Sunday, March 30, 2014

Harpazo -The Disappearance of Many

On March 8th, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12:41 a.m. It was good flying weather and was expected to land without hiccups in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. This is a 2,300-mile trip that was carrying 229 passengers. It never made it's destination. It just disappeared. Although there have been many theories as to what happened to the plane and it's passengers, rest assured, there IS an explanation. A lot of mystery is surrounding this flight's disappearance into thin air and some of the circumstances connected to it, and rightly so. From the very moment it slipped off the radar without so much as a warning, the media has covered it non-stop! Every news channel had their own "breaking news" headlines. Every news caster across the world scrambled to find the answers. The more they scrambled to find answers, the more questions arose. Yet, still no answers. Not really.

The dissection of what happened or didn't happen to Flight 370 is not the purpose of this article. However, it IS the inspiration. I watched as intently as the rest of the world to watch this unfold. I already had my own theories and sensed this wasn't going to be a short news headline. After a few days, I realized it was as though the entire world stopped reporting on anything else. It was like nothing else mattered. All eyes were on the missing plane and all of it's occupants. Oh, I understood. I sympathized. I felt anguish. I felt frustration. I had a range of emotions along with the rest of those who were following this "breaking news."  As a people, we like puzzles and more so, we demand answers. In our minds, there are always explanations and this is no different. When those "answers" don't appear right away, or seem evident, then everyone begins to assume, create and "find" their own explanations that make sense to THEM. And then it hit me!

While this is a tragic and very sad situation and there are plenty of unknowns for the loved ones, family members and friends left behind without any answers, it gave thought to the Rapture. Harpazo, when there will be a sudden and instantaneous disappearance of many! Well, as many of you know from reading my blog, I am a firm believer in the the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church due to the many biblical references that I have discussed elsewhere in my blog. Let me just say that the CHARACTER of our Loving Father God is NOT to make His bride suffer the wrath that will be spilled out upon the earth for the non-believers that will be left behind. There would absolutely NO purpose served in doing so. He loves us dearly and He didn't appoint us to His wrath. He tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, "v9) For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, v10) who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him." This wrath is plainly God's anger that will be poured out during the Tribulation.

Now let's look at one other very important Scripture.....1 Thessalonians 1:10, "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." The Lord Jesus Christ has already delivered each Christian from the wrath to come! This verse doesn't say "WILL deliver." It says DELIVERED. Meaning it's already been DONE. The Bible tells us plainly though, what "the wrath to come" means. Simply put, the wrath of God is directed toward those who refuse to repent and receive His mercy and grace: the children of disobedience. The wrath of God is His punishment on unbelievers. During God's wrath upon the earth, there still will be a chance for some to repent, believe and accept Jesus.....but why would anyone want to wait for that horrific, evil time to do so?

In Strong's Concordance, this is what is said about "harpazo." harpaz√≥: to seize, catch up, snatch away. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance says to catch up, seize, take by force. From a derivative of haireomai; to seize (in various applications) -- catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force). As I was watching the media coverage of the Malaysian plane, it occurred to me....what will they do and how will they act when the Rapture takes place? When suddenly, all over the WORLD, there will be the disappearance of many, simultaneously, without an explanation. Poof! The news media, those who will be left behind that is, will be scrambling for answers, for evidence, for "survivors," for scientific reasons WHY and HOW this happened. But they will find nothing of the sort. It will remain a mystery until.....they remember those of us who spoke about the Lord Jesus Christ and His imminent return! Those of us who weren't afraid to speak about the Rapture while we were still here. The catching away. The Harpazo. We wanted everyone to know what was going to happen when the "bride" was called home. Because the rapture means our gathering together unto Him! How WONDERFUL!

Jesus will come in the air, in the very near future, to catch up the Church from this sinful earth, then return to heaven with the Church. The Apostle Paul gave a clear description of the rapture event in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians. 1 Thessalonians, 4:16-18, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." In this passage, Paul is describing an event in which Jesus Christ will not physically, literally touch down on the earth but will first come "in the clouds" and snatch away His true followers from the earth in an instant of time. Those who have not chosen to follow Christ, those who have not been "born again," will remain behind on the earth and will have to go through a terrible time of wars, famines, natural disasters, and divine judgments known as the Tribulation. Then look what 1 Cor. 15:51-53 says, "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: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality"

So now, imagine yourself driving to work, or anywhere for that matter when suddenly, without warning, cars go careening out of look all around you, and realize they have NO drivers! Or imagine a group of people walking across the crosswalk in any given city, in any given country, and suddenly, in a twinkling of an eye, some in that group just vanish. The immense amount of chaos that will ensure will be enough for every reporter, every newscaster, every camera person who unfortunately will be left behind, to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together......just as they are trying with the airplane. Now, we all know there is a LOGICAL explanation for the missing plane and all of it's occupants. The whole world has their theories, as do I. But theories aren't facts. They aren't explainable until there is evidence. There is nothing supernatural about this particular event. Not a thing. In time, in due time, the pieces of this puzzle will begin to be put together to form a conclusion. Then....puzzle solved!

The rapture, however, will be totally SUPERNATURAL! It will happen in a twinkling of an eye so nobody will actually SEE this happen. A twinkling is too fast for our naked eye to see. The end of the Church Age will be evident by the removal of the Church, which will produce global economic chaos and fear.  The world will be in such a state of shock and fear of not understanding that God's focus has turned toward a horrifying time of judgment on earth. The disappearance of all the believers will cause so much confusion and uncertainty throughout the whole world that I can't even begin to imagine the extent of what the world will look like at that moment of supernatural occurrence! Utter chaos! People can't function in chaos. Maybe for a moment. But not for a lifetime. Order isn't really a natural activity if you look at it from the outside. When I take a look around at my office, I’m quite amazed at how quickly it descends into total chaos and how long it takes me to restore order. Order requires intervention; it does not happen naturally.

Going Home!
A prominent biblical theme throughout the Bible is the role God has in bringing order out of chaos. He did it when He was creating the nation of Israel (Exodus 7–14). When God said it was time to bring the Hebrew people out of Egypt, Pharaoh objected. His nation’s economy depended on the Hebrew workers, so Pharaoh didn't want to lose them. To change Pharaoh’s mind, God sent 10 plagues to convince him. Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate the first two plagues but they couldn't reverse the plagues-any of them. They could cause chaos, but they couldn't restore order. Only God can do that. I reference that it's only God who can bring order out of chaos because during, and immediately following the removal of the "Church" the chaos will be too much for many to bear. Transportation systems will collapse. Communication systems will fail. Governments will fail. Food and resources will be scarce due to the disappearing of the masses. Crime will become widespread, even more so than it is this present day. Electricity, water and sanitation all will be at risk. Everything most of the world has relied upon for years will collapse. The next 7 years will be a series of horrific and catastrophic events that no eyes, no person should want to ever experience. But the people left have turned their backs on God and His sacrificial Son Jesus Christ. The very one who restores order. Who intervenes in the middle of chaos. And now.....they'll be left to find out what it really is like in a world full of the WORLD.

It is here that I will give my explanation of why I feel the "Church" is the "restrainer" that will be removed. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10, "And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. v7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. v8) And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. v9) The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, v10) and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." There are many who argue that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit and for many years I too, believed that. I'm not sure where, along my walk, this changed, but what made sense to me in my spirit while studying the prophecies and end times, was the Church. As I read the above and I couple it with the many souls that will still be SAVED through the tribulation as God states will happen, this would only make sense. If the restrainer was the Holy Spirit then that would mean those who repent and receive the Lord Jesus wouldn't be indwelt with the Holy Spirit. BUT part of the Promise of our Lord and Savior is to leave us a comforter in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

So why do I believe it's the Church? Well, in Matthew 5:14 Jesus plainly teaches us that the born again believers are "the light of the world." Jesus is the Light (John 8:12) and it is Jesus, who is residing in our hearts that shines in this dark, evil and dreary world of sin, hate and contempt. Without us Christians preaching the Word and fighting against sin, this world would quickly take a nose dive into unimaginable wickedness! Some already believe we have! However, in order for the Antichrist to complete his New World Order that is led by Satan himself, the Church must be removed from the world. We cause so much problems for Him because we pray against all that he is, all that he tries to destroy and all that he wants. So at the Rapture, the Body of Christ, the Church, will be "caught up" and at that time, the Antichrist will have NO OPPOSITION from people like us born again believers who tries to expose Satan and his minions and every other form of debauchery known to mankind that he takes delight in. When the Church is gone, the Devil isn't going to feel any backlash from Christians because we won't be here, but he is going to have a heyday. A free for all. Christians really mess things up for him because of the TRUTH of Jesus that we find in His 66 books of love letters to us! We won't accept the act of homosexuality, same-sex marriages, abortions, microchip implants, witchcraft, familiar spirits, thievery, etcetera. We won't accept the Devil. Because we won't accept the LIES.

The Church today serves as the primary restrainer of evil in the world as it proclaims the Gospel and stands for righteousness. Standing firm on the Word of our God! Paul graphically points out in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 that when the Church fails in this mission, evil greatly multiplies. Paul says that society in the end times will be characterized by chaos and despair because "men will hold to a form of religion but will deny its power." When the Church is removed from the world, all hell will literally break loose. And that, to me, makes sense. I'm not saying it is what is meant, but it's how it's been received in my spirit. Some people have even said the restrainer was the Government. But the governments of the world are in rebellion against God and His Son (Psalm 2), and they are contributors to all the evil that is characterized in the world. The world follows Satan because they're his children. They believe the lies. They follow him because he promises temporary things. But we, as Christians, are a strange bunch because we choose to follow only the LORD JESUS CHRIST. We are a big obstacle for his agenda, for the New World Order, for his reign of terror. The true Church can be compared to a ferocious pitbull that stands guard against the lies, evil and the Devil. Restraining and holding him back. God will remove us from the world as part of His divine sovereign plan, so the Tribulation can happen. Israel will be purged in preparation to receive her King and the inhabitants of the earth will be judged for their wickedness.

Imagine for a moment, once again, that you're eating at your favorite place. It's packed full of all different walks of people, young and old alike. People disappear. Dishes crashing down all around. People screaming. Running to and fro. They try to make phone calls to their loved ones but can't. Communications will be greatly disrupted. Then, every country will find itself in turmoil. Each government around the world will have to act swiftly as possible to prevent a ravenous tide of anarchy, fear and terrorism. Strong measures will have to be put into effect to CREATE order out of chaos. The highways, subways, airports and streets will be in shambles as the many engineers, pilots, bus-drivers, train conductors and the multitude of car owners suddenly be caught up out of this world. Many key persons will disappear while much of the lines of communications which are still above ground will be broken by crashes of cars and aircraft. It'll be many days, even weeks or months, before they can unscramble the mangled cars, trains, and fallen aircraft. There will also be a noticeably marked increase in ‘target of opportunity’ theft because of unattended shops, cars left open, dropped purses and wallets, houses left open, etc. Public officials will call for calm as people begin a run on the banks and stores for cash, food and necessities. Most people will be trying to figure out what just happened. Distraught and searching for answers, for loved ones, for guidance and for ORDER, multitudes will jam and overload the communication lines and systems that do remain. Chaos will be on every hand.

A small glimpse of that scenario is how the missing Malaysian airplane is unfolding. Although not on the grand scale that will take place immediately following the Rapture, it is still a perceived "mystery" at the moment. Miscommunication between the countries that have "satellite" images of the debris, only to find out it doesn't belong to the plane in question. Statements being made and "confirmed" about all on board the flight have perished, when no bodies have been found, much less the plane in question. The heartache, confusion and anger they must feel! Can you imagine this tragedy on a larger scale throughout the entire world? This tragedy can only be described as terrible and horrific for those who are awaiting any word on their friends and family members. The media coverage will eventually wane because it's going to take some time to sort things out. But just consider the effects of a pre-trib Rapture. Imagine the world-wide chaos as millions of people suddenly disappear. I tend to only imagine that the US will be among the hardest "hit" by this sudden "catastrophe" but will struggle to find some kind of an explanation. I sense the US will be one of the hardest hit because of the ratio of Christians and technological advances. Every country, every nation will experience this supernatural event, but I believe some more than others will be affected. On the other hand, it is highly possible that Europe will remain largely intact and uniquely positioned to step into the political vacuum that has been created by the decimation of the United States. Not fact, just a very real possibility.

After having suddenly seen millions of people vanish before their eyes, many people will either recognize what has just happened or they will blatantly deny it and continue in the unrepentant state of sin. The people who see the rapture and recognize what has happened AS the Rapture, will be some who sat on the fence waiting for one final proof that the Bible was true and that salvation is in ONLY Jesus Christ. Then there will be those after the rapture that'll see the rapture and try desperately to explain it all away by various explanations. These people are the unbelievers who have no love for God, no love of His Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and who continues to seek the god of the world, Satan. Some of their explanations will try to point to the rapture as happening only as a result of man's evolution to a higher level, as they try to rationalize in this day and in this time. Maybe even alien abductions since the world seems to be obsessed with UFO's and aliens. Indoctrination? Possibly. They'll know about Jesus and the be aware of the prophesied rapture but won't respond to the sudden disappearance of millions of people. The world mocks God and the unrepentant sinners will continue on after the rapture as they continue on in disbelief. They will continue to delight in wickedness and evil despite the overwhelming evidence that they've been terribly deceived by the Master of Deception. The world will likely celebrate the removal of the Christian church and evil will be given full reign. The Church, which is the salt of the world, will no longer be around to help keep order nor restrain evil.

However, something will happen during this time and the promise of peace will come to those left here on earth. But the order that will happen will NOT be from God! Those people will be desperate for a strong leader, someone to restore peace and order. They will be eager to receive the false savior-Antichrist. The first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation that follows the Rapture of the Church, will be a time of peace. This is when the False Prophet and the Antichrist will greatly influence the masses using signs and lying wonders (2nd Thessalonians 2:9). 2nd Thessalonians 2:10 says, "and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." This is saying to us that the masses of the earth will eagerly follow the Antichrist because they loved the lies and the world more than the truth so that they might be saved... The world will worship the Beast, the wicked Devil himself. And to an instant, in a twinkling of an eye, one's life will be changed forever! The second half of the the tribulation is called the Great Tribulation because the last 3 1/2 years will be much much worse than the first half! Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6,7,14; 13:5. 

The Seven year tribulation period will have many, many horrific events happening throughout, but only in God's appointed time as outlined in the Bible. During these tribulations, the Bible states that one half of the remaining population will die due to disease, famine, war and directly because of failing to follow the Antichrist and his one world religion, government and financial system. The discussions and studies of the end times and the Tribulation Period is lengthy and in depth. I can't cover it all in one article however, this particular entry is designed to help you understand the ramifications of the Harpazo-The Disappearance of Many and how it will impact the WORLD!

Those who come to believe during the Great Tribulation will be in one of two groups. The first group will be the remnant of physical Israel sealed for protection and called to testify concerning Christ (Revelation 7:1-8). They are the 144,000 of all the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. The second group will comprised of the masses of gentiles who believe in Christ and suffer persecution and martyrdom for their faith. These martyrs will come out of the Great Tribulation through death, but their suffering will instantly give way to victorious worship as they join the heavenly chorus in praise to “our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10) Thankfully, there is still hope for those people who miss The Rapture. As a matter of fact, it’s the same hope God gave to the people of His world thousands of years ago – His son, Jesus Christ. Even though the next several years will be unbelievably tough, all one has to do is to sincerely, and with all of your heart, accept Jesus as your savior. In doing so, you become a Tribulation Saint and will ultimately be rewarded with eternal life with our Heavenly Father.

Please don't be left behind! Let your name be entered in the Book of Life......

I am going to close this by using Psalm 91 in it's entirety:

1) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2) I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3) Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4) He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5) You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6) Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7) A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8) Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9) Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10) No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11) For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12) In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13) You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14) “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15) He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16) With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

For Such a Time as This

Haven't we all grumbled that we didn't like our jobs? Neighbors? Neighborhoods? Cars? Irritating people?And haven't we all wanted to be in a different "place" than where we find ourselves at the present moment? Haven't you found yourself asking the Lord God "why?" If you're honest, then your answer would be a resounding YES! Sometimes, as Christians, we find ourselves in precarious situations that we can't seem to understand the nature of why we are in that particular place, residing beside those particular neighbors, driving a car older than we'd like, or working in a particular place with particular co-workers. We may feel stuck. We may feel frustrated. We may just want to jump ahead of the Lord and risk His blessings by doing, saying or reacting before He tells us to!

Psalm 37:22-24, "v22) For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. v23) The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way. v24) Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with his hand."

In this verse, it is showing us that ALL of our steps are ordered by the Lord. As a child of God, we need to accept the fact that He is directing every step of our lives, even though we have free will and choice. By this, I mean, even God knows the choices that we'll make before we make them. He knows why we rationalize those choices by running ahead of Him. But in any event, He knows it ALL! From our choices, both righteous and sinful, He has plans for us and by allowing our life story to unfold, individually, for His purpose, is part of His ultimate plan! But did you ever stop and think about the fact that God put you right where you are for such a time as this? It is providence. His providence. He has something for you to do. He has something for you to say. As a Christian, I don't believe in luck, only providence. I don't believe in coincidence either because nothing is coincidental when you allow God's hand to direct your every step as part of His will and plan for you! For us to be able to follow through with what He wants us to do or say, well, we have to surrender to the fact that in order to achieve His will, we have to go where He wants us to go, say what He wants us to say and do what He wants us to do! Simple? Not always.

A good example of this is the story of Esther. She is a beautiful orphan girl who becomes a queen. There's also an evil man who plots her destruction along with the destruction of her people. But because of her bravery, she saved her nation. The girl’s name was Hadassah, but is better known as Esther who became the queen. Her story is told in the Old Testament book that bears her name. In a series of events that were being directed by the hand of the Almighty God, we see Esther entering it. God plucked her right from obscurity, and she became part of the monarchy’s inner circle as the new queen. It didn't end there though because God had more for Esther to do. Enter in the villain, Haman. He was a manipulative, power-hungry prime minister who devised a plan to rid the Hebrew people and found a way to get the king on board with his plan. However, little did the he know that he also was sealing the queen’s fate. Esther was about to find out why she was queen. It wasn't a coincidence but rather, God's providence. She was living in that proverbial bubble, unaware of what was going on in the kingdom. So her Uncle Mordecai sent word to Esther to tell her about the situation and to ask her to go before King Xerxes and plead for her people.

She sent a reply saying that if she went to the king without being summoned, she could be put to death. Essentially, she was saying, “I haven’t seen him for a long time. I am not going to go into the presence of the king.” So Mordecai put it into plain language for Esther: “v13) And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. v14) For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13–14). See Esther was at the right place at the right time. She would have to risk her own life to make a stand for the Jewish people. She would put her beauty and feminine influence to great use. She was not a fragile queen; she was a Hebrew warrior! God was thinking about Esther, and he had a plan and a purpose that was unique just for her.

Let God Direct Your Steps
To become a warrior for God, to learn to be content with what He's given us, where He's put us and how He's gotten us there, is to give up control and have full on FAITH! There's a joy in having that kind of Faith as I've had to drive down this path myself. I've found along the way that there's nothing more satisfying, more fulfilling and more exuberant than being where God wants me, doing the "job" He sent me out to do! And as frustrating as it may get here in the earthly realm, I know that all of this is temporal. It'll pass away but all of my rewards, all of my treasures will be awaiting me when either the Rapture comes or I'm called to be home with my Father! I'd rather have those treasures and blessings, than to have material things here on earth to restrict me, to make me fall and stumble. If we open our eyes wide enough and clean off our muddied glasses, we'd see that everything we've been fed regarding "controlling" our lives in our own power, strength and might, is nothing but a lie from Satan! Here are just a few Scriptures about the strength of the Lord and how much greater it is than what our human side could ever imagine!

1) 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 
2) Isaiah 40:29, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."
3) Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
4) Psalm 28:7-8, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.  The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one."
5) Isaiah 40:29-31, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Basing our lives on our own ability to control them can have no other outcome except grief. The expectations run too high because we set such high unattainable standards that it's impossible to not grieve as we fail. We are not in control of our lives. We deceive ourselves when we insist that we are. God is in total control of every step we take, every outcome of our choices we make without Him, and is orchestrating every second as it gets to our lungs! We all have known too many cases where hard work failed to win the day. We have known too many people who did everything right in their eyes and the eyes of those secretly watching, but they still got ran over by the Mack truck that they couldn't see coming right around the corner. And we've all seen, and have known, people who made decisions that were highly praised as wise, BY the wisest of the wise, yet still saw that wise choice end in bitter fruit. For the Christian, the answer to the delusion of control is here: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "v19) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? v20) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, "v17) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, v18) while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

I believe in God’s sovereignty, superiority, authority, absolute reign! C.S. Lewis wrote about his conversion from atheism, "I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England." When we don’t like our circumstances and when we’re afraid that we've made the wrong decision, that's when we can be assured of God's ordained and orchestrated direction of our steps. Because of God’s sovereignty and His unfailing, agape love, we can be confident that the events surrounding our lives are not random but have a redemptive purpose. God is active in the midst of every situation!

In Genesis 32, Jacob always did whatever it took to make sure things went his way, to make sure he controlled the "outcome" and was permanently crippled after wrestling with God for the blessing he had stolen from Esau. Gideon was a “man of valor”, yet he struggled to trust that he had heard from God: “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.” (Judges 6) Paul was always writing about decisions to visit this place or that place, “if the Lord permits” or “if it seems advisable’; but often he said the Holy Spirit prevented or compelled him to do what he had planned . . . and sometimes his decisions led to “imprisonments and afflictions,” or resistance from those he loved most (Acts 23). So remember, God doesn't leave us alone to make decisions, and promises to guide us (Proverbs 3:5-7). For such a time as this......

God loves us dearly and has a wonderful plan for our lives. He has been busy building faith-growing incidences into our lives to stretch our faith so that we will be able to embrace our destiny through Him. Father God orchestrates opportunities that will increase our trust in Him and equip us for His purposes and plans. In Genesis 45:5-8, "v5) But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. v6) For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. v7) And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. v8) So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt." 

Here, we have one of the most clear, real-life illustrations of the sovereignty of God. Through the life of Joseph we are given a glimpse into the sometimes unseen and incomprehensible ways of God when it comes to the lives of men. For Joseph, it become clear that God was behind all that had happened in his life. Every single step, every path he was led down, every corner he was made to turn. However, to his brothers, it was all a great mystery. They didn't knew anything about Joseph’s life since the day they sold him into slavery, and they were definitely oblivious to God’s bigger, better plan for them and their father’s household. But despite their ignorance of God’s ways, He was still at work. Joseph gave God the credit over and over again. He clearly saw the hand of God controlling and directing His entire life, from start to finish. He saw his position as second-in-command over all of Egypt as God’s doing, not as a result of his own talent or hard work. God controlled it ALL. What an incredible outlook to have on life. Joseph knew that God had been at work behind the scenes every step of the way in his life. And God would assure Jacob that all that happened had been for a greater purpose.

There are those who have learned, over the course of their own lives, that God is, and has, orchestrated their lives and nothing was of their own will. They've seen His hand guiding their steps because they chose to have the kind of undying, unstoppable Faith that allows Him to guide us. Over time, they have developed the capacity to look for God’s involvement in even the worst of situations. In the worst of our situations and circumstances, He is ALWAYS there! There is nothing that escapes His sight, and He never sleeps! They hold to His promise in Psalm 121:3-4, "v3) He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. v4) Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep." Those individuals don’t just know about the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, but they believe in it and live their lives according to it. There's a joy, a peace and a certain "light" that comes from them that is unmistakable!

Then, there are those who live as if God is not there, only when they get what they want or when things go right. They view the collective circumstances of their lives as if they're somehow out of God’s control and He is out of touch with what is going on in and around their lives. Both good and bad. However, when bad things happen, their view of God seems to take on the notion that He simply doesn't care, that they've done something wrong to deserve Him "turning a deaf ear" or just that He's mad at them and they somehow blame Him for what's happened in their lives. The prophet Isaiah reminds us in Isaiah 59:1, "Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear." Difficulties, hardships and storms in our lives does not prove the weakness of God, but it simply exposes our lack of faith. Every time something becomes difficult in their lives, they try to take control of the entire situation. In some ways, forgetting the sovereignty of God. When someone does that, and can't surrender, then they are playing "god" themselves. They are TRYING to control it all......

A surrendered heart catches the eye of God. A desire for purity is an invitation for His fire. A true hunger for His heart promises His intimacy. A life of abandonment declares an enlistment into His army. We now can live for so much more. Your path IS His plan! God can't move you to a new place until you surrender yourself to let go of the old, comfortable past! The past serves only as a reminder of something that once WAS and it's never meant to be lived over and over and over. Especially if you're a new creation in Christ Jesus! We tend to see the brightest light in the darkest places and that's sometimes where the greatest change takes place. As it says very clearly and beautifully, in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: v2) A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; v3) A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; v4) A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; v5) A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; v6) A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; v7) A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; v8) A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace." These are directions. Directions lead to paths and destinations. Destinations start with.....a STEP!

God knows all of the problems and challenges we are currently facing because He is paying attention to us! God is orchestrating the events of our lives even as you are reading this article. You are supposed to read it for whatever reason or you wouldn't have been led by His hand in finding this! He has been preparing and equipping us for this very moment. Preparing my heart to write it, and preparing yours to find it and read it! He created us, He gifted us, and now He wants to use us. It's time for us to come out of our bubbles and pay attention to the people around us. Pay attention to their struggles, their pains, their challenges. Likely we've been through some of those very same ones and God is placing us specifically in that place and time to reach that one person. To touch a hand. To hug someone. To speak the truth. To spread the gospel. To share a smile. To teach a lesson. To walk beside the lonely. To be part of His plan for someone else's plan. So, instead of cursing the darkness, try turning on the light. Change the light bulb from a 40 watt to a 100 watt. Be the brightest light they've ever seen. There is a time to be quiet and there's a time to just live it out loud. And there is also a time to speak up with love, compassion and when He tells you to speak up!

Proverbs 20:24
Has God placed you where you are for such a time as this? There is only one you. One, unique individual. There's only one person walking this earth with your exact background, heritage and experiences. All directed by God. The exact events and sufferings of your life have brought you to this very hour. Just as no two fingerprints are alike, you are unique from everyone else in this world. If you have suffered in life, if you have been neglected, rejected, mistreated and/or abused, I am deeply sorry. But the good news is that God CAN and WILL take the hurt, pain. disappointments and sufferings that the world has dealt you and use it to make you a godly man or a godly woman.......for such a time as this.

If you haven't accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and you're struggling with where you are in life right now, it's not too late! Surrender your life to Him and He will make you new! Remember that everything you experience in this life, on this earth and in this fallen world, is only temporary. We have two choices right this very minute of where we want to spend our eternity.....believe and accept Jesus into your heart and live eternally in Heaven or reject His sacrificial offering of His only Begotten Son and live eternally in Hell. Please listen for His voice because He's calling your name right now.....

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Friday, February 28, 2014

The Indispensable Attribute of Biblical Self Control

You have to know and acknowledge your weaknesses, then turn to the Lord for His STRENGTH, or the WORLD will find them out for you! The world is sneaky like that! Once we know what our weaknesses are, and can be honest with ourselves about them, the first thing we need to do as Christians, is turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for HIS strength, surrendering them to Him. He will help us overcome and to resist those temptations that appear to our EARTHLY eyes as weaknesses. Because, really, our weaknesses are nothing more than the doorways to sinful excesses, to temptations and to foolishness. Here are just a few Scriptures that pertain to this very thing......

1) Proverbs 16:32, "Better a patient person than a warrior, those with self-control than those who take a city."
2) Proverbs 25:28, "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control."
3) Galatians 5:22-24, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, v23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. v24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires."
4) Proverbs 29:11, "A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."

I'm going to start off by saying that what you practice becomes part of who you are and what you do. Every addiction began with a thought which led to the decision to ACT. Whether that addiction is/was smoking, drinking, drugs or relationships, it all began with a thought. The more you do something, whether it be sinful or righteous, the EASIER it is to DO! The more you continue to do something, the more you BECOME what you do! So, practicing a sinful OR righteous act becomes a habit. A habit then becomes comfortable to you and before you know it, it IS you. So having self-control is imperative to who you become, to who you are....and to who you don't want to be! It's a form of training. Discipline is training yourself to refrain from something.

The very concept of "self-control" actually implies there's a battle between a divided self. It implies that our "self" produces desires that we shouldn't satisfy but instead "control." Think about that as you mull over some area of your own temptations and self control. Jesus says we should "deny ourselves" and "take up our cross daily," and follow him (Luke 9:23). Every day our "self" produces desires that should be "denied" or "controlled." That path that leads to heaven is very narrow and it is strewn with suicidal temptations to abandon the way. Therefore, Jesus says, in Luke 13:24, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Here the Greek word for "strive" is "agonizesthe," in which you can hear the English word "agonize."

Self-control is very much an important part of maturity. One of the basic characteristics of infancy is a lack of self-control. Not only do babies need diapers, they must be carried because they lack the necessary control and muscle coordination to sit up much less walk or run. If babies are healthy and normal, in time they will develop more and more self-control, a sure sign of growth and maturity. I always found this comparison very interesting, but very spot on! The more you mature in the Lord, the more self-control you will have in your life. Isaiah 3:4-5, "v4) I will give children to be their princes, And babes shall rule over them. v5) The people will be oppressed, Every one by another and every one by his neighbor; The child will be insolent toward the elder, And the base toward the honorable.” Isaiah sternly warned them that the objects of their trust, their leaders who were traditionally respected because of their maturity and discretion (self-control), i.e., “the old,” “the honorable,” would be replaced by those who were totally inadequate and incapable of leading the nation. Why? Because they were immature, unwise; indeed, they would be like mere lads and/or capricious children. The word “capricious” refers to someone who acts according to impulse or whim. It’s a perfect word for one who lacks self-restraint or wise discretion. How pertinent to our society today!

When we "strive to enter through the narrow gate," we get a taste of what is truly involved from Matthew 5:29, "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you." This is the fierceness of self-control. This is what's behind the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:12, "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force." Are you laying hold on the kingdom fiercely? The Apostle Paul says Christians exercise self-control like the Greek athletes, only our goal is eternal, not temporal. 1 Corinthians 9:25, "Everyone who competes in the games (agonizomenos) exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." In 1 Corinthians 9:27, he goes on to say rather directly and intently, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."  Self-control is saying no to sinful desires, even when it hurts. And sometimes, when it hurts, we remember the lesson much quicker!

Self-Control Wins!
But the Christian way of self-control is NOT "Just say no!" This is something we hear from the WORLD over and over everywhere we turn. But the problem with this is with the word "just." You don't JUST say no. You have to say no in a certain way: You say no by Faith in the superior power and pleasure of Christ. Saying NO in this manner may be just as ruthless and as painful as the worldly way, but the crucial difference between worldly self-control and godly self-control is WHO gets the victory! Will we get the glory? Or will Christ get the glory? If we exercise self-control by Faith in Christ's superior power and pleasure, Christ will get the glory. That is the issue that we need to remember as we march along the roads of this world.....the Christian view of self-control is that it is a gift. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: Galatians 5:22-24, "v22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, v23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. v24) And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." 

Just because "self-control" is listed last, doesn't mean it loses it's importance! In looking at this in the light of Scripture, it quickly becomes evident that by reserving the mention of self-control last, the apostle Paul is deliberately emphasizing it as the capstone of all the graces of the Spirit. While the fruits reflect the maturing work of the Spirit in an individual’s life, they also become apparent in relationships with other people. How do we "strive" against our fatal desires? Paul answers this in Colossians 1:29, "I labor, striving (agonizomenos) according to His power, which mightily works within me." He "agonizes" by the power of Christ and NOT his own. Similarly he tells us in Romans 8:13, "If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live." And in Zechariah 4:6, "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts." We must be fierce! Yes. But not by our might. Proverbs 21:31, "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD."

His Perfect Power!
Since the absence of self-control can ultimately have such devastating results in our lives and affect the lives of those around us, it's naturally needed in every area of life and for all people. Unfortunately, the desire for self-control may have many motivating factors that can stem from man’s self-centered or worldly objectives rather than from INNER controls brought about by a deep relationship with God and biblical beliefs, motives, values, methods and means, and objectives. When, and where, such belief structures are absent, the absence of self-control in other areas will be just around the corner. Samson, a man raised up by the Lord as a deliverer and judge over rebellious Israel, is another case in point. Samson strangled a lion; yet he could not strangle his own love. He burst the fetters of his foes; but not the cords of his own lusts. He burned the crops of others, and lost the fruit of his own virtue when burning with the flame kindled by a single woman.

It should be noted that our true spiritual condition is to be measured first and foremost by the inner person, the heart, and not by the external person, the habits. Why? Because habits and/or overt behavior are the product of the condition of the heart. Mark 7:14-23, "v14) When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: v15) There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. v16) If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear! v17) When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. v18) So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, v19) because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” v20) And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. v21) For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, v22) thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. v23) All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” 

Self-control is the ability or power to rule over and regulate one’s own personal life, and personal choices, so that we aren't driven nor dominated, as the apostle John puts it, by the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, or the pride of life (See 1 John 2:16 and also Gal. 5:19-21). Paul contrasts the sanctified life with characteristics of the old life: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness and orgies, and the like.“ All these categories reflect behaviors that are out of control and were common in New Testament times. Passion, pleasure, and pride are the three areas in our lives that are strong, powerful and driving forces in the heart of man that energizes our behavior patterns. It's these inner forces that Satan and a fallen world appeal to in order to promote a sinful way of life that seeks to exist apart from God. Such self-regulation is the ability to delay or refuse an impulse in the service of biblical truth, values, beliefs, and objectives. Self-control means to be in control of one’s attitudes or thought processes, desires or passions, and patterns or habits so they do not dictate one’s behavior. Speaking scripturally, self-control is a matter of controlling the self-life from within by spiritual means: God’s weapons of spiritual warfare as described in the Word of God (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-18; Col. 2:20-23).The biblical understanding of the term requires crucifixion of the sinful or lower nature by divine grace as we surrender ourselves to the Lord.

Titus 2 11-12, "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age..." Self-control enables the believer to overcome sinful and destructive habits, focus on ministering to others, build up the body of Christ, and live in mutual submission to others (Ephesians 5:21), thereby leading a life that is positive and productive in the family, the neighborhood, the church, and place of employment. For example, Paul exhorted the Ephesian churches: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28). To the Galatians he wrote: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:13-15).

Self-Control is surrendering and allowing God to be in control of your will and heart and seeking the Spirit to enable us. Only then, we will know what not to do and guard the areas that we are weak in. This will allow us to have discipline and restraint with obedience to God and to others. It's not letting distractions derail us or remove us from His will and His ultimate plans for us so we will not be held back with what Christ called us to do. Self-indulgence is the polar opposite, from eating a gallon of chocolate ice cream all in one sitting or partying your way to oblivion. Too much excess will leave you empty and alone, it will, at best, cause us to gain a lot of weight if we over indulge in eating and lose your friends if we over indulge in the excessive partying. The worst case scenario is to lose your life and miss out on our heavenly rewards being built in heaven! Self-indulgence seeks what is fleeting here on earth when we, as a Christian, are made for eternity. Over indulgence and lack of self control or discipline is very typical for soothing, comforting or stifling deep seated pains of one's past. Another area Satan loves to bring up and torment us with! If self-control seems impossible, we must change the circumstances to avoid the temptation. For example, Paul instructs single people and young widows to marry if they cannot control their sexual urges.

You won't see self-control being the subject of the media though. You may not see a movie with this subject as the premises because it is anti-climatic and a tad bit "boring" to the world of this day. The world wants us to grab all of the gusto that we can, go for that brass ring regardless of the consequences or who we step on to get it. And it sure doesn't want us taking the responsibility of our actions. Just look around you! Rarely is "accountability" being spoken about in the media forums! Rarely are "consequences" shown in it's truest light. Why? Well, Satan is the god of this world and he wants everyone to sink deeply into excesses! He doesn't want us to have and practice self-control because he loses. Since he is the god of this world, he also controls many of the worlds devices. Those worldly devices are tools to drive temptations which eventually lead to the act of sin. Satan is a liar though so he doesn't tell you what the consequences are, nor does he want the media to "leak" that little tidbit out. By only showing sinful excesses in a good light, in a good manner, and never showing the downside of what happens to the soul, the lives and the mind afterwards, only adds to his agenda. Lust, greed, gluttony, alcoholism, conceit, sexual sins, gossiping, violent quarreling and false and reckless speech are just a few of the many sins that Satan can tempt us to commit if we allow him.

Don't Be Ruined.....
Satan tried to destroy Jesus. Our battles aren't as big as the ones Jesus faced. But we do have many temptations, just like Jesus did. Jesus knew what was written in God's Word and He didn't fall for Satan's tricks. If we know God's Word we, too, will know right from wrong. Jesus is our example and our strength. When we are tempted to do wrong we should rely upon the Word of God and remember how much God loves us and the trials and suffering He went through for us. That will help us resist the devil. Because Jesus was tempted He knows what it is like to suffer temptation. When we are tempted and ask for help Jesus understands. He tells the Father what it's like to be human, and God gives us the help we need to resist temptation. James 4:7, "Therefore, submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Self-control means that we have control over our bodies and our minds. Actions and thoughts do not control us, we control what we think, and what we do. When we know something is wrong, yet do it anyway, we aren't controlled by the fruit of the Spirit, one of which is self-control. When we feel like doing something we know we shouldn't, we are being tempted. Everyone is tempted to do wrong things sometimes. We all sin and give into temptations now and again, but Jesus exercised God's spirit of self-control and never sinned. This is what we need to STRIVE to do daily! To have self-control, to have self- discipline and to become more like Jesus every day of our lives!

Christ is calling us by His example and Word to seek what is in eternity! He is calling us to seek what is permanent and lasting, NOT what is fleeting and empty. Christ is our greatest example from the humbleness of the incarnation through Gethsemane to the Cross He was the perfect model of self-control! Self-control will be the key to inner strength that will help deliver us from fear, depression, harm and the pain of this life by being focused on Christ and not on our circumstances. I know it's easy to get entangled in thoughts of this life because sometimes, it's all we can see right in front of our eyes. But it's not all there is and it's temporary. It's fleeting. And, it's already been done! It's Christ's strength in us that allows us to do what we cannot do on our own! The key to receive this strength is our total surrender to His Lordship over all aspects of our lives! Remember God wants us to have fun too and enjoy life; we aren't to be prudes but at the same time we are not to seek sin either!

Lack of self-control will be a sign of the end time. 2 Timothy 3:1-3, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: v2) For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, v3) unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,..." Looking around this fallen world today, I see the progression of every single one of those attributes. Look at the "lover of themselves." We are living in a "facebook selfie" - "youtube" generation that focuses on "look at me," and that focuses on "SELF" and that perpetuates a self-centeredness and a self-love that is not godly. Blasphemy is nearly on every channel, in every movie or on every corner. Disobedience is at an all time high and is only increasing with every second. Brutality is at an all time high as well. We can't turn on the news without seeing some horrific crime, evil doers or some form of darkness being reported on. I could go on for each of the above, but I think you are beginning to see a pattern.

Godly self-control requires making no provisions for the flesh, which ultimately means not allowing backup plans or harboring thoughts that could sprout into sins.  Romans 13:14, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." Harboring thoughts is a very hard "habit" to break ON YOUR OWN! When we allow ungodly thoughts to fester too long, lingering where they don't belong, will ultimately turn into a sinful act. So it's imperative that we surrender those thoughts to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him for His help in removing those temptations and to replace them with godly thoughts. This is a struggle for many of Christians. Me included. It took me a very long time to learn how to surrender my thoughts over to the the Lord so that He can control them and not ME. We're all a little controlling by nature, some more than others, and maybe that's why it's a big struggle for most of us to overcome. But it CAN be overcome! Not fully, as we will slip from time to time, but eternally, it will be! Governing our lives by the Power of God will produce such a fruitful, satisfying and glorious fruits of life!

In closing, what is the best form of self-control? FLEEING! Whenever we're confronted with temptation, we really need to strive, and run, as far as possible, to get away from it! Fleeing the "inevitable." The more we choose to face those temptations, the easier it's going to be to fall victim to them! Even if you think you have a lot of self-control, don't put it to the test unnecessarily. Be wise! Not foolish! Some of the things we are told to flee: from a "stranger" (a teacher of lies), "flee sexual immorality" (as Joseph had to literally flee, Genesis: 39:12), "flee from idolatry," flee "all kinds of evil," "flee also youthful lusts" (John 10:5; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:10-11; 2 Timothy 2:22). We need self-control to avoid not only outright evil but also too much of the good things. Proverbs 25:16 cautions: "Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit." People often lack the self-restraint to stop when they should. People overeat, over-drink, overspend, over medicate and just overindulge in general in lots of things. We need to rule over our "appetites" (strong desires) rather than letting our "appetites" rule us. Overindulgence can lead to intoxication and/or addiction. In either case, the person is then really out of control! Self-control often means resisting sexual temptations, a subject addressed many times in the Bible, and for good reason. Tragically, the standards of morality, and modesty, are plunging to another all time low, all around us. Sexual sins are especially damaging, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually (1 Corinthians:6:13-20.)

The Spirit of Christ who works in our hearts to help us live above sinful practices, as well as the offering of loving counsel by Christian brothers and sisters, enables the fruit of self-control to grow for the glory of God. As a result, we can model God’s values, demonstrate in our behaviors His power to aid us daily, and more effectively share His love for others. In THIS life, no one can achieve all the fruit of the Spirit equally. In regard to gaining perfection in this life, Paul wrote to the Philippian believers, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). God provides a way to overcome sinful thoughts and behaviors, silence the victim-mentality, and gain the self-mastery and self-control that you seek!  Each of us must rule over self before we can reign with Christ in His Kingdom as were promised to those who overcome in Revelation 3:21 and Revelation 20:6!

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Circling the Beast

Evil will not let go of obsession and obsessions feed into the world's evil. The world has fallen to an all time low in what it considers entertainment. Whether it's in the form of music, television or the movies, doesn't matter. It's all being run by the god of this world, Satan. I am not speaking of the very few good that's allowed to seep through the mix of the rest of the evil, but rather, the dark, vile, and often times, destructive occult influenced agenda of the very liberal Hollywood. Or Hollyweird as I heard it once referred to! I prefer the latter because as I began to see with my spiritual eyes what it was all about, and the agenda I began to see unravel, well, quite frankly, it is HollyWEIRD. This is going to be a lengthy, in depth look into the ways the elite are trying to force the world to circle the beast.....and I just may upset quite a few people but the TRUTH must be told.

I'm going to start off with the 2014 Grammy Awards as a perfect example of how Satan and his minions, those that do his bidding, will shove things right in front of your face, sometimes even down your throat, in order to accept the darkness as innocent "art" from an "artist." You know? Freedom of expression. The awards opened with an extremely over-sexualized Beyonce performance. Performance is loosely used here as I felt it was setting the stage for what was soon to come. Sort of like a preparation if you will, to get everyone super charged up, sexually energized, for the rest of the pathetic show. There was A LOT wrong with this year's Grammy Awards but the most blatant was Katy Perry's Occult ritual. Yes! That's exactly what it was! On another site, while researching some articles of interest, I found her "tweet" on Twitter to all of her followers. Interesting indeed. Keep in mind, she was raised in a Christian household with her father being a minister. She got her start singing gospel music but later she said it didn't bring her the "satisfaction" or "fame" she desired, so she "sold her soul" to the devil. She chuckled as she said that but her performances, actions and words eventually mirrored what she professed. As in many who say they've sold their soul to the devil, they come out in public with some form of a ritual. Her words in an interview are as follows, "I started actually singing in church my whole life, from like nine to sixteen. Then ultimately I sold my soul to the devil [laughs]. But, I started in Nashville, Tennessee kind of just doing some demos, and working with a producer....."  Those are her words, not mine! Her FIRST successful hit was the polar opposite of who she WAS and how she was brought up. "I kissed a girl." Well, even her father recently said she was a child of the devil.

The Dark Horse at Denver's Airport
The performance began with a sinister voice saying: “She casts spells from crystal balls. Invoking spirits. She put me in a trance." Inside a crystal ball, Perry sings while four horned demon-like figures rise above her. She then gets out of the crystal ball, dressed up curiously as a witch, and begins to move around her backup singers, remotely controlling them as though they were being put under a spell. Her spell. This is when we quickly realize the song is not about being in love! It's about what happens to those who are under the occult possessions! Let's take a look at the chorus of the song and how it basically reflects what happens to those accepting dark pacts.....

"So you wanna play with magic, Boy you should know what you’re fallin’ for, Baby do you dare to do this ‘Cause I’m comin’ at you like a dark horse" Ok, it's clear, right? Well, then she summons the "dark horse" which could be the dark horse of the apocalypse. However, the dark horse’s muscular, bluish color, and glowing red eyes are strikingly similar to another horse seen elsewhere: The “devil horse” of the Denver International Airport. Katy dances around an upside down witch's broom being used as a stripper's pole. Her backup singers light a ring of fire around her....and as creepy as it is, this is done while horned creatures representing Baphomet, are watching on! Even her cd cover art of Dark Horse features an All-Seeing Eye at the top, signaling that this is sponsored by the occult elite. The All-seeing eye will be discussed in another article in the near future as it is becoming a prevalent staple in today's society! Beware! Those with eyes who can see......

The performance got even stranger when Juicy J arrived on stage to perform his verse in the song. As Juicy J began his verse, Katy Perry walked over to the broom stick and began to dance around it with two other dancers. This was definitely the over-sexualized part of the performance. Beyonce' started it and she was ending with it. Her whirling around the broomstick was reminiscent of a dark, corrupted Maypole dance or the dance of a stripper. But it isn't such a surprise that this performance also contained such a sexual portion of dance though. The real occult rituals of the elite reportedly feature adulteress activities such as mass orgies; a perfect example being the occult ritual portrayed in the movie Eyes Wide Shut, featuring the well known Scientologist, Tom Cruise. Sex-magick is what this is called and it is the center of these rituals. Inappropriate exploitation of women, children and youth....and if your eyes are open, you will see it everywhere you look. Another disturbing issue I found to be very sinister and no for the faint of heart was the lyrics Juicy J repeated, "She's a beast, I call her Karma, She eat your heart out, Like Jeffrey Dahmer."   Now is this the words you want YOUR child singing? Satan does!

Please listen carefully to the words in today's secular songs! It's so important because you better know what you're singing and who you're singing it TO! And you really need to know the words that your children sing....because I've seen some youtube videos with little 3-8 year olds singing their little hearts out of songs they not only had no business singing because of the nature of the song, but because it was so inappropriate for the parents to be allowing their children to listen to that kind of music in the first place! There is a responsibility that we have to take as adults, parents, aunts, uncles, friends, brothers, sisters and neighbors to shield and protect the children and youth of today. If we don't, who will!? Satan is running to and fro SEEKING whom he may devour.....and the innocent is on his list. Today's secular songs are full of violent lyrics, blasphemy, sexual innuendos, drinking and drugs, promiscuity and anything else that is sinful and fleshly. Take for instance what Jay-Z raps in Empire State of Mind "...Jesus can't save you, life starts when the church ends." Or Katy Perry's E.T. "They say, be afraid, You're not like the others, Futuristic lover, Different DNA, They don't understand you." This is talking about having relations with an extra terrestrial. Another one by Katy Perry, "I never knew I could see something so clearly looking through my third eye, Never knew karma could be so rewarding and bring me to your light." Key words here are "third eye" and karma....these things are not only new age, but the "third eye" is also part of opening a portal to a spiritual realm you don't want to mess with! And it is forbidden by our Lord! The songs of this age, of these artists, have agendas attached. Have messages to push. Have souls to win. I caution each of you not to chant these words because they all have what they call a "hook" and that's the part of the chorus that is typically repeated over and over, and has the strongest of connotations attached to them.

Early into the performance, Katy Perry takes off her cape and a red cross illuminates on her chest. But it's not just any old cross. The bright red cross appears to be similar to the symbol that the Knights Templar chose to wear. The Knights Templar were a medieval occult secret society that is considered to be the originator of Freemasonry, the Bavarian Illuminati and the keepers of the secrets of sex-magick as practiced by Crowley’s O.T.O. The Knights Templar were prosecuted due to their alleged worshiping of Baphomet and for the outward practicing of witchcraft. Perry wearing their cross is therefore very fitting considering everything else about her. It also represents the occult elite’s philosophy as a whole. It is a very common practice for the Illuminati, or the elite that rule the industry, to mock Christianity through the outlet of performances by major recording artists. As it was with this performance, Baphomet is seen in many of the recording artists videos, symbolic throughout concert performances, cd cover art, on their clothing and the list goes on. Why is that? Because Satan uses the promise of fame and fortune in exchange for their souls and with the exchange of their souls, comes a pact to promote the darkness! They have to pay homage to THEIR "god" by showing their allegiance to the dark side. They have to do what they're told or they can fall to a terrible death....Remember Nicki Minaj’s Grammy performance in 2012 where she appeared to hover above the ground during an exorcism? That was FULL of occult rituals! This year's performances given by Beyonc√©, Katy Perry, and even Mackelmore, were not strictly about the music, they were vehicles being used to push the Illuminati-sponsored Agenda.

Exodus 34:13-16 says, "v13) But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images v14) (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), v15) lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice, v16) and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods." 

The Doors You DON'T Want Opened
The Grammy's was also used as a vehicle to promote the evil movie from Disney, called, Maleficent featuring Angelina Jolie as the HORNED evil witch from Sleeping Beauty. Now, let me first say when I saw these previews, it gave me chills down my spine and I'm an adult! It was dark. It was scary. It was evil. Not unlike most of the Grammy’s, this Disney movie appears to be aimed at young people, but there are not-so-hidden dark undertones to it. Things are becoming more "in your face" these days and I would caution everyone out there to pay attention closely because there are doors you do NOT want to be opened. Not even cracked! Disney is a very corrupt organization full of evil, darkness and vile practices. A little research goes a long way in understanding that nasty empire geared at children and their innocence. What they stand for in reality, under the veil of deception, is NOT what they've succeeded in convincing and conditioning the world into believing they are. The Lord Jesus tells us we are to be accountable with everything He blesses us with and that includes our money. We need to be diligent and KNOW where we spend it and who we give it to because it will either go for the good, or for the evil to further the agenda.

In the beginning of the trailer, we see Maleficent, who is adequately dubbed “the Mistress of All Evil," placing a curse on little baby Aurora. First of all, the very image of a curse being placed on an innocent INFANT who obviously was allowed by one, or both, of it's parents, to be portrayed in this manner, is DISTURBING to my spirit! Why would ANY parent allow an innocent child, infant baby, be in a scene as destructive as being cursed is beyond me! However, this is a good image to represent what mass media does to the youth. Conditions them, "curses" (blinds and tempts) them, and reels them in at a very early, young and innocent age. We are to protect the young and bring them up in the way they should go.....Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." So how did the trailer for Maleficent end? It ended with Maleficent saying, “There is evil in this world. Hatred. And Revenge … HAHAHAHAHAHA!” And this is DISNEY! The multi-billion corporation set out to destroy, deconstruct and condition the children!

So far, the Grammy's elicited sexually charged performances by both Beyonce' and Katy Perry, which then led into a black magick ritual by Katy to show her being sacrificed and initiated into yet another public show of the occult elite. Award shows are so widely popular and such a ratings grabber that due to their popularity, it serves as the perfect outlet to expose millions of people to the occult practices of elite organizations ruling the darkness of the world! It is also the perfect platform to mock our Lord Jesus Christ as well! These so-called "artists" don't care about the Lord, your salvation, or anything else! All they care about is making their millions, pushing their agenda TO make all of their millions, all the fame and popularity in the world, and their own narcissistic world views! Then we have Macklemore and Ryan Lewis of the "Thrift Shop" song fame. Oh, what puppets they are....they have come out with a song called "Same Love." You guessed it, a gay rights anthem. It's about homosexuality and promoting homosexual marriage. It's all about timing you know.  What does the Bible say about this? When the Bible speaks of homosexuality, its emphasis is on the behavior, not the condition. God loves sinners, but condemns the sin and the practicing act thereof. And the Bible's verdict on homosexual behavior, as with all sexual immorality, is that it is sinful. For the sake of this part of the lesson, I'll give some Biblical references....

1) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, "v9) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, v10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. v11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." 
2) Jude 1:7, "7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
3) Romans 1:26-28, "v26) For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. v27) Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. v28) And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;"
4) 1 Corinthians 7:2, "Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband."
5) 1 Timothy 1:10, "for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,"

I listened very carefully to the words this rap "artist" was singing, while playing right into the hands of the devil, and was appalled at the mention of a few specific verses.....the first one was "The right wing conservatives think it's a decision, And you can be cured with some treatment and religion, Man-made rewiring of a predisposition, Playing God, aw nah here we go" and the next one, "But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago, I don't know" and finally, "Whatever God you believe in We come from the same one Strip away the fear Underneath it's all the same love About time that we raised up... sex" The whole song offended me and I have the right to be offended. These people stood up in front of millions of impressionable children and young people to declare acceptance and propose an ANTHEM to the homosexual equality agenda. They know what they're doing. Their biggest hit, "Thrift Shop" was released in order to get the airplay and the followers. Once that was accomplished, well, the next thing on the agenda could be introduced. Same Love flew through the roof in airplay. And THAT, my dear readers, was the vehicle needed to introduce what happened next at the Grammy Awards!!!

The Church Service....I don't think they could have kicked God in the face any more blatantly than what this did on nationwide television! The performance featured 33 couples, which is a symbolic Illuminati and occult number, being wed by Queen Latifah. She was "officiated" in the state in order to "perform" this "wedding ritual/ceremony." This was, in no way ordained by God, blessed by God nor performed with the mention of His Holy name. This took place in a mock-church, complete with a gospel choir, under which 33 couples, mostly gay, were LEGALLY married. Right after, Madonna, the Grand Priestess of the music industry herself, came out to sing to her subjects. Open Your Heart to Me.....Holding a scepter which is a symbol of power, Madonna gives her blessings to the mass wedding participating partners. In an ungodly show of disrespect, blasphemy and mocking, this "ritual" was celebrated with tears, joy and a promotional push for everyone to ACCEPT this way of life, even if it means integrating it into the awards show. I've come to realize that these awards aren't really awards at all. Rather, they are "ceremonies" for the torch to be passed on to the next young, up and comer. It's not even about entertainment. As I wrote an earlier's the Enter-CHANGEment industry.

This ONE show succeeded in pushing an occult ritual initiation/sacrifice while simultaneously mocking our Creator God by mocking His WORD! There was an upside to this, although the media didn't report on it the way they took off running with the marriage and the ritual. It was Natalie Grant, a Christian singer, who was in attendance, and although her exact reason isn't mentioned, left the awards early. She is quoted as saying, "We left the Grammy's early. I've had many thoughts, most of which are probably better left inside my head, I've never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I've never been more sure of the path I've chosen." Mandisa, also a Christian artist, who not only was nominated, but won two Grammy's, decided not to attend at all because of her Faith! She is quoted as saying, "I have been struggling with being IN the world, not OF it, lately. I have fallen prey to the alluring pull of flesh, pride, and selfish desires quite a bit recently, Perhaps being alone with Him as my name was announced was protecting myself from where my flesh would have tried to drag me had I been up on that stage. It gave me time to focus." Her album is aptly titled, Overcomer. And by her acknowledging her struggles and pulling back from what was tempting her, she IS an overcomer! Praise be to God for both of these ladies! For standing firm and making a bold statement!

Once I washed my spirit clean of all the vile I just had witnessed, both visually and mentally, I couldn't help but notice that the majority of the top television shows also have this same theme....evil, dark, occultish and vile. As I wrote down some key words to write this article, something became very clear to MY eyes. From the word EVIL you also get the spelling for VILE. Which also can be spelled as I realized this, I read right between the lines.....Evil is VILE and veiled by deception. Evil lures the young, the lost, the searching and the weak. It's vile corruption is veiled by the deception that it's GOOD. This is an indoctrination of the youth, of the young, of the innocent and of the lost. The obsessions with Vampires, the dead or the "undead" as they're called by the media, the supernatural and the occult just goes to show how the darkness has overtaken a society that was once full of the Light! Here are some of the TITLES of the top shows on right now....True Blood, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Dracula, The Supernatural, Grimm, Long Island Medium (which I wrote about in an earlier article), Secret Circle, American Horror Story: The Coven, Bitten, Hannibal, Under the Dome and a slew of Crime Series that focus on the twisted minds of criminals. These are to name but a few and isn't by any means all inclusive because in nearly every single series, there are either hints of something more sinister or it's blatantly put right in plain sight. They say, though, if you want to hide something, put it right under someones nose!

Now, as I've mentioned about the television series, movies are no different. There are a ton of those to mention as well but I'm leaving that for a later date. I'm going to take you on a little ride for a moment in regards to these shows, movies and series. There are many people out there in this world who think all of this stuff is harmless, innocent, fun entertainment and nothing more. They feel as though this is all artistic expression and it won't lead to anything more than the appreciation of the art. Wrong! If you only look at the SURFACE of things, you only see the surface, right? Of course! If you look a little closer, under the dirt, the gravel and roots, you will surely find more than meets the eye. Most people do look at the surface and that's all they see. All of the above mentioned series have occult symbols, rituals or connotations in them. In order to come up with something so sinister and vile as those story lines are, ones MIND has to be in a much different place than those who would create, write and publish the works of say, Highway to Heaven with Michael Landon back in the mid to late '80's. One's mind has to be THINKING on that level, participating in opening doors to get to an understanding of that side of the darkness. Imagination only plays one part of creating art. I write poetry. I've always written poems for as long as I can remember doing so, but I can assure you, they do not contain anything about the occult, vampires, zombies or rituals. Why? Because my mind can't think of those things because the Lord Jesus has rescued me from the darkness!

In these shows, no matter how dark they are, there is always a heightened sexuality to go along with it. It goes back to the practice of "sex-magick" rituals of elite occultists. Intermingling sexual immorality with the darkness's of evil, creates a pathway for enticing the young, impressionable souls. Satan uses sex to make the darkness appear fun and harmless to those who know no better. You can peer into any of these series or movies and see some form of sexual enticement going on. And aren't the majority of the vampires portrayed in movies and television very attractive and pleasing to the eye? Sure they are. It's another tool of the devil to use beauty to tempt. Afterall, Satan was the most beautiful of angels so why not use vanity to help things along? So let's jus take a look at all of the vampire movies that are taking over the channels. What is a vampire? A vampire is a mythical creature which sustains itself by drinking the blood of living animals and people. Most vampire myths center around the reanimation of human corpses, with the corpse preying on other humans for the blood it needs. According to tradition, a vampire is a person who does not die, an "un-dead," whose corpse rises from the grave at night and seeks to suck the blood of the living. See it for what it IS, not for what HollyWeird wants you to see and certainly NOT what Satan wants you to see! Back to how these dark evil things are created in the first place.....the mind. Someone has to be inspired to even come up with this stuff. Then they have to write and weave story lines upon story lines. What kind of a mind THINKS up those kinds of stories? Could a loving, peaceful, kind person with a heart full of LIGHT come up with something so diabolical and evil? Absolutely NOT! And definitely NOT someone with the Holy Spirit residing inside of their spirit!!!!

Some of the things I've seen in a show or a movie in my past have made me gasp! I couldn't even imagine arriving at such demented scenarios unless one has first hand knowledge of them, or worse, having been led by the hand of the devil himself. As was the Twilight series. These characters came to "life" for her in her much so that she couldn't separate them from reality at one point. She said in her own words that she had a muse writing this for her....automatic writing. Meaning a demon takes over.....that's NOT unusual in the industry. In the Harry Potter series, there are REAL spells being chanted. It's full of the occult practices. But because it's geared towards children and has a slight twist bending towards a good "message" nobody seems to take notice of the REAL dangers lurking. So it's all in the minds of those that are creating and coming up with these horrific shows. It's the demonic realm that is helping the writers along. Don't be fooled by the surface because it's always what's lying beneath that dwells in the darkness! People will go to great lengths to become famous. To become rich. To have power and all the material things that go along with it. They will compromise. They will be programmed. They will be used. Abused. Broken down in order to be rebuilt into the "image" of the beast, the image the world has a satiation for. They will even sell their souls, blood contracts and all, just for a time of riches here on earth. They believed the lie. They took the bait. They aren't as "happy" or "content" or "fulfilled" as they are APPEARING to be. They MUST pay the price for what they have....for who they become.....for what they want. The price is much greater than any of the riches they obtain, or the fame they receive, or the life they lead. They pay with their lives! Eternal damnation.....but it's their choice.....

When the Bible speaks of the "world", it is referring to the sinful, rebellious, world system. This is the world that loves the darkness and hates the light, John 3:20, "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." and is governed by the "god of this world" as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4:4, "whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." The world is an enemy of ours as a child of the Lord Jesus Christ! The Bible says the Christian has escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. "Lust" is the unlawful desire, and the life's blood of the world, whether it be the lust for sexual sin, for power, for money, for material things, for euphoria. It doesn't matter what the lust IS, what needs to be understood here is that lust is a monster that will never be gratified, so don't feed it! It will grow bigger and bigger, until it weighs heavy upon your back, and will be the eventual death of you, notice what James 1:15 says, "Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." Another enemy of ours is what the Bible calls the "flesh." This is your sinful nature. The domain for the battle, is your mind. The mind! If you have a mind to, you will be attracted to the world and all of its sin within the world. The mind is basically like the data-processing control panel for the eyes and the ears. It's the center of your appetites. All sin begins in the "heart" (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 15:19). The Bible warns that lust brings forth sin, and sin, when it's conceived, brings forth death. Every day that we have life, we have a choice. We choose whether to sin or not to sin. Some days are easier than others. So how do we choose not to sin? The answer to that question, is the fear of God. If you don't fear God, you will sin to your sinful heart's delight. Every sin begins with a a mind has the capacity for evil.....

Thoughts of God
The Apostle Paul was keenly aware of the capacity of the mind for evil thoughts. One may dwell upon lustful thoughts, wrong thoughts about some member of the opposite sex. Another may seethe in his mind with jealousy and envy toward other people. Still others are consumed with pride and with high thoughts about themselves. The "works of the flesh" in Galatians 5 is a long list of sins, many of which are sins of the mind. We must remember however that God does know our thoughts, and He is concerned about each of them, and oftentimes, they eventually come out into the open. This is why we should be mindful of the thoughts we have but more-so, of how long we choose to THINK about them that makes the difference. The greatest area of sin in the believer's life is not usually in the area of actions, but in the arena of the thought life itself. Pride, for example, is a sin of the mind. And so is lust and suspicion and discouragement. These are all sins of the mind. Because all of us contend with the old nature (even after we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ), all of us have trouble with undesirable thoughts popping into our heads. Often, they pop up at the inopportune times, when we are weak, overly tired, struggling or grieving. These thoughts can be surprising, sometimes confusing, and sometimes even condemning. The secret thoughts that pop into our heads are not really an accurate barometer of our spiritual condition though because it's really what a person continues to think about, and what he takes delight in, that tells more accurately what he is and where he stands spiritually. Although we can't completely get rid of the sin-nature here in this life, we can, and should, keep it in relative control.

The mind can be likened to a garden, it can grow beauty or it can grow ugliness. It can produce flowers or it can be choked by weeds. It has to be tended to with care and with diligence. It has to be disciplined by conscious exercises. The mind must be exercised like the body, thinking on the good and pure things that this life has to offer. If it thinks only on the evil, the darkness and the bad things, it too will become what it thinks.

The Bible says in Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." We must cultivate spiritual thinking and practice thoughts of good, pure and wholesomeness. The Scriptures give a list of worthy objects that we ought to be thinking about. The list is recorded in Philippians 4:8 for those of you who would like to learn how to turn the dark thoughts into good ones, and what to replace them with! Spirit-controlled thinking can lift our thoughts and bless our whole life. Philippians 4:8 suggests that the way to conquer evil thinking is not so much to fight the wicked thoughts, as much as it is to cultivate the good thoughts. Philippians 4:8 is a call to think upon good things.

HollyWeird and the whole of the industry does none of the above. It's whole purpose is to cultivate the exact opposite. It wants nothing more than for the next generation to be even more evil and free willed than the last. It wants nothing more than to plant all of the evil, wicked seeds that will only produce evil and wicked thoughts that will only lead to evil and wicked ways. Hollywood and the whole of the industry of "entertainment" are nothing more than weeds to choke out the LIGHT that's in the world. Satan doesn't want that Light to shine and it's his whole purpose in choking it out. By the looks of the sales of the movies, ratings on the television (which brings THEM more money!) and the sales of the music, he's gaining some souls along the way. It's never too late! Jesus is waiting for you to come to Him! To follow Him and to have a personal relationship with Him! He doesn't want you to dwell in the darkness. He doesn't want you love the world or the things IN it!

1 John 2:15-16, "v15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. v16) For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." Sounds like the center stage of HollyWeird! The's Satan's stage and he is the director of the world. Each time you choose not to purchase a movie or choose not to go to the theater to watch a movie; each time you choose not to buy a music cd or itunes or choose not to watch any of their television shows, you are choosing to make a stand for Jesus! By choosing to walk away and to prevent YOUR blessed money from paying Satan for all of his evil he produces, you are choosing to stand for the rightness of things, for the Faith in Jesus, for the inerrant Scriptures that God breathed! Don't pay the devil.....starve him and his minions. He's already defeated! Don't let the ways of the wicked lure you into circling the beast in this life!

Everything is a choice....once you have seen with spiritual eyes, it's hard to look at the world ever again the same way you used to!

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