Thursday, August 29, 2013

WHAT DO YOU MEAN REPENT

What Do You Mean, Repent?
August 29, 2013

Some believers are confused when it comes to the word repent and therefore have doubts about salvation. The confusion stems from our misunderstanding of the meaning of repentance as it’s used in the Bible. The Greek word “metanoeo” is translated into English as repent and it literally means to change one’s mind about something. When this word is used in the New Testament, it means to change our mind about sin and the need for a Saviour. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:1-2. When John told his listeners to repent it was a warning. He was trying to get them to change their minds about their need for a Savior. John knew that Messiah was soon to begin His ministry, and he knew that he was the one chosen to alert the Jews that Messiah was near. “As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of the one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths strait.” Luke 3:4.

Jews felt that the Law could save them, and they worked very hard to obey it. The problem was no matter how much they tried to follow the letter of the Law they failed. Not because they were just bad people. No, they failed because everyone sins. The Law was meant to teach them what sin is and that they needed God to save them. John told them to change their minds about it…to repent. They had to recognize they couldn’t save themselves, nor could the Law save them. They needed to change their minds about their need for a Saviour.
Peter was a man who failed, but he repented and became everything Jesus knew he could be. He had walked and talked with Jesus, but still ran scared when Jesus was arrested. Later we see him as a man of God who gave his life to serve Jesus. He lost his fear and spoke boldly regarding Christ. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36. Peter was speaking to Jews here, and explained to them who Jesus was. He convinced them of their need for a Saviour. Peter persuaded them to change their minds about who Jesus is. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 2:38.Peter’s words made them realize they needed more than the Law. They needed the Saviour and they had crucified him! What were they to do? “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38. Before anything, they had to change their minds about Jesus and about sin.

Often non-believers don’t believe that they’re sinners and therefore don’t feel the need for a Savior. They don’t even know what sin is. What is sin? It is rebellion to God. It is doing things that God says not to do. People don’t automatically understand what sin is. So, if we have a friend who isn’t a Christian and lives with their boyfriend or girlfriend, that person doesn’t realize that they are sinning. Or a person who has chosen a homosexual lifestyle can only be convicted of the sin of that lifestyle after they learn what sin is. Only after they understand that they sin in general will they understand their need for saving grace through Jesus. Once that grace is accepted they will become aware of specific sins and repent…change their minds. The Holy Spirit brings us new understanding. Over time the change of mind regarding Jesus and the brokenness over specific sins have become so intertwined that we commonly but incorrectly define repentance as involving both.

In Scripture we don’t see that a person has to confess every sin they have ever committed before they can be baptized. We see examples of people being baptized immediately who change their minds about who Christ is. They aren’t schooled first or taught some sort of catechism. Philip was told to go to a certain road that went from Jerusalem to Gaza. He obeyed and there he encountered a man from Ethiopia. This man was reading from Scripture “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Isaiah 53:7-8.  Philip asked the man if he understood what he was reading and the man said no. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” Acts 8:35. Philip didn’t hammer him about his sins, but he “preached unto him Jesus”. The man was convicted. When they came to some water he asked to be baptized and Philip baptized him. He didn’t grill the man on sin or the doctrine of a denomination. “And Philip said, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” Acts 8:37-38. The Ethiopian eunuch just needed to change his mind about Jesus…about his need for a Saviour.

Another incident involved a Roman Centurion named Cornelius. He had a vision of Peter coming to him, and Peter had a vision of unclean things being lowered in a sheet. Peter wanted no part of these unclean creatures “And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Acts 10:15.Three times the sheet was lowered and three times Peter couldn’t understand why these unclean things were seemingly approved by God. But when men came from Cornelius and asked Peter to go with them, Peter went. When he came to Cornelius’ house he was told “…Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” Acts 10:33b. Did Peter begin by listing off sins that they needed to repent of? No. Once again the sermon was all about Jesus. He ended by saying “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:42-43.The Jews, including Peter, were astonished that Gentiles could receive the Holy Spirit. After all, they were not schooled in the Law, so how could they even understand what God considered sin? “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” Acts 10:48a.

Some use the visible signs of brokenness and contrition as evidence that a person is sincere in asking to be saved. Others include behavioral change as evidence of repentance. But as you can see from studying the book of Acts, both are man’s inventions that can’t be supported Biblically. In the above examples those who believed did not repent of their sins. Some didn’t know what sin is. They were told about Jesus. They changed their mind about Him. The only clear precondition for salvation the Bible gives us is belief. “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:28-29.

The first deaths in the Bible were those of Adam and Eve. They were immortal before Adam sinned but fell to mortality (death) at the moment of their sin. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen. 2:17. God gave us free will. He wants us to love Him by choice. He gave one “rule” to Adam and Adam chose to sin. Adam had a beautiful relationship with God, lived in Paradise, was immortal, and everything he needed was easily within reach. Then he chose to sin. Suddenly the relationship he and Eve had with God was broken. Suddenly he was spiritually dead. Suddenly his mortal body began the long process of physical death. Through many years Adam watched as sin became more and more prevalent. Adam lived a long life and easily could have known Noah’s father. Adam watched the world become so sinful that God had to destroy everything. Do you think he was repentant? I do. But there were still many things to happen before the gap between God and man could be restored. Being repentant over sin is one thing, but understanding the need for a Saviour is another.

The first actual shedding of blood was in the preparation of clothes for Adam and Eve. When they realized they were naked they made a covering out of fig leaves. Have you ever felt a fig leaf? This is typical of man’s attempt at covering sin…fig leaves are very rough and they would be painful to wear. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21. God was teaching them that it was by the shedding of innocent blood that they would be covered before Him, not by the works of their own hands. It symbolized that our righteousness (covering) would be imputed to us by the shedding of innocent blood (the Lord’s) not by our own works.

After the Flood, Noah’s sons and their wives repopulated the earth. Once again sin flourished. God called Abraham and the chosen children of God were established. Eventually the Jews went into captivity in Egypt and Moses was chosen by God to lead them out. On Mount Sinai the Law was given. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24. Adam and Eve had one rule that they couldn’t keep, The Law listed all of what God sees as sin and gave a list of sacrifices to be offered as a covering for sin. It was just a temporary covering and very rough – like the fig leaves. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. No matter how repentant a person was, the animal sacrifices were only a covering over of sin. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10. Thank You, Jesus.

When a person is presented the Gospel, there should be conviction. The question arises “What is the Gospel”.Literally the word means “good news”, but to understand the good news one needs to understand the bad news. Everyone is separated from God because of sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.  Romans3:23. There is nothing we can do on our own to bridge the gulf to God. That’s the bad news. The Good News is that God Himself bridged the gap when He entered His creation and became our once for all sacrifice on the cross at Calvary. We must change our minds about our need for a Saviour…about the only way to God. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. Once we realize we sin and change our minds about the need for Jesus Christ in our life, then we begin the life long process of sanctification. We will begin to see sin in our life and repent of it. With God’s help we can remove anger from our life, or lust, or little white lies. Sins big and small are all covered by the blood of Jesus.

Do you need to change your mind about Jesus? Do you know someone who needs Him in their life? Now is the time to make a decision. Now is the time to change your mind – repent – and accept Christ’s sacrifice. Then, begin to understand sin. God will help you remove it from your life one sin at a time. Each time you fail He will forgive you when you confess your sin to Him alone. He loves you.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com

Thursday, August 22, 2013

PROGRAMMED TO RECEIVE

PROGRAMMED TO RECEIVE

August 22, 2013
By
August 22, 2013

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” Mark7:13. Jesus spoke these words to the Pharisees who had once again confronted him for not obeying their traditions. Jesus, of course, rebuked them for holding to the tradition of man instead of holding God’s word in higher esteem. Today we also see that man’s traditions have crept into the preaching and teaching of God’s word placing non-biblical parameters on the body of Christ. God never intended this to happen.

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all Ekklesia’s of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33. Many manmade traditions have been instituted as scriptural doctrine over the years and it can be confusing to both Christians and non-Christians. There is only one author of the Bible and He will teach us His word if we allow Him to. The confusion comes when a particular group tries to build doctrine upon one Scripture rather than taking the whole of Scripture into account. For instance, some people contend that speaking in tongues is evidence of salvation. Is that Biblical? Speaking in tongues is very Biblical, but not as proof of salvation. It is only one of many gifts of the Spirit. To confuse things even more, some teach that the gifts stopped during the first century. Why do we listen to man’s teachings alone without due diligence in searching the scriptures for ourselves? Because of these confused traditions and teachings many people walk away confused.

We can be sure that people will always allow themselves to be programmed to receive what is being taught, displayed, preached, and viewed. Why? Because it is easier to just let someone else tell you what the Scriptures teach rather than studying them for yourself. Most people have no intention of becoming involved in the actual planning or leading of worship services, thus what is presented to them is sufficient and they hope not too bothersome. Much of what transpires in most assemblies of the saints is not biblical but simply man’s traditions prearranged for convenience sake. Communion? Oh yes, we celebrate it every so often if we remember. When it is celebrated, it is only offered to those who meet the particular denominations idea of what a Christian is, such as membership in that particular group.  In the early days of Christianity there were no Baptists, or Methodists, or any other denomination. They were one body. They were the Ekklesia – the called out body of Christ. When the “Church” began (not the Ekklesia, but the Church) man began making rules that God never ordained. Thus, there is much confusion.

“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40. Attending services at a local Christian assembly and worshiping God at that location at a preset hour, on a specific day every week, for a nominal amount of time can be viewed as somewhat holding to the admonition by Paul to keep the assembly decent and orderly. But what is the purpose of all that organization if those in the pews don’t learn anything other than man’s traditions. Many people feel that an hour in a pew is sufficient regarding their duty as a Christian. Here’s one for you, many of those people sitting in those pews are not born again and yet they go through the motions of bowing their heads, joining in singing of hymns, and placing their tithe (another tradition) in the collection plate, all as though those things were allowing them an inside track to God and perhaps a special seat at His right hand.

What about all of the many translations of God’s word? As we examine the English versions of our Bibles and compare them to the original languages in which the Bible was written we find some conspicuous variations from that of the original languages. In many instances we find that words have been added to our English Bibles which do not show up in the original manuscripts. Why is this? Perhaps the reason was to try to help us understand more fully the intent of God and His word. That hardly makes for a plausible excuse. After all, is our God not capable of giving us all we need to understand or to discern His word? Of course He is. So why add the extra words? Could it be that the enemy has infiltrated the ranks of those doing the translating? Certainly. From what we see occurring in today’s English translations, this is not only plausible but unequivocally true. We now have non-gender and politically correct versions that water down God’s meaning. Who cares what God thinks as long as everybody is happy and not offended by truth?

Every born again follower of Jesus Christ should be relying on God to instruct them in His word not merely a man. God cannot be corrupted but man can. The enemy can’t get God to change His word “…the scripture cannot be broken” John 10:35 but he can and has convinced mankind that the Bible would be better understood if we were to simply add a few words here and there, or conversely remove a few words now and then.

God is fully capable of keeping His word pure but he will not interfere with those who wish to follow their father the devil and do his bidding by adding to or taking away from God’s inerrant word. The original manuscripts are God breathed, the English translations of those words are the works of men. Which course are you going to take to get to the original intent of God’s words? Man’s or God’s? Most of us don’t know Hebrew or Greek, but there are concordances available for help.

For many, many centuries the Ekklesia of Christ has been content with how things were set up in their congregations. Does anyone understand what has transpired in regards to “doing church?” In the beginning of the age of the Ekklesia of Christ all believers were given the designation of minister. Now days we sit in a pew and there is only one minister. We listen to his words flow like a lark singing. There’s a joke here and there to lighten the mood so the seriousness of God’s word doesn’t upset anyone. Most Christians are quite content to listen to the lark sing, especially when it comes to actually being an active part of God’s Kingdom. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22. We are programmed to receive the idea that only those who are “ordained” by a denomination are qualified to serve the Lord. Every Christian is ordained of God.

People, we have been dumbed down to a point that we now just sit and listen to the words of our Pastor while he tells us what the Bible says. Excuse me but that Pastor is merely a man and not God. Why do we take man’s word for what the Bible proclaims when God is perfectly willing to extend His truth to our minds? “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11. By the way, the Scriptures they searched were Old Testament Scriptures. Many denominations omit the Old Testament from being taught. No prophecy or history is taught, let alone the reason we need a Saviour.

“…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” 2 Peter 3:15-17. Peter tells us that the unlearned and unstable wrest with the scriptures unto their own destruction. The Greek word “strebloĊ”, translated into English as “wrest”, means “to twist, turn awry (skew), to torture, to pervert, of one who wrests or tortures language in a false sense”. Mankind has been twisting and torturing the Scriptures for so many years that the falsehoods that have arisen from all that torture are now accepted as truth and have become Christian traditions – and are not to be assaulted by anyone.

One tradition that has always interested me is the place where most Christians go to worship God. It’s always been a bone of contention with me. If we are to be pilgrims sojourning on this planet spreading the Gospel to all of mankind, why are we building these huge expensive buildings to last hundreds of years? Just how Biblical is it for Christians to spend enormous amounts of money on large elaborate building projects while many of God’s children (saints) suffer from hunger around the world? A mindset of materialistic comfort has taken over the body of Christ. Plush comfortable buildings are built for a place to go to worship. Interestingly, for the first 200 years as the Ekklesia of Christ was first established it flourished and the meetings of the saints took place in one another’s homes.

As followers of Jesus Christ we should be worshiping Him every day, not just on Sunday. As Christians we should know that our life is only held together by Christ and thus every moment we have is His. The problem with going out to a building to meet every Sunday is that when the meeting is over so is the worship. The worshipping and praising of our Great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, should never end – should never end.

When we study the word of God and allow Him to be our teacher, we soon realize that we’ve been taught many traditions of man in lieu of God’s precepts. If my brethren who desire to be taught the truth will allow their God to instruct them when it comes to the accuracy of interpretation, only then will they challenge these traditions of men as well as wrong doctrine. It’s not difficult to learn from God Himself, it only takes a firm desire, patience, and a willingness to study when others are off playing and conforming themselves to the world. Are you programmed to receive, or are you listening to God?

God bless you all,

Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com
www.straitandnarrowministry.com
ron@straitandnarrowministry.com
Previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.ht

Sunday, August 18, 2013

THE FOOLISHNESS OF IDOL WORSHIP

The Foolishness of Idol Worship
April 18, 2013
 
“He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.” Isaiah 44:14. Imagine if you will a party of men and women at a campout. They’re sitting around a blazing campfire stoking the coals with what’s left of some very nice pieces of cedar, cypress, and oak wood. They are busy in their conversations and preparations of the evening’s meal.
 
“Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread…” Isaiah 44:15. As the fire gets hotter they comment to one another on how the evening has turned damp and cool, but how nice it is to be able to warm themselves by the fire simply by utilizing a few pieces of old dry wood. They continue to prepare bread and meat, perhaps roasting hot dogs and toasting buns. They use the burning wood embers to cook their evening meal all the while keeping warm and dry by the fire. “He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:” Isaiah 44:16. Then the dinner is ready; they all partake of the meal, and are warm and full.
 
But there remains a piece of wood sticking out of the embers which was not burned up in the fire. “And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.” Isaiah 44:17. Suddenly one of the men grabs for the stick, pulls out his carving knife and begins to form the leftover oak into the image of a man. Once completed all the men and women at the campout join together in a semicircle around the newly formed image, they bow down before it, and begin to worship that small piece of oak now carved into the image of idol. Just a moment before this same stick was destined to become ashes. They speak to the carved image as though they were speaking to a living image requesting that piece of wood to bless them and their endeavors.

“They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.” Isaiah 44:18. Is the above scenario not the epitome of foolishness? Yet this is the course that has been taken by many individuals throughout history. People will go to any length to construct for themselves a god in lieu of worshipping the one true God of all creation. How can people become so deluded that they can’t see the foolishness of placing their faith and trust in a simple half-burned piece of wood? Many people today place their faith and trust in inanimate objects. Still others will worship whatever it is that brings them what they perceive to be peace and joy. Even a moment of joy can lead a person to worship as their god that thing that brought them that one moment exaltation. “They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.” Isaiah 44:9. It will profit these foolish people nothing as they bow their heads and worship graven images. They are their own witnesses to their own destruction. These idol worshipers haven’t the common sense to be ashamed of their own foolish actions. The God of all creation views these people as willfully ignorant.
 
“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6. God makes it abundantly clear that He is the first and the last “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8. All through the Bible we are told there is only one God and His name is Jesus and He is the Almighty – the first and last, the Alpha and Omega. But foolishness abounds and in these extreme last days it seems to be burgeoning at a phenomenal rate. There are many people who will worship anything but the one true God.
 
“And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.” Isaiah 44:7. This is a challenge put forth by the One true God of all creation. He says go ahead bring your god forward and let him make his power known to all. God says “Let’s see your god tell the future of all creation”. “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” Isaiah 44:8.
 
Sun god (Apollo), moon god (Allah), or created images such as birds, reptiles, snakes, as well as all inanimate objects have no spirit save the spirit of demons. God says try every spirit to see if they confess Jesus as the Christ. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits where they are of god: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of god: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3. None of those false gods and idols listed above will confess Christ as Saviour and Lord. Yes, the spirit of antichrist has been around for a long time. It was already in the world when John wrote these words, and it is still causing much grief today.
 
What is the result of worshipping false gods and idols? Those who are caught up in idol worship sometimes seem so wise. But is that really the case? “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore god also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of god into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:22-25. God has given us the freedom to choose wisely and follow Him, or to be foolish and worship pieces of wood. We can see the result of this idol worship all around us. The worldly way of lusting after carnal desires is creeping into the lives of Christians. Instead of worshipping the Creator, it is the creature that is being worshipped, even by some who profess to be Christians.
 
“And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?” Isaiah 44:19. Those of us who know the truth should be pricked in our hearts as we watch these foolish people who can’t seem to come to the conclusion that what they worship is…nothing. It’s empty. On the other hand, Jesus is alive! He loves us and died for us. But our God is a jealous God. Take time to read through the 10 Commandments (notice they are not the 10 suggestions) found in Exodus chapter 20. God does not share His Kingdom, glory or Throne with demons or snakes, nor does He placate fools.
 
Make no mistake, it isn’t only images of creatures that are idols. Anything that holds a higher place in our life than God is an idol. Anything. Television, music, jobs, hobbies, the list goes on. There is absolutely no other God besides the God who created the universe and everything in it. He is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. He is the Messiah of Israel. He is the Saviour of mankind. In the Hebrew He is Yeshua HaMashiach. He is our brother and He is our friend. He is Jesus the Christ. He is the only way of Salvation. He is my God. Who – or what – is yours?
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham

NEGLECTING SALVATION

NEGLECTING SALVATION

August 15, 2013
By
Neglecting Salvation
August 15, 2013

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;”Hebrews 2:3. The Greek word “amelesantes” is translated neglect and it means to be careless of, to neglect. It’s the same word used in Matthew’s Gospel to show indifference. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise”.  Matthew 22:5. The “they” in this verse refers to those who were invited by a king to the marriage of his son. They were offered a wonderful opportunity but ignored it disregarding what was freely offered to them. They made light of this invitation. Parables always teach a deep truth, and in this one a king (representing God the Father) sent out (through prophets) an invitation for His subjects (Israel) to attend the wedding of His Son (Jesus). The nation rejected the invitation and took it lightly. They “neglected so great salvation”.

We can be critical of the Jews for rejecting Christ, but are people any different today? How many people neglect their salvation? Most people come right out and deny Him, but many who claim to be Christians take Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf lightly. Instead of living for Christ they relegate Him to someplace low on their list of priorities. The first chapter of Hebrews establishes who Christ is using many Old Testament Scriptures. In the past God spoke through the prophets, but “hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” Hebrews 1:2. Jesus wasn’t just a nice guy who talked about God. He was God incarnate. He is heir of all things…He is the Creator. “Who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”. Hebrews 1:3. The chapter goes on to tell more about Jesus, and it is worth the time and effort to do a deep study of it. Jesus is God and we can’t begin to imagine how much love He has for us and what it cost Him to purge our sins. With even a minimal understanding of the price He paid how can we take our salvation lightly? He left Heaven, became human, walked among men, and was rejected by most. He was mocked, beaten, and crucified for our salvation. But He was also separated from God the Father. In his anguish over that separation He cried out …Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46. In our sin we are separated from God, but Jesus was never separated from God the Father until He bore our sins on the cross. He took our salvation seriously so how can we take it lightly? How can we neglect it?

Christians today have never been under the Law of Moses and don’t understand the burden it placed on people and how difficult it was to submit to it. Even Orthodox Jews today cannot fully submit to the Law because there is no Temple in which to make the sacrifices required. We can get somewhat of an understanding of what was involved if we read Leviticus. Too often Leviticus is skimmed through and not really studied. It tells what to do and what not to do in order to be pleasing to God. It also lines out the penalty for each transgression. The Jews took the Law seriously, but still were unable to fully adhere to it. As many Jews, including some Pharisees, turned to Christ for salvation they felt that converts first needed to become Jews and adhere to the Old Covenant before they could become Christian. “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.” Acts 8:31.It was difficult for them to let go of what they knew of the past and understand that Jesus fulfilled the Law. It was hard for them to understand that salvation is through Jesus alone and that the Law cannot save a person, it could only convict. If we take a long hard look at Leviticus we can only begin to understand the blessing of salvation through Jesus. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians3:24-25. We should be praising Him continually for the salvation He offers.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;” Hebrews 2:1-2. Every transgression of the Law received a just punishment, but Jesus took the punishment we deserve. How then can we escape if we neglect what was brought to us by One greater than angels? Since Jesus is greater than the angels, His words are of greater importance and will have greater consequences if neglected. As Christians we know Jesus is God and as such we would do well to heed His words. We need to read His words and take them in, carefully digesting each one. This is how we “give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard”.

Do you take Christ’s finished work on the cross lightly and neglect salvation? Christians have a tendency to drift away from His word and take our salvation for granted. Other things become more important to us and get in the way. We car pool to soccer games, work overtime in our jobs, devote time to hobbies, watch television. The list of what comes between us and studying God’s word is long. We might show up to warm a pew on Sunday morning, but we keep our cell phone on just in case a text comes in. After a while we are no longer reading God’s word, let alone studying it. God’s word is an anchor and it keeps us from drifting away. Neglecting to study His word will most certainly allow us to drift, and with some very unpleasant results. Many Christians have been drifting in the sea of despair, setting themselves onto the currents of the world and of the flesh because of a simple neglect of God’s word. By neglecting their salvation they embrace the world and the carnal things therein.

The Letter to the Hebrews was written to Christians, specifically Jewish Christians but to all Christians in general, as an encouragement and a warning not to neglect a steadfast walk with our Lord Jesus.  How does that neglect come about? Slowly at first. Usually not by dramatic giant steps but through baby steps until one day we no longer abide in Christ. Those Christians that have drifted away by neglecting their salvation are easy prey for Satan and his evil hoard. Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not promoting the doctrine of losing one’s salvation. We can’t lose what has been sealed within us. What I’m saying is we can fall away from our fellowship with God and ultimately become so distracted that we lose our joy and become bitter and defeated Christians of no further use as witnesses for the Kingdom of Christ. We miss opportunities to share our faith because we become numb to the shock of sin and don’t notice when someone is entrenched in it and in need of hearing the Gospel. When we neglect our own salvation and don’t see it as anything special we often don’t bother to share God’s truth with others.

Neglecting our salvation can and does bring swift reckonings. To be in fellowship with our Father in Heaven means we stay in His word…we read, we study, we do whatever we can to keep in fellowship with God. In this way we keep the joy of the Lord within us and are not overcome by evil fleshly desires. Fellowshipping with God means we aren’t neglecting Him but heeding His words. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:21-25. God needs to be first in our life. If we neglect our salvation it is easy to forget how ugly sin is and slip back into old ways. If we become doers of the word we form the habit of putting God first. We remember the price that was paid for our salvation. God’s love for us should never be taken for granted but treated as the valuable treasure it is.

There are consequences for every decision we make. Deciding to neglect Jesus’ words is a sure way to bring about unpleasant consequences. The Bible is His word and it is given to us to study and learn who He is and why He came and what He expects of each one of us. If we neglect His word we are telling Him that we take our salvation with a grain of salt…that His sacrifice was a nice thing for Him to do, but other things are more important to us. Jesus Christ paid a price that we cannot possibly comprehend. As Christians our gratitude should show in everything we do and Christ should be first in our life. Never ever should we neglect salvation.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com

Believing is Seeing

BELIEVING IS SEEING

August 8, 2013
By
August 8, 2013

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:29. Eight days before this the disciples had been gathered together behind closed doors. They had seen Jesus crucified, found the empty tomb, and were worried that they, too, would be arrested.  While they were discussing these events Jesus appeared in the room. They were very understandably confused, but Jesus showed them His hands and His side as proof that it really was Him. Thomas had not been there and when he heard about it he wouldn’t believe them until he saw for himself the nail prints in His hands and the hole in His side. After all, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus had indeed died. Eight days later, the disciples had once again been gathered together, but this time Thomas was with them. Once again the doors were shut but Jesus appeared there. Thomas saw and believed “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God.” John 20:28. For Thomas seeing was believing, but Jesus said “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”. That is us today…believing is seeing.

So many people doubt God’s existence. Whether a person accepts God as real or not does not lessen the fact that God is real. He does not need our seal of approval. “He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” John 3:33. In Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse he says “God is true, though we do not set our seal to it; let God be true, and every man a liar; his truth needs not our faith to support it, but by faith we do ourselves the honour and justice to subscribe to his truth, and hereby God reckons himself  honoured”. I’m always amazed at how many folks think the Bible is just impossible to believe, especially the part about this Jesus fellow. Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah and the Gospels are eyewitness accounts of His ministry earth. Yet those same folks who doubt find it simple to believe George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin existed. And Alexander the Great for that matter. The accounts of these men are accepted yet the one who stands out in most people’s minds as impossible to believe even existed is the One who died so they could live. That is Jesus Christ…the Messiah.

It’s astonishing that many who profess a belief in Jesus Christ relegate the Bible into a category of myth and allegory instead of believing its factual accounts of earth’s history, yet they expect to be recognized as born again believers in Christ. I can sort of understand the lost world’s denigration of truth since they are blinded by the “god of this world”, but why would professing Christians question God’s word? The worldly people seem so wise, but are really fools. “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19. The wisdom of this world…that’s almost an oxymoron! Wisdom is only in the knowledge of God and believing His word.

“…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:31. Let’s start here with the word “believe.” Many people don’t grasp the true meaning behind the word “believe.” It’s a simple English word meaning “to hold a firm religious faith – to accept something as true – to have a firm conviction as to goodness, efficacy, and truth”. In His word, God says that we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing on the Lord means we must firmly put our faith, our hope, and our trust in Christ; He alone is our salvation. When Christians are asked if they believe in Jesus Christ they say yes, but many of these same people cave in when they are asked if they believe everything Jesus tells us in His word. For example: When questioned about the two specific natures of Jesus Christ (Jesus is fully God and fully Man) many don’t really believe that, yet this is a very fundamental truth of the Christian faith.

Other basic Christian beliefs that many question are the virgin birth and His death on the cross, and subsequent resurrection. We cannot be born again if there is even one component of the Gospel that we hold in unbelief. Sadly many Christians fall into this category. We either believe everything about our coming King or we don’t, there is no in between. Unbelief regarding one or more aspects/attributes of Jesus Christ is the same as unbelief. If we’re going to turn our lives over to Jesus Christ then we must stop calling Him a liar. A new believer in Christ, like a newborn baby, isn’t expected to understand everything about this new life in Christ. But just like that newborn baby, growth needs to happen. Step by step you learn more and grow. How many people saw Benjamin Franklin fly a kite in a thunderstorm? Yet it is taught in history classes. How many people saw the risen Christ? Hundreds. Yet this most important historical event is questioned. Believing is seeing.

We see many people today who claim to be Christians but do not believe God’s word – the Holy Bible.
They desire to be called Christians, they believe that name fits their new age concept, but they really want a “designer god” that fits their lifestyle. This is a simple re-emergence of Satan’s lie to Eve. When it comes to the truth of the Bible they would rather stand on their own spirituality instead of standing on God’s inerrant word, which they see as myth mixed with allegory. Much evidence regarding places, events, and people named in the Bible has been unearthed by archeologists over past decades. For a Christian who believes by faith, believing should be seeing, but after so many discoveries have been made by archeologists, anyone who remains in unbelief is foolishly and woefully ignorant.

“He that is not with me is against me;” Matthew 12:30. How can we say we believe in Jesus Christ when we stand opposed to portions of His truth? In the above verse Jesus makes it plain that if we aren’t in full agreement with Him, which means we believe His inerrant word, we stand against Him. If you are against Jesus in regards to any of His precepts are you really born again? “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. It seems so simple, yet so many people question this truth. They refuse to believe therefore they cannot see.

Many Christians try to add works to belief and will tell you that you must be baptized in order to be saved. Others tell you that you cannot be saved unless you speak in tongues. Some even think you have to be able to handle poisonous snakes in order to be saved. Baptism is an act of obedience. Speaking in tongues is just one of many gifts of the spirit and not a requirement. Poisonous snakes? Foolishness. It is our belief in Jesus and His finished work on the cross that determines our salvation. “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:31. Simple…believing is seeing.

Another example of what some Christians foolishly refuse to believe about Jesus is that He is actually God Almighty. Oh sure, they believe He is the Son of God but not Almighty God. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24.Others believe He’s their Savior but not necessarily the Savior for everyone. They believe in many paths to God. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. John 14:6.Some professing Christians believe that humanity evolved from pond scum and that God was just an overseer – that the creation account is simply an allegory. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3. Some Christians don’t believe that the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8. So on and on it goes. It’s amazing what professing Christians simply refuse to believe about the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus’ own words tell us what we must do to be saved (justified). He simply says to believe on Him…the One God sent. That’s it. “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:28-29. Why is it that so many folks find it necessary to complicate this? Belief is so simple, but people make it so hard.

Some Bible teachers would have you believe you have to confess all of your sins before you can be saved. Yes, many times we are told to repent, but what does that word mean? In the Greek, the word is “metanoeĊ” which means to change one’s mind. The account of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts chapter 8 is a good example. He was trying to understand who Jesus was by reading from Isaiah 53. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading, but the man answered “…how can I, except some man should guide me?….” Acts 8:21.Philip didn’t give him a list of sins to repent from but explained who Jesus was.. Being sinless isn’t a prerequisite of salvation. You just need to change your mind about the need for a Saviour. Belief is the only prerequisite to becoming a born again child of God. “…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16b. Over and over again the Bible explains what it takes to be born again, born from above, from God. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.John 3:18. We condemn ourselves when we choose not to believe.

If we are to believe God’s word we must believe that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection paid the price for ALL sin. Those who are born again are no longer judged as sinners, and over time even those living a lifestyle of obvious “public” sin will come to recognize their opposition to God’s will. This recognition of sin usually isn’t immediate upon believing in Christ. It’s a process and involves all three members of the Holy Trinity. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:2. For most of us it’s a slow, steady, gradual process referred to in our Bibles as sanctification. Everyone who claims to believe in Christ needs to learn about Him and grow closer to Him in our thoughts, words, and actions. That is done by prayerfully studying our Bible, believing God’s word, and applying it to our life. When we sin we need to confess to Jesus and ask Him to forgive us “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9-10.

In order to see Jesus first we must believe. We must believe that Jesus Christ is God Almighty, He entered His creation and became a Man (the Man Jesus Christ). His Word is true as He is the Word; we can and must trust Him with our lives by believing without any doubt who He is and what He’s done. Then by studying God’s word and examining our own lives we will see sin as God does. We will get the mote out of our own eye before we try to get the speck out of other people’s eyes. Christ paid the full price for our forgiveness. Do you believe it? Do you see Him? If so, live for Him.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com
www.straitandnarrowministry.com
ron@straitandnarrowministry.com
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All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed

Fear Factor

Fear Factor 
August 1, 2013
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4. The Apostle John wrote this to fellow Christians, calling us by the endearing term of “little children”. He warns against spiritual dangers because the spirit of Antichrist had already started deceiving people when John wrote this letter. We who hold fast to the faith have victory in Christ against that same foe, because Christ overcomes evil. That doesn’t mean Satan is through attacking believers. On the contrary, he is fully intent on crippling us in regards to our walk with Christ. How does he do this? His tactics are legendary. Fear is the key to Satan’s dark and sinister practices which minimizes the effectiveness of many believers on this lost world. Satan’s ways are dark, but Jesus is the Light of the World.

Many people dismiss demons and the powers of darkness as pure myth and they designate anyone a lunatic who believes the demonic forces are real. This is, of course, exactly what Satan wants for now. This dark, evil presence is very real. If it weren’t, why would God warn us about it? Why would we be advised to try the spirits? “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.God wants us to be aware of the spirit of evil that is in the world, but He also wants us to know how to recognize evil and reject it.

Fear of the supernatural as well as the physical can weaken the resolve of a believer in Christ. We can be overcome with fear and it will freeze us in our steps. Thus fear is one of the enemy’s favorite tools. Darkness instills fear, and the enemy is the lord of darkness. God never glorifies darkness. Why? Because darkness is the realm of the malevolent supernatural. Just contemplating venturing out into the dark night can conjure up images in our minds of all sorts of ghouls and goblins. Ever wonder why it is that as soon as we switch on the light or the sun begins to peak over the horizon we feel relieved? “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:3-4. God proclaimed the light good. But try as we might we can’t find where God specifically declares the darkness good. Darkness breeds confusion – Satan’s playground where fear becomes embedded and enabled.

It never fails. When we’re faced with the unknown we become uncertain, even disorientated and confused. Often there is fear. Through our words and actions Satan can recognize the symptoms which lead to fear and he capitalizes on that until he’s maximized the fear within us. When fear is enabled, even for a moment, we become disabled. This disability is a stumbling block for us and becomes a stronghold for the enemy. We all know the phrase “paralyzed with fear” and understand that fear can stop us in our tracks. Fear can convince us to change course, take another path, even to persuade us to discontinue certain aspects of our Christian walk. Fear can cause a Christian to be consumed with doubt, doubt that will focus on the denial of what God has promised those who have faith. There is always a dark element surrounding fear. When we allow it to become a factor in our lives the enemy knows he has us. But as born again believers in Christ, God has placed His Holy Spirit in us. So really, what is there to fear? God is greater than any of His foes. His Holy Spirit is not a subset of a greater God, He is God.

A while ago I received an email from one of my readers saying “I have come to believe that Jesus Himself is our armor. He is the Truth – He is our righteousness – He is the Prince of Peace – He is our faith – He is our salvation – and He is the Living Word. I think that is why we are told in Scripture to clothe ourselves with Christ – to put Him on daily”. Amen! No fear factor here…not with the Light of the World being put on daily!

“Fear not” is a phrase which is stated numerous times in Scripture. Yet many of the brethren are still quite fearful. Why? “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. As believers in Christ we need not be fearful of anything in this world nor should we fear the supernatural (no, we aren’t to embrace it, just don’t let fear paralyze us). Yet I’ve been told by some of the brethren that at times they’ve been too afraid to speak up for Jesus. This fear is one of perception. They fear those who don’t believe and fear being mocked, ridiculed, or shunned.  The best way to overcome this fear is to study God’s word and pray. Confidence in the knowledge of Christ will remove the fear of speaking up for Him. Peter in fear denied Christ prior to the crucifixion, but once he was filled with the Holy Spirit he became quite outspoken and confident when talking about Jesus. Through him many came to a saving knowledge of our Lord.

Satan capitalizes on our fears. Our fears allow him the perfect opportunity to instill doubt in our minds. Fear will dominate the life of a believer when God is ignored or diminished in our daily lives. We can never overcome fear unless we trust God to work through us as His obedient children. How many folks have we allowed to pass by without a word spoken concerning the hope that resides within us? The fear factor can hamper our ability to firmly talk to others about Christ.

As we draw nearer to the Rapture and the Tribulation, Satan and his dark evil minions know their time is short. Hatred towards Jesus is growing. This hate is first and foremost aimed at our Savior, but will certainly come upon those who follow Him “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you… Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.” John 15:18, 20a. Perplexity, then hate, then attack by people who don’t understand the Lord. During the early days of Christ’s Ekklesia, a young man named Saul hated and persecuted Christians, who fearfully fled from Jerusalem. As Saul traveled to Damascus to seek out and destroy Christians Jesus met him. Saul (later known as Paul) heard a voice say “…Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Acts 9:4. Saul thought he was persecuting people, but Jesus knew the dark power behind his actions and that the persecution was really against Jesus. Just as hate is a natural outcropping of perplexity, fear is the reaction to all the hate aimed at Christians. The poisonous darts of the enemy will increase in the last days. Fear in the “in Christ” believer will only serve the enemy. When God says “fear not” He’s telling us we have nothing to fear as we walk in His precepts. We are His children and therefore He delights in lighting our paths as He guides us through the darkness.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” Psalm 23:4. Who can forget the 23rd Psalm? Most of us have it memorized. It is comforting to repeat it, even more so in the face of adversity. We need fear no evil. Why? Because thou art with us, O God. The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. Psalm 18:46. Jesus is the rock and shield for all those who follow Him. When we are compassed about by the enemy and his minions of the supernatural darkness that he controls, God and His holy angels are there as well, but in numbers of such magnitude that the enemy doesn’t stand a chance. If we recognize and call upon the Holy Spirit within us the enemy cowers and makes a speedy retreat. God will never walk away from a fight; certainly if we give it some thought we can come to the conclusion that God has already won every skirmish. Moreover God’s children are His possession, thus His protection is always available to us, protection against both the physical and supernatural dangers. When we allow doubt to creep in through fear, the enemy finds an easy target to destroy. While filling the children of God with fear, Satan boosts his own efforts to convince a huge portion of humanity to follow him straight into Hell while hindering the Great Commission given by our Lord to all those who follow Him to spread the Gospel.

We who follow Jesus with all our heart are His emissaries. As such we carry a message from God to be delivered to anyone who God chooses to place in our path. That message is a message of hope, but fear will stop us from sharing the Gospel. No matter how tough it gets while we sojourn this world we mustn’t allow fear to dominate us or we will be consumed with doubt. We are told to hold fast to the faith “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” Hebrews 10:23.

Jesus unabashedly told His disciples that fear is a lack of faith. “And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Mark 4:40. They had been in a boat when a windstorm arose, the waves were buffeting them, and the boat was taking on water. In fear they woke the sleeping Jesus and thought He didn’t care that they were sinking. They showed no faith by their actions as they allowed the fear of perishing to consume them. Jesus rebuked the storm then confronted their lack of faith. At this point His disciples still hadn’t recognized Jesus as Messiah, but today we should know exactly who He is. Thus fear should not be a part of our vocabulary, and doubt should be nonexistent in our lives.

King David is another example of relying upon God without fear. “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear:” Psalm 27:3. Many times David was surrounded by his enemies, yet we see he was a man who was fully reliant upon God for his strength. David was fearless as he stood up for God. How can we be any less fearless as we stand up for Christ? After all, are we not children of the Most High God? The armies we have coming after us are in battle with the Lord of all creation, not with us. Although they pursue us with an unholy determination to destroy us the battle belongs to the Lord. All the evil that Satan throws at us can’t create fear in any of us unless we allow it to happen. Fear is of the enemy, and he thoroughly enjoys establishing a colossal amount of fear for us to wade through.

Let us look at fear for what it really is. Words that mean the same thing are terror, horror, fright, dread, panic, alarm, apprehension. Are any of those words a part of your life? If so they can all be overcome. Jesus can overcome anything that hinders us in our walk with Him. All we have to do is take it to Him in prayer. We’re told to take very thought captive. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. When the enemy attacks, Jesus is our strength because carnal weapons will do us no good.

There is no room for the fear factor in the believer’s life – fear only leads to an unfulfilled life in Christ. “Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.”Lamentations 3:57. Come out of the darkness and trust in the Light of the World…Jesus the Christ. Fear not.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com
www.straitandnarrowministry.com