Thursday, September 29, 2011

TWO THIEVES, A JAILER, AND GOD

Two Thieves, a Jailer, and God

9/29/2011



“And they crucified him...Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.” Matthew 27:35a, 38. “I’ve done way too much to ever be considered a candidate for salvation”. Really? Just how much of a sinner are you? Are your sins so egregious that you would jump into Hell blindfolded without ever pursuing the truth – the real Truth? You feel there’s no hope for anyone such as yourself? Consider, if you will, a man who hung on his very own cross some two thousand years ago just off to one side of the Creator of the world. When the Roman soldiers drove those spikes into his body and stood His cross upright, he too was sure there was no hope for him – he had gone too far – his sins were too numerous.



God knew you before He began His creation of the earth. He knew the choice you would make concerning His only begotten Son even before He created Adam. God knew you would commit all the sins you have and still He died for you. Now, let me ask that question again. Are your sins so egregious that you feel God would never forgive such a sinner? Here’s the truth. All the sins of humanity that have been committed against humanity and against our God have been forgiven. They are gone people, never to be remembered by God again. What God does remember is your decision to believe in His only begotten Son, and He remembers all those who reject Him right up to the point of death, then they too will never be remembered again.



While Jesus was pushing up with His feet trying to keep from suffocating to death, as He was in horrible pain from spikes that had been driven into His body securing His body to that old ugly cross which was standing atop Golgotha that day, and this after being beaten to within an inch of giving up life, at this point Jesus was quickly slipping into death mode, yet He had the presence of mind to forgive one of the thieves hanging next to Him who had simply acknowledged who He was.



There was another man on another cross in Jesus’ view that fateful day; a man who the Roman authorities had found guilty of a crime against humanity. He was a thief. He stole from someone and he got caught. The Romans were making a spectacle out of these two men who had both been convicted of the crime of theft as a deterrent to others who might have been contemplating a life of crime. Two guilty men were being punished that day for their complicity in crime, but one of these men saw something – a light that day which was somehow obscured from the view of the other thief as he remained in darkness. Both men knew they were guilty. But only one was forgiven that day. Hanging on His own cross, was another man, the man Jesus Christ who unlike the two thieves was completely innocent of any crime. Yet He too would endure the same punishment as well as certain death just as the two criminals hanging next to Him. But the reality of the purpose of Jesus’ death that day would be remembered by every forgiven sinner for eternity.



The two thieves were both, at the beginning of this horrible episode, very belligerent as they taunted Jesus with snide remarks. As the crowed began their malicious and spiteful insults directed at the God of all creation, the two thieves joined right in. As Jesus began His triumph over death while hanging on that cross, it must have seemed to Him that He was surrounded by nothing but enemies. But instead of reeling off condemnations toward all those who were spewing their venom at Him, He was filled with pity for them. At one point, as He was watching the Roman soldier’s part His garments, He spoke the following to His Father in Heaven “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:34. He was actually asking for forgiveness for the men who drove the spikes into His body. Then many of the on lookers began to ridicule Him “And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.” Matthew 27:40-43. That’s when even the malefactors that hung on crosses next to Him began to chime in. “The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” Matthew 27:44.



After that, strangely enough, one of the thieves began to think about what he was saying. Something touched this onetime thief in a way that gave him pause. Jesus had done nothing wrong and the more the other thief spat his venom at Jesus the more the now repentant thief began to be convicted of his errors. The Holy Spirit had broken through the hard shell exterior of this criminal, and before God Himself the thief became an admitted believer in Christ. His words to the other are quite telling. “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” Luke 23:39-41.



When this man, a criminal, began to speak to the Creator of the universe he was already a believer in his heart, he was born again – born from God. “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-43. What was the works that this man did to be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? What could he possibly have done to warrant God’s grace while hanging on that cross next to Jesus the Christ? He believed, and Jesus pronounced this newly born man justified “Today you will be with me in paradise”. All the man did was to admit that Jesus Christ was Lord. We’re told in the scriptures that no man can say Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Spirit. “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Corinthians 12:3. That one time thief became a son of God in an instant while hanging on that cross, as he first began to formulate his words to ask His Lord to remember him. But what of the other malefactor? Why didn’t he come to the same conclusion while in that most horrible predicament?



Crucifixion was the most horrible of executions for capital punishment judgments the Romans could devise. Apparently they had become well perfected in their craft. In many cases the pain and suffering went on for days. The other thief had to have been reeling in pain while spewing his heated venom at the King of the Jews. The Bible doesn’t give us any indication that this man ever came to a believing faith in Jesus Christ before he died. One thief we’ll meet in Heaven some day, and the other? Well, those of us who have done as the other thief in professing our faith in Christ will never meet the one who refused Christ that day. Sadly, some of those reading this commentary might.



How sinful have you been as you reflect back on the pages of your life? God places no more emphasis on one sin than another. As a matter of fact, since His only begotten Son has covered all sin with His shed blood God the Father is fully prepared to receive each of us into His Kingdom with no more than an affirmative response to Jesus His Son. One thief said yes the other said no. Jesus said to the one “Today you’ll join Me in paradise”, but to the other Jesus said nothing. The other man remained condemned, condemned by the Romans and condemned by his very rejection of the King of kings.



Why don’t people read their Bibles? If they would they’d find there the perfect rebuttal to the erroneous statement “I’ve done way too much to ever be considered a candidate for salvation”. Here’s another instance where an individual considered his life over – not worth saving. “And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ...” Acts 16:27-31a.



The lot of the jailer in the above verses was that if any of his charges were to escape he was held totally responsible for their sentence being completed. These Roman jailers were brutal and had no compassion for those held in their prisons. When this jailer awoke and saw all the doors opened he assumed every inmate was long gone. At that moment he knew he was in a world of hurt. This caused him much grief and he was about to commit suicide when the Apostle Paul spoke out to let the jailer know that they were all still there. That jailer knew at that very moment there is a God and he wanted to know him. Paul told him how to make that want become a reality. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s just as easy for you my friend; you can do that can’t you?



“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. See? Jesus doesn’t beat around the bush nor does He pull His punches. The word “whosoever” is all encompassing. Even that brutal jailer now lives forever in Paradise. You can too, if you’ll only believe.



Let me get some folks stirred up a little. Here’s a statement some will no doubt get their dander up about. Here it comes – ready? No one goes to Hell because of their sins. “Oh Ron, just when I thought you were right on target, off you go on some unbiblical tangent. Aren’t unrepentant sinners condemned to Hell?” Yes. Unrepentant sinners are in real trouble that’s for sure, but if they go to Hell when they die it won’t be because they committed sins. Jesus paid for all of the world’s sin some two thousand years ago. People go to Hell because they’ve thoroughly rejected the payment Jesus Christ made for their sins. Those who reject the Son remain condemned unless they have a change of mind prior to death. The thief that rejected Christ at the cross condemned himself to Hell, and he was no more a sinner than the other man who was saved that day. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. When we become born again we don’t automatically or instantaneously stop sinning. We grow to hate sin but we are still sinners. When we die as a born again believer in Christ we still die as a sinner, but a forgiven sinner with a very different eternal destination (Heaven) than those who’ve rejected their God’s free gift for their salvation (Hell).



How sinful of a life have you led? Your past sinful lifestyle means nothing to God. What matters to God is this, are you willing to say yes to the fact that He paid the price for all sin past present and future with His own blood. Are you able to humble yourself enough to stand before God Almighty and say “Yes Lord, I believe”? If you are able to admit this one simple truth you too can have everlasting life. It really is that simple.



God died one day on an old wooden cross surrounded by unbelievers, by the time He died that day He had already gathered all the world’s sin unto Himself. Let me say that again. He gathered all sin to Himself. You can’t do anything so bad that God would say to you “Sorry my man, you’re just too sinful for Heaven.” And you can’t do anything to earn your salvation – take a lesson from the thief on the cross who did nothing but admit that Jesus Christ is the Lord.



Jesus Christ died for all His creation, He was buried that same day, and then just three days later Jesus our Messiah – God Almighty– arose from the grave. Jesus defeated death, and all who believe in Him will live forever. Believe the truth of this Gospel and you have everlasting life, reject it and you will join the unrepentant thief in his most horrible agony – a much worse agony than the few hours he spent on that cross – Hell is eternal. You see, although he had the same opportunity as the other man, he remained an unrepentant sinner until he died that day. I can still hear him saying “I’ve done way too much to ever be considered a candidate for salvation”. Please – choose Christ and live.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WHAT JESUS DID FOR ME

What Jesus Did For Me

9/22/2011



“And, behold, there came a man named Jairus,…and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come…For he had one only daughter, …and she lay a dying,…he (Jesus) answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole…and (Jesus) took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. …and she arose straightway... And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.” Luke 8:41, 42a 50, 54b, 55b, 56.



The parents of the young girl in the story above, who everyone had supposed had died, (everyone but Jesus that is) we’re astonished at what Jesus had done. Obviously overcome with joy as they received their daughter back from the jaws of death. Certainly they wanted to scream their elation telling everyone what Jesus had done. Jesus charged them to tell no man. What do you think; did they comply with His wishes? Probably not. Lately that same elation has been overwhelming me. I too am now placed in the very real life scenario of wanting to let anybody and everybody know what Jesus did for me. Let me tell you why.



A question I get asked a lot these days is “How are you feeling?” Well, the answer is I feel pretty good. If I may I’ll explain why, starting from the beginning. As many of you know I’ve been fighting a battle with a disease called Myasthenia Gravis. My wife, daughter, and I have a piece of property here in southern Missouri. It’s just a small four acre parcel, but I truly enjoy it. Before my illness I kept our little piece of ground well manicured like a park; this chore had become a labor of love for me. For the past two years my chores had turned into nightmares since I was unable to carry out any of them.



I had endured seven IVIG infusions and a host of drugs had been prescribed by my neurologist to attempt to fend off this horrible debilitating neuro-muscular disease. My health seemed to be as a yo-yo, I’d feel fairly good for a few days then back to full on muscle fatigue. This was the routine since beginning the infusions. Then one day in July seemingly out of nowhere God intervened. I just woke up one morning feeling great. Wow! Praise God! Now I gotta tell somebody what Jesus did for me.



Back in May of this year I wrote a commentary explaining to my readership, that the infusions had worked and I was feeling better. Just after posting that commentary the fatigue came back with a vengeance. Our eldest daughter and her children lived with us at that time and my hematologist told me that the strain and stress was too much for me. He told me that trying to contend with four grandchildren (one of which was just a toddler, and the youngest still an infant) while in the midst of this disease was creating a wall of resistance to the procedures he had put in place as he tried to eradicate, or at least send into remission, the Myasthenia which was attacking my body.



My grandchildren are so important to me, and for the 10 months they lived with us I had become completely captivated by and attached to my infant granddaughter. So much so that we had bonded to a point that I knew I could never give her up. Grandpa, with his disease, wasn’t able to do much in the way of interacting with the other kids, but with the youngest I was able to hold her on my lap and feed her when it was time and everyday she would fall asleep on my chest while I sang to her. But, alas, I did give her up. Our daughter had made the decision to move back to California to pick her life back up, I imagine that means where she left it prior to moving to Missouri. When she took my ten month old granddaughter away I honestly thought I would die. The pain was incredible, far worse than any illness or disease I’d ever endured. I spent weeks in misery, the tears would not stop. Only through the grace and insistence of Almighty God was I able to continue with life and with writing the commentaries.



Just one month after their departure my health greatly improved and God gave me the relief I needed from the horrible depression that had beset me. With my health improvement, my outside chores became something I was looking forward to tackling again. Little by little I ventured out into the midsummer heat attempting to bring a not so good looking yard back to its previous splendor. At first it was a bit overwhelming. I’ve now progressed to a point that I’m able to perform some of my outside chores with little hindrance. God is good, and He gets all the glory.



Why am I telling you all of this? Because I gotta tell somebody what Jesus did for me! Jesus brought me back; He and He alone is responsible for my very improved heath today. No matter what the doctors might think or what the skeptics that read my commentaries might say, I know who healed me. Our family doctor is a great guy, this man is very knowledgeable and he dearly loves his work. He genuinely loves people, thus he makes a great doctor. When I fell into that seemingly bottomless pit which this whole disease experience had caused, my wife and I were convinced that my life was quickly approaching its end, and my doctor also saw the signs that caused him to concur. We had begun to discuss funeral arrangements. Our family doctor suggested it might be time for some hospice care. This all took place just a few weeks before our eldest daughter left for California with our grandchildren.



Needless to say, my doctor was shocked at my incredibly quick recovery, yet not really all that surprised as he also knew who was responsible for the miraculous improvement. When I visited my doctor just a week ago all he could do was simile and congratulate me on my recovery; all I can do is praise God. My doctor asked me that day what I attributed my renewed heath to and I told him – God. He agreed, even with all the marvelous advancements in medical technology, what happened to me was nothing less than a miracle. So, I gotta tell somebody – I gotta tell somebody – what Jesus did for me!



That’s why I am in a renewed posture these days. I want to shout it from the roof top. “Look what Jesus did for me!” It’s no secret what Jesus did for all of us two thousand years ago, not to mention all the miracles He performed. The miracles Jesus does today are just as visible, although these days it’s seldom our God and Savior who receives the glory, but it should be.



It wasn’t long ago that I made a conscience decision to place my life fully into God’s hands, holding nothing back for any reason. I’m His. This is essentially what the mindset of every devoted follower of Jesus Christ should be, which is nothing short of what Paul explains. “…But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16b. The Greek word for mind is “nous” which denotes spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil. All those who are born again have the mind of Christ, so use it.



My life is still in a bit of turmoil these days even after the Myasthenia has disappeared or gone into remission. I will go through knee replacement surgery on the 26th of September. Then after I’m fully recouped I’ll see another doctor about the problem with my esophagus. I’ve had constant reflux for some months now and my doctor is very concerned that there might be a growth down by the area of the junction of the stomach and the esophagus. The main point to all my rambling is to assure everyone who God is and that He is fully involved in the lives of His children. We say “God is in control” but do we mean it? I have no doubt who’s responsible for my much improved health. Just look what Jesus did, and is doing, for me. I spent two years with this disease which was only diagnosed last November. Did I ever think God had abandoned me? Not hardly. Even though the deterioration had caused my wife and I to focus on the end game – God was never dismissed as coach.



Many of my readers, and many more people than that, are in much worse straits than I ever was. On the other hand there are some who will never experience in this life any debilitating physical illness whatsoever. The crux of the matter is, either way, there is an end coming. The Truth which will lead us to everlasting life is always available, the perfect peace given us by Jesus Christ is that everlasting life and it is fully attainable for anyone who desires it. Those of us who have acknowledged the truth of the Gospel of Christ and who now have the mind of Christ are in for an awesome everlasting future. Of course, there will always be those who see no benefit in acknowledging God’s existence or who place no importance in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son for the remission of their sins. Therefore they will experience a very different eternity – one the Bible refers to as Hell.



Babies are born and people die, battles with illnesses come and go, there’s nothing new under the sun. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9. Eternal life is and always has been eternal – there’s nothing new about it. Once we have it, it’s ours for eternity. We can take solace in that fact.



I have a brother in the Lord who, just a few years ago, was in an accident that put an end to his career. That which he had previously held as important began to disappear. He began to see life differently; materialism was no longer his goal. He is now in his early forties, and he has a new focus on life. Jesus Christ has become the most important part of his life and he’ll tell you his future looks brighter now than ever before. Some people fall apart when illness or injury besets them. Others, like this young brother in Christ, simply change their focus. In the process of the loss of his wealth he became the wise man Jesus tells us about. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27.



None of us know when, or if, we will be burdened with a debilitating accident or disease. But we should know who will be there for us when we begin a journey down one of those paths. Some people tell us that Jesus is simply a crutch. Wow, as a disabled follower of Jesus Christ what more could I want than Jesus as a crutch? Now, for all who see those of us who follow Jesus the Christ in a derogatory light – as needing a crutch to get by – allow me to be your teacher for a moment. Another word for crutch is support. What is the purpose for someone needing support? To bear, to hold up, to sustain. Who would be better equipped to sustain us than the Creator of the universe? Even for those who hate Him and wish to be rid of Him once and for all, they too are being sustained (held up) by Jesus Christ (who, while we're on the subject, is God Almighty) every single day. Acknowledge it as truth or not, Jesus is also your support – your sustainer - your crutch if you will. Who in their right mind would refuse Jesus’ love because they simply see Him as a crutch? What a crutch.



Knowing Jesus as Savior, Lord, friend, brother, God Almighty brings a peace which cannot be surpassed. No matter what befalls us, with Jesus living in us we can endure anything. I can’t speak for the rest of you but, I just had to tell everybody, what Jesus did for me!



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed

Thursday, September 15, 2011

CALLED BY HIS NAME

Called By His Name

9/15/2011



“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14. The meaning behind the Hebrew word “shem”, which translates into our English word “name” used in the above verse, references a people who are established in a definite and conspicuous position. Who are those people who are established in the vicarious conspicuous position of being called by His name? Well, certainly the Jewish people, but God speaks to another group here as well.



What hinders God from doing what He’d prefer to do is sin. Whose sin? He’s certainly not speaking of the enemies of God nor is He referring to a bunch of non-believing government bureaucrats steeped in their own personal sins as they steal from their constituency. No, those who His attention is focused on in the verse above, and who He desires to help if they would only humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, already belong to Him. It’s a shock to realize who God is speaking to. “My people who are called by my name”, the wicked people are both Jews and Gentiles. God speaks to both camps. His chosen people are the Jews, yet His Church is also in view here. Wow – a real eye opener, but sadly true. Don’t write and tell me that that verse is an Old Testament verse directed only at the Jewish people of that day. If you honestly believe the above verse doesn’t address Christians then you’ll need to scrap the Bible in its entirety. There is no doubt that God is speaking to His children, born again believers in Christ, as well as His chosen people, the Jews.



If my people, and that’s a big “if”, will do what we should have been doing all along, which is walking with the Lord daily, then God will act upon what we ask of Him. While His people remain outside of His fellowship in their self imposed exile He will remain silent, the healing process will be put on hold until His people come back and embrace that loving fellowship He offers. Does that mean we’re not saved? Absolutely not. Many of God’s children are not walking with Him, they are out of fellowship. Keep in mind that God is calling His people which includes the born again to repentance. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…” John 1:12a. God has given us (the born again) the power to become sons of God. Once a son of God, always a son of God, but being out of fellowship with our Savoir and Lord brings only misery and heartache.



Is there any possibility that God will heal America, a land where the majority of its populous prides themselves on being Christian? Certainly God is fully able to heal our land and bring about the greatness that America once enjoyed, but will He? A nation where the vast majority of citizens claim to be Christian should not be in such trouble, especially as we see is the case today stretching from sea to shining sea. Where are all the prayer warriors?



Talk is cheap; I’ve stated it many times in past commentaries. Just because someone stakes a claim to being a Christian doesn’t really mean they are. There is a growing segment of Americans who are repulsed by those of us who claim to be “born again” and some of these folks actually profess to be Christians themselves. In the third chapter of the book of John, Jesus told Nicodemus that the only way to see the Kingdom of Heaven is to be born again. It’s fairly obvious that if a person is repulsed at the thought of being born again, that would be a real deterrent to ever seeing the Kingdom of Heaven.



Surely if the populous of the US were actually followers of Jesus Christ we could be fairly certain they’d be praying for God to heal their land and forgive their sins. This land, as far as I can see, is not being healed. Therefore either those who are called by His name are not turning from their wicked ways or the nation is made up of mostly in name only Christians. Today as never before in our history, America is in desperate need of healing, and the lost of this nation are going to be no help to the born again in asking God for His intervention. And if the born again don’t ask, well…



Prayer is extremely important in God’s economy. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16b. “Much of our prayer is not effective simply because it is not fervent. It is offered with a lukewarm attitude that virtually asks God to care about something that we care little about. Effective prayer must be fervent, not because we must emotionally persuade a reluctant God, but because we must gain God’s heart by being passionate for the things He is fervent for.” – David Guzik



A fervent prayer initiated by whom? A “righteous man”. His fervent prayer will avail much, and the humble prayers presented to God by those who are called by His name will result in the fulfillment of a spoken promise by the One who calls us by His name. That same promise will not come to fruition if those who are called by His name remain steadfast in their wicked ways and silent when it comes to sending up petitions to the Creator of the universe.



That verse of 2 Chronicles is presented in commentary after commentary, and has been for some time now. Many letters that come to me have that prayer inserted at the bottom, people are attempting to spread that verse around as a prayer for all to read and repeat. Always, as it is used in commentaries, it’s seen as a call to arms so to speak, but so far it doesn’t seem to have many adherents. How can I say that? Is there anyone out there that actually believes that God has healed, or is in the process of healing, our land? On the contrary, America is in dire straits. Only by calling on the One true God by those who place their faith and trust in Him, and Him alone for salvation, can the many plagues permeating this land be eradicated.



God has called all of His Children to prayer. Not just those who are actually active in prayer, but those who neglect prayer as well. In God’s directive of 2 Chronicles I don’t see where God is allowing for the possibility that if some will turn from their evil ways – pray – seek His face – then He’ll act. No! All of His people, all who are called by His name must turn from their evil ways and do as He has commanded.



Are the faithful asleep? There seems to be a vast majority of those who’ve placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ who haven’t a clue as to what’s coming next. Those who are in tune with God and His word know that there will be some bad times (persecutions – tribulations – trials) which the Church will be forced to endure while we await the Rapture. What those times will consist of no one knows for sure. But we will be hated more and more for Christ’s sake and we can all see that those days are somewhat upon us now. Petitioning God’s help is our only hope and will be, in the near future, our only recourse as we see avenue after avenue beginning to close to those who follow the true Creator of the universe, Jesus the Christ.



A year ago I wrote a commentary titled “Time Has Come – Let’s Pray” which garnered a positive reaction from folks all over the world. I was thrilled with such a response and I was fairly confident we would begin to see a difference very soon. My brethren were convicted and they told me so. They were going to begin to diligently pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways. Surely there would be a full on trek back into fellowship with the One and only God of all creation. Did it happen? Did those who are called by His name begin their journey back to that place where they could continue in an awesome relationship with their Savior and Lord? I hope so. But I honestly believe that many professing Christians are so tied to this world, and the idea of instant gratification, that when they see no instant benefit in prayer they cease their communication with God. Then they do the unspeakable, they do an about face and instead of continually calling on God, they call on the governments of the world to attempt to clean up the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into on this planet, all the while continuing in their wicked ways.



Today it seems that instead of being concerned with the things of God, more and more believers in Christ are fully absorbed by the conditions of our times. Instead of relying on God and being in the center of His will, many have caved and bowed to the government and now are fully reliant on that very ungodly entity as their provider of basic needs. His people called by His name, in their quest for their perceived fair share, have neglected the One who loves them and freely gives with no strings attached. How do born again believers in Christ humble themselves before their God? By repenting of their evil ways and then turning away from sin.



The end is very near now and the healing of this land may be, for all intents and purposes, a moot point, but turning from our wicked ways, that’s something that should be paramount on our minds. From here on out nothing of this world should be attracting us. Think about it, what is the attraction of this planet now? Surely we’re repulsed by the cold heartedness permeating our society today. Do the lies coming out of our Federal Government seem attractive? Not hardly. Money? Love? Possessions? Nothing can compare to Heaven and that’s what we need to set as the priority of our thinking these days. The words “this world is not my home” needs to be believed now more than ever. This world is not our home; it is a place where we currently sojourn but only temporarily. If this world is so vastly important to you then I have some very disturbing and disappointing news, it will soon be completely destroyed by fire. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10. This biblical scenario is not too far off in mankind’s future.



The children of God have a new home being prepared for them which will never be destroyed, never be attacked, entropy will never enter therein. If you don’t want to leave earth with all its beauty then you must not believe your Heavenly home can transcend the earthly. Are we looking forward to Heaven, or are we simply giving lip service to something we perceive as only fantasy? If you are not looking forward to Heaven you will be of no earthly good to the Kingdom of God while here on earth. Only those who have disentangled themselves from the worldly know for certain that their future Heavenly home awaits them, new and perfect in its place.



If His people will turn from their evil ways and pray He will hear from Heaven, all of their prayers. But we must pray, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23-24. What an awesome promise given to us by the one who died for us. Neglecting to call on the Lord in prayer simply ties His hands. He wants us involved in the fellowship. It isn’t to be one sided. Let Him hear from you, that’s what He tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14. He needs to hear from His people. When those prayers are sent up to God in earnest, then will He hear and act. This nation of ours might just remain intact while His Church remains prayerful and in fellowship with their God.



When all is said and done, this moment of time that we occupy is nothing more than a vapor. Trusting God is our only hope in a world which has a majority of folks who have no use for God whatsoever. God, in His directive of 2 Chronicles, is only asking those who are called by His name – His children – to pray. If you’re still not sure, allow me make it perfectly clear just who His Children are. We are those who Jesus refers to as being able to see the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes we’re sinners, yes we stumble from time to time, and yes we sometimes become adversely entangled in the evils of this world. That’s why the 2 Chronicles directive is as important to God as it should be to each of us. Read it again, ““If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.” Now place it prominently in your memory banks – never to be forgotten – quote it often – then act upon it.



As born again believers in Christ, called by His name, we can see Heaven, our future home, and we know we will be there one day. It’s as though we see the future as we forget the past. Can you see it? No? Then you know what you must do.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed

Thursday, September 08, 2011

EMBEDDED ( Satanic ) WORDS

Embedded (Satanic) Words

9/8/2011



“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14. Embedded in our English vocabulary is a word so opposed to God that its origin must be satanic. As followers of Jesus Christ our words are extremely important, especially to our God. The words which we emphasize in our daily conversation place a lot of responsibility on us as to just what we believe about our Creator. God always wants our speech to be edifying to others, and always, we should be using our words in a way that would glorify our perfect and awesome God. Through conversations with others we can tell just who it is they worship. As we listen to the vocabulary words of various individuals it doesn’t take long to come to the conclusion that they aren’t, nor do they have any intention of, worshipping the Most High God – Creator of Heaven and Earth.



Our words speak volumes about who we are and just who it is that resides within our hearts. There are only two apparent entities that are to be placed in the category of those receiving worship. God is the only One who deserves our worship, but since Satan has been attempting to usurp God’s authority for eons he too is placed in the category of likely recipients of worship. There is a huge difference in words that are acceptable to God and the words Satan will accept. Our words reflect in which camp we place our worship. Jesus tells us “He that is not with me is against me…” Matthew 12:30a. Since this is how God sees each individual on planet earth, whose side we’re on is easily discerned by our very words.



There are many words in our English language that have, over time, become the norm in every day speech. Some of these words are so rooted in our lives and those around us that it becomes almost impossible to refrain from using them. Many words have no place in the vocabulary of a born again believer in Christ. But there is one word in particular that is set apart from the rest and is pure satanic in its origin and nature. Since writing my first commentary on this subject some months ago I’ve tried to avoid this word in my everyday conversations and have been apologetic any time it has slipped out unintentionally. What word am I talking about? “Luck”. Luck is the word that is so entrenched in our English language that even if you begin today consciously attempting to circumvent this word you’ll find it very difficult, if not impossible, to avoid.



There are, of course, many words put to use in our English language every single day, even slang words, which don’t glorify God, but that doesn’t mean they are satanic words with an evil and sick agenda. So what can the enemy’s agenda be by introducing this seemingly innocent word “luck” into our daily existence? Let’s first take a look at the various applications where the word “luck” is used every day. Then we will take a similar look into how often we offend our Father in Heaven by employing this word every day.



Before we venture any further into the realm of luck, there is one scripture verse that seems quite appropriate at this juncture. “And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” Acts 12:23. You say that’s a pretty harsh response on God’s part just because Herod gave not glory to God. Well here’s another little tidbit of information gleaned from the scriptures for the skeptic who sees no problem in attributing anything to luck instead of to God’s grace and for His glory. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7. The word “luck” has no place in God’s economy of words.



Are you ready? Here we go then. “Wow, how lucky can you get?” “That was sheer luck.” “You sure got lucky that time.” “How much luck can a person have?” “I pulled that one off by luck and happenstance.” “He’s so lucky.” “Why do they have all the luck?” Okay, you get the point, and I’m sure you all have a vast array of similar slogans you too could add to this short list, which proves my point. What we are doing as a race of created beings by using this word (luck) as a way of referring to what should be considered blessings from God, is we are attributing all the glory for those blessings we’ve received, or others have received from God, unto Satan, God’s adversary. We should be very careful about what we sow, for that is what we shall reap. Taking the glory from God and giving it to Satan won’t bode well with the One who should be receiving all the glory.



Satan introduced this word into our vernacular for one purpose, and that was to draw all attribution for blessings away from God. Why? So he could, with the help of God’s created beings, elevate himself to the state of godhood. Satan has always aspired to steal God’s glory. God, our Creator and Savior, is the giver of all good gifts, yet we give the glory to Satan by repeating any one of the above “luck” phrases. Each time something good comes our way and Satan is given the glory, God is mocked. It really gives you something to think about doesn’t it?



You may consider my condemnation of the word “luck” as harsh; moreover some of you might think Ron is over the top. But when you get right down to understanding the extent in which that word is used today you will soon see that God is not being praised or glorified whenever we substitute the word “luck” for blessings from God. Go ahead, answer me how can God be pleased with His children when they constantly refer to His blessing as nothing more than dumb luck? Who’s the real dummy spoke of here?



Satan’s agenda is to remove God from the minds of all humanity. He goes about his satanic agenda in ways we would hardly think evil. How can a little four letter word like “luck” be considered a part of an evil agenda by the one adversary who hates God more than we humans can even comprehend? Here’s the rub, it is not so much the word spoken but in what reference it is spoken and by whom. When born again believers in Christ refer to the wonderful things happening in their life as luck it’s the same as poking their finger in the eye of their Heavenly Father.



What would happen to that word if we all refused to use it or repeat it as part of our vocabulary? It would disappear. Sure, Satan would soon replace it with another just as offensive word to God, but it would be a red flag to any believer in Christ who knew the significance of words that attempt to replace God by placing His glory on someone else or even something else.



Can we, should we simply ignore words in our vocabulary which seem innocuous? What if, after reviewing certain words we find them to be an offense to God? What then? I have determined to stop using the word “luck” in my every day speech. Actually I’ve been attempting to discard it from my list of usable vocabulary words for some time now. At a point not too distant in my past, my vocabulary was riddled with profanity; words which I literally gave no thought to as to how my Creator would consider my speech. Yes, it was during my past life, before I died to self and became a son of God. My language was not at all edifying nor did my words glorify God in any way. But now that I’ve been washed in the blood of Christ I count the cost of all words in my vocabulary. Personally, it means a lot to me to do everything in my limited power to refrain from grieving the Holy Spirit. I believe the word “luck” is a huge attack on the sovereignty of God, and perpetuated by God’s number one adversary.



When those of us who know fully who we are (children of God) use words that blatantly remove God’s sovereignty and hand that sovereignty over to His enemy, we should be more than merely ashamed, we should be in tears. The problem, as I see it, is that most people who use that word “luck” (and I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t) have no clue as to the real meaning. Therefore they see it only as an expression of pleasure at seeing themselves or someone else receive something they didn’t deserve. “How lucky can you get” diminishes the God given blessing they just received while stealing God’s glory and giving it to Satan.



What is the derivation of the word “luck”? Honestly, placing it into a search engine will bring up a few million different ideas, but here’s the one that actually best fits the bill. Luck is derived from the name of God’s enemy – Lucifer . If we understand the idea behind the use of this word we can see who initiated the first use of it. Then we can attribute it to its rightful originator. Lastly we can discontinue using it as a means to rob God while glorifying Satan.



Look at it this way. When that word is used as a congratulatory sentiment referring to someone’s good fortune it conjures up all sorts of possibilities as to who is responsible for the fortunate set of circumstances that has just occurred. Leprechaun’s, tooth fairies, you name it, but seldom does God come to mind as the Benefactor who is actually responsible.



We as a society are becoming more and more desensitized; we are continually saying yes we approve of what was at one time forbidden or objectionable. Nowadays, especially here in America, the norm is to attribute a huge majority of God’s blessings to the “luck” of the draw. Actually every time we allow this abomination to occur God becomes less important in our daily lives and Lucifer (Satan) is elevated closer to his desired state of godhood. The nonchalant attitude these days toward our use of this extremely satanic word is so pervasive that it’s a wonder God ever receives any of the glory do Him. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,” Romans 1:21. Be very careful, my brethren, about giving God’s intended Glory to another.



“Let your speech be alway with grace…Colossians 4:6. Words can give glory to God and they can take away His glory. Let’s be sure to glorify God in all things. Why give any glory to the one who only wants to see us destroyed? Think about it.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed

Monday, September 05, 2011

WHERE HAVE ALL THE DEMONS GONE

Where Have all the Demons Gone

9/1/2011



“A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.” Proverbs 14:6. Most people today simply shrug off any idea that demons might actually be a real phenomenon. The desensitizing of the populous has been very successful, in fact the very thought of demons and fallen angels conjures up, in the minds of average folks, nothing more than ghouls and goblins making ready to do their thing at Halloween. The fact is demons, and their leader Satan, do exist and are very active in the world today. Only the foolish say “There is no such a thing as demons.”



The kind of thinking that dominates many of our western cultures today is that there is no such thing as a devil, therefore demons and the whole idea of fallen angels is ridiculous. This is of course exactly where Satan wants our thinking to remain. He has been working in the media for many years trying to change his image from the malevolent supernatural enemy of God and man to one of a cartoon character that no one need fear. He’s seen as a strange character with a red skintight suit, horns, a long pointed tail, and his weapon of choice is a pitch fork. Laughable yes, especially when you consider what the Bible says about his appearance. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14.



A process of disinformation is at hand dismissing any idea that demons are real and thus relegating them to nothing more than myth and fairytales. Even many Christians these days have fallen for the same desensitizing efforts of the enemy and simply dismiss the fact that demons are present with us today; they too will do anything to disassociate themselves from any notion that demons are real. Demons, fallen angels, and the master of them all (Satan) are only present in books and if they were ever roaming the earth it was during some long past bygone era. Sure, demons may have been present during the time Jesus Christ walked the hills of Judea and the country of the Gadarenes, but after all, we know the Bible tells us that Jesus ushered them all into a herd of swine. All demons?



Demons are disembodied spirits. In other words, they had bodies at one time but are now bodiless, thus what do you suppose is their most sought after and treasured possessions? You guessed it, living bodies. The bodies that they prefer are those where they find no obstructions, bodies that voice no objections to these entities moving right into their new habitat. It’s not difficult to attract demons; people do it all the time. The difficult part is ousting them once they’ve taken up residence in a human body. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2. Just as Paul the Apostle mentions, some folks have entertained angels unawares, so too have many folks entertained demons and gone a step further, they’ve invited demons to dwell within their own bodies, most of the time unawares.



Demons are present everywhere and poised to pounce like a lion hidden and waiting on its prey. Give them the opportunity and they will take advantage of the situation while fully exploiting the human being as they take control of that person’s self-will. God’s word is specific about what not to do in regards to attracting demons. God’s prohibitions are for the good of all humanity. He doesn’t want anyone to attract and invite demons to embed themselves in a human body, mind, and heart. They are spirit and all they need is a portal in which to enter and set up residence in a human’s body. Portals are easy to open, but they must be opened by a human being. The demon, or demons, can’t just come in, they must first be invited, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the invitation must be given. These bottom dwellers are not really very picky but they are tenacious, they will wait, and wait until a human invites them into their new habitat. There are many opportunities for a human to open a portal and allow a demon to enter.



Side note:

Now, before I go any further let me explain that those of us who are born again believers in Christ cannot be indwelt by a demon or demons. We are already indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God and He doesn’t share space with malevolent misfits. But, and here’s the rub, Christians can allow a demon to erect a stronghold over their lives whenever they get into something they shouldn’t and that something becomes an addiction. Very tough to break away from addictions.



So how do folks go about inviting the enemy to come in and take up residence within their bodies? I hesitate to even pursue this any further as there may be some reading this commentary who will actually try it just to see if it works. Let me first put this warning in place: Believer or non-believer, don’t attempt any of the following exercises since in either case the result will be horrendous, and in many cases irreversible. Remember. if you’re not an in Christ, born again believer you can be demon possessed. It doesn’t matter who you are, demons want and need embodiment and anybody will do.



Opening a portal or entry point for a demon isn’t difficult, but it does take placing one’s self in a posture that is contrary to God. An obvious way to invite a demon in is the use of drugs and alcohol, which leave a person vulnerable to a supernatural, malevolent invasion. Another door opener is meditation coupled with speaking a word over and over (a mantra) which ultimately opens the portal to the supernatural world and allows the demons unabated entry.



Many people these days are attracted to meditation and yoga exercises which are purposely designed for attracting spirit guides (demons). When folks adhere to a practice of meditation, along with the process of clearing a person’s mind, that’s all the invitation a demon needs to enter. The process is quick and simple, and soon a demon will be attracted to that person as they recognize their opportunity has come to grasp hold and never let go of their new residence. Playing with a Ouija board is another way to open a portal for the demons, the ominous children’s game dungeons and dragon is another, a pursuit of mysticism, getting involved in witchcraft, these are all ways to open portals and invite spirit guides (demons) into your life.



Some people get involved in what’s known as “necromancy”. Necromancy is defined as the conjuring of the spirits of the dead. Why would anyone want to do such a thing? Most of the time, the purpose is for very selfish reasons. They believe that summoning the dead to this present time and dimension can magically reveal the future or that they (the dead) can influence the course of events. The Bible refers to necromancy as “divination, sorcery and spiritism” and all are practices that are forbidden by God. The word of God is quite specific concerning the prohibition of necromancy; God refers to it as an abomination. It is something that the Lord speaks very strongly against and it is to be avoided as much as any evil.



The idea that dead people’s spirits can be contacted for information is false. Those who attempt such contact inevitably contact demonic spirits, not the spirits of dead loved ones. Those who die go immediately to heaven or hell – heaven if they believed in Jesus as Savior, and Hell if they did not. “…neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.” Leviticus 19:26b. Also “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD:” Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Of course there are many prohibitions given to us from our Creator which people will ultimately ignore, but the practice of necromancy is far beyond dangerous, it’s a set course that results in demonic possession which in many cases is irreversible.



Necromancy is always going to involve demons. Anyone who practices it opens themselves up to a massive demonic attack. Satan and his demons seek to destroy human beings; their intention is not to communicate to humans truth or wisdom, but pure lies. We are told to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:8.



There is no contact between the dead and the living. The Lord’s own account of the rich man and Lazarus tells how communication and/or travel back and forth between the living and the dead is not possible. Part of the conversation between Abraham and the rich man gives the answer to the idea of contacting the dead. “between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Luke 16:26. Therefore, if those who have died can’t pass from the torment side of Hades to Abraham’s bosom or vice versa, they certainly aren’t able to come back to where the living reside.



On the other hand contact with the supernatural, malevolent spirit world is quite possible, but God says don’t even attempt to do so. Our sole/soul contact in the here and now and any other dimension is God Almighty, no conversation with any other entity is to be pursued. There’s a very good reason God gave us His word containing His many precepts which contain, among many exaltations, prohibitions – which are always meant for the good of mankind. Many have turned a deaf ear to any warnings concerning contact with the spirit world or to the fact that this world is replete with demons.



There seems to be a very intense draw to the unknown and humans have an innate desire to pursue after that which should be left alone. Therefore, no matter how much we might attempt to warn some folks concerning these malevolent spirit guides, our warnings seem only to provide the catalyst which acts to reinforce their resolve in their pursuit to initiate some form of communication between them and demons.



Still, many others today simply refuse to believe in the fact that supernatural beings exist whether benevolent or malevolent, but the worst part is the spirits that accept contact from humans are quite hostile to humans. When these hostile beings (demons) take control of people their departure is never a foregone conclusion. As I’ve already stated, demons are quite tenacious and when they acquire a new home they aren’t going to be inclined to vacate the premises without quite the prolonged battle. Many human lives have been destroyed by demons not willing to turn control back over to the rightful owner.



Believing in demons and fallen angels is not difficult for the informed Bible student, but for those who are without any spiritual discernment, demons and the fallen angels – the spirit dimension – becomes not only hard to grasp, but in some cases an impossibility. Most folks today, rather than acknowledging the truth about demons, simply ignore the facts while attempting to live in a demon infested world. Ignoring the fact that demons exist won’t make them go away. The problem with this kind of thinking is that the demons will have them whether they believe in them or not. They don’t need for humans to believe in them, only the openness of mind to allow them to have access.



Satan doesn’t want you to believe he exists. On the contrary, he functions quite well in the arena of unbelief. When he’s resisted he’s useless, powerless, and he must flee from those who resist him “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7b. He already owns those who reject Christ, and he’s doing everything in his power to disrupt the lives of those who no longer belong to him. When Christians refuse to believe in Satan and his minions of evil they’ve fallen for his lies. Sooner or later they too will find that the reality is demons are very prevalent and quite busy in these last days. No, these aren’t just costumed pranksters wearing masks; they are pure evil amassed to destroy humanity. They are relentless as they understand all too well their days are numbered. You don’t believe demons, fallen angels, and the Devil exist? Trick or Treat ?



God bless you all,



Ron Graham



twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed