someone use the word “try” that means “self” is vying for control. Self is
assuming responsibility. Super responsibility. That’s not a good thing.
Self tries to live the Christian life. Self does good Christian work. Self loves to chair committees. Self likes to volunteer in the food pantry and the clothes closet. Self loves to teach Bible Study. Self lives to volunteer. Self never says no. Self is “self” confident. Self likes to think it’s “self-sufficient”.
Self likes to play leader. Self becomes arrogant when someone has a better idea than self. Self thinks it knows best. Self worries. Self gets full of self. Self stands up for self’s rights. Self knows how to do things right around its church. Self pouts when it doesn’t get its own way. Self is unyielding in its attitudes towards others. Self looks for greener grass. Self seeks greatness and notoriety for its achievements and holiness. Self is judgmental. Self is self-conscious. Self takes even constructive criticism personally. Self likes to be right. But self is humble. If you don’t believe it ask self.
Self is such a failure.
Self needs breaking. As long as self seeks to be in control God can do little in self or through self. But self can not break its will to God’s will. It has to be a sanctifying work of God and God alone. Coming to the end of self is a life-long journey coming to the ultimate realization that “self” is not as smart or wise as “self” thinks.
Paul said in Philippians,
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Those verses are tough pills for self to swallow. And it’s only by the sanctifying work of Christ living in us that we can ever get to the end of self.
Jesus said in Luke 9:23
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
That’s the end of self. The end of you. The end of me.
We’re not at war in Afghanistan, not Iran, not Syria, We’re in a battle between our ears for our hearts and thought life. It’s a battle for our culture, for our families, our communities and for our spiritual lives. I believe there’s probably a whole bunch of believers who don’t give Satan ort spiritual warfare a second thought. Satan and Evil and sin don’t concern them. If there’s spiritual warfare going on they’d rather just put it out of their minds all together. They would rather sit on their complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up their pews every Sunday.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
When is the last time you pleaded with Satan to flee from your presence? When’s the last genuine “Come-to Jesus “ meeting you had with yourself or a close friend about it? When is the last time a trial befell you and you knew it was Satan? When did you last sin or when was the last time you were disobedient? Did you talk with a close friend or your pastor about it? When did you last talk about Satan with friends?”
Here’s a question: Do you think we talk about Satan too much or too little?
Do you think we are at war spiritually or do you think that’s just a bunch of Biblical mumbo jumbo nonsense and you don’t want to be troubles with it at all.
Whether you thought about Satan today or haven’t thought about him in years, he’s thinking about us every moment looking for someone to devour–to kill, discourage or ruin their day. Every time Satan tells you a lie and you believe him, he’s had a good day.
I believe there’s probably a whole bunch of believers who don’t give Satan or spiritual warfare a second thought. Satan and Evil and sin don’t concern them. If there’s spiritual warfare going on they’d rather just put it out of their minds all together. They would rather sit on their complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up a pew every Sunday.
Howard Beale got mad enough to go to war. In the 1975 classic movie Network Howard let everyone know how he felt in his radio audience when he shouted into his mike, ” I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Are you mad enough to go to war? Then strap your helmet on. It’s time. Or would you rather sit on your complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up a pew every Sunday.
Maybe he’s not even paying attention too many Christian who are afraid to go to war.l lives. We’ve got to get off of our complacent, worldly, self-loving rears and go to war to preserve the Gospel that saved us and gave us new life.
When is the last time you cursed him for messing with you? When is the last time you commanded him to flee from you? When is the last time you thought about Satan? Thought about Evil? Thought about your own disobedience? When’s the last time you thought about sin? Yours or someone else’s.
Whether you thought about Satan today or haven’t thought about him in years he’s thinking about us every waking moment looking for somebody to destroy or just discourage someone or ruin someone’s day or just get them off their game.
I would venture a guess that he’s not paying attention to lots of Christians who are afraid to go to war and prefer to sit on their complacent, worldly, self-loving rears and let other folks go to war.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
If you watch much TV you discover there is a vitamin, a cream, a lotion, a diet, a pill, a vacation spot, or a breakfast cereal that will empower you and bring you happiness and good health and long life all for only $19.95.
Lately I’ve noticed that some of these products promise you they’ll empower you to face and conquer life’s challenges and become the successful person you’ve always wanted to be.
How gullible some of us are to believe that there’s power in a pill or breakfast cereal. Or that we will be empowered to leap tall buildings in a single bound if we brush with a certain brand of empowering toothpaste.
We are woefully misguided if any of us believes he or she has the ability to generate any power on our own. Many of us rely on our own resources to generate self power, which is not real power. If we rely on our flesh to produce power, we will surely fail and become frustrated.
The only Power that is beneficial or helpful to us is the power that comes from God. That power resides in the life of Jesus Christ. If we believe in Jesus as our Savior we reside in him. To access his awesome power we must become weak and surrender our flesh to him. The weaker we become the more power becomes available to us through Christ..
No, it’s not misspelled. What brand of n-a-c-r-e do you use?
Of course that begs the question, what on earth is necra?
Nacre is the filmy layer of goo an oyster secretes to cover a grain of sand that has embedded itself in the oyster shell and become a nasty irritant. The necra eventually hardens around the irritating grain of sand and exerts so much pressure on the grain of sand that it over time it becomes a beautiful diamond.of inestimable value.
Back to the main question– what brand of necra do you use? Of course we don’t have any necra laying around when things irritate us to the point of distraction. Walmart doesn’t carry it. either. And there’s no limit to the kind or severity of irritants we experience. The irritant can be is pesky as a snoring spouse or a banging toilet or a neighbor who parks two of his wheels on your grass.
Admit it. Things and people irritate us almost every day.
Unlike the oyster we don’t have any goo to make the irritation go away or turn it into a sparkling diamond. If we don’t dispatch that pesky irritation, it will continue to fester and gnaw at us and make us miserable.
Let me share a two-step process it is guaranteed to minimize or completely eradicate any irritation you might experience.
Bathe yourself in Psalms
It doesn’t matter which Psalms you read. Just open your Bible and start reading Psalm after Psalm. . The Psalms will begin changing your attitude and lifting your Spirit. Reading Psalms will give you an entirely new perspective of your irritations and give you God’s perspective and scriptures on how to handle them.
Remember, recite and meditate on Romans 8:28
Romans 8:28 is not just a promise God makes to us. It is something God does for us in our daily lives. First of all every choice we make and everything we do gets filtered through God’s love and grace for us. And he uses our choices, decisions and actions for our ultimate good. So if you are dealing with irritations in your life keep in mind that God is going to turn it all into something for our good.
And bye bye irritations .If you don’t believe this method will work for you, try it and prove me wrong.
Horoscopes used to play an important role in my relationships–especially with women.. This was during my prodigal son romp through my recently divorced mid-life wilderness.
When I became interested in a woman, the first place I went was Linda Goodman’s book Sun Signs to see if the woman and I would be horoscopicly (my word) compatible.If our signs didn’t cross and our stars didn’t align I was history. No way was I going to spend time, energy or money on a horoscopic misfit.
It took me almost a decade and some serious Bible study and a boatload of God’s grace to figure out that I was born under a very different sign. It read, ‘”Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
And I was adopted that moment by my Heavenly Father and became a son of God with all the riches in glory through my Savior, Jesus
Later it was hard to believe but for several years I looked to Satan’s lies in those horoscopes. That I would allow something Satan authored to help me make life choices and influence some of my personal relationships with so much Satanic bunk.
“So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish.”. Jeremiah 27:9-10
“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people .Leviticus 20:6.
I don’t think any serious believerr and disciple of Jesus Christ can justify astrology or horoscopes. Dare I say, you can’t believe in or follow Jesus authentically and follow astrology at the same time? I have known people claiming to be believers who check their horoscope in the morning paper religiously. they read their horoscopes more religiously than they read their Bibles.
If you are reading horoscopes now or relying on astrology to influence you at all let me encourage you do a word study on astrology. Find out what God’s word says. God’s word is truth. Horoscopes and astrology are both based on lies straight from the pit of hell.
They can’t tell you where the storm will strike, when the storn will strike, or how bad the storm will be. Weather savvy meteoroligists at the TV station draw this wide cone on the screen hedging their bets with their best scientific guesses. It’s called the cone of uncertainty. It’s used to describe where weather experts believe the eye of the storm could possibly travel.
Despite all the sophisticated high-tech weather stuff, their “best” guesses are still uncertain. Continue reading →