Saturday, October 27, 2012

FREE INDEED

Free Indeed
10/18/2012
 
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” John 8:12. How many professing Christians truly understand Jesus’ words here? Better yet, how many of those individuals believe His words? When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees He explained many things, but most of them were not able to understand because they did not truly know God. He told those Pharisees that sinners are slaves to sin. Yet if the Son were to make them free they would be free indeed. Because the Pharisees didn’t believe that Jesus was their Messiah they didn’t understand His words. You and I do believe Jesus is our Messiah, so we should not only understand His words we should believe them. The Son has set us free from the slavery of sin. Why then are so many professing Christians so incredibly oppressed with the guilt of sin? The answer lies in the truth. If we don’t believe God’s truth then the Son cannot set us free from the bondage of sin.
 
We are all sinners and deserving of eternal punishment. Deserving is one thing, but actually being subjected to that punishment will never become a reality for those of us who are born again. Why is that truth so hard to grasp? There is no punishment or judgment awaiting the righteous children of God. What is waiting is an eternity with Jesus our Lord; that fact alone needs to be acknowledged by every born again believer in Christ for what it is – pure joy. Joy is of the Lord and that joy is uncontaminated, spotless, perfect, and it is ours.
 
The fact is, erroneous beliefs due to Bible verses being taken out of context or verses which have been misinterpreted have become so commonplace that many Christians now believe they can lose what God has given them and that their sins will keep them out of Heaven. The following is a good example of a verse commonly misinterpreted. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27. Many Christians see this verse as proof that we, the children of God, must stand before Him to be judged, and that judgment is not going to be pretty. Not so. Judgment is reserved for the damned not the justified righteous in Christ. Yes, every man is appointed to die once. This includes those who are taken in the Rapture. Those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the born again, have already died once. We’ve died to our old self and have been reborn. We cannot and will not die again; from the time we become a child of God we are eternally alive. These bodies we currently occupy will perish or they will be changed in the twinkling of an eye into our glorified eternal bodies, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. The Christ rejecters of this world are the only ones who need concern themselves with God’s coming judgment.
 
Hebrews 9:27 tells us that everyone dies once and then are judged, but the very next verse says “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28. This verse explains that Christ’s sacrifice was a once for all time historical event. There is no more sacrifice for sin. All those who have looked to Jesus Christ for salvation will be recognized as His. Sin will never again be associated with those who are truly Christ’s redeemed.
 
There is a lot of misunderstanding about sin and how sin is associated with the children of God. Are we justified/saved? Yes. Do we still sin? Yes. There seems to be a paradox in those two questions, especially considering the answers are both in the affirmative. But there really isn’t any paradox. God justified us the very instant we first believed in His only begotten Son. We are now the “just”, we now live our lives by faith, at least we should. We have been set free from the bondage of sin – free indeed. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. …now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:18, 22. Now that we are free from the bondage of sin, our lives should produce, as the Holy Spirit directs, much fruit. I can’t say it enough or make it plainer, the truly born again will never be held accountable for sin. Even though we occasionally stumble and commit sins, God has justified us and we are now His righteous children who He sees as sinless.
 
Therefore the judgment spoken of in Hebrews 9:27 is a judgment awaiting all those who have rejected God’s free gift of salvation. There is no judgment for the children of God now that we have been set free from the bondage of sin.
 
Another misinterpretation of scripture lies in the following verse. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10. This “judgment seat of Christ” is somewhat of a misnomer. Our English word “judgment” needs to be qualified when we look at the Greek word from which it is translated. The Greek word is “Bema”, which means seat or throne. Christ is not going to be judging us (His Bride) in terms of punishment. His “Bema” seat will be a place in Heaven where He will be handing out rewards to all the faithful, which are those who followed the instructions of the Holy Spirit in producing fruit unto holiness. It’s sort of like an awards ceremony after the Olympics. These rewards will be given to all those who performed Holy Spirit inspired “good” works, but keep in mind that our works have nothing to do with our Salvation. Salvation/justification was fully accomplished in our lives when we first believed. The reference to “bad” in that verse is in reference to those who, even though they are saved/justified, will not receive any rewards at all because their works were not good, but rather done with selfish motives – not Holy Spirit inspired.
 
There are many truly born again Christians out there who are continually beating themselves up because they stumble (sin) now and then. If I’ve heard the words once I’ve heard them a hundred times “I think I may have committed the unpardonable sin”. Let me just say right at the get go that committing an unpardonable sin is quite impossible for anyone born again. Even the lost and perishing of this world are not condemned because of sin but because of their rejection of Christ. Jesus Christ’s death on that cross was the payment for the sin of the world. If we truly believe He did what the Bible says He did, how then can there still be an unforgiveable or unpardonable sin floating around? As God Almighty, wouldn’t Jesus have known whether or not He’d overlooked one?
 
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” John 19:30. This statement should give us cause to pause and ponder just what it was that Jesus finished. If you had been there at the foot of that cross, and you spoke Greek, you would have heard Jesus speak the following word “Teleo” and you would have understood that word to mean “It is finished, there’s nothing else to be done – I paid it all.” Jesus would never be sacrificed again for sins. Why? There’s no need. His perfect sinless blood was abundantly sufficient to cover all sin, from the past to the present and all future sins as well. 
 
I’ve said it many times in past commentaries. No one who is currently taking up space in the abode of the damned is there because of the sins they committed while alive on this planet. They are there for one reason. Every single soul in that horrible place is there for eternity because they rejected Jesus Christ. They are Christ rejecters. They made their choice while alive and they are now relegated to spend eternity in the most horrible place ever imagined.
 
Now let’s get back to the unpardonable sin. The two verses that are so often misunderstood and taken to mean an unpardonable sin are in Matthew chapter 12. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” Matthew 12:31-32. To get the flavor of what has just transpired we must go back a few verses. “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Matthew 12:24. The leadership of the Nation of Israel had just determined, and then publically pronounced, that Jesus Christ was indeed Beelzebub – Satan.
 
The Pharisees had committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by stating that Jesus was Satan. The Holy Spirit always points us to Jesus as God and Savior. Referring to Jesus as Satan was tantamount to calling the Holy Spirit a liar. Therefore in pronouncing that Jesus was Beelzebub, their rejection of Jesus as Messiah became final. Suddenly that generation of Israelites had become a cursed nation. National Israel, by rejecting their Messiah, had committed blasphemy and Jesus – God Almighty – would certainly take action. Jesus pronounced that curse on them. Thus as a nation they could no longer be forgiven, neither in this life nor in the life to come. Although the curse was on National Israel, and more specifically that particular generation, it was not on individual Jews. They were still free to choose Jesus, and those who did were given everlasting life.
 
So, today as we look at the concept of an unpardonable sin we can see there is no such thing. God is not about to tell us He paid the full price for all sin and then renege by saying “Oh, well there is that one unpardonable sin that slipped by me and is still lingering out there – be careful”. Not a chance, all sin has been covered by the prefect blood of the Lamb.
 
Judgment is in the future of mankind but it only applies to those who reject Christ in this life. The blinders are in place to obscure the truth, but once the Holy Spirit gets through to the stiff-necked of this world the Son can set them free and then they too shall be free indeed. Have you been set free?
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed
 
My new website is: www.straitandnarrowministry.com the email for the site is ron@straitandnarrowministry.com I will be adding all of my past commentaries to the site as time allows. Please come for a visit. All the commentaries are public domain.

Friday, October 26, 2012

MELDING EPOCHS

Melding Epochs
10/25/2012
 
“And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” Genesis 6:7. In the days leading up to the flood of Noah wickedness not only prevailed but was so pervasive it had fully tainted mankind. This wickedness put God in a very precarious position. God was actually sorry He had created man and He had no choice but to wipe out the huge majority of His creation and begin again. Let’s take just a moment to contemplate the severity of that wicked world and how God’s only recourse was a worldwide flood to purge wickedness from earth.
 
First, a question: If God Almighty, the Creator of the Heavens and earth, couldn’t come up with an alternative to the full destruction of every living thing on land to remove the wickedness, is it even possible for mankind today to get a glimpse of just how evil those people had become? Currently we may be somewhat limited in our attempts to fully grasp that epoch’s wickedness. There is a lot of wickedness that has sprang up in the last few centuries that must, in some respects, equal the evil of earth’s first civilization. That being the case, we can see that in many ways that pre-flood wickedness has re-emerged and is now melding itself into today’s culture.
 
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,” Matthew 24:37-38. These verses are nothing less than a warning; a warning that was spoken by God Almighty to His creation almost two thousand years ago. Regardless of what you’ve been led to believe concerning the days of Noah, something much more sinister occurred during those days than just two factions of people marrying. Something incredibly evil transpired which brought God’s ire to a point that He became so exasperated that He determined to destroy His creation, and it had to do with malevolent supernatural beings. 
 
God’s wrath resulted in total annihilation, “…both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air…” of that epoch (save those which went on the Ark). God’s word tells us the same is going to happen again in the last days just prior to our Lord’s return. It is imperative that we study the words as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be without presuppositions. The last days of planet earth prior to Jesus’ return will be as the days of Noah were – completely overcome with wickedness, once again leaving God with no alternative but another cleansing.    
 
What has this present world to do with the lost world of the antediluvians? Well, let’s see, first of all they were human beings. Secondly, they were living as though God did not exist. Sound familiar? They were enjoying many of the same satanic pleasures that have trapped our society today. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. Remember this simple warning: anything that takes our minds of Jesus is of a satanic nature.
 
We must understand that man’s wickedness on earth had exceeded God’s mercy. Any similarities come to mind between our current society and the excessive wickedness of the antediluvians? Jesus’ explanation of the days of Noah is strikingly similar to that of our society today. He tells us they (the antediluvians) were eating and drinking, they were marrying and that they were given in marriage. Yet what’s the infraction? Marriage between a man and a woman is God sanctioned, and we all need to eat and drink to stay alive.
 
Well let’s see “every imagination of the thoughts of his (man’s) heart was only evil continually.” When we combine the verses of Genesis 6 with Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 we can easily see that what Jesus was alluding is this: there would be no differences between the evil that had infested the antediluvian world and that of the last days of planet earth just prior to His return. Everything the antediluvians did, their intentions and their desires, were filled with wickedness. A simple perusal of the nightly news will enlighten even the hardened skeptic as to the obvious burgeoning similarities between the two cultures.
 
Since that particular era of mankind’s history came to a close, men’s hearts have been growing exponentially toward wickedness. Today we may marvel at the escalating wickedness in our various nations, but be advised we are very close to mirroring those antediluvians in all earth’s cultures today.
 
By viewing our own wicked society today we can deduce that a complete disregard concerning the sanctity of life must have been prevalent in that epoch of man’s history, especially since today we can plainly see that man’s imagination includes every form of evil. Hatred resulting in murder and other violence was surely commonplace in the days of Noah. Rape, incest, lying, thievery, all of the proceeding and many more evils would undoubtedly have been fully manifested in those days preceding the flood. Perhaps they were as consumed with aborting innocent lives while still in the womb just as our civilizations are today. Or perhaps they did as the later Canaanite’s and Israelites did and placed their newborns into the flaming arms of their idol god Moloch to be burned alive. Since we are considering the blatant wickedness of those times, perhaps we should consider that that early civilization had become consumed with lust which would have certainly included homosexuality and bestiality. Not only man but the beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air of Noah’s day had to be destroyed. Why?
 
Mankind had become the epitome of wickedness. Every imagination of his heart had played out in the form of evil and had completely consumed the antediluvian civilization. Therefore, perhaps the marrying and given in marriage was a reference to men marrying men and women marrying women. Obviously this is a prevailing tendency today, and surely God knew this abomination would be the inclination of men’s hearts as the approaching last days came into view.
 
Did these antediluvians know that their world was evil or were they simply going about their lives as did their fathers? Were they even told of the calamity that was coming upon that God-rejecting world? Who would tell them these things? Two godly men, Enoch and Noah. Enoch had walked with God for three hundred years, and we are told in the book of Jude that he was a prophet of God. Therefore Enoch undoubtedly did as prophets do – he prophesied of the coming judgment that would befall those people. Notwithstanding, that era of civilization surely heard the preaching of Noah before the door to the Ark was shut behind him. But all prophesying and preaching was to no avail, and the similarities between the two civilizations (then and now) continue just as Jesus warned.
 
The people of this current age have heard a lot of preaching, much more than any other period of human history. Yet in this current age, even though calamity is at the door the majority of people refuse to heed the warnings of those doing the preaching. For the most part the population of the world has abandoned the One true God. Why? What seems to be the national pastime these days that drives a wedge between the creation and the Creator? Pleasure and convenience. The world seeks after pleasure and life conveniences at breakneck speeds. Also lying and cheating have become so common it’s hard to find people who don’t participate in these two arenas. We are eating in great abundance (for the most part not from our own toil), we are drinking to excess, and society has now overwhelmingly condoned the one extreme lifestyle that brought about God’s most incredible judgments, homosexuality. Obviously humanity will never learn from their prior mistakes.
 
“Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:4. This is the response of the scoffers. Just as in the days leading up to the flood the people ignored the warnings of the prophet Enoch and the preacher Noah. Today as we hear warnings of devastation coming upon planet earth, it’s the scoffer’s response to mock and ridicule the watchmen, evangelists, and all the true followers of Jesus Christ. Sadly, today the defiance coming from the scoffers is palpable, even though our end grows ever so close, just as it must have been in the days prior to the flood waters consuming the antediluvian scoffers.
 
Jesus told His disciples what the signs would be which would signal the last days, and those signs are occurring today. That’s how close we are to the end. When the Ekklesia of Christ is removed from earth, the evil that is being restrained will be fully unleashed on an unsuspecting, unbelieving populous of Christ rejecters. The mercy of God can be attributed to His longsuffering. There’s no difference in the mercy which God showed the antediluvians and the mercy He is showing us today. How much longer you ask? That depends on how much longer God will endure the burgeoning wickedness of His creation. He promises there will be a termination point and He’s given us observable signs so we can be prepared. 
 
What most of Christendom today can’t seem to grasp is that the same wickedness which manifested during those antediluvian days has become apparent in our current epoch. When the restrainer is taken out of the way there will be no denying the presence of the same wickedness that brought about God’s ultimate judgment of the antediluvians. The similarities are striking – the hybrids are coming.
 
The people that lived in the time of Noah had no use for God, thus they did what was right in their own eyes. When the fallen angels began their incursion and co-habitation the offspring from those unions were, to our God, the final straw. The horrible creatures that were produced from that most unholy of unions were unadulterated evil and had to be destroyed. God was not pleased and He was forced to act in a way that would eliminate the scourge on the land. Water was God’s land cleansing choice. When that evil once again becomes fully manifest on earth as it has in the past, God will be forced to cleanse the land for the last time – only with fire this time.
 
Something that I find very interesting and sadly appalling is the fact that the Christian Ekklesia is now at the center of much of the coming apostasy. Many Christians don’t believe that Christ is returning soon, or ever. They seem to be the voices behind the statements of “Where is the promise of his coming.” If we don’t believe the word of God, or if we merely allegorize His words, then we become the hindrance to the truth and contributing accomplices corrupting the non-believing world.
 
Humanity, including Christians, has become extremely self-indulgent. Long gone are the days when all of mankind had to toil over their own land to raise crops to sustain their families. Today, instead of toil people have so much free time on their hands that all imaginable wickedness has once again manifested just as it did in the days of Noah. Today, instead of toiling for our own food it’s a simple trek to the supermarket and voila, food appears in our cupboards – no toiling of our own land is involved. Humanity has become enthralled by entertainment that reeks of filth and lures our young to the den of Satan. Where is the indignation? Where are God’s children? I’ll tell you where they are, they’re sitting around their television sets watching Dancing With the Stars instead of concentrating on God’s commands and our coming King. Anything that takes our minds off of our Messiah Jesus is satanic.
 
Today there is little to no difference between the two epochs. The only striking difference is that there are still true followers of Jesus Christ present on earth. But just as Enoch was caught up to Heaven before the flood, Christ’s Ekklesia too will be caught up to forever be with the Lord just before God’s wrath is unleashed on a Christ rejecting world.
 
Two civilizations separated by five thousand years. Yet if those who perished in the flood were able somehow to step into this our current epoch and view the depravity of our debased society, would they not feel right at home? Soon Jesus’ words will come into play “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”.   
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
 
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed

Thursday, October 11, 2012

EVIL CLOAKED

Evil Cloaked
10/11/2012
 
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3. God told Adam when He placed him in the Garden of Eden that he was not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If we look at Genesis chapter 3, which is what Paul refers to above, we find that Satan blatantly lied to Eve. “You will not surely die…” Genesis 3:4. So lies are now Satan’s forte. And after 6,000 years he’s become quite adept at disseminating his cloaked evil among the Christian Ekklesia.
 
That lie was the cause of an immeasurable rift between God and man. Jesus, of course, bridged that rift at the cross, but Satan would like nothing more than to undo what Jesus did 2,000 years ago. We know that Jesus’ sacrifice will never be voided, but that won’t stop His nemesis from creating as much havoc in this world while he still can.
 
Paul was fearful that the serpent’s beguiling of Eve would have the same detrimental effect on the Ekklesia of Christ and rightfully so. But unlike when he deceived Eve, today Satan’s evil lies are not so transparent – especially for those who are biblically illiterate. When Satan, through his lies, can instill an “I don’t care” attitude in the mind of a professing Christian he has just moved to first base. However, when the serpent can create doubt in the mind of a follower of Jesus Christ as to the accuracy of God’s word, then he has hit a homerun. Ultimately, as doubt manifests and festers, Satan moves in for the kill with “another gospel”, and with the acceptance of that false gospel he’s hit the grand slam of deceptions.
 
Let’s first understand who it is we are dealing with. The enemy of God has a name. In the Hebrew his name is “heylel”. In English his name means “light bearer”, or in the Latin “Lucifer”. The term “light bearer” can be very misleading, especially when we consider that he is the epitome of evil. Jesus Christ, the Creator of the world and the Creator of the “light bearer-Lucifer”, is the true Light of the world and of men. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. Darkness, when spoken of in our Bibles, is usually demonic “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:5 Most people today, including many Christians, deny the demonic realm exists. Others seem to have a bit of understanding when it comes to the demonic, but ignore it as though it was insignificant. Most people, even though they believe in the supernatural, misunderstand thus significantly underestimate the leader of that realm – and his power. What they don’t seem to grasp is that even though Lucifer/Satan is pure evil he avoids all appearance of evil like the plague.
 
To unmask his evil plans and parade them about in public would be detrimental to Satan’s agenda. What we must understand about this very powerful being is that he is able to pull off a huge deception concerning his malevolence. Satan and his followers make themselves appear as benevolent while disseminating their deceptions. Satan’s agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy humans; understandably, the transparency of his agenda wouldn’t go over well with his human prey. Therefore he must cloak his evil plans. 
 
“…for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14. As he is able to transform himself into an “angel of light” he can put forth a demeanor of purity which cloaks his true intentions. This is why God tells us again and again to be ever diligent especially when it comes to God’s Word. There are many false teachers these days taking Satan’s lies to new levels.
 
Satan is evil, period. Yet his lies are always peppered with some truth. He is beguiling, crafty and extremely intelligent, far more so than any human being presently on earth. Therefore we must not only believe but we must also rely on God’s word for guidance. We rely on God Himself for our protection against this extremely evil foe, but believing God is paramount when it comes to understanding the enemy’s agenda. Remember, Satan knows the word of God also and he will use it as it suits his plan. Notwithstanding, his lies will always be hidden betwixt the truth – just enough to beguile. Satan once tried to beguile Jesus in the wilderness. How did Jesus answer him each time Satan confronted Him? By quoting Scripture. We must be just as biblically literate and diligent.
 
“Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness…” 2 Corinthians 11:15. The ministers Paul speaks of above are those who follow their father the devil by doing his bidding. Some are very public figures; some are Bible teachers, some lead Christian congregations, and some lead cults. If you think Satan’s ministers are only fallen angels and demons, then you too have been deceived. Satan has an army of ministers who are human and who are fully entrenched in his camp. They are those who stand in the shadow of the “light bearer” as they do their best to cloak Satan’s personification of evil.
 
Lies are meant to deceive, pure and simple; deception is always the path of the enemy. Satan continually uses his deceptive techniques to attract the unsuspecting (biblically illiterate) and lull them into a false sense of well being. To the biblically illiterate his evil is always cloaked, which makes these folks ripe candidates to follow anything that sounds true, good, or that makes life more comfortable. Remember, cloaked evil never resembles evil, but always takes on a pleasing, and fulfilling charismatic characteristic.
 
Throughout the past few thousand years Satan has had a tremendous and highly successful run at presenting evil as good. Many souls have been deceived right into Hell. God didn’t just dump us on this planet and leave us alone; He gave us warning after warning in His word so that we could avoid being led astray by the evil one. Increasingly in these last days it seems that even many of God’s own children are now more spiritually in tune with the evil one, than with God. As humankind moves ever closer to Christ’s return, it becomes more and more apparent that many professing Christians are nothing more than secular humanists in sheep’s clothing. Many of these folks have not only divided their loyalties, but have fully defected.  
 
To be a true Christian means we stand with Jesus Christ, and not just during worship time or prayer time but in all times. We are never to stand opposed to our God, and as God’s children we are never to take on a secular worldview mindset. God never tells His children to wallow in the muck and mire of the secular world. We must sojourn in this world, but the world should never view us (or love us) as one of their own.
 
Clearly Jesus expects us to be the light of the world. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus is adamant about the fact that we are never to hide our light but to always let it shine. When we choose to stand against God, because in our minds we’ve decided in the end our choices will justify the means, God sees this as unfaithfulness, and unfaithfulness is the same as slapping Him in the face.
 
Satan, once again, has raised his ugly head as the angel of light and convinced many Christians that we are to keep our faith completely separated from our own personal secular worldview. Here’s an example, abortion is so completely acceptable by mankind these days that we now murder the innocent, while still in the womb, and by the millions every year. Yet abortion is an abomination to God. Where are God’s children? Our silence in this regard speaks volumes.
 
I’ve heard it from many professing Christians that they have no problem with homosexuality, live and let live they say, thus through our own apathy homosexuality has been allowed to become so commonplace that the majority of humankind now not only condone this satanic evil but many desire to join in with these deceived individuals and play along.
 
The world is upside down and many professing Christians are siding with Satan in this regard as well as in other decisions that are purely secular and opposed to God. What do we, who revere the Bible as God’s truth, see occurring? The ever progressiveness of cloaked evil.
 
Those who stand with God, even under the most fierce condemnation that comes from the lost of this world, not to mention from many of our own brethren, are the true family of God . “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 4:3-4. Let mankind judge us. For their judgment is of no significance. God is our judge, and He judges righteously.
 
Instead of being a light on a hill, many Christians are actually as dark as the night. When we as the followers of Jesus Christ lose our saltiness we are good for nothing except to Satan. No salt? Satan has a job for you. He will conscript you into his service, and as you become his accomplice helping him in presenting his evil agenda, can you guess what your key responsibility will be? The cloaking and disseminating of his evil plans.
 
Only by believing God and what He has given us as His inerrant word can cloaked evil be unveiled. Studying God’s word for ourselves is vital. Here’s another example of a satanic lie cloaked. The phrase “judge not” is used, in many cases, by those who are into full on rebellion against God. People will use that phrase incessantly as they attempt to deflect any complaints of immorality from landing on their doorstep. The verse in question doesn’t mean we aren’t to use righteous judgment when confronted with deceptions and immorality, it simply means we are never to condemn others (that’s God’s domain). We are certainly never to accept Satan’s deceptions, the immoral actions of others, their lifestyles, or false religions and cults by siding with them, especially merely for convenience sake.
 
A major deception which Satan has performed in these last days is to convince the world that evil is good and pleasing, and good is now nothing more than an irritant which should be shunned. Many professing Christians seem to look at evil as something that is optional instead of obligatory to avoid. When “judge not” is implemented by Christians attempting to cover their sinfulness they become fully secular without any concern for their relationship with God. When we as Christians step away from our God for any reason we instantaneously enter the camp of Satan. When we step away from our faith and allow Satan to have his way in our lives, it means that we’ve just been deceived – Satan was successful at cloaking his evil again. Awareness of the cloaking and spiritual discernment is the key – evil cloaked is at the door, so is Jesus. Which will you let in?
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Joy in a Sanctified Soul

Joy in a Sanctified Soul


The Holy Spirit truly touched a powerful thought when He said, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b). Living without joy in one’s soul is a miserable way to live. An abundance of things or wealth has no bearing on what any person feels in their soul. The soul will be as empty or as full in a beautiful mansion as it will be in a small cabin. Nothing outside the inner person bears on the poverty or wealth of the soul.

Our soul is the seat of our person. Our personality is manifest in our soul and gives attention to the body and its happiness and to the spirit of life and our fellowship with God. The soul is the real you. The soul is also the center of our Adamic nature. The sin of Adam left a disease in every soul. If those sins are not cleansed by the blood of Christ, the soul is helpless to rise above the sinful disease. This is why an otherwise wonderful person can fall into grievous error. A wonderful wife or mother can suddenly become unfaithful. A great father can quickly lose himself in some lustful relationship and never recover. There is a possible prodigal in every living person.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is man’s hope in escaping from the prison of sin and its destructive power. The great statement of Christ quoted millions of times is simple, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”(Matthew 16:26). Nobody but you can decide the fate or fortune of your soul. It is usually impossible to look at someone and decide which way they will ultimately rise or fall. Free will is truly an awesome responsibility.

The soul has a conscious. Jesus Christ, the great Master, called it your “eye.” He was not speaking of the eye of the body, but of the eye of the soul. This great conscious is God’s special gift to the soul but it’s your responsibility to nurture it. It was first the responsibility of your parents, but if they fail, you must take up the task. Even their success leaves every person with grave accountability. I love this eloquent lesson the Son of God gave us. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23). This truth is the foundation of greatness. A dad and mom that flood their offspring with “light” in the soul are destined to be proud of their accomplishment. Every one of us, regardless of our background has the capability to stop, take stock of what kind of light is absent or within and change our future.

Excuse making is one of the destructive characters of the unchecked Adamic Nature. The blame game is equally dark. There are many reasons people give for neglecting their soul. Our generation is deeply affected by striving for success or being fearful of being different. Your soul is too important to be left to chance. The real you is waiting for you to step up to the challenge.

The result of a sanctified soul is breathtaking. Apostle Paul wrote about it to the Thessalonians, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24). If your soul is full of darkness because of a dysfunctional family or if you have walked the low road yourself; turn around. The Adamic nature left unredeemed is destined for heart break and eternal hell. Being “Born Again” is still Biblical and you will have a recreated soul. You will be a new creature.

Now, comes that joy, unspeakable that the Bible talks so much about. It is impossible to be joyful for any other reason on earth. Pleasure is not joy or those seeking pleasure would not need drugs or strong drink. Joy does not arise from circumstances or from plenty. Joy is a heart matter and the soul is the seat of our heart of hearts. John the beloved disciple said, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (III John 1:2).

Your soul is the real you. Right now your soul is reading these words. You are either truly thirsty after Jesus Christ and His abundant life and joy or you are complacent and full of your own Adamic self. Jesus holds out the invitation. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Those “Rivers” are “Rivers of Joy.”

NON-COMBANTS

Non-Combatants
10/4/2012
 
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:13. The Greek word “hymeis” is translated into English as ye, you, or yourselves. Jesus is telling the group of listeners before Him that they (we) are the salt of the earth. Notice how Jesus explains to the group before Him that “if” we become ineffective as the salt of the earth we also become good for nothing? To be trodden under foot of men? The word “trodden” comes from the Greek word “katapate┼Ź” and metaphorically speaking it means to treat with rudeness and insult. Whether we stand firm with Christ or we cower in a corner, the lost of this world will still abuse us and treat us offensively; unless, of course, the world sees us simply as one of their own. When we lose our saltiness (effectiveness as Christians) we become more and more secular, eventually embracing various forms of evil in order to fit in and get along – we become non-combatants. 
 
“Ye are the light of the world; A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14. We, as Christ’s followers, are mandated to follow His commands – even in this late hour. As the light of the world it is our responsibility to reflect the light of Christ to a lost and perishing world. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.Matthew 5:15. Has your candle gone out? Have you become a non-combatant?
 
“…for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” Matthew 13:21. The Greek word “skandaliz┼Ź”, translated offended, means to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey - to cause to fall away. Persecution can be a horrible cross to bear – but bear it we must. If you are not being persecuted, if you aren’t feeling the heat of battle from the powers and principalities, from the rulers of the darkness of this world, from spiritual wickedness in high places, it could be the enemy sees you as a non-combatant.
 
When the enemy sees us (Christians) as a threat to his evil agenda, the ensuing persecution will be anything but peaceful.  As long as we are on the firing line we will feel the enemy’s sting. No sting? Well then, you might need to do some soul searching as to whether or not you are even a threat to the enemy. Non-combatant Christians can be easily discouraged, and even defeated. In other words, their Christian walk becomes of non-effect. When relegated to the category of non-combatant, Christians are no longer pursued and persecuted by the malevolent supernatural realm. 
 
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” Ephesians 2:1-2. At some point in our past we were dead, dead in our trespasses and sins, but no more. Those who follow Christ have been quickened (made alive, reborn, a new creation). Before we were quickened we belonged to Satan. He is the prince of the power of the air. When we escaped his camp – became followers of Jesus Christ – his hatred for us grew in extreme measure and his attacks on us will continue to intensify according to our faithful resolve. When we became born again we moved into the direct line of fire of the most extreme nemesis of God – Satan. For some, the heat is too intense and they’ve chosen to sit this war out as non-combatants. 
 
Christians are a huge walking billboard with a massive bull’s eye painted on them in plain sight of the supernatural realm, both benevolent and malevolent. Our malevolent enemy is transfixed on destroying us, while the benevolent forces of God stand ready to defend us with all tenacity. The Christian that has said in his/her heart they are content with life the way it is, who see no reason or benefit in promoting the Gospel, have had that bull’s eye obscured. Actually, they have something that the enemy promotes as highly beneficial. That would be apathy.
 
When I receive letters telling me of the battles that other Christians are facing and enduring, I’m always very encouraged. I know they are out there on the front lines, sacrificing themselves while telling others about Jesus. They tell me of the attacks from the forces of evil, yet they remain strong in their faith. But it saddens me when I receive letters from Christians who have given up spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Losing one’s drive when it comes to evangelizing is the same as a lack of hope and should be seen as a demonic ruse.
 
I’ve been told by some readers that those who’ve rejected Christ are so blinded that nothing will change their minds. That erroneous opinion would certainly mean the Holy Spirit has left the building. No. What has happened is many Christians have swallowed the enemy’s deceptions hook, line, and sinker; they’ve given up. To them the war is lost. They don’t know how to distinguish a battle from all out war. They are now content to sit out the remainder of their days in an enemy-imposed form of Christian isolation while they divest themselves from the Great Commission.
 
Christians, we have been given a firm commandment. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20. That commandment, given to us by the Creator of the universe Himself, Jesus Christ, has never been rescinded. As His followers we must realize that when our Creator tells us to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations He’s not merely suggesting we go out and witness to the world, and Jesus isn’t simply asking for our help to tell the lost world that salvation is only through Him. He’s commanding us to get out in the trenches and follow His orders – to the letter. It must sadden our Lord that, after what He has done for us, many of His followers aren’t willing to stand up for Him in the heat of battle.
 
Yes, at times the heat from the battle will grow intense, even painful, especially during these last days. The enemy has ratcheted up his attacks and here in America the persecution is manifesting at levels never seen before. But my brethren, we must take a stand and not cower. Surrender is not an option. What side do you want to be on? There’s a winning side and a side that has already lost. You know what side wins so why hang back?
 
Most people have no clue as to the urgency of the hour. Most Christians similarly view the signs of the times as mere blips on a radar screen, soon to disappear and everything will return to normal. Tomorrow will bring a better day. Those of us who see mankind as currently living in the last days of planet earth see those signs quite differently. Tomorrow will be bringing more pain and suffering, and with each passing day that pain and suffering is growing exponentially worse. There will come a day when our ability to speak the truth of God’s word will be greatly diminished. It has just come to my attention that here in America it is now against the law to pray in front of the White House. Our freedom of speech is being trampled on. What’s the next freedom to get the boot? Freedom to worship the God of the Bible? Of course, that loss of freedom my not affect the non-combatant.
 
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. Right now, today, opportunities abound to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and to glorify God our Father in Heaven. However, your witness is not merely verbal, but also it shows in how you live your Christian life. Do you walk the walk or merely talk the talk? You can speak volumes without opening your mouth simply through living a Christ centered life and by not compromising your faith. But when your life demonstrates a pattern of secular choices, and even a humanistic world view, that tells everyone who is watching you (and believe me there are plenty lost folks watching you) that there is no difference between you and them. Why would they (the lost and perishing of this world) want what you have when you show no sign that you have anything more than what they already possess? As the born again children of God, we mustn’t give in and be non-combatant when it comes to standing firm on God’s word. We always need to be seen and perceived as being different (a reflection Christ) than those who are of this world. 
 
“Let the others do the promoting of the Gospel; that’s not what God had in store for me”. If that is your attitude you are living a life contrary to the commandments of your King. When the enemy sees your determination in avoiding the work God commands you to do he can then put out a memorandum concerning future attacks on you to all of his horde – pursue not, it’s only a non-combatant.
 
On the other hand if you still love the Lord keep His commandments – be more than a conqueror.  “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37. Christ’s Ekklesia will soon be removed from planet earth and will no longer be a witness to the lost. A question we must all ask ourselves before that great day arrives is “What have I done for Jesus?”
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
 
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed