Two Paths

Two Paths

In life, there are only two paths to choose from.  Please, recognize this statement for the truth that it is.

We may choose to live for God and the Kingdom of righteousness; or we may sink to serving satan who is the enemy of God and the enemy of all that is good and true, peaceful and holy.

The ancient Hebrew word for satan means “accuser” or “adversary.” Why would we want to serve the being who is named “accuser”?

My heartfelt question is “Why would anyone choose to serve the kingdom of darkness?”  Let’s look at what the Scriptures have to say.  I’m going to put the Bible verses in categories to help to clarify this study.

About the Kingdom of God & Jesus

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .  (Gal 5:22 NKJV)

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10b NKJV, emphasis added)

. . . and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:7 NKJV)

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.  (1 Cor 14:33 NKJV)

About the Kingdom of Darkness & satan

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  (Jas 3:16 NKJV)

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  (Joh 8:44 ESV)

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  (Joh 10:10a NKJV)

Warnings from Scripture

Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  (Eph 6:11 ESV)  We have to protect ourselves with the spiritual tools that the Lord has given to every believer.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  (1 Pet 5:8 NKJV)  We believers need to be vigilant and review our lives on a fairly regular basis so that we don’t allow even the smallest entry for the devil.

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  (Rev 12:20 NKJV, underscoring added)  Know that the enemy will surely receive his eternal punishment which is described here.

Conclusions

The Bible informs us of key things we should know about the enemy and his realm.  In the kingdom of darkness, the atmosphere is full of envy, self-seeking, confusion, lies and every evil thing.  The beings who populate that realm enjoy killing, stealing, lying and destruction.  The future holds a grim reality for satan and for all who choose to serve him: 

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  (Rev 20:10 NKJV)  This is an eternal, never-ending punishment. 

The Bible informs us that Jesus came to impart life not only here on earth, but for all eternity to those who accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  That is why John 10:10 says “more abundantly.”  When we serve Jesus and His Kingdom, we experience love, joy and peace.  We become a member of the family of God.  And lastly, when we become a child of God we experience the peace that passes all understanding.  (Phil 4:7)  Glory to God most High!

Savior & Deliverer

Savior & Deliverer

Our God is our Savior and our Deliverer.  His Word is full of His promises to us, and it also contains the testimonies of many believers who have experienced the Lord’s saving power and deliverance.

The Lord will save me when anyone tries to hurt me, and he will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory forever and ever be the Lord’s. Amen.  (2 Tim 4:18 NCV)

But the Lord is faithful and will give you strength and will protect you from the Evil One.  (2 Thes 3:3 NCV)

God saved us from these great dangers of death, and he will continue to save us. We have put our hope in him, and he will save us again.  (2 Cor 1:10 NCV)

These Bible verses remind us of some wonderful truths about the God whom we serve:

  • God saves us from those who try to harm us;
  • The Lord will make sure that we arrive safely in heaven;
  • Our God is faithful;
  • God’s grace will give us strength and protect us from the enemy of our souls;
  • God has saved our souls, and will continue to save us day-by-day; and
  • As long as we put our hope in Him, He will continue to save us time after time.

There is no God like our God!  (Ex 8:10; 1 Sam 2:2; 1 Chr 17:20)  Let us give Him all of the glory, honor, and praise!

Working Hard Has Benefits

Working Hard Has Benefits

We can’t bring any glory to the Lord or to the Kingdom of God by being lazy.  There is no honor in laziness, nor is there any glory in being idle.  I want to make it clear that I’m NOT talking about people who yearn to work, who have searched rigorously and urgently for employment, but haven’t been able to obtain it.  That’s not the same thing. 

What these Scriptures are addressing are people who prefer to be idle, and those who choose to engage in gossip and spreading rumors rather than performing true, diligent labor.  

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.  (Pro 14:23 NIV)  This verse teaches us that working hard brings us the benefit of being paid for our labor.  Those who only talk about working, but who actually do nothing, earn no wages and can buy no groceries.

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.  (2 Thes 3:10-11 NKJV)  This excerpt from 2 Thessalonians demonstrates the truth that people who won’t work will have nothing to eat.  In addition, when people don’t work they have lots of time on their hands which the enemy can turn into opportunities to sin against God.  While all sin is displeasing to God, the sin of gossip displeases the Lord greatly. It is the reason that the Scriptures describe such persons as busybodies.

And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.  (1 Tim 5:13 NKJV)  Here again, the Bible warns us about idle hands and minds being turned toward evil, unrighteous pastimes. 

As we see from Proverbs 14:23 (above), the Holy Spirit says that ALL hard work brings financial gain and advantages to the ones who work diligently.  The Bible encourages believers to work hard, to be responsible and kind, and to live honorably within our communities so that we are an asset to them.  God will reward us with His blessings as we live obediently to His word. Praise His Name!

That Christ is Preached

That Christ is Preached

What is something that is of uppermost importance to all believers around the world?  That is our study topic today.

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.  (Phil 1:18)

The verse above is saying, “So?  The important thing—the only thing that matters—is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached to everyone everywhere.  That makes me rejoice!”

But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”  (Lk 9:50)

But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side.  (Mk 9:39-40)

Anyone who prevents the gospel of Jesus Christ from being preached has set themselves against the will of God, and has willingly become an enemy of the most High God. 

Since not everyone has been called to be an evangelist, a pastor/preacher, or a missionary, then how can the rest of us take part in the evangelization mandate given to us by God?  When we tithe and give offerings to the church that we attend regularly, we contribute to circulating and promoting the message of the gospel.

Also, when we give donations to para-church ministries, missionaries, or evangelists, we are also contributing to and participating in broadcasting the Good News of Jesus Christ to the lost and the hurting.  It’s important for each one of us to recognize and to appreciate that we have been given a role to play in the Kingdom of God. It’s also vital that we understand that we are a vital part of spreading the Good News around the world! Praise God!

How Can We Overcome?

How Can We Overcome?

How can a human being overcome in the manner discussed in the Bible?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Rev 3:21)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Rev 12:11 NIV)

Overcome means to conquer, defeat, triumph over, or annihilate.  They triumphed over the enemy of our souls, satan. 

I believe the key verses that tell us how to overcome are shown above:  1 John 5:4-5 and Revelation 12:11.

  • Our faith in God, which is a gift from God, is one of our weapons designed to carry us to victory.  Our faith in Christ as our Savior, who is the Son of God according to the Word, is a stabilizing factor throughout life.  Hold onto this truth and never let it go.
  • Acknowledging that the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) cleanses us from all sin is another tool of victory bestowed upon us by the gift of salvation.  Remain mindful of this truth, and thank and praise God for it.  It has purchased our righteousness.
  • The ‘word of our testimony’ is also mentioned as part of our armament against the enemy that will sustain us and transport us to victory.  A testimony is a declaration—even evidence—of our life experiences.  As we daily state and affirm (1) who we are in Christ Jesus; (b) what we have through Christ; and (c) all of the blessings that we have received through salvation, we deepen and strengthen our roots of faith.  As we maintain this continuous testimony, we firmly plant ourselves (our roots) in the realm of victory.

According to Romans 8:37, the Lord has made us MORE than conquerors (winners, victors, overcomers).  All overcomers will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  Glory to God!

A Shield Called Faith

A Shield Called Faith

. . . above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  (Eph 6:16, emphasis added)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4, emphasis added)

We see that the Bible mentions a “shield of faith” in Ephesians chapter six.  This is quite an important concept, when you think and meditate upon it.  Shields were used to in ancient times to block attacks from hand-held weapons like swords as well as from projectile weapons such as arrows. 

The shield can also symbolize steadfast principles, commitment, loyalty and protection, which are afforded to us by taking up the spiritual “Shield of Faith” in Christ Jesus, our Savior.  This spiritual shield protects our hearts and minds from the attacks of the enemy which are designed to rob us of peace and joy.  Our spiritual shield also enables us to persevere in times of trials and crisis.

Cling to your confession of faith, brothers and sisters!  Heed Romans 10:8-9:

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

How Does God Oppose an Enemy?

How Does God Oppose an Enemy?

Why would we want to know how God opposes an enemy?  One reason is that God fights FOR us (Deu 3:22; 20:4) and our enemies become His enemies!  So, it’s sometimes enlightening to notice how God deals with His enemies so that we can recognize when and how He fights against OUR enemies.

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds.  27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, and will say, ‘Destroy!’  (Deu 33:26-27) 

  • The Lord fights our enemies to help us; He is our refuge and support. God drives our enemies away from us and gives the command to destroy them.  Wow!

In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them.  (Isa 19:16 NIV)

  • The Lord causes His enemies to become weak with fear and trembling when they realize that He is their opposition.

 For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me.  (Zech 2:9)

  • When God shakes His fist against a nation or a tribe, they become as the spoils of war for their servants to plunder. It is wise to remain God’s friend.

 For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:  “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”  But you would not, and you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”— therefore you shall flee!  And, “We will ride on swift horses”— therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!  One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill.  (Isa 30:15-17)

  • In this passage, the Lord was trying to give His people wise advice to return to their faith in Him, but they wouldn’t obey. He was offering the tribe of Judah the promise of protection from Assyria. Instead, His people decided to run away, and the Lord removed His blessings and protection from them.

Based upon this study, we can understand why the Bible says:

 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  (Heb 10:31)

For our God is a consuming fire.  (Heb 12:29)

We can rejoice that God fights for us, and gives us supernatural and miraculous abilities to defeat the enemy.

One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.  (Josh 23:10)  Let us rejoice that our God and Savior fights for us every single day!

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.  (Isa 59:19 NKJV)

In the New King James Version, the word STANDARD represents a force, like a narrow flood, that flows with great speed and force, and carries away everything before it.  By the word of the Lord and by His power, the attack of the enemy shall be broken.

Here’s the same Scripture from two other versions of the Bible. 

From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.  (Isa 59:19 NIV)

So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.  (Isa 59:19 ESV)

The Lord’s power shall come like a rushing stream driven along by the wind of the Lord.  The WIND OF THE LORD signifies the power and might of the Holy Spirit. This word image allows us to image the majestic power and authority of our God.  He is worthy of all praise!

How appropriate is the passage in Jeremiah:

There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?  For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.  (Jer 10:6-7 ESV)

Whenever the Lord drives the enemy to flight as described in the verses above, it will trigger a wave of humanity glorifying God and giving Him thanks, praise and honor.

If your church, community or family comes under an unprecedented campaign against you, meditate upon Isaiah 59:19 and ask the Lord to bring it to pass in your situation.

Joy Comes in the Morning

Joy Comes in the Morning

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  (Ps 30:5)

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  (Ps 126:5)

These verses of the Bible have been a great comfort to me many different times in my life.  I understand that the challenges and sorrows of life haven’t been a result of God’s anger, but rather because Satan is the enemy of our souls.  He and his minions are at work in this world and manifest themselves as evil works, heinous crimes, and calamitous events.

This verse reminds me that God’s favor is upon me forever; and it surrounds me as a shield. (Ps 5:12)  This truth encourages my faith when difficulties arise. 

In another way, these verses remind me that I may experience weeping (sorrow; sadness) for a season, but it will be surely followed by joy.  In fact, whenever I DO cry, the Lord tells me that He saves my tears in a bottle.  (Ps 56:8)  This indicates that God does not consider my tears wasted, and that they’re very important to Him.

In Hezekiah’s story (Isa 38:5), the Bible clearly states that God saw Hezekiah’s tears and extended his life due to Hezekiah’s tearful prayers. 

Let’s remind ourselves in times of trial, pain, or sorrow, that God sees our pain and our tears.  We sow our prayers in tears before the Lord.  They are very important to Him; and as we pray to Him and trust Him, He will reward us with deep and abiding joy.  Praise the Lord!