Friday, May 30, 2014

The Power of the Blood of Jesus

What does Christ's blood mean to us?

1.) His blood redeems us. There was a price against us that we could not pay, but the blood of Jesus redeemed us. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

2.) His blood brings us into fellowship with God. According to Ephesians 2:13, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ." Without the blood of Christ, man is a long way from God.

3.) His blood makes peace with God. Man, by nature, is at war with God. We can only come to God on His peace terms - the blood atonement. The Bible says in Colossians 1:20, "and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross."

4.) His blood cleanses. Not only does it remove the punishment of sin, it removes the pollution. I don't care what sin you've committed, it says very clearly in 1 John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."

His blood gives power over the devil. People give way too much credit to the devil because, although he is the god of this world, and roams around seeking whom he can devour, he has been defeated! Even Satan has to obey to God! It's the blood that Satan fears. Revelation 12:11 says, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." The devil doesn't want you to learn about the blood. He hates it! He wants you to stay in the dark about it's power because it is exactly what Satan FEARS the most!

There are many examples of Blood Sacrifices in the Old Testament. They were specifically done to cover the sins of the people. There was even one instance where the blood was applied at the doorpost so the judgment of God would pass over them. Mat 26:28, "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." And look what it says in Act 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." 

There are 4 occasions where Jesus shed His Blood (but is useful to God's people in a thousand ways!) All of these occasions have significant meanings and speak to us about the Power of Jesus' Blood. Let's take a look at some of them for a moment.

A) Praying with Sweat and Blood - Luke 22:42-44, "saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” v43) Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. v44) And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[a]" See, Jesus, as a human being, is showing us and teaching TO us that God’s Will is above His human Will. Our Flesh follows our old human will, which is our old nature, the nature of the unregenerate man, the old person and the old nature before we came to know God. Romans 7:18, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find." 

Hebrews 10:6-7, "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin, You had no pleasure. v7) Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come - In the volume of the book it is written of Me - To do Your will, O God." God doesn't take much pleasure in us if we want to do our own will instead of God’s Will. Jesus shed His Blood to deal with our will because it's against the Will of God. So we need to surrender our will, totally surrendering ourselves to Him and take HIS WILL for our lives!

B) Whipping until Blood flowed - John 19:1, "Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him." His body was whipped 39 times! In scourging, a soldier used a whip called a flagrum consisting of leather straps embedded with metal and glass fragments with small metal balls sewn into the end of each thong. This whip was brought down with full force and when struck against the back of Jesus, was pulled, whereby tearing the skin off, exposing muscle, and maybe even exposing His very bones. Scourging stops when it is determined that the victim is near death or 39 lashes was reached. 39 was the number of mercy according to Jewish law. Isaiah 53:4-6, "Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. v5) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. v6) All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Our sins will ultimately lead to pain and suffering, punishment, losing direction and confusion. And we know confusion is NOT from the Lord....it's from our adversary, the devil! So confessing our sins, leads to daily cleansing by God as it speaks of in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

C) Wearing the Thorns until Blood Flows - Mark 15:17, " And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head...." They put a crown of thorns on His head, thorns that were shoved between His scalp and skull and were ripping and tearing at His skin. Imagine the great pain Jesus suffered for our sins! His blood was shed for US! Thorns represent a curse. Genesis 3:17-18, "Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. v18) Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field." Some of the types of curses spoken about are:
a) Generational Curses which are curses passed down from one generation to another because of judgement. Found in Exodus 20:5 
b) Self Curses which are curses that you consciously or unconsciously speak over yourself. Found in Genesis 27:13
c) Other curses which have been placed on you by other people, knowingly or unknowingly. Found in Numbers 22:6 
d) Objects of a curse, which are objects that are abominations in the sight of God. Found in Deuteronomy 7:26. The good news is that Jesus can take away all our curses! Galatians 3:13, " Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” We need to reject ALL curses against us, even those we unknowingly speak over ourselves from time to time. Luke 6:28 tells us, "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you." This is the antidote for all types of curses that are put upon us. To live the victorious life that Jesus Christ has promised us, we need to start blessing people and especially those who curse us.

D) Crucified with the Shedding of Blood - Mark 15:15, "Pilate wanted to please the crowd. So he set Barabbas free. Then he ordered his soldiers to beat Jesus with a whip and nail him to a cross." The Cross is a representation of Discipleship as taught in Matthew 10:38, "And he who does not take up your cross and come with me, you are not fit to be my disciples." A Disciple is one who loves God above everything, and everyone, else - your family, your job, your life, your children. Jesus called us to become disciples and He called us to make disciples. He went to the cross so we could do just that! Luke 14:26 says, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." We really need to make a commitment to become a disciple for Jesus. He gave His ALL for us, I think we can give Him all of US!

In my personal opinion, we don't hear enough about the blood of Jesus! It's not being taught in the majority of the sound churches. He had to pay a debt of sin that He didn't owe! Why? Because WE owed a debt of SIN that we couldn't PAY! Our sins were so atrocious that they had to be paid for with Jesus' BLOOD! What a wonderful Savior is HE! The Bible is very plain that Jesus entered into the heavenly holy place after He arose from the dead. He ascended into Heaven with His blood. The blood had to be applied as it is said in Hebrews 9:12, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” It's ALL about the blood of Jesus! That's why I feel the churches need to teach, preach and speak on the Blood more often! It's ALL about the BLOOD, from the blood of Abel's slain lamb in Genesis, to the saints robes that were washed in the blood of the Lamb in Revelation, the whole Word of God centers around the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:22, “...without shedding of blood is no remission.” Jesus' death was just as important as His blood sacrifice, and equally important was the burial and resurrection. BUT everything concerning the events of Jesus' life were leading up to the blood being applied to the Mercy Seat in Heaven. Hebrews 9:24-26 state, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us...” (that is, God the Father). Jesus took His shed blood to Heaven to present unto the Father, by applying it to the Mercy Seat. This is why Jesus said to Mary in John 20:17, ”Jesus saith unto her, TOUCH ME NOT; for I am not yet ascended to my Father...” The blood couldn't be tainted.

I found a very good statement from one of the many great bible teachers by the name of M.R. DeHaan, M.D. that I will share here in it's entirety:
SOURCE: The TABERNACLE, by M.R. DeHaan, M.D., ISBN 0-310-23491-3, page 129.
"The blood was to be sprinkled, remember, on the mercy seat right after the death of the substitutionary animal of sacrifice, Now Christ is, of course, our substitute.  He was slain for us upon the Cross, and entered into death for us, and when He arose, He immediately went to heaven, entered into the holy of holies in heaven, sprinkled His precious blood upon the mercy seat before the throne of God, and forever settled the sin questions, and delivered us from the curse of the law. This is clearly taught in the New testament. Hebrews 9:12 is very definite on this: "But by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." The Bible also makes plain when He accomplished this. On the morning of the resurrection He meets Mary at the tomb. As soon as Mary recognized Him, she prostrated herself upon Him, and would have kissed His feet, but with shocking suddenness, Jesus emphatically says to her: "Touch me not"; and then He proceeds immediately to give the reason why Mary is not permitted to touch Him at all. "For I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:17) Literally the Lord Jesus Christ said, "Touch me not; for I now am about to ascend unto my Father."  We can understand this action when we remember the the high priest after he had offered the sacrifice, was to enter the holy of holies, before he did anything else, with the precious blood. No one was allowed to approach him. Everyone was shut out until this was completely done. And here in the record of the meeting with Mary we have the fulfillment of this type. Here Mary meets her great High Priest, just arisen from the tomb, but before He had entered the holy of holies with the reconciling blood. And so He says to her, "TOUCH ME NOT."

What a wonderful truth! The Bible is so clear when you accept it as it's written. Thank God for the precious redeeming literal blood of Christ Jesus!

Blood at the scene of a terrible accident, murder or some other form of violent crime is a sign of injury and death. But when blood is coursing through our veins, or even when it's given as a transfusion to a dying patient, it is a sign of life. However, it's the pale, pasty color of a face without blood that we take as a sign of death. Our society of this age seems drawn towards violence, death and blood. I've written about it in some of my other articles and it just seems to get worse with each passing day. It's starts very young too, grabbing the attention of our young children, conditioning them and numbing them to the beauty of LIFE. I've read a few years back that by the time an average child leaves elementary school, he or she will have witnessed 8,000 murders and over 100,000 other acts of violence. That's ASTOUNDING! By the time that child is 18 years-of-age; he or she will witness 200,000 acts of violence, including 40,000 murders. Television is relatively "new" as it relates to technology, but the violence and bloodletting isn't. In the Crusades, in the Inquisition, in the Holocaust, those interested in power and wealth at any cost have seen death as the final solution. They have bloodied the teachings of the Bible and twisted the direction of the church to accomplish their unholy purposes and to justify, even dare I say, glorify, the spilling of innocent blood.

One of the reasons that I support and continue to pray about the churches preaching the "Blood of Jesus" more often then they do, is because of the culture we do live in! It's full of the gory fascination with blood, violence and death. Since it's so blatantly common, and honest discussion of it is so rare, it's extremely easy to misread and/or misinterpret the Bible, with only looking at the blood of Jesus only as a symbol of His death, rather than as a symbol of His Life and Truth. For new believers, or for non-believers who are feeling the call of the Lord knocking at their heart's door, this can be a problem! And it's because of this reason that I am writing this post! The focus needs to be on LIFE not DEATH! One reason Jesus died was to overcome the power of hell. Jesus worked against evil spirits throughout His life, and His suffering was the final struggle against evil, and His resurrection the final victory over evil. For every person, overcoming evil involves temptation or struggle against evil, and “dying to sin and the world.” As we struggle against evil individually, Christ struggled against evil on a GRAND scale, and His death was the conclusion of that struggle. So the Bible says that God took on flesh and blood so that “through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Hebrews 2:14,15) Still, in Romans 5:10, "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Another reason that Bible gives for Jesus’ death was that He might make His human nature completely one with His Divine nature, so that He were “to make in Himself of two one new man,” (Ephesians 2:14-16, cf. John 17:11,21; 10:30), so that He could “go to the Father” (John 13:3; 14:2,28; 16:10), or be “glorified” (John 17:1,5) or “enter into His glory” (Luke 24:26), that is, “be perfected” (Luke 13:32), or “sanctified” (John 17:19).

The blood of Christ is the ultimate proof of God's love. Romans 5:8-9, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. v9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." He "loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5). In 1 Peter 1:17- 19, "And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; v18) knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, v19) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." God proves His love by the price He was willing to pay for our salvation. In Acts 20:28, it tells us that the church was purchased by the blood of Christ! The grace of God is demonstrated by the blood of Christ. We are "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith" (Romans 3:24,25). "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). The blood of Christ frees us from Satan and places us in the kingdom of God and allows us to stand in white before the throne of God.

Much more than anything, and the greatest of all, is SALVATION! Romans 5:9, " Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." And in Ephesians 1:7, we read, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" With the Blood of Jesus, salvation is sure. It's a free gift of our Loving God! Our Lord Jesus Christ shed his blood for the salvation of our souls. What a price to pay! His blood gives us full access to GOD. Foolishly, people believe their own self righteousness can save them....their good deeds. They're so mistaken! Our own self righteousness can't save us. We are sinners. We NEED a Savior! And a Savior was given unto us! It's ONLY through His blood that we are saved. It saves is from sin and we should ALL want to be saved from sin because it saves us from eternal death. The blood justifies and saves us from condemnation. It rescues us when we're in trouble.

Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Justified is another powerful word used in the Bible to describe the forgiveness of our sins and the beautiful restoration of our relationship with God. If we take the word justified in this verse, and look it up, we are given the Greek word dikaioo, which means, "to render (to show or regard as) just or innocent: - free, justify (-ier), be righteous." When a person is justified, it makes them innocent, just as though they'd never sinned! That, my dear readers, is exceptionally great news for us! This is the very reason that we can live a new life in Christ, as a new creation, because when we've repented of our sins, we're made right with God and have the righteousness of God upon us! Romans 3:22, "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe..." This is often referred to as part of the divine exchange. Christ was punished for our sins, so that we can receive forgiveness, He was given our shame so that we can receive His righteousness.

So, in conclusion, why is the blood of Jesus so precious? Through it, we have redemption, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, access to God, and daily forgiveness. Nothing else in this life has the power to do any of these things. Apart from the blood of Christ, you and I would be destined to an eternity separated from almighty God.

If you haven't accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, I encourage you to do so now! It's never too late and it will change your life forever! Your life will never be the same!


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Sunday, May 25, 2014

God's Favor and Divine Protection

Proverbs 3:33-35, “v33) The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the home of the righteous. v34) Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives favor to the humble. v35) The wise shall inherit glory, But shame shall be the legacy of fools.”

Psalm 84:11, “v11) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give favor and honor; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”

Wow did the Lord teach me a beautiful lesson about the Promises of those Scriptures! This entry is going to be a little different than the rest of my posts just because this is a personal and relational experience that I want to share with every eye that is led to read this! The experience that I will share with everyone made me suddenly see MORE of the Hand of my Loving Lord God Almighty and tie together some loose ends that I'd been struggling with over the past few years. I recently wrote about the believers steps all being directed by God in my post titled, “For Such a Time as This.” It can be found at the following link http://shieldoffaith62.blogspot.com/2014/03/for-such-time-as-this.html for those of you who haven't read it yet or are first time visitors. It was an article that was meant for all of my readers, but in some divine appointed way, ended up being a prophetic writing to myself, for such a time as this! Although He was preparing me for something yet to come, He was giving me words and leading me through that entire article for each of you, as He always does when I write! How amazing God is when we allow Him to work in our lives!

It was around 11:15 pm on May 20th, 2014 when I was watching the evening news and to catch the weather report. It called for some strong thunderstorms in my area, early morning, but nothing that would alarm me in any way! Just another normal thunderstorm for this time of the year.....or so I thought. Shortly after they gave their forecast, I fell sound asleep on the couch! Not intentional, but it happens from time to time! A few hours later, around 1:30 in the morning on May 21st I suddenly awoke with this urge to pray for protection and safety for myself and my property, asking Him to find favor with His good and faithful servant, then asked the Lord to also protect the families in my neighborhood. The next thing I prayed for came as a strong prompting from the Holy Spirit, I prayed for the people to seek His face and call on Him! Why? Only the Lord knows the answer! I didn't think about it again and went back to sleep. Now for the sake of the experience, I must tell you, it is very RARE that I'm awakened to pray. The Lord speaks to me in many ways and for many reasons, but not usually waking me up to have me pray! I know many Christians who are called to do intercessory prayer, have heard some amazing stories, but that's not my calling. It's only happened a handful of times in my life!

Ok, so anyway, the timeline is now established. I fell back to sleep around 1:50 am and was in a DEEP restful sleep when around 4:25 am a loud lightning bolt CRASHED nearby and jolted me right out of my sleep! I flew off the couch, obviously confused as to what just happened. My heart was racing and when I finally gathered my wits about me, I realized it was lightning and we were having some HORRENDOUS weather out there! I flip on the news only to see a SEVERE line of storms right outside of my city and they were moving FAST and furious right in my direction! Within 15-20 minutes, I start to hear loud pops and flashes that WEREN'T lightning strikes and then the entire block lost power! Transformers all around the neighborhood blew! Electric poles fell over! And the winds were picking up at speeds I'd never witnessed before around here! At this point, I sensed it was going to be BAD! Rain started to fall. I sent a text around 5 am to a brother/friend in Christ in another state asking for prayers because he is warrior, a prayer warrior and God's warrior Soldier! I gathered my flashlights and found my cat hiding, which she NEVER does during storms, and I sat down for about 10 minutes in silence.......I received a response to my request for prayers and he said he'd been stirring and now he knew why! Then I heard cracking noises and a sudden whir!

Something flew against my home and shook it! It had already moved slightly from the powerful winds that weren't even at their fullest speed yet, I would find out in another few minutes! I immediately worried about my dead oak tree that was 12 feet from the side of the house where the couch is that I had been asleep on. I'm still unemployed and struggling (but blessed!) and cutting down a tree of that size is expensive so I choose to put the money towards my daily needs until I'm blessed with the job the Lord is preparing for me. So I prayed for that to stay standing and in one piece! Since I had no electric, I didn't have power to the tv. The wireless router that would give me internet was down and so were some of the cell phone towers so reception for internet was SCARCE at best. I didn't know if the area was under a tornado warning or what and I had no way of finding out! I finally was able to get a 4G signal BRIEFLY enough to see the radar path and it was rapidly approaching upon my neighborhood! I didn't have time to act, or think actually, and all of the sudden the wind whipped upwards of 80 MPH! The rains were so hard they were blowing sideways in the wind and quickly filling any crevice that would hold it! Debris, trash cans and roofing shingles were flying everywhere.....it was pitch black, hail coming down in some areas, trees uprooting, limbs cracking off, a few fires ignited, and I could hear metal tumbling in the street which I would find out later, were someone's siding 8 houses down from my house on ANOTHER street! I didn't take cover. I didn't have any time because it happened so fast! Not to mention that I didn't even know what was going on! This part of the storm's end, which carried the heaviest damages, lasted about two minutes but it felt like hours!!!! Then it was eerily still as quickly as it sliced through our block. A quiet calm. All except for fire trucks, police sirens and anything that made a faint noise echoed through the stillness!

I want to say that this is going to be another of my long posts because I will finish up the storm part and then tie things all together so you, too, can see the Hand of God upon me giving me favor! I'm going to speak just a few moments about favor and obedience and then will continue with the rest of this wonderful testimony! Throughout the Bible, God repeatedly requests our obedience to Him. He doesn’t really put much stock into our good deeds (because they aren't His priorities) or the talents that we may possess professionally, socially or even our emotional intelligence. Those qualities are all good in and of themselves, and we are to utilize them for HIS glory, in HIS Kingdom, for His purpose, but they are not His focus for us! All God really wants from us is our obedience to Him, to His voice and to His purpose. He wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to do what He asks us to do, say what He wants us to say, be who He wants us to be because acts of obedience prove our trust in Him! Obedience proves our love for Him. He wants us to totally, fully and unconditionally TRUST Him! Faith and Trust are the two things He admires most and it's those qualities that He most passionately responds to! They both stem from obedience. Our obedience to Him shows our love for Him. Are you aware that God desires to favor you with His blessings? Isaiah 30:18, “18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” The word "gracious" used in the first part of that verse literally means “to show favor” according to the Hebrew dictionary. In Psalm 5:12 we find these words: “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.” In this verse, you have the promise from God of His shield of FAVOR surrounding you. You can't “earn” His favor because it's a gift that comes freely to you when you're born-again and given the righteousness of Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21)

Let's take a look at Genesis 39:2-5, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. v3) And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. v4) So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. v5) So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field.” Take note of Joseph’s attitude in the midst of his difficult situation. An attitude we all should adopt through our own trials and difficult situations! That kind of attitude is easy for some while harder for others. The scripture clearly tells us that he pleased and served his boss. We must work in cooperation with God’s favor. If Joseph had been bitter, resentful, spiteful, complained about his circumstances and resisted his boss’ instructions because he was in slavery, God’s favor wouldn't have operated fully in his life, if at all. We really need to cooperate with the Spirit of God in every single situation that we face, no matter how uncomfortable, difficult, miserable or terrible WE think they are. Going through difficulties in our lives are simply life lessons! Failing and falling makes us rely on the Lord, trusting Him more, and having a stronger Faith! It helps us become more Christ-like in our walks the closer we become with the Lord Jesus Christ. The only way we learn is by successfully coming through those difficult times and situations. Glory be to God the Highest! If we maintain a clear conscience, walk in love, remain free from bitterness and show grace and favor toward others, we will be able to receive the free-flowing of God’s favor in our own lives.

In Luke 4:18-19 we find Jesus’ declaration about Himself: “v18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; v19) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Jesus declared that He was announcing the day when the free favors of God profusely abound. Jesus came to bring us into the right relationship with God through His death and resurrection. And then, once a person enters this love relationship with God, he or she can receive the free favors of God in this life on this earth. God’s favor is a powerful weapon in any of the circumstances that you may be facing right this very moment. But exactly how do you “make a claim” for God’s favor to operate in your life? Like any promise of God throughout His Word, you first must accept His word as true and as TRUTH.

Microburst Diagram
Now back to the storm raging throughout my block! I quickly found out that it was definitely NOT a tornado, but rather what they call a “Microburst.” What that is can easily be as damaging as a low grade tornado, and by the looks of my neighborhood, I agree! “A microburst is a downdraft (sinking air) in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in scale. Some microbursts can pose a threat to life and property. Although microbursts are not as widely recognized as tornadoes, they can cause comparable, and in some cases, worse damage than some tornadoes produce.  In fact, wind speeds as high as 150 mph are possible in extreme microburstcases.”Taken from the noaa.gov website. And this description is taken from accuweather.com stating, “A microburst is a small column of exceptionally intense and localized sinking air that results in a violent outrush of air at the ground. It is capable of producing damaging straight-line winds of more than 100 mph that are similar to that in some tornadoes, but without the tornado's rotation. A microburst often has high winds that can knock over fully grown trees. The size of a microburst is typically less than 3 miles across, and its lifespan could range from a couple of
seconds to several minutes.They go through three stages in their life cycle: the downburst, outburst, and cushion stages. Microbursts may be accompanied by heavy precipitation or may occur in dry air, defining the two types of microbursts: wet microbursts and dry microbursts. Dry microbursts are produced by high-based thunderstorms that generate little surface rainfall. Often, they are found in the Midwest and West. Wet microbursts are similar, except that they bring significant precipitation with them; these tend to form in the Southeast.” My neighborhood experienced the wet microburst!

With that established, I am going to give you a little back story before I continue to share the rest of this story! I've really been going through some difficult times in the past few years. From a few bouts of unemployment which I'm currently going through now, both no fault of my own, to a pretty bad car accident which some of you may have read about in an earlier post. I'm always being tested, facing many, many difficulties and hurdles that not only strengthened my faith, but drew me closer to the Lord! And although there were times of great disappointments and trials, heartaches and loss, frustration and anguish, tribulations and pain, I managed to move forward with the strength I found in the Lord Jesus Christ! People let me down, but Jesus NEVER will! I kept a smile on my face, joy in my heart and a lot of laughter in my soul! I got down from time to time because everything, and I do mean, EVERYTHING all kept happening and wouldn't let up! And is STILL happening! But through the Lord, He sustained me, and still IS, made me stronger and gave me more and more testimony to share with others! All the while, He was teaching me many valuable lessons! My nickname was given to me...JOB! He went through trial after trial, loss after loss, but stayed faithful to God the entire time! Nothing Satan did to him could turn him away from God! And for his faithfulness and obedience, he was blessed with way more than what had been taken from him!

During these times, including right this moment, I've felt isolated, I've felt like I'd been abandoned and all alone. I've experienced rejection. I've experienced doubt, although fleeting. However, I've NEVER felt lonely because I always have Jesus by my side! There is a big difference between the two! I learned along my walk that it is much better to be without friends for a short time until the Lord brings the right ones into your life, than to be around the wrong ones just for the sake of having friends. I see this all too often when people are so afraid of being alone that they will cling to any friend just to have one. Oftentimes, they not only are the wrong ones, but they're worldly. A dangerous path to travel down is a path traveled with a worldly friend. ESPECIALLY if you're easily influenced! Or if you're a person who doesn't like to say no. Those friends lead you down a worldly path eventually because their influence isn't a Godly influence. Their advice isn't Godly advice. Their behaviors aren't Christ-like behaviors. At different times in my life, I've been without friends and it was during those times when I heard the voice of the Lord while also learning and growing in my faith and my relationship with the Lord. Then, in His faithfulness of His promises, He would bring someone else into my life.

Looking back upon my life, that seemed to be the typical cycle. I have plenty of acquaintances but there's also a difference between a friend and an acquaintance. I'm not afraid to be alone because I'm not afraid of being with myself! That's one of the biggest reasons people don't want to be alone.....they have to face themselves. Their thoughts are amplified and there's no diversion so they eventually have to deal with them OR they jump into relationships for the diversion. Some people would rather stick their noses into the lives of others rather than focus on their own torment and be delivered from their own demons. When you see people always in the presence of someone, always searching for an activity that results in being around someone, whether it be a relationship, a friendship or in a crowd, it's highly likely they are people who, not only are emotionally needy, but are also very much afraid of being alone. Over the course of my own life lessons, I've learned that being alone with my thoughts and the Lord have always been very cathartic for me in my personal life as well as my spiritual life. Don't get me wrong, God didn't design us to spend our lives totally alone....by that I mean, friendships and co-workers and all the other relationships that we have to encourage us and vice-versa. But sometimes.....

Many of my MAJOR trials have been no fault of my own while some of the other smaller trials have been because of a bad choice, jumping ahead of the Lord or not waiting long enough to hear His voice CLEARLY. The major trials are the ones that were the most significant in my life though! Even though they were, and some still ARE, the most difficult and trying times, God has guided my path, directed my steps and provided many blessings along the way. I never LOST anything! I came close. I worried a time or ten. But I kept remembering all of His promises! I clung to them so tightly that my knuckles hurt! My needs were always provided for and those needs were financial, spiritual and physical. He appointed people to be in my life during these times to help me financially with some bills, spiritually to encourage me and help me see how I was being led, and for emotional support when I was seriously at my wits end! He provided specific people to cross my path that would help me with, what would have normally been, expensive home repairs that were desperately needed. They'd been left unattended because of the many trials and hardships I began to have in my life. The closer I got to the Lord, the more intense the attacks of the enemy became! After awhile, those were issues that overwhelmed me because one at a time, I could choose not to look at it until I'd get back on my feet! But one repair led to two, and then before I knew it, well, I fell to my knees pleading with the Lord to help me!

Those specific men have remained within my reach for a year now and I can only say that finding them the way it happened, was a divine appointment through the hand of the Lord! They finally told me the story of how they came to be my helpers the day before the storm hit (which is part of the storm story) and we all laughed. They know my financial situation with being unemployed and they've blessed me in ways I will ONLY attribute to the Lord God Almighty's Divine Appointment! Of course, their expertise in their field of work as well! There was a stretch of time where my financial needs were too great of a strain in order to sustain myself while awaiting unemployment to go through the backed up system and through blessings given to me in favor, those were met with help from specific dear friends that I will never be able to thank enough! And a few other financial blessings along the way to meet my needs in between.

I'm going to list some of the things I've had to contend with, mainly alone without much support of anyone, (by that, I mean emotional support, not financial) just to give you a glimpse into my life, while at the same time to give you hope in knowing that ALL of God's promises are ours to hold onto through our obedience, faith and trust in our Savior! Then I will finish my story....the back story is important to know what I've been going through so you can see the steps that had been directed, to see the guidance that was leading me right where I needed to be, in front of who I needed to cross and how FAVOR played a HUGE role in this storm!!! Let's start with the list:

1) After just starting a new job, and after almost losing my home, and transmission in car went out. Car wasn't in good shape enough to put a new one in.
2) Bought a used car, through two gracious people, one being my dad, also put in my life for a specific season, and THAT transmission goes out a month after.
3) I stood firm in my faith in new job, began getting persecuted for it and the enemy attacked me heavily the entire time I was working there....
4) Gutter overflowing on a drop ranch so much it rotted out the soffits under the overhang, which lead to a HUGE leak in my ceiling WHILE unemployed from the job mentioned above.
5) Light fixture shorted, and lightswitch, no light in that room for nearly two years kept breaker off to that room.
6) Ended one friendship, while two others fizzled on their own.
7) Had two bad infections in my back teeth
8) Injured toe, eventually nail got ingrown and severely infected, removed half of the nail
9) Refrigerator door alignment off.
10) Toilet Seal eroded and leaked water in basement. Shut that valve off and prayed. Used other toilet.
11) Foundation wall crack got a little worse and began leaking water into garage (built in)
12) Deck is old and became extremely unsafe. It's located in the back part of the drop ranch so it's 8 feet off the ground! Railings, spindles and the support beams all needed replaced.
13) Wind damage knocked off a limb and knocked off the corner of my gutter, damaging some of roofing shingles. (Thankfully those only needed resealed and nailed!)
14) Riding Mower broke down. Too old to find parts to fix. Had to begin paying someone to mow. They suddenly never showed back up after two years of beautiful work. This summer found a Christian owned business and they're doing that
15) My heat pump on my central heat/air unit burned a wire into two pieces
16) Thermostat broke in the middle of the coldest month, also while I was awaiting unemployment to get through the system!
17) THEN the plumbing line totally clogged up that ended up having to be cut, cleaned, power flushed and put a piece to make future pipe cleaning easier. Couldn't use kitchen sink for over 6 months because my unemployment was next to nothing at that time and I had no resources. (Last May is when God placed those two aforementioned helpers in my path specifically for this job) Unbeknownst to me at the time, how valuable they'd become in my very near future!
18) Lost the job mentioned above, started a government time limited interim position 10 months later
19) 3 months after starting that job, I was in a bad car accident, totaled my car, knocked me unconscious, blood on my brain, neck injury that has changed some parts of the way of life that I live because I can't do some of the things I used to do. Suggests surgery, but it's too risky. I've prayed for protection and I just had to accept the fact that I need to be careful until, or IF, the Lord directs me to surgery. And dealing with other injuries sustained.
20) Had to find a vehicle while I was trying to work, trying to heal, trying to keep my sanity. God leads me to a private owner at the last moment, who "understood" and I got another vehicle
21) Job contract ended, completed successfully, unemployed since. That's the time the roof began leaking, gutters damaged, etc....
22) Car breaks down three times....God leads me to a new mechanic, a Christian, and fixes the two problems for next to nothing. Three other companies were talking big bucks and to fix something that wasn't needed.

And SO much more in between! You can only imagine how traumatic the accident was on top of all of the physical sufferings sustained in the accident and not having family near, just starting a job, trying to recover while also trying to support myself, forcing myself to work as much as I could in order TO support myself, and still having to deal with all the rest of the "stuff" that just seemed to keep being thrown at me. It was seriously overwhelming! Thank the good Lord for the sense of humor He gave me for my coping mechanism!

Now back to the storm! When the eerie stillness happened and everything just stopped, I gathered myself and my flashlight and went outside. There were still a few stray lightning strikes and thunder rolls but I had to see what I could see for myself. Strangely enough, I could only see one other person outside down the street doing the same thing as myself. The first thing I see is my pine tree laying within inches of my home and front room window!! Literally! It had been uprooted so I assessed it to make sure there wasn't any damage then walked around the roots to the tree that was DEAD! There was ONE big limb that fell and it WASN'T from the dead tree! How truly AMAZING this was for me to witness! I never gave a thought to the pine tree, but my 60-70 foot dead oak tree I did! I began thanking the Lord for protecting my home from that tree, and any other tree that was in the direct path of my house, and that's when it hit me about me being awakened to pray!!! Now I knew why the Holy Spirit stirred me awake in anticipation for the storm! Thank God I heeded His prompting! I then realized the slamming against my house was the pine tree. It must have hit the corner THEN landed within inches of the front room window!

I surveyed the rest of my yard and saw these metal siding strips, black roofing shingles and the underlay, along with Styrofoam (not sure what that was from but there was alot of it!) strewn all over my yard and my two neighbors yards. Since the power was still out and it was still pitch black outside, I couldn't tell where they came from or even if part of the roofing shingles were mine! I got a little concerned BUT my prayers were remembered and I praised the Lord AGAIN! I had peace. A peace that I can't explain but powerfully present nonetheless! I glanced across the street and noticed something out of sorts. I shined the light towards the house and saw their tree laying on top of their home, ruining their roof and structure! Later, when the sun came up and there was daylight, it also damaged the back of their home as well! This was a very LARGE tree! Fully mature and NOT dead! I shined my light down the street and it didn't look too good through the little light that I had. I had debris, leaves, broken branches and some smaller limbs down in addition to the big limb and the pine tree uprooted. I found someone's garbage lid as well. I went inside and prayed about the destruction to the area homes, for the things I couldn't see and for the people that would be affected by this terrible event. I prayed for my own peace for when the daylight came that I wouldn't see any major damage to my roof and that my food wouldn't be a total loss in my freezer. I knew the power outage was going to be a little longer than I'd first thought. And then I curled up with my cat, flashlight, cell phone and waited......

Within an hour, the sirens were everywhere! Red Cross vehicles were scouring the neighborhood assessing needs and damages. Within another hour, the sun began to rise on, what looked like, a war zone. It was heart wrenching! I felt a heavy heart over what I was seeing all around me! And for just a moment, as I looked around, it appeared that I was in a bubble! My street and two other streets off of mine, almost making a triangle, got hit hard! From my home and the neighbors directly across from me, all the way down the street to the left of us have trees. Then to the right of me and the neighbor directly across the street are pretty much in the clear. A few homes here and there are surrounded with them, but my side of the street down is the most heavily populated with trees. I tell you this because it looked like a war zone! Trees were uprooted, some were cracked in half, huge limbs everywhere, debris from everyone's roofs, yards and homes were everywhere! I was the only one on my side that didn't have a downed tree! Almost every person just on my side of the street alone, had some kind of damage. Roofs were torn off, decks were damaged, cars were damaged from hail and flying debris, garages destroyed, corners of roofs clipped and so much more. One house, about 4 houses down, looked like the entire back side had been ripped off because you could see right through it! My heart sank for what I was seeing and for what they must be experiencing! By now, others were coming outside. they were looking at the same mess I was looking at only most of those people were looking at their own damages.

Police cruisers were driving through the neighborhood making sure everyone was safe and if there were any needs. It was almost surreal to me! I walked out onto my deck and yet ANOTHER revelation came to me and I fell to my knees and praised and thanked the Lord AGAIN! The day before, those two wonderful helpers that had been directed to me, came and redid my raised deck support beams, railings and spindles. The flooring was good. This is mentioned above in my list of SOME of the trials I've endured. They were going to wait until after the rains, but for whatever reason they said, they decided to come that day! Well, after this storm, I KNEW why that "for whatever reason" meant! God appointed them to do the deck to make it sturdy enough to withstand the winds that were going to whip through in the next 14 hours!!!! He came by the day after the storm just to see if he would be able to remove the pine tree for me, and we went in the back to discuss a few things about the spouting, and we talked about the deck. I told him what I felt was the reason they were prompted to come the day before the storm was because of the damage it could have caused. He agreed!

The back of my home is on a hill so all the wind that comes from that direction is much stronger anyway, let alone something like this! God KNEW all of this in advance of it happening! Had my plumbing not been a problem for me, I'd have never met these two. They not only fixed my plumbing problem that took all day, they would eventually fix the majority of the other problems that needed attended to and while doing so, was honest about what I needed and didn't need! I asked him one time about something and they both said don't fix something that isn't broken. Well, I've said that all my life BUT I'm not the expert in home repairs so I question everything! God truly blessed me with these two! Each disaster I had in the house, and all of it happening at once with the majority while unemployed, they were there by divine appointment! In no way, in any other circumstance, would I have been able to afford someone else!

All the tree companies were beginning to show up and were lining the neighborhood streets! I was outside doing some clean-up of the things I was physically able to because of my neck injury that I've had to baby! My next door neighbor came out and was telling me what damage they received from a neighbors tree on the other side of them AND they had one of THEIR trees go down! She looked at my dead tree and looked down my tree line (which I have approximately 15-17 trees lining one side of the house) and she asked about my damage. I almost felt bad but I said I didn't have any, other than the pine tree being down. She was a little confused and looked at the tree again and said how "lucky" I was not to be "touched" by this because everyone else "appeared to be." Made another comment about being amazed that the dead tree survived THIS microburst! First of all, I do NOT believe in luck! As a born again Christian, luck is not part of my vocabulary! God blessed me and gave me FAVOR, just as I asked! I told her very politely that luck had nothing to do with it, but God had EVERYTHING to do with this protection! My clean-up was limited so I went inside to rest, to praise the Lord and to let this all sink in. Almost everyone to the left of my home was touched in some way by this devastating microburst! I wasn't able to get out of my garage because the electric was off and my neck can't handle the struggle of manually doing it but I knew as soon as the power came on, I was going to take a drive just around the immediate block to see the rest of the area.....

And the power came on! It had been off nearly 7 hours at this time, but would go off two more times before the day was over. The tree cutters and other services were across the street cutting away that huge mature tree that fell on the roof. I peeked down the street further and saw most of the street was full of these boom trucks! I looked out back off of my deck to the street directly behind me and saw one but heard more. Across the street, the local news station crews were out filming the damages sustained at the house with the huge mature tree that fell on their home! I got washed up, grabbed my camera and went to take a drive! EVERYTHING up to this point already had been thanked for, prayed for and praised! I drove the opposite direction to the street behind me, about 500 feet if that, because the other direction to the left was blocked with vehicles, and suddenly it was a reality! Everything became more real than what I knew already! Tears came to my eyes. My heart became heavier the further I'd inch through the mess left behind. I saw a woman sitting by a little tree in her front yard with approximately 6 coolers and her home was literally destroyed! I could see all the way through it. Her roof was gone, her garage was caved in and part of her backside was blown off, or knocked off by trees. I could only imagine the anguish she was feeling. I began to talk to the Lord while I was driving through just three streets. That's all that was needed to see the devastation that happened all AROUND me. House upon house had damage, some worse than others. Some structural, some just downed trees, some vehicles. It was really heartbreaking! I never took out my camera because I couldn't! I didn't feel right taking pictures of someone else's pain! Not those kind of pictures! If I worked for a news crew, then yes, it's my job. But I don't. And it almost seemed too awful that even I couldn't believe I thought to bring my camera in the first place! Although, photography is my hobby! I drove just another 30 feet and the only thing I could think of was the prayers that I said when I was prompted awake.....let others seek your face!! I pray that they do!!!

This didn't seem real to me even though I was visually SEEING it! By the time I returned home, I stood outside for a moment and once again, out loud, thanked the good Lord for His favor, for His protection and for His divine intervention! It was like everything flashed before me.....from my accident being allowed to happen, to having a severe clogging problem with my plumbing in order to cross paths with the two that would end up being a huge blessing to me! This is where I want to share the little short story of how they came to be.....I was leaving church one morning and someone came up to me and said that I'd been laid on their hearts and wanted to know how I was and if I'd found work yet. Mind you, this was someone that I RARELY see, let alone speak to! So I gave him a little run down and told him about my plumbing. He asked me how long it had been that way and when I told him, he kind of got this look on his face of determination and told me he'd see what he could do to find someone for me. Before I quickly finish this, I must tell you at this point, I've heard that line before....."let me see who I know....or who I can find...or what I can do." And never hear back from anyone! That's part of the disappointments that I experienced. So to me, what was going to be any different with this one......And THEN.....

The next morning I receive a call from him, giving me the number to these two. Told me to call them and they'd come out and check it out. I got off the phone and cried. I had one estimate before and asked if I could make payments because of my situation. NO payments were allowed and the cost was ridiculous. I lived with it and made do with what I had up to that point. So they come, they assess, they tell me they could do it for the money the other guy from church proposed (which at the time, I had no idea it was even on the table for the church to help with this) and scheduled a time to come back. Before they left, we talked about my hardships, my trials and how I'm honest, I just need a little help. They obviously felt my integrity because payments weren't an issue with them! Now THAT part is what I already knew because I took part in the odd initiation of it, when the Lord prompted the church member to approach me. A year later, on the day they did my deck before the microburst, is when I found the rest of the story out! I went outside and asked them exactly HOW were they found and how did they come to know the church member! They immediately began to laugh!

Before I continue, let me say first that TYPICALLY people get referrals, or know the work of the contractors. And especially someone like the church member!!! Ok, so here's the way the Hand of God worked this whole thing out for me! They said they'd began a job a few streets down from the member's house, and wasn't supposed to start it for a few more days but the weather held up so they went out that day. The church member drives by, backs up, and asked them if they did plumbing work. They said yes. The church member said, and I'm going to quote what they said, "Well, there's a nice lady at our church, who's having a really rough time, a special one, and could you help us help her, for x amount of money?" Just like that! He had no idea what kind of work they did, WHO they were, if it was guaranteed, if they were locals. NOTHING! So, they tell me after the church member left, they kind of laughed because they had no clue who this guy was and that they never got approached that way before. They said he was a very nice man, (which he is) and that there was just "something" in the way he spoke about me that they said ok. And been helping ever since. Not only did the Lord direct the steps of the church member but also allowing all the "rejection" and disappointments to happen. Without those moments of rejection and disappointments, I'd have never learned what it really meant to NEED something so badly, but having to WAIT for HIS timing, for HIS direction and for HIS guided steps! I've always been a patient person, something the Lord has blessed me with, but this kind was something new! He showed me just how many people He did use in order to bless me, to give me favor and to help protect me! Literally through the storms!

And what was sacrificed, was restored even better! People asked how I could live without my toilet working. I have two. They'd ask how I could go without using my kitchen sink.....I used the bathroom sink, paper plates and plastic forks/spoons. They would ask how I was able to make it with little money, I'd tell them the promises of the Lord to provide daily for my needs. They would ask how I haven't broken down or turned from God because of all the trials and hardships. I'd tell them because I have joy in my heart, Faith in the Lord and trust Him implicitly and whatever hardships I've endured, and are currently enduring, it's all for the glory of God! It's for His purpose, in His time, for His Kingdom. It doesn't even begin to compare to the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, dying on the cross for our sin debt to be paid in full! I've broken down in tears a time or ten, but that's to be expected. I have emotions and sometimes they come flooding out. But I never once lost hope. I never once got mad at God and turned from Him!! As a matter of fact, I turned TOWARDS Him even more! He was the only one sustaining my spirit, my life and my emotional well being! This whole experience of the microburts, the tremendous loss in this neighborhood, and the bubble of protection and favor that was laid upon me, has forced me to look over everything in the past few years to see how the Hand of God was all through it! Never once letting me fall. Never once letting me go without. I may have had to strip down to the bare essentials, but I'm not a material person anyway. It humbled me and made me appreciate things, blessings and life MUCH more! It makes it harder for me to question "Why me, Lord?" Why NOT me? Whatever the Lord is doing in my life only He knows! As witnessed through looking back on everything He's done FOR me! Proverbs 3:5-10, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; v6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. v7) Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. v8) It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. v9) Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; v10) So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine."     

The clean-up will continue for days. The rebuilding will continue for days. The broken spirits will take time to mend. I'm sure many people are asking the proverbial, "WHY?" right now because honestly, something this devastating is uncomprehending. Yesterday I was sitting on my deck, trying to heal my neck from the clean-up I had to do, and I heard an angelic voice coming from the home directly behind me. Also protected from this storm! Obviously a child of God! She was singing praises to the Lord! Oh what a beautiful moment that was to hear another sister in Christ singing praises through what was His favor upon their dwelling as well! My heart sang and rejoiced with her. My heart knew there were going to be many hurdles to jump for some of these people who, for some, lost everything. But I also knew my prayers were going to be answered. A seed would be planted in someone to look up and seek His face! For Jesus will give them peace......The bubble of protection and the Favor upon me is still being praised for even as I'm writing this to my readers! I may not like what I had to go through, but what I had to go through was, and IS, for His glory and purpose! I'm OK with that! This lesson of His favor given to me was a lesson that I needed to learn! He knew the right time for me to receive it and recognize it for exactly what it IS! His plans are much greater than mine and when I try to do something on my own, I mess it up. So, the strength, the freedom, my growing relationship with Jesus, the favor, the respect for life and all the other lessons that I've learned is all worth every moment of sacrifice! Psalm 34:19 reads and says it best....."Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all." AMEN!

I pray that this very personal experience that I'm sharing with you, will touch someone who has been led to read this in it's entirety! I pray for the Father to speak to you to let you know you too, can receive His favor so that you may share in testimonials for the lost and unsaved! If you haven't come to the point to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, I urge you to do so! The Lord will knock, but you need to answer! Please receive Him because no matter what you've done, thought, acted like, or said, He accepts you just as you are! Come to Him and He will change you forever! The Light that will reside inside of you is so much greater and more powerful than the darkness in the world!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

The Deception of Satan - How Will You Escape Hell?

This very question is posed in Matthew 23:33 saying, "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?" 

And the answer is one powerful word.....JESUS! You need FAITH in the blood of Jesus to get into heaven and that same FAITH is what saves you from entering the eternal fire of Hell! The Lord Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh, was crucified, nailed to the Cross through His hands and feet, for ALL of OUR sins as our substitute! In order to be saved and get into heaven, Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 10:9-10: "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation" We must be spiritually born-again: John 3:3-7 Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born-again." 

So, when we ask Jesus to forgive us of all of our sins and we truly repent, and believe on Him, we are then born-again and saved. Upon the free gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us, as promised by the Lord Jesus Christ, and it's by His power and strength that we are able to leave behind the ways of the world and live more godly lives. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says clearly, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." When you do this, the Bible tells us through the apostle Paul, in Romans 8:38- 39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

In John 14:6, it states so clearly that there is only ONE way to the Father God and to enter Heaven one must believe this one very important Scripture....." Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Again in John 6:44, it repeats this, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." Pay attention to both statements by our Lord.....it says NO ONE! When the Lord repeats something, He means business! This means quite simply there is only ONE path that leads to Heaven. One. Period. Look at one of the most famous recited Scriptures in the Bible relating to the most powerful words of salvation, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." This, my dear readers, is the ONLY WAY to escape from Hell! This is the good news! It's also the reason I'm starting this blog post with the good news because what is going to follow is what is happening, and NOT happening, in this fallen world of ours. And the one thing that keeps being laid upon my heart, as I feel the days becoming numbered, is the deception of Satan and his minions playing havoc upon those who don't know Jesus, who don't know His TRUTH, and who is planting all kinds of lies in the minds and hearts of anyone who will listen to him. I don't want to see anyone perish just as my Lord and Savior doesn't!

He is THE Way!
There is a trending movement gaining momentum in this world that there are many paths leading to heaven and to God. It's being disguised behind many pulpits, many famous personalities, and many Christian nay-sayers as the more "tolerant" way to believe, an all-inclusive" belief system. Those behind the pulpits are throwing in a little bit of falseness (leaven) with the truth and Satan knows that's exactly what the unsaved will latch onto. The lies. Galatians 5:9 says this, "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." This means that no matter what truth they just spoke, if it's got a little bit of lies thrown into the batter, the batter will be ruined, or otherwise, compromised! It's so disheartening to hear the professed men of God spewing lies to their flock knowing full well there is only one way.....and it's not through false religions, false doctrines nor false teachings. Sometimes you will find the lies of the enemy in those that teach a "tickle the ears" sermons. They teach what feels good. What sounds good. What is easy to swallow. They use the SENSES to lure in the lost, the gullible or the unknowing baby Christians. They make their money off of preaching a different gospel, a different doctrine. Before you go broke giving your "seed faith" buyer beware!!!!

Don't misunderstand me! The Gospel is full of hope, joy, love, tenderness and compassion. God IS love! But the TRUTH in it's entirety MUST BE TOLD! Sin and repentance should NEVER be shied away from being preached about, or taught, from the pulpit of the churches around the world. If you attend a church who doesn't teach about sin truthfully, as God has breathed in His Word, and the repentance of our sins in order to be saved, then maybe you should begin to pray about asking the Lord to lead you to another church so that you will be fed the meat of the Word, the Truth and the Light! I will only spend a few more sentences on those behind the pulpit spewing the lies of Satan to attract "numbers" and "money" to their congregation because there are more of Satan's lies I want to address in a little more detail. I've scanned through some proclaimed "Christian" programs and was horrified at what I heard being spoken! To the untrained ear, well, it SOUNDS good and fluffy and kind of biblical, but it is NOT Biblical. They are preaching and teaching another Gospel and their "god" is not THE GOD. Their Jesus is not the Christ so be warned and test everything you hear.....there is a silent, but deadly, movement permeating the world that we are ALL "gods" and that our good deeds is the only saving grace. Oh THESE ARE LIES FROM THE DEEPEST PART OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT! Jesus, and ONLY Jesus, is our saving grace and He is the ONLY way!!



With that said, an argument I often hear is all the "gods" that all religions pray to, and worship, are all the same God and the Creator God, but with different names depending on the religion. NO! This is not only lies from Satan, but it's NOT Biblical! IF that were so, and ALL paths did lead to God and Heaven, then the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior, was not needed and was a senseless sacrifice. The WHOLE purpose of the Bible and God's inerrant breathed Word is sending His only begotten Son into this world for our sins, to die on the Cross taking those sins to the grave and resurrecting three days later! Those New Age movements are placing the person in charge of their "destiny" and their "life" here on earth in order to worship a false god of self! That's what it boils down to really. Self absorbed, me-centered and totally denying our Creator. Good deeds are a result OF the Sacrificial Son becoming our Salvation, NOT the WAY to Salvation. Their way of thinking and believing is selfish because if they think they can become, or believe they are "gods" they are so mistaken! It makes it appear they don't NEED God the Creator, nor His Son Jesus Christ! They believe the entire world will go to heaven because everyone does good deeds at one point in their lives and this too is wrong thinking! It is true that God created the world so that not one person shall perish, but because we have free will and choice, well, WE CHOOSE OUR ETERNITY! We either choose TO BELIEVE and be born again or we choose NOT to believe and remain in sin without the BLOOD of Jesus. He gave us the choice!

 John 8:44 says, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies." If Satan can get you to believe a lie then he knows he's just been given access to begin work in your life to lead you into the ways of sin! This is why he attacks the mind, and this is why we must protect our minds from the attacks of the wicked one. Our minds are so susceptible and fragile and Satan knows this about us! He first told Eve the lie by attacking her mind! 2 Corinthians 11:3, "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ."  So why then would Satan want to attack your mind? Because your mind is the part of the image of God where God communicates with you and reveals His will to you! It's unfortunate that some Christians seemed to have minimized the significance, and power, of the mind, because all through the Bible, it emphasizes its importance. That's why a little bit of leaven can and WILL, spoil the whole batch!

Our minds hear truth but it also focuses on what is appealing and fluffy. What makes us feel good at the moment of our weakness. Who doesn't want to "feel" good? The saddest thing I have to say about that is that this "good" feeling is NOTHING compared to knowing Jesus Christ on a personal level, as my personal Savior! It is, by far, the BEST feeling I've ever had and will ever experience in my lifetime on this earth! God's love is eternal and REAL! Satan has to lie to get his followers. His followers are temporary minions that he uses, abuses and loses. It's all about him. He is so jealous of the one who created even him that he rebelled against God to become his own "god" of this earth. God speaks truth, sent us a Savior, gave us a joy of unimaginable STRENGTH and DEPTH. God gave us eternity but Satan can only give us now.....he can lead the unbelievers into an eternity of hell and fire and torment. Satan has been defeated....remember that!

The fact of the reality of Hell is taught throughout the Bible in innumerable passages. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself has probably had more to say about it than anyone else, and that alone says a lot! He was a magnificent teacher with the most truthful, impressive credentials - a sinless life, a miraculous ministry, and an empty tomb that could not hold Him! What did Satan have? Nothing. So how does Satan attack believers? Here are just a few: 
1) Satan incites our fleshly desires within us through the unbelieving world around us.
2) Satan attempts to deceive us with the lies of worldly wisdom through the unbelieving world around us.
3) He attempts to deceive us with a false Jesus and a false gospel through false Christians.
4) Satan can physically afflict us, or attach the ones we love, with illness, crimes, disasters, persecution and the like.
What are Satan’s weapons in his attacks on believers?
1) Satan attacks Christians externally through the unbelieving world. He tempts us by first beginning to make us have a thought of sinful ways and desires through external worldly ways.
2) Satan spreads fleshly temptations through the unbelieving world attacking our mind, emotions, and body - the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the boastful pride of life.
3) Satan spreads lies about God through the unbelieving world attacking our beliefs and values - spreading the lies of worldly wisdom.
4) He attacks through “schemes” or “wiles.” The word “schemes” refers primarily to the “cunning arts, deceit, craftiness, trickery in a planned way.” Satan’s primary method of attack is deceit. It is well-planned out deceit and very strategic lies.

No Other WAY!
Satan is by nature a liar and his primary method with which he attacks the human race is through his pathetic lies to deceive them into believing something false about God, or God’s plan, in order to get them to rebel against God. That is Satan's ultimate goal. Have believers rebel against God just like he did! He lies about who God is, what God is like, what we are like, what God desires for us to do, how to be saved, etc., etc., etc.  Satan tempted Eve externally. He took over the body of a serpent and spoke audibly to her. He did not implant any thoughts in her mind. This is all Satan can do is attack us through deception. Otherwise, he has no power or control over us as believers. He can't spiritually lay hold of us and force us to do anything against our wills. He can't possess us because the Holy Spirit is indwelt within us. Just an FYI, Christians cannot be demon-possessed. He, and his demonic minions, can, however, attack us. He can't influence us in a way that we can't simply choose to resist. He can't control our minds or our emotions. He can only tempt us by inciting our fleshly desires and trying to deceive us. Remember, everything is a choice.....

The Bible shows four categories of how Satan gets to us:
1) Sexual immorality, that is, sexual activities outside of marriage
2)  Idolatry, that is, false religious doctrines and practices
3) Selfishness - self explanatory
4) Destructive addictions

In Gal.5:17 Paul says that our sinful nature, our flesh, desires what is contrary to the Holy Spirit who resides in us. It says, "For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want." Unbelievers live their lives weaved around fleshly desires. They develop society and culture reflected in the media around their fleshly desires. Satan is behind this. Satan uses them to stir up our fleshly desires. Wherever we live unbelievers dominate. We will be surrounded by fleshly attitudes and actions, things and activities that stir up our fleshly desires all of our lives. In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul speaks of our former manner of life as unbelievers. “And you who were dead in trespasses and sins he has made alive. In which in time past you lived according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our manner of life in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Unbelievers “live according to the flesh which is according to the course of this world which is according to the prince of the power of the air.” This is a general statement of the lifestyle of an unbeliever, of their pattern of life, and of their values and life focus. That lifestyle follows the desires of the flesh, which follows the ways of the world, which follows the ways of Satan.

The steps that are important to recognize in his deception with Eve are the same steps he takes with us as believers and unbelievers.
First Satan LIES! Satan came to Eve as the serpent, the subtle deceiver.

Next, he QUESTIONS GOD'S WORD! He did with Eve - “Indeed, has God said...?” He didn't deny that God had spoken; he just simply questioned whether God had really said what Eve thought he had said. Making her doubt what she heard to be true.

Then, he DENIED GOD'S WORD! “You surely shall not die!” It's a rather short step from questioning God’s Word to denying it. Literally, just one step and you've crossed over from questioning God's Word to full on DENIAL. Of course, neither Adam nor Eve had ever seen death and all they had to go on was the Word of God, which was all they needed. If Eve didn't listen to Satan’s questioning of God’s Word, she would never have fallen into his trap when he denied God’s Word.

Last, he SUBSTITUTED GOD'S WORD WITH HIS OWN LIE! “You will be like God!” Adam and Eve were already made in the image of God, but Satan tempted them with an even greater privilege: to be like God! This was obviously Satan’s great ambition when he was Lucifer, God’s angelic servant. To BE LIKE GOD! And we all have seen what that got him and where it will get him for eternity! Satan's deception in this world is great and he is using so many people to fulfill his selfish desires. So you see how the end result for his deception is to ultimately make us want to be like our own "gods" too? That's why you keep hearing this movement saying we are all "gods" and we control our own destiny.

The morals have fallen to an all time low. The definition of "tolerance" has been changed by a small group of demonic minions to force the world to call good evil an evil good. Lies are bountiful about God the Creator and His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. Drugs are becoming legal to dummy down a society of thinkers. Young girls are dying trying to succumb to an unattainable image of stick thin, emaciated models and movie stars because it's being forced down their throats. Idolatry is on the rise. The family unit has been redefined to fit the agenda of Satan, which is to mock God's definition of marriage being between a man and a woman. Should anyone disagree with this new definition, they are the ones to be persecuted, judged and condemned. Working for a living is now being replaced to entitlements and hand-outs. There are more "mental illness" diagnoses than ever before. Our children are growing up in the "me-generation" and the "selfie" generation focusing on themselves, on their looks, their antics or whatever it is at the moment that is, and will be, popular for their 15 minutes of fame.

Satan's lies controls and motivates much of civilization today because man is seeking, and keeps seeking, to do it all by himself, to pull himself up when he falls. He seems to be working very hard to build up his own utopia here on this fallen, sinful world, and possibly take it to outer space. Not too far fetched if you've been watching and following all the scientific hullabaloo over the technology that is being advanced by the second.....even as we are typing and reading. It's going to be through education, psychiatry, religions of one type or another, most of which will deny and ignore the truth about Jesus Christ, sin and salvation, and better environmental surroundings, men are DEFYING God and DEIFYING themselves. They are playing right into the hands of Satan. Just like he wants them to do.

God is the ONLY Truth!
God accomplishes His perfect will here on earth through His inerrant truth; Satan, on the other hand, accomplishes his purposes through lies. Total opposite of God! Everything Satan says or does is in exact opposition to God!! When the child of God believes God’s truth, then the Spirit of God can work in power; for the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” ( John 16:13). But when a person believes a lie, then Satan goes to work in that life; “for he is a liar, and the father of lies” ( John 8:44). Faith in God’s truth leads to victory in Jesus Christ! Faith in Satan’s lies leads to defeat. However, please remember that Satan never advertises his lie or that it's lie in advance of his attack! He is the serpent, the deceiver, and he always masquerades his lies as God’s truth. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 says, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. v14) And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light."  Satan did not approach Eve in his true nature. He masqueraded by using the serpent. Satan is a counterfeiter, an imitator.

This next section will alert you to all the "counterfeit" deception so you will be well aware in these, what I believe to be, the last days drawing near!
1) There are counterfeit Christians - 2 Corinthians 11:26, "in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;" 
Matthew 13:38, " The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one."
2) There is a counterfeit gospel - Galatians 1:8, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed."
3) There are counterfeit ministers of the gospel - 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works."
4) There is a counterfeit righteousness - Romans 10:3, "For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God."
5) There is even a counterfeit “church of Satan.” - Revelation 2:9, "I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."
6) And this counterfeit church has counterfeit doctrines - 1 Timothy 4:1, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,..."

Satan's purpose of this is to make you ignorant of God's Will. Satan attacks God’s Word because God’s Word reveals God’s Will. Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." And in Psalm 40:8 , "I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” Apart from the Word of God, we don't have a sure understanding of the will of God. The will of God is the pure expression of God’s truest love for us. Psalm 33:11, "The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart from generation to generation."  God’s will comes from God’s heart. How beautiful is that?!?! It isn't an impersonal thing, but rather, a very personal matter with the Lord. He has a personal understanding of each of His children, their natures, their names, their needs and He personally tailors His plans accordingly. Can't get any better than that. John 4:34, "Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." God’s will is not a duty, nor should it be viewed as such. It's a true delight because His will has our best interest at His Hand. The Christian should delight in the discovery of the will of God and then obey from the heart. The will of God is His nourishment to our spirits, our bodies, our souls and our minds! You see, if Satan can make you ignorant of God’s will, he'll rob you of all the wonderful blessings that God has planned for your life. You'll make bad decisions, get involved in sinful activities, you'll be tolerant of those things that God clearly says are abominations, you'll talk and act like the world and build the wrong kind of life. And as you become ignorant of God's will, then you will eventually influence others to go down the wrong path as well! That's a heavy burden to bear!

The day will soon come when all of this deception. agenda and lies will end.....in the appearance of a counterfeit Christ - the Antichrist - who will accept for Satan the worship and service of the whole world. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 confirms this, "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." The day will come soon when God will place judgement upon the world and those who still refuse to follow His Son, Jesus Christ! 

So? Will YOU escape the fiery pit of Hell by repenting of your sins, believing on Jesus Christ's birth, death and resurrection, sent from the Father God to die on the Cross for ALL of our sins, and accepting Him as your personal Savior? Because there is ONLY ONE way and that's through the blood of the LORD JESUS CHRIST! It's never too late! No matter what you've done. No matter what you've thought. No matter who you think you are. Jesus SAVES!!!!! I invite you to seek His face and let Him transform you and sealing you with His sacrificial blood forever!!!!!

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