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Archive for the ‘evil’ Category

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those  who  are  wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! – Isaiah 5:20-21, NKJV

Some folks see preaching as a means to an end.  In fact, they rarely see visions full of prophecy.  These are the ones who seek to profit from the unlearned and naive within local flocks.

No, you may not detect their underlying motives because they offer sweet serenades rather than sermons.  You may not discern their diabolical schemes or plots to pilfer and plunder, for many have mastered the art of discourses of deception and trickery of the tongue.  They can rattle off verses of the Holy Scriptures to justify nearly any ploy.  Yet, their is uncovered beyond the naked eye.  God sees and knows all.

So what are we to do as defenders of the gospel and truth in His name?

We are to forge ahead despite their lies and treachery.  We are to profess and preach truth, never approaching this life in blind faith.  We are to continue as ambassadors of Christ and extend His love with our ministry of reconciliation. 

Jesus called out the religious leaders of His time.  The prophets spoke out against the ones who went against God’s Word and violated their covenant with Him.  Was Malachi talking to the common man about robbing God? Or, by reading it in context, do you discover that God is speaking to a different audience? Look at it and see for yourself.

Just know that Jesus warned us about such voices of violation.  Paul shared about such wolves among the flock.  Jude said such men had come into our midst.

There are men and women who speak with authority but not of God.  They preach for profit.  They seek your savings as much as your service.  They desire your abundance as much as they want you to worship God with your whole heart. 

Know that they exist.  Know that you have been warned.

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For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him (v. 64)

“Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (v. 70)

He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him (v. 71)

 

Jesus knew who it was “from the beginning,” according to verse 64.  He chose the twelve and knew well that one of them was “a devil.” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, “who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.”

 

Jesus knew it and had dealt it with it a while.  We see in John 12 that the objection of the anointing of Jesus at Bethany is limited to Judas in John’s version.  Unlike other gospels, Judas is the singular objector here and John is quick to point out his character here, saying: He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. (John 12:6, NIV).” John even denotes him, in verse 5, as “Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him.”

The Bible is full of bits and pieces about betrayal, especially by those who are said to be close to us.  David says that he could have handled a stranger betraying him, but it was a friend, a “man my equal.” The prophecy of Zechariah points out that Jesus was betrayed for thirty pieces of silverIsaiah presents the “man of sorrows” to the believer as the suffering and sacrificial Savior.  James simply said for us to submit to the Lord and that the devil would flee from us. 

We have to understand that these show us that we can withstand the devil’s attacks.  Just as Jesus withstood him during the temptation presented in the wilderness, we can withstand the fiery darts of the devil as he attacks us from all sides.  We can put on the whole armor of God, as it is written in Ephesians chapter 6, and have our defenses girded up against the enemy.

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For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.- Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Satan gets a lot of credit in the church.  Much of what the average Christian gives over to Satan is truly undeserved credit.  Satan is a fallen angel and a created being just like us.  The biblical story of Job demonstrates that he only does what God allows him to do.  He still must work on a limited basis.  He has no real power beyond what God affords him.

However, Satan is real.  He is not lurking behind some shadowy mist that drifts in and out of the atmosphere.  He is present, seeking to destroy all that can bring glory to God and tear down anything that builds the kingdom of heaven.  He is a liar and will stop at no means to kill, steal and destroy.

Satan attacks on a spiritual level.  If you leave him room, he will get between you and your spouse, you and your children, and even you and fellow believers.  His methods are divisive and destructive.  His aim is to keep us from growing closer to God.  He wants us to turn our backs on God.  He hopes that we will give up hope and seek help from anywhere but God.

He attacks at some critical times.  Check out these two examples for starters.  Later, after you have thought about it, check out the Lord’s words to him through prophecy (Isaiah 14:12-17).  It may help you understand some more about how he goes about things and why he is so persistent in attacking us.

Offering: Satan subtly seeks to convince us that the church doesn’t need our money.  After all, you hear yourself rationalizing, they’ll only waste it away with poor stewardship anyway.  That’s the type of thinking that can invade one’s heart and mind.  It’s a spiritual attack.  He wants to separate us from God.  He doesn’t mind starting with a small seed of doubt.  He’ll keep on us and at us until he reaches us somehow.  Be on guard.  Be in prayer.  Don’t give him a foothold.  Faithfully seek God out.  It’s the type of battle that can only be won by His spiritual might, not our own.

Invitation: Angels jump for joy and sing praises over one soul coming to the Lord for salvation.  Satan is a fallen angel.  He doesn’t rejoice over souls being saved in the name of the Lord.  He wants to get into the heart and mind of the unbeliever and show them how unworthy they are and why they don’t belong in church to begin with.  He attacks the unbeliever as the pastor prays and offers the invitation.  He seeks to embarrass the unbeliever and make the unbeliever fear the rejection of all of those people who seem to be staring and gawking.  He uses whatever he can to keep that person from even considering that now is the right time.  He even says that they can take care of it another day and in another way but not here and not now.  That’s junk. 

Be careful what you let get into your head and your heart at such a time.  He wants to keep you from the freedom that you will have in Christ.  He wants you to continue to be burdened by what has been bothering you for the longest.  He doesn’t want you to experience anything that is remotely close to salvation and all that it offers you.  He wants to keep you away from the church and out of God’s family. 

Don’t allow him to even start.  Learn what he is about and how he attacks believers and unbelievers alike.  Know that he will continue until he is utterly destroyed.  Meanwhile, he will seek to destroy as many as he is able to get a hold of as often as he can.  He has nothing that he can offer you that will last for an eternity.

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If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run.
– Proverbs 4:12 (NLT)
Do not do as the wicked do or follow the path of evildoers.
– Proverbs 4:14 (NLT)
We all need could use some good counsel. Our youth could use good counsel as well, especially those whose parents have been distracted or detoured with drugs, incarceration, substance abuse, and other issues. Some youth just haven’t been disciplined by their parents in this day and age. They haven’t been exposed to positive role models, especially by those adults who are supposed to take care of them day after day. Good counsel that comes from godly wisdom is the prescription for the condition that is ailing those who stand at the crossroads of life about to wander down the wrong path.
There is a way that will keep you from stumbling or falling prey to life’s many obstacles and obstructions. Also, there is a way that is ascribed to the “wicked”and “evilddoers.” You have the power of choice, a free will to choose your path in life. Your options can be viewed as limitless or limited, but you have the choice. Either you can accept good counsel and godly wisdom or you can reject it, going the way of the wicked or the foolish. No matter which you choose, the choice is yours.

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