Archive for May, 2011

Beware The Trojan Horses

2 Corinthians 11:12-15: 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

We often credit the famous Trojan Horse of Greek mythology when we think of cunningly deceptive traps. No so, the devil himself, that old serpent, is the first reference and therefore the father of deceptions. From Wikipedia – “Metaphorically a “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick or stratagem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or space.” Was Satan himself not allowed to enter into the inner sanctum of the Garden?

Angel of light. Could any thing be more alluring and seductive? We are, often to our own woe, seeking to know angels and commune with them. There is a charming and seemingly altruistic character profile of thoughts that surround our mind when we think of these spiritual phantasms. We dare not tread there. It is not without purpose that God in His Word has left this subject nebulous and sketchy. He knows how easily we can be enamored by their appearance.

There is a saying that should become one of your (and mine) watchwords – If it looks too good to be true, it is. Consider the thousands of individuals, who each year, see an attractive link or required action in an email or webpage that innocently click on the tasty little fruit dangled before their eyes, to their sudden and sure fall.

There are traps all around us – Trojan Horses – that have been strategically set out by our enemy to trip us up, wound us and even take us out of the race. He is crafty, wily and treacherous. Not only him, but his many malicious minions. No wonder our Lord admonishes us, beware, keep watch, walk circumspectly, be wise.

There are traps all around. Satan is no dummy. He knows that his final and ultimate humiliation will be through men who will stand upon his neck and deliver him over as the footstool of our great and awesome King.

We are told that false teachers will come at the end. Where will they come? Right into your church, right into your communities, right into your very home? How will they do that? As angels of light.

Whether you realize it yet or not, it is religion that will usher in your enemy, right into your very presence. It is almost a mockery of your ignorance. You see man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart. The Pharisees are the classic study of a Trojan Horse. God Himself condemned these outwardly pious and tradition practicing charlatans. Oh to be sure, you and I are easily deceived and taken prisoner.

Beware the angels of light. Beware the Trojan horses.

How the World Rewards Faithful Service

The following is from today’s devotional reading for this year — Faith Alone, from the writings of Martin Luther. It speaks of a wicked and cruel system that works against a man of God, and his ultimate and assured victory over the world.

“And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison…” Gen. 39:19-20

“Losing his good reputation and being thrown in prison was certainly Joseph’s worst hardship. What disgraceful wages he received of his years of faithful service! His impeccable character and hard work were rewarded with punishment and ruined reputation. We serve, teach, counsel, comfort, and do what God tells us to do. For the most part, we do this for undeserving people from whom we get nothing in return except hatred, envy, and suffering. It seems that our lives are wasted on being kind to people who don’t appreciated it.

Don’t ever expect the world to acknowledge or reward your faithfulness and hard work. The opposite often happens, as Joseph’s life shows. Therefore, make sure that you direct your service and life elsewhere. Don’t look for favor and kindness from the world. Its favor can quickly turn into furious anger.

… This means that we must serve people who are wicked, undeserving, and ungrateful. A few will acknowledge our service and thank us. But the others might even threaten our lives. Joseph’s example show us what reward we can expect from the world for even the greatest kindness—being tied up and thrown in prison.”

We all know that the wife that persecuted Joseph was unable to stop God’s will in his life. What she meant for harm, God meant for good. Many were saved because of Joseph’s faithfulness and service to God. Let this be your testimony. Remain faithful to God and realize that He is sovereign. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:29.

Listen v4.39 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
Self-thoughts are the Modern Idol of Choice You will never be fully resigned to the will of God if you are troubled by human opinion of you, or if you make for yourself a little idol of what people say. Michael Molinos – The Spiritual Guide – circa 1675, copyright 1982 by Seed Sowers
God’s “Good” Housekeeping Seal of Approval Nor can the benevolence of God be justly called into question because there is suffering and sorrow in the world. If man sins against the goodness of God,… who is to blame but himself? Would God be “good” if he punished not those who ill use his blessings, abuse his benevolence, and trample his mercies beneath their feet? It will be no reflection upon God’s goodness, but rather the brightest exemplification of it, when he shall rid the earth of those who have broken his laws, defied his authority, mocked his messengers, scorned his Son, and persecuted those for whom he died. Arthur W. Pink – The Attributes of God, circa 1940, copyright 1975 Baker Books
Work It Out Sinner saved by grace means a soul who is set on the disposition of self (sinner) is set apart by the process of sanctification and made holy by the destruction of that disposition (saved) which is by the performance of God involving the will of man and working together through the whole lump. Tom Van Hoogen
Joyful Yes, Happy No The Bible talks plentifully about joy, but it nowhere speaks about a happy Christian. Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not. Remember, Jesus Christ had joy, and He prays that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Serving Self Makes You Numb to the Spirit For instance, a thief who is stealing and hoarding things as a means of happiness is not only missing his happiness, but by his acts of theft is destroying the very capacity for it. That capacity is deadend by his sinful conduct. And if he loses the sense of the sinfulness of theft and his conscience does not feel remorse, he has already committed spiritual suicide. He has not only killed the capacity but has killed the soul which had the capacity. Sadhu Sundar Singh – With and Without Christ – circa 1925; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005
Weeping is Seeping from a Stony Place Does weeping speak? In what language doth it utter its meaning? Weeping is the eloquence of sorrow. Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers and of weeping as a constant dropping of importunate intercession which will wear its way right surely into the very heart of Mercy, despite the stony difficulties which obstruct the way. Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
The Medicine Hurts Too Sometimes As for you, when the Lord has firmly established this relationship, you will have the sense that He has so completely found you out that each time His light focuses on the sin in your life, you have only one course. All you can do is turn very simply to Him and there bare all the pain and correction which He inflicts. Jeanne Guyon – Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, circa 1680
What We Seek is Beyond Us Now it is clear as clear can be that the hunger of our hearts for the hills is only part of the hunger of our hearts for the infinite. The instinct of the far horizon is indelibly engraved in our very nature. Go where you will, visit what city you like, and you will straightway be taken to some noble and commanding eminence to see the view. F. W. Boreham – The Luggage of Life, 1912, published by Kregel Publications
The Bible Put God s Love on the Map for Us A little boy, who had been studying at school about the discovery of America, said to his father one day, “Father, if I had been Columbus I would not have taken all that trouble to discover America.” “Why, what would you have done?” asked the father. “Oh,” replied the little boy, “I would have just gone to the map and found it.” This little boy did not understand that maps are only pictures of already known places, and that America did not exist because it was on the map, but it could not be on the map until it was already known to exist. And similarly with the Bible. It is, like the map, a simple statement of facts; so that when it tells us that God loves us, it is only telling us something that is a fact, and that would not be in the Bible if it had not been already known to be a fact. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
The Proof is in the Practice If we love God we ought to pray, because He wants us to pray, and commands us to pray. If we believe God we shall pray because we cannot help doing so: we cannot get on without it. Fellow-Christian, you believe in God, and you believe on Him (John 3:16), but have you advanced far enough in the Christian life to believe Him; that is, to believe what He says and all He says? Does it not sound blasphemous to ask such a thing of a Christian man? Yet how few believers really believe God! God forgive us! Unknown Christian – The Kneeling Christian, circa 1890, © 2007 Bidge-Logos.
The Kingdom is Advancing, Keep Moving I feel that we could gain much from a little acquaintance with men of his spiritual flavor and the school of Christian thought which they represent. Christian literature, to be accepted and approved by the evangelical leaders of our times, must follow very closely the same train of thought, a kind of “party line” from which it is scarcely safe to depart. A half-century of this in America has made us smug and content. We imitate each other with slavish devotion and our most strenuous efforts are put forth to try to say the same thing that everyone around us is saying – and yet to find an excuse for saying it, some little safe variation on the approved theme or, if no more, at least a new illustration. A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God

A Fiction of My Imagination

Don’t Worry, It’ll be OK, Everybody is Doing It

God is calling all of us to relationship with Him by the Spirit, through the Son. It is and was and will always be His desire for you — deep, intimate, joyously blissful fulness of life and an everlasting love found only in Him. Won’t you come to Him? Won’t you forsake this world system which stands opposed to Him and the advancement of His Kingdom? Won’t you deny your Self so that you might embrace Him? The message has always been the same, “Come to Me”.

It amazes me how thoroughly indifferent so many are to His pleas. Not the God loves us part, but the part about separating from this world system and denying yourself. There is a “Oh you poor soul, you’re one of them” look of condolence in their eyes when you share anything that suggests a need to change what they are doing and seeking. By “one of them” they mean one of those who “still believe in that old religion and Book” and is bound to some standard outside your Self.

They so often communicate, either verbally or by actions, the same set of beliefs – the new religion of the times. “We have gotten beyond all that hell-fire damnation stuff. That is old-school-God. We have designed a much more contemporary, softer God to our own liking. He is a package deal when you join and become a member of the “church” of our religion, “our God” would never do those things to us, we are good members in standing with the church and have kept our get-out-of-hell-free card current.” At which point they tell you about their good works and display their robes of self-righteousness.

The Pharisees used that line of reasoning on Jesus and it didn’t get them anywhere. “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” John 8:39. In fact, He went on to reveal to them who their father really was.

“But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:40-44.

These persons when you try to talk to them about Truth are not interested, they have a god that they are content with. And why not?, it meets all their needs for what a person could want in a god. Their god is “loving” and would never make them feel bad about their behavior and self-seeking endeavors. Every form of self-depreciation is rejected under the grace of god. All acts of righteousness and self-sacrifice are forbidden under the umbrella of “works”. All the things of the world are here to enrich their life for the taking (and by any means mind you). Their god promises peace, love and happiness today. Everything is accomplished so neatly under the banner of tolerance and Self-service. And the motto of that tolerance is that you cannot tell anybody that they are wrong or their beliefs are wrong or you can go to hell. Pretty tidy isn’t it? You make up a god that serves you and your needs and defend it with accusations of others being unloving when they confront you with Truth.

And the granddaddy of all endorsements is, “Don’t worry, it’ll be OK, everybody’s doing it”. There is such a large consensus among peoples that this is the way to go that the community can now be presented as “everybody”. This self-proclaimed body of belief now determines truth for the masses. There is some strange phenomenon that comes to life in group dynamics. There is a sense of anonymity, that I am not an individual but a group. You can’t judge me without judging all of us. Safety in numbers I suppose is the theory.

When the street lights go out and “everybody” reverts to animal pack mentality and go and rob and loot stores, pilfering and taking what is not theirs, the great justification is that “everybody” was doing it. It wasn’t me. I just got caught up with everybody else.

Lets fast forward and follow that group. Here they are at the Great White Throne Judgement, and “everybody” is there. There is the smell of brimstone and death in the air everywhere. Cries of anguish and shrieks of lament and dolorous distresses fill the atmosphere. It is like standing outside the scariest haunted house you could imagine.

You panic and fret and weep and gnash your teeth and you haven’t even gone in to see what lies beyond that Throne. Your heart is beating as you cling to “everybody” else who is there. As you approach the line you have one fleeting thought of salvation. “My card, my church card, I’ll show Him that!” You frantically search your pockets and then remember where you put it. You go to get it but realize it has vaporized in the atmosphere of holiness surrounding His throne. It could not save you.

You are next in line. You approach God, Who seems indifferent now. He is neither looking at you lovingly nor hatefully, just justly. He is like a Great Judge who must execute the Law without partiality. You are alone now, everybody else is not there with you.

He brings the sentence. “Go to Hell.” and you are dumbfounded with disbelief. “What no jury, no trial?” He says, “Depart from me I never knew you.” “But I had a get-out-of-hell-free card. But I was so convinced I was dong the right thing. I did what “everybody” said was right.

He winks and says, “Don’t worry. It’ll be OK, ‘everybody’ is doing it.”

Proverbs 16:25: There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Matthew 7:13: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.

Proverbs 29:1: He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

v339 Adolescent Rebellion

Adolescent Rebellion

As a new-born child we are naturally very dependent. In fact I have heard, and believe that, a human child is the weakest of all created species when first born, though we go on to become potentially the most dangerous and strongest, wielding tremendous power to do good or bad.

In the home the mother is the most visible provider for the child, seemingly providing what the child’s perceived needs are – warmth, affection, loving care and attention. Yet all this is taking place, almost entirely unseen, in the greater provision and shelter of the father who is providing the food, home and protection from harm, godly order, structure, power and authority.

Very often the child just takes the fathers contributions for granted. The mother is often seen as the real hero since her contributions are most visibly toward the body and soul – the “felt needs”. Of course the child does not feel the need for food, shelter, security, they are there – magically provided – they are regarded an unalienable right to the child and a undeniable duty of the father. (Think of the highly successful athelete, who, when he gets in front of the camera says, “Thanks Mom!”, you were always there for me while dad was off at work doing “his thing”).

This is not the message – the mystical contribution of dads – although it is a very important context for the message. I am walking us through the pit stops of life. It is God’s great purpose and wisdom that we move from our absolute dependency and innocence as very young children upon our parents or primary care-giver(s) toward the development of our own accountability, responsibility and personal volition and choice-making before Him, in a word – maturity.

As a child, naturally bent toward our self and our own needs and desires, we do not want to accept responsibility. This is all natural but stands in direct opposition to God’s purpose for the child. Again the child is to move from innocence toward personal accountability and maturity. Essentially we need to grow up.

Now the child, mother and father will all face a crisis point when a parent begins to move the child toward responsibility and accountability. One or the other parent will decide that a child needs to take more responsibility in an area that he/she is naturally resistant to. Often one or the other of the parents will sympathize with the child, often for selfish reasons, and interfere with the process of growing up. Bad idea. When this happens you have just made the parent taking the risk of rejection and misunderstanding and made them the “bad guy” while positioning yourself (either knowingly or unknowingly) as the “good guy”.

You have just set up the classic scenario to grow a rebellious child. The Bible tells us, “Children, obey your parents.” (Eph. 6:1, Col. 3:20). The child cannot. He or she must make a choice which parent or authority (e.g. master) to follow. Let me see, should I follow the one that wants me to do what I don’t want to do or the one that endorses my will? Duh.

This is the classic scenario of the Garden party. Eve was sashaying about in her uncovered state and “happened upon” the tree of Good and Evil. Now she has the word of her heavenly Father and her earthly father Adam (remember she came from Adam, out of him) and she is brought to a crisis. Do I do what my Father said, deny mySelf, or do I do what this other voice is telling me to do which in my eyes seems right? Duh.

So it is this choice that brings on an extreme crisis. Most often when faced with a crisis, a danger-opportunity scenario we like to go for the gusto and the cheap thrill of violating our conscience, it certainly excites some deep inner part of us. Yeah, but what part? That part that is set against the will of God, that fleshly, carnal, godless part.

Galatians 5:17: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

And so the life of rebellion is birthed. When you violate the conscience or the Holy Spirit as the case may be, you open the door wide for the voice of Self. The first thing you hear is why you were justified (self-justification), then why it ok (self-rationalization), why it was not big deal and it doesn’t even really count (denial of guilt) and right along with the pack of Self deceptions comes this amazing shifting of responsibility to others (blame). You are now squarely on the broad path that leads to destruction, and you will notice how many are on the same path. It must be the right way, since everyone is going that way, right? Wrong!!!! A wise person once said, “It is doubtful the majority has ever been right.”

So this is the way we all go, yet not all. The children who have parents who are one, not divided in purpose or will, have a great power against the child’s willful lust for acting independently apart from their will. But that is a message for another day.

I just wanted you to see how easy it is to become rebellious. This trend that was established early in childhood of choosing to do my own will often remains in tact for many years. It is only by the grace of God that a child is turned to the Father’s heart and back unto the narrow path that leads to life and godliness – back to the Father.

Almost all go through adolescent rebellion, almost all remain there. But for those who receive the power to overcome the power of sin and death, they are led by the Spirit to become that fully mature, complete, grown up and absolutely dependent-upon-our-Father son.

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