Monday, October 21, 2019

ADVERSARIAL THREATS and IMPERSONATIONS


Just A Thought To Think About – ADVERSARIAL THREATS and  IMPERSONATIONS.

First Peter 5:8-9 (ESV) gives a cautionary word for the people who were experiencing and enduring persecution. His word to them was: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith.” The MSG states this word of caution: “Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith.” 

Paul’s words of insight and cautionary warning about your adversary are given in Second Corinthians 11:13-14 (ESV), “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” In the MSG, the paraphrase expands what one should be careful about the disguises the devil may use:  They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God.”

One example of many is shared in II Kings 18-19 and Isaiah 36. The setting is the King of Assyria – Sennacherib – is out to conquer his known world = and – he has been successful in defeating the smaller tribes and nations – UNTIL – he addresses Hezekiah, King of Judah. Sennacherib sends a message that mocks God; berates Hezekiah; represents that Hezekiah has lied to the people; and will soon lead them into extinction. Nearby, to bolster his message, is his massive army. What can – what will Hezekiah do? He consults with Isaiah, the prophet. He then goes into the place of solitude where he will pray. Second Kings 19:14-16 (NKJV), “Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God."

Will Hezekiah’s prayer and plea for help be heard and acted upon? Isaiah comes to him with The Lord’s response, Second Kings 19:32-34, “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city, Says the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.

What does this mean for Hezekiah and the people? How will God intervene in behalf of this heard prayer and his commitment to safeguard His people? Second Kings 19:35-36, “And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.” Will Sennacherib live to bully another day? NO! His two sons kill him with their swords. The one who mocked God and threatened God’s people came to a tragic end.

How is your faith and confidence in God? Do you really believe He is able and will "do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask, think or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20)? If so, prove it by the way you believe and live.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

OSTRACIZED


Just A Thought To Think About – OSTRACIZED.

We have all met people who have a mannerism of acting as though they are “superior” and others are “inferior” by comparison. It happens in the world of politics in this contemporary world. There is little discipline when it comes to making accusation(s) against an opponent for a particular office. For those who blindly follow a political party of one stripe or another, that type of statement gains traction and it is believed whether or not it is true.

This is particularly sad when it occurs within the religious community and particular groups. Rather than following the Lord and Scriptural principles, some people will follow a person who exudes self-confidence and/or who is well off financially. It is easy to see the ruins that are left behind in the lives of people and structures that have been preserved and identified as “The Church.” Therein is the major error. The “Church” has never been a structure built but in much differently described in Biblical terminology.

Jesus was anything but vague when it came to His description of what His followers are and how they are to be identified. Just a quick view in the Gospel of John. Chapter 10, His people are identified as sheep who are part of His flock; Chapter 13, He set an example that His people should be humble and willing to become a servant (even to washing one another’s feet); Chapter 15, when His people are identified as branches that are attached to Him Who is The TrueVine (and the branches are to be fruitful).

Why is it that we tend to miss the obvious? In John 21, when Jesus was ascertaining whether or not Peter truly loved Him, Jesus stressed that he was to take care of His lambs and His sheep. In this way, one will be more and more like The Master and Teacher – Jesus Christ.

But then – along comes the strong natural leader types who readily ostracize the humble follower and disregards a part of the body of Christ which is deemed essential to the complete function of that body (See: First Corinthians 12:20-22). When this occurs, people will either change where they worship or stop going to a place where “ostracizing” is tolerated and those deemed lesser are made to feel unwanted and unneeded.

Prayerfully – Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

SUSPICION


I Was Just Thinking About – SUSPICION.

Suspicion generally takes place when a person or organization makes a potential negative and or harmful suggestion about a person or organization. By definition it means: “A feeling or thought that something is possible, likely or true.” On a religious FB site, the following, without any corroboration or identified source(s), shared: “What do you think of the Samaritan’s Purse organization? Specifically, the Operation Christmas Child boxes. Some of you have maybe heard or seen reports that these shipments are often stolen and pirated and then resold or held for ransom. There are also reports that it can hurt local economies by taking business away either from local toy makers or shop owners. Personally, I find it odd that we fill plastic boxes with cheap trinkets that were made in places like India and China and then send said boxes to places like India and China.”

There you have it – unfounded rumor and speculation. Is such a statement credible? Should you believe it? What about the person who wrote and posted it on a “Christian” site? Should it be accepted at face value?

Question: What would Jesus have one to do with such rumors, speculations and suspicions? Well – Jesus did tell us plainly. In Matthew 18:15-17 (ESV), Jesus gave the steps and principles that He wants His followers to utilize – without exception: “If your brother (or Christian Organization) sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.” Seemingly, the above referenced post saw fit to bring it to the “Church” first – a clear breach of Jesus’ teaching. The MSG paraphrase: “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church.”

For those with the propensity to short-circuit Scripture and the words of Jesus, or to simply ignore and bypass them, would rather displease The One who gave the instruction just to deal with a spiritual matter (if there is substance to it) secularly rather than spiritually. This should be unacceptable to all who name the name of Jesus Christ and allege they are taking up their cross daily to follow Him alone and always.

Why not Prayerfully – Consider these things with me?! I hope you will. Thanks!