From the view of the underdog, it is very easy to believe that the fight we have is with flesh and blood, but the Bible teaches us of a more accurate truth. Our struggle is not with flesh no matter how dark or light their skin is, nor is it with blood, for though we know that the greatest enemy of mankind can often seem like those of our own household. The reality is we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:12) While the news will tell you the enemy is a woman or man, the posts on Facebook will tell you their black or white, the radio will tell you it’s the Republicans or Democrats. Whether it’s the internet or the television you can find someone who will feed to whatever your bend is. There is no shortage of sources that you can watch that could allow you to vacillate between the two, but the Bible makes this clear if this is your focus you’re wrestling with flesh and blood. If you can see your enemy, handle your enemy, put a name and face to your enemy then you’re fighting the wrong fight. The enemy that Ephesians is exposing is unseen, the wickedness that exists in a higher place than where we are, we can’t reach it with our five senses. If we are using our manmade weapons of mass destruction we will miss the target.
The good news in this impossible situation just described is if we know who and what we are fighting then we can begin to consider what tools are available to reach the unseen enemy. Ephesians give us the answer on how we can fight this invisible enemy that operates in an area too high for us to reach. Ephesians 6:13 tells us to put on the whole armor of God. As King Saul did to David, so also the world wants to do to you, give you their artillery, even when it’s not working for them. The world tells you the answer is a bigger gun yet those of us with the big guns still don’t feel secure against this war that is being waged on humanity. It is like Saul trying to suit up David for the run-in with Goliath. Yet, listen carefully to the response David had. He made it clear this isn’t going to work, I haven’t tried these things that you are trying to put on me. When I fought a bear and a lion I was successful with what I had. I’ve tried and seen that this works. (1 Sam 17:39) It is very important that you read up a few verses because you will see that David understood that the true power that he had was not in the physical weaponry, but in a clear trust through tried faith that YHVH would deliver him. David’s denial of King Saul’s armor represented a clear understanding that his tried faith in following YHVH using his slingshot and five smooth stones was more reliable than the untried armor that Saul’s soldiers used.
You don’t need what you think you need to fight the enemy of your soul, you need what God has faithfully used with you to get you through your battle.
David learned a lesson many of us have yet to learn, at an early age. Too often we discredit the gift God has given us thinking that our gift can’t measure up to the bells and whistles that the world would flaunt before us. Our gift of writing or our gift of music seems like a slingshot compared to Goliath’s sword, but the gift God has perfected in you is mightier then Goliath’s sword.
Many of us are engaged in a war in which we can’t see our opponent because we are fighting in the dark. Instead of turning on the light we are trying to fight the darkness with the wrong tools and at a great disadvantage. How can you effectively fight against something you can’t see with your human eye? Like King Saul we suggest and use the wrong armor to fight the battle. Can it really be as easy as turning on the light? Are the behind the scenes questions we have injecting doubt in Yah’s ability to give us the victory with merely a slingshot and five smooth stones? Human effort will cover the earth looking for solutions from without for an answer that begins from within. We simply need to just turn on the light. Light can drive out darkness better than your broom can sweep it out, or your weapons can coax it out.
Now one might think to themselves that sounds easy, but have you ever tried to turn on a light in a dark room? How easy is it to find that switch or a nearby flashlight without even a flicker of light? How many obstacles must you circumvent to get to that place where illumination resides? It’s much easier to turn on the light when you have light to see, now add to the obstacle unfamiliarity with your location. Let’s say it’s pitch black in a vacation home instead of your home. How much harder now is it to see and to navigate territory that you have not had time to commit to memory? Add to this the surge of adrenaline you get as you naturally begin to feel fear because the darkness becomes so thick that you can feel it. It is no longer just external, but it is now amplified. It becomes very difficult, even paralyzing. The only thing that could possibly break through is the power of love for someone else, like a husband his wife, or a mother her child. Is this not the very story of the Gospel? God so loved the world that He sent His light into the world to overcome the darkness we were to helpless to defeat.
Now we can have His light within us. As the word of God He should be burning within us at all times, because His light within us can’t be turned off. Isn’t subject to power surges, and does not dependent on daily hours to operate. In fact His presence within us becomes that much brighter in the presence of darkness. The amount of light we possess is directly linked to the amount of confidence we can have in the face of darkness, even strange darkness.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Gen 1:3)
Created in the image and likeness of God, He allows us to see in the natural the comparison of His spoken power. Today we have voice activated lights that allow us to visually comprehend the spoken power of God’s word. At only His word darkness was interrupted by the presence of His light. Amazing, that God will allow man to make something that demonstrates His creative work in the beginning.
In life we often think we must do some great thing to do the works of God, when Christ was showing us all along that all we need is to believe God enough to speak to the mountains in our life for them to be removed.
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Mat 17:20)
Now don’t get me wrong speaking to the mountain is not the hardest part of this process. Scripture reveals the hardest part of this process is believing, which is why Jesus doesn’t start this conversation with what they are saying, but correcting them on their unbelief.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mar 9:24)
Realizing our weakness the Gospel records the thoughts that anyone who has experienced a trial in their life has felt in this very passage. We have the benefit of this passage to see the compassion of Christ when healing this fathers child, because this man was sincere enough to admit what God already knew. He needed help with his unbelief. If we live long enough we all will have storms that we will measure God’s ability based on our limitations. Like this man we must come before God in honesty admitting we need Him to help our unbelief. We also need to realize that unbelief can be conquered, but it does require an interruption in our day. Business as usual must come to a halt and like Christ we must separate ourselves from the circumstances of life so that we can hear the instructions from the Father. To be still and know that He is God means we may have to find a quiet place, deny our flesh through prayer and fasting, and turn on the light of God’s word where we will receive illumination for our circumstances.
Scripture admonishes us to be as wise as a serpent? What a curious statement that of all the animals God created the serpent is the one who God tells us to be like when it comes to wisdom. How powerful is that? In this book we will explore the characteristics of a serpent that translate into viable wisdom for us as believers to apply to our lives. We will be challenged in our thinking so that we look at things from a different perspective. There are many lessons in the bible and in the things God created that many of us don’t take time to consider. This book will begin to help you to be more sensitive to the nuggets of wisdom that escape the one who just takes a casual glance at scripture and encourage you to dig deeper so that you can have all that God has for you.
Being called home is a releasing of consent on behalf of the called to choose to go somewhere they consider to be a place of comfort, love and joy. Being sent home is a forceful hand of rebuke to a place where scolding is about to occur. The writer Paul reveals a life of one who is being called home. One who is not being taken by surprise like a thief in the night to a place that is foreign to him, or that he is running from, but instead is being given a loving release into the hands of a caring Father who has said my son your work is finished and done well, now enter into your reward. He is not kicking or screaming at the thought of returning, but looking forward to it as one does a vacation they prepared for in advance.
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”. (2Ti 4:6-8)
“And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” (Act 21:11-14)
Paul speaks as a man ready to go home, to endure whatever momentary affliction necessary to get there. His hope and desires were not wrapped up in what this world could offer. Having suffered at the hands of preaching the Gospel to the lost, and even making lasting beautiful relationships with the children of the Most High, yet his mission was bigger than this earth could contain. He didn’t see himself as one who belonged to this world, but one who belonged to the Lord. Like Paul we have to make a decision are we going to be attached to this life and all that it entails or attached to Christ? Will we live to make a difference for the kingdom of God or a dollar for the advancement of this world?
We don’t face an economic crisis, or a security breach, we face a moral crisis, and a breach of conscience. -Torie McLaughlin
How else can one figure Paul saying, to live is Christ and to die is gain? Such an expression in the minds of psychologists would lead them to wonder if he was suicidal because of his current state. The pleasures of living had somehow cease and thus his mission enveloped his whole reason for living, to such a degree that death was an invitation to an upgraded benefits package. By no means do I believe Paul was suicidal, I believe Paul was focused and non distracted by the temporary pleasures of this life. He was singularly focused and understood that his life’s purpose was greater than his personal pleasures. Those things which in our minds make life in this mortal body more precious to us then life in our glorified bodies with the Lord.
We must have a change of perspective. A fresh look through the lens of a disciple who disciplines himself to living for Christ regardless of his personal feelings or condition. Is Christ only worth serving when all is well in our world? Have we relegated the living God to that of a Genie who grants wishes? Is our serving Him only done when things are going our way? I thank God that his unconditional love towards us was such that while we were yet sinners, not thinking about a Savior, He chose to die for us, the ungodly that we might have an opportunity to be restored to Him. When our frame of mind was to stone him, his was to forgive our ignorance. Life presents opportunities for us to really see where our faith lies. Sickness, disappointments, set backs, and set ups are put in place so that we can see whether or not we are Peter before Christ died or Peter after the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Are we depending or leaning on our understanding and judging God based on our viewpoint or are we committed to Him even when we don’t understand what He is doing in our lives?
I’d like to say my faith is always where it ought to be in regards to this, but like Paul I have those moments where my flesh is in control and as he stated in Romans 7:19 “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” There are very personal areas in my life where my faith is being challenged, and nothing in the natural says that I should trust that things are working out for my good, yet in the midst of it, I know God is maturing me, and nothing that hasn’t been weathered after conditioning can truly be tested or made tough for durability. I am believing every wrinkle has a purpose and I am being seasoned for a greater glory ahead. If you too are being challenged just continue to hold on Yah is preparing you for a greater glory.
Finally, this is the question I ask myself, are the decisions I am making preparing me to be called home or sent home? Like Paul do I bear in my body the marks of Jesus Christ or the marks of my own wayward decisions? (Gal. 6:17) Will I allow Christ to be magnified in my body, whether it be life or death? (Php. 1:20) Am I keeping my body under subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away? (1 Cor. 9:27) By all means I want to be called home when my time comes, but by no means do I want to be sent home. I am now sent to the nations through the tongue of my pen as a ready writer and trust me what I say to you convicts me too. (Psa. 45:1) I have by no means arrived, but I strive towards the mark of the High Calling of Messiah Yahushah and it is my duty as my brothers keeper to encourage you to do the same. (Php. 3:14) Shalom my readers and good night.
I was going down my Facebook wall when I saw a profound photo visual of someone taking a selfie and attached to the photo was a scripture. To be exact 2 Timothy 3:1-4 and it was such an accurate scripture to convey the times we are living in. This got me to thinking am I taking a selfie, spiritually speaking?
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2Co 13:5)
When I saw that photo and started writing this article this scripture came to mind. Because the bottom line is 2 Timothy deals with what we will see in the world, but 2 Cor. 13:5 deals with what we will see in us. What image are we reflecting and more importantly what is the condition of our heart? Do we know if Yeshua is in us, and if so how do we know? The part of us that can’t be seen through the lens of your smart phone, the part that the selfie stick can’t extend itself far enough to zoom in on. The part where no angle on the outside can possibly cast a shadow on, but it is the part that Yah sees in us. It’s the part that he is addressing when he is dealing with the religious leaders who should have known better.
And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. (Mat 15:16-20)
It’s the thoughts we think on long enough rather than cast aside that cause the problem. Because the thing is if you don’t cast it aside you begin to marinate on it, and as it begins to coat the inside of your heart, it eventually finds it’s way into the hot spot of your mouth and the next thing you know you’re speaking what you were thinking. Rather than casting that thought aside you are now allowing it to make and shape you and your actions. If Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha Maschiach) is not in you, rest assured that there is something taking residents in you and all it takes is the right circumstances to bring it out. Even marinated meat can’t be eaten until a fire is kindled. Trust me as sure as the circumstances of the disciples hands not being washed according to their traditions was just enough fire for the religious leaders of Yeshua’s day to grab hold to, there is a circumstance that will bring out what is in you, if it is in you.
Don’t sleep on the fruit of the Spirit
We ought to be abounding in the fruit of the spirit. Our inner man should be like a fragrant garden that reflects the beauty and fragrance of the Almighty. If it isn’t what is it that we are holding on to that is becoming rottenness in our bones? What toxic thoughts are we holding in rather than allowing it to pass through the dross of our waste disposal? Too many of us are swalling bones with the meat of God’s word and allowing it to be the primary source of our nutrition. Wake up my friends this is not the time to be caught sleeping. This is the time to be vigilant for our adversary is using our ammunition against us, we must clean out even the residue of demonic artillery and arm ourselves with the Rock of Ages. For we have been given weapons to deal with the enemies arsenal, but we have been lazy in using it. Don’t let the enemy confiscate your joy, don’t let him rob you of your peace. Do what ever you can not to let the love of the Lord wax cold in your hearts. Persevere through the trials of life, let gentleness be your knife, and kindness your shield of defense. Allow your faith to be the bomb that opens every door to your destiny and allow your longsuffering to be the bow that the arrow of Love rests upon. It is in you to love those who hate you, speak every manner of evil against you, and despitefully use you, because our God is love and He resides in us. Know which battles to fight with might and which ones must be fought by His Spirit. Become intimately aware of the Spirit of God’s voice and the only way you will know if Christ is in you is to take a selfie, examine yourself. Allow the lens of His word to take a shot of your heart, and if he doesn’t like what He sees He is well able to fix all imperfections. So have you taken your selfie today?
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Heb 12:4)
In this hour more than our feelings will be hurt in this battle against unrighteousness. The true believers are going to have to stand in the face of danger just as our Messiah had to, the prophet’s of old, the multitude of unnamed, as well as named Martyr’s in our own not so distant past. We too will have to decide whether or not we are going to enter the battle, suffer with our Lord, or cower under pressure as Peter did. What we have counted as persecution, name calling, slandering, accusing, will pale in comparison to what it will cost to stand in this hour. Rachel of Columbine High School understood that cost when she said she would not renounce Christ as her Savior. How many of us would have the same response? How many of us know in our hearts we would betray Yehoshua to save ourselves? How many of us in that moment of temptation would in our first reaction, and second chance back down from embracing our Bridegroom? Oh yes, there will be blood. Will you choose to die once or twice?
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev 2:11)
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev 20:6)
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Rev 20:14)
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)
Friends we do not want to be apart of that second death that is surely coming, and for many it is right at the door. Like Peter, many of us would easily answer I would never deny you Lord, and we would even tell the Lord that, but the question is when you are put to the test, how would you fair? It’s easier to say what you will and won’t do when the chopping block isn’t behind the door you are assigned to.
The Apostle Paul had some great advice for the mental preparation we will need to have for the coming reality.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (Rom 6:8)
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Rom 6:11-13)
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Co 5:14-17)
The more we identify with Messiah the less compelled we will be to try to save our own lives.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Mat 10:38-39)
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18)
We better make sure that the response to our lives is the same as Paul’s was,
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Php 1:21)
In this hour you will be tested, but thankfully we have the textbook with all the right answers, and if we follow the script then all will be well. Because in the pages of reality our Lord did have victory over death but not by circumventing it but passing through it. That’s right the hero in this story dies, but He is not dead. He is not raised from the dead because then that would make him subject to death again, but was resurrected from the dead no longer subject to death, in fact taking the keys of death and hell.
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Rev 1:18)
Let that sink into your brain for just a moment, death has no victory over us, because the hero in the real world has victory over death. So Beloved, why is your heart troubled, and why are you afraid? Why isn’t the peace of Yah resting in you, when you know the end of the book. I’ll tell you why. Because we are not living dead.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (Joh 14:1)
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (Joh 14:27)
We have not offered our bodies as a living sacrifice, we are not dieing daily and the greatest preparation for the coming test of faith is living our lives reckoning ourselves dead. Dead to the lusts of this flesh, the deceitfulness of riches, and desire for other things. Being that good and fertile soil that yields hundred fold returns because we have sold our riches for the pearl of great price. (Rom. 12:1-2; Matt. 13:46; Matt. 13:18-23)
What will you esteem more in your life? Everyday you prepare for death in how you live, how you love, and how you walk. Is your heart failing you for fear of the things that are to come or are you praising Yah because you know that His redemption draws near? Are you boldly preaching the Gospel to every creature, and some as though snatching them out the fire knowing that your obedience to Christ command can be the difference for someone between eternity with Yah or eternity in hell? (Jud 1:23) If not ask yourself the question, why am I not resisting unto blood? What doth hinder me? Do I still count my life as dear to me, or reckon myself as dead in Christ? The boldness of Apostle Paul, or even John the Baptist to speak the truth in the face of threat of harm to oneself comes only when you have surrendered to the Holy Spirit. Died to your own selfish desires and embraced the will of the Almighty.
There is an eternal destination for everyone and if Messiah, Yehoshua is not on the throne of our heart’s then someone else is. We are preparing for eternity every day. Someone is King in your heart, and if that King isn’t the King of Kings then that King whoever he maybe will be dethroned, because every knee will bow and every tongue will confess when the King of Glory appears. And at that time, there will be blood, even to the bridle.
And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. (Rev 14:19-20)
We are in a war and please believe that the lines have already been drawn. Your choices determine which side you will be on. We must understand, just as no commander lays out his strategy to the enemy, that our Father doesn’t make his word plain to those who are not his.
As Isaiah prophesied seeing they won’t perceive and hearing they won’t understand. (Isa. 42:20) It’s like speaking in morse code, yeah anyone can hear the code over the air waves but only those versed in that code will get the message.
Yehoshua tells us that all things which he has heard of his Father he has made known to us. (John 15:15) This doesn’t apply to the world, but to the believer. This is why an Evolutionist can look at the same thing a Creationist look at and come up with two different conclusions. Only those who are spiritual can understand spiritual things, the carnal man cannot know the things of the spirit. For no man knows the things of the spirit, but by the spirit. (1 Cor. 2) It is given unto us to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, not to the masses. (Matt. 13:11) Think of it this way, the Captain only give orders to the soldiers on the field. Though the soldiers protect a nation of people, the Captain doesn’t give his strategy to the nation. He gives orders to those who are committed to follow him.
So, have you made your commitment yet or are you sitting on the sidelines in the valley of decision?
That is why those who lack wisdom are instructed to come to God, it didn’t say come to the word, because it is the Father that must reveal his will, and then the instructions to complete his will is found in his word. (Jas 1:5) Orders must first be given by the Commander and Chief before they can be written. As it is with Yah so it is with us, it is out of our will that we speak and write. All things must be done decently and in order. First one must think, before they write or say. Now the latter two can be done in either order and with modern technology at the same time, but you can’t write or speak without first thinking.