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YIELDING CONTROL

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

March 5
2 Corinthians 2:11 
For we are not ignorant of his [Satan's] schemes
 
We generally agree that Christians are vulnerable to the enemy’s temptation, accusation and deception. But for some reason, we hesitate to admit that Christians can lose their freedom and can surrender to demonic influences. However, the evidence of Scripture is abundant and clear that believers who repeatedly succumb to Satan can come under bondage.
 
Demonic control does not mean satanic ownership. You have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb, and not even the powers of hell can take your salvation away from you (1 Peter 1:17-19; Romans 8:35-39). Satan knows he can never own you again. But if he can deceive you into yielding control of your life to him in some way, he can neutralize your growth and your impact in the world for Christ.
 
Since we live in a world whose god is Satan, the possibility of being tempted, deceived and accused is continuous. If you allow his schemes to influence you, you can lose control to the degree that you have been deceived. If he can persuade you to believe a lie, he can control your life.
 
The term demon possessed never occurs in the Bible after the cross. We lack theological precision as to what demon possession constitutes in the church age. But don’t come to any conclusion that you can’t be affected by Satan. We are more a target than we are immune to his strategies. However, we have all the sanctuary we need in Christ, and we have the armor of God to protect us.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the armor You have provided to protect me from Satan. Keep me aware of his schemes today and help me resist him in the power and authority You provide.


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Love to Worship- Spoken Word

This is a video from Dillon Chase. I thought it was great, so I’m sharing it with all of you! :)

-Austin 

 


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MODELING GROWTH

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

January 31
 
James 1:22 
Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves
 
I am learning about pastors and missionaries across the country who are preaching against the very sins they are committing themselves. Nationally known Christian personalities who vehemently condemn immorality have themselves been found to be hiding an immoral lifestyle. Those of us who are called to preach or teach God’s Word must put it on first. We must get on our knees before God as we prepare the message and say, “God, is this Scripture true in my life?” If not, we had better be honest enough to say to those who hear us, “I wish I were a better example of this passage than I am, but I’m still growing in this area.” To proclaim the Word of God as if it were true in your life when it’s not is a lie.
 
Those of us who receive the Word are also vulnerable to self-deception if we fail to put it into practice. We hear a sermon or a lesson and say, “Wow! What a great truth!! and hurry off to share it with someone else without processing it ourselves and applying it to our own lives. James said that hearers of the Word who are not also doers of the Word deceive themselves.
 
Why are we afraid to admit it when our lives don’t completely match up to Scripture? I believe it’s because many of us have a perfection complex. We think we have to model perfection and not admit to something less. But we can’t model perfection, because we’re not perfect; we can only model growth. The people around us need to know that we are real people in the process of maturing. They need to see how we handle failure as well as how we handle success. When we model this kind of honesty in the Christian community, we greatly reduce the possibility of the deceiver gaining a foothold.
 
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I have placed the quest for earthly perfection ahead of growth in You and Your Word. Help me model growth in my life today.


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RECKLESS ABANDON

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

January 29
 
1 Corinthians 10:20
I do not want you to become sharers in demons
 
While Christians have been questioning the reality of demonic influence in the church, the world has charged into the spiritual realm with reckless abandon. The Western world is experiencing a massive paradigm shift in its worldview, as best seen in the rise of the New Age Movement, the acceptance of parapsychology as a science, the growing popularity of the supernatural, and the increasing visibility of Satanism in our culture. New Age mysticism, which gathered its greatest strength with the influx of Eastern religions in the 1960s, has been popularized by a host of celebrities in the 1980s. It’s commonplace to hear channelers (mediums) on radio and TV talk shows boasting about their spirit guides (demons).
 
But the New Age Movement is not just a celebrity issue. New Age philosophy is making significant inroads into business, education and even religion across our nation. Recently I challenged two my students to attend, for the sake of research, a New Age conference being held two blocks from our school. When they arrived at the door and discovered the cost to be $65 each, they started to walk away. But two strangers approached them saying, “We were told to give you these tickets.” My wide-eyed students took the tickets and walked in.
 
They reported to me that one of the speakers led conference participants in a meditation exercise. He challenged everyone to imagine a spirit guide coming alongside. The speaker concluded the exercise by saying, “Now invite your spirit guide to come in.” I could hardly believe it. The devil is giving altar calls just two blocks from Biola University!
 
Does the spread of New Age and the occult worry you or frighten you? It need not. In Christ you have every resource to defuse and dispel any threat of darkness in your life or family. Stand on the truth of His Word and walk in the light of your identity in Christ.
 
Prayer: Keep me alert today, Lord, to inroads the devil is attempting in my world that I may tear down his strongholds with the weapons of the Spirit.


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What is the Purpose of Christmas?

This is a video journal I did for Christmas! 

Merry Christmas! 

-Austin

 

 


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4 Steps to Raise Your Enthusiasm Level

Today’s guest post is by Mark Furlong, you can find out more about him at the end of this article. While in large measure this article pertains to leadership on the job, the principles outlined in this article can be applied to church and ministry leadership as well as our interpersonal work relationships. Whether it be a job, ministry, or being involved in helping out in church, if we feel our contribution is important and makes a difference…we will work harder and feel more like a part of the team.

You know that you get a lot more done, in less time, with greater results when your enthusiasm level is high. I am a long time weight trainer and consider it to be the greatest fitness practice available, when done correctly. One thing I know, if you are trying to lift 150 pounds, having the strength to lift 149 will not move the weight. You have to have the strength to lift 150 pounds or more. Like weight training, some projects will not even move unless you have enough enthusiasm strength or force to lift them. (Like starting a new program or making a significant change). Enthusiasm helps everyone do better and have more fun doing it.

The problem is we all live in a world dominated by the 2nd law of Thermodynamics; if things are left alone they will gradually get worse and fall apart (my layman’s paraphrase). This week I’ve been posting on Facebook and Twitter the 4 principles Ken Blanchard shares in his book Gung Ho on how to raise the performance and enthusiasm levels of an individual or team. I’d recommend you read that short, but powerful book, but here are the 4 main points.

  1. Meaningful work.  People get motivated and their commitment level takes off when they see and believe the work they  are doing matters. If it’s just a “job”; writing copy, making another speech, building another deck, or cleaning up another mess, it’s hard to give a great effort. If, however, we see the end result like people will get much healthier, or this organization will be revitalized to serve foreign students who feel alone, or cleaning this up will give a distressed family their lives back; that changes our “job” to an important “mission.” If it’s work that people are actually gifted for and like to do, that makes it that much better (way better actually.)
  2. Control of Goal Achievement.  It was either Eisenhower or Truman who said, “Tell people what to do but don’t tell them how to do it.” Blanchard agrees. He says managers/leaders set the goals for the team but get input from those doing the work on how to best reach that goal. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink says, autonomy is a big motivator for knowledge works. No one wants someone looking over their shoulder, micro-managing, or treating them like dummies. People need to have a large measure of control on how they do their work—that increases enthusiasm.
  3. Encouragement.  Blanchard says ,”Congratulations are affirmations that who people are and what they do matter, and that they are making a valuable contribution toward achieving the shared mission….You can’t overdo TRUE congratulations: Timely, Responsive, Unconditional, Enthusiastic.
  4. Results Assessment.  If the goal is fully reached, throw a party, have some type of celebration! Celebrating is a powerful force for on-going enthusiasm and something most achievement oriented leaders easily neglect. It helps people get that sense of victory, accomplishment, and fulfillment that they have actually completed something important. That is great enthusiasm fuel.

Remember those 4 points and implement them: Meaningful work, Control of the work, Encouragement, and Celebration. Great job, you finished reading this, take a moment and celebrate!

Mark Furlong is an author and achievement coach with over 30 years of experience. He equips people turn their passion into influence and income by mastering entrepreneurial leadership skills. Go to http://www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com to get your free audio “Improving Leadership Results Quickly”.


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Who Was the Angel of the LORD?

This is a research paper I did for my Biblical Literature class. I think it’s also a good teaching opportunity on a debated topic. I may use it in a sermon or to teach a Sunday School class as well. Enjoy!

            Throughout the Old Testament, the Angel of the LORD appears in various places to various people. The appearance of the Angel almost always preceded a major turn of events in Old Testament stories. We see this “Angel” in the book of Judges frequently. The identity of the Angel has long been debated. Some say this is just simply a messenger sent from God, but others argue this is a pre-incarnate form of Jesus Christ. Both sides have presented suggested evidence to support their theories. Most of the claims are based on grammatical usage in the text. Does the Bible ever directly tell us who the Angel is? What does the Biblical evidence say about the Angel?

            The word “angel” comes from the Greek word, άγγελοςThis means “messenger” or “one who is sent” (White, “Angel of the LORD: Messenger or Euphemism”, 299). We know that Jesus was sent directly by God as seen in John 8:29. It is important to note that the Angel of the LORD doesn’t speak in third person, as other messengers seem to do. The Angel speaks in first person as if he is God. Judges 2:1a is an example this: “The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers.” The Angel is talking as God and not just for God. This happens time and time again throughout the Old Testament. The Hebrew for angel and messenger is used 213 times in the Old Testament. The phrase for “Angel of the LORD” is used 48 times in 45 verses in the Bible. We also see people giving the Angel reverence that usually only God receives. For example, in Joshua 5:14-15 we find Joshua fall “facedown” and taking off his sandals before the Angel. (White, “Angel of the LORD: Messenger or Euphemism”, 300-301).  This would imply that the Angel is more than just a messenger if Joshua is responding in worship to him.

In Genesis 18, Abraham gets three visitors. The text describes one of the three as “the LORD.” The other two are believed to just be angels. However, the text indicates that one of the men is God himself, a theophany (Pak, “BIB 110 Lecture Notes”, 22). If these people saw God face-to-face, why did they not die like God suggested in Exodus 33:20? The answer is simple. Either the Angel is not God or God came in the form of the Son (pre-incarnate). That would make this a Christophany in the Old Testament.

Daniel 3:25 also seems to have an appearance of Christ. King Nebuchadnezzar sees a fourth man in the fiery furnace after Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was thrown in for not worshipping the image of gold. When Nebuchadnezzar sees the fourth man he exclaims, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” It is after that the Nebuchadnezzar seems to recognize the God of Israel as at least legitimate because he addresses the three men as “servants of the Most High God.”

Finally, we go to Exodus to look at the Angel appearing to Moses. In Exodus 3, the Angel of the LORD appears to Moses in a burning bush. The Angel actually says this in verse 6 which seems to be a clear hint of the Angel’s identity: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (“Fire Bible”, 410).

            The case against the Angel being Divinity doesn’t seem to be as strong. Again, the scholars that say the Angel was only a representative of God use grammar and other linguistic evidence, and custom in the text to support their theory.  The main argument is that saying the Angel is deity creates a problem for monotheists, such as the Jewish audience of the Old Testament (López, “Identifying the Angel of the LORD in the Book of Judges…” 15). However, we see the Godhead at work from the beginning.  The claim is that the text clearly distinguishes the Angel from Yahweh.

            This research project has further confirmed what I already had a strong belief in. The appearances of the Angel of the LORD are indeed pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ. The Biblical evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of this. I even believe that God told us exactly who the Angel is on more than one occasion. There are a few Christophanies in the New Testament, too. Even though none of them are described as “the Angel of the LORD,” Jesus is the one who appears. Take the example of Saul’s conversion to Christianity while on the road to Damascus. Jesus appears to Saul, later known as Paul, in the same dramatic way that the Angel of the LORD reveals himself in the Old Testament (Newman, “Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children…”, 155). Christ’s appearance to Saul also brings about a major turn of events just like the Angel of the LORD did in the Old Testament. The people the Angel appears to also fall in worship when they realize who he is as well. Other angels told the people to not worship them. Along with the textual evidence, the Angel’s claims and messages indicate that the Angel of the Lord is actually a pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. God had a plan from the very beginning and he has always used the Son to fulfill the plan.

-Austin


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Suicide

The topic I’m about to discuss if very controversial. If you commit suicide, will you go to Heaven? I’ve heard both sides of the argument on this one. Here’s what I believe. 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoeverbelieves in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” -John 3:16, 17

This passage makes it very clear that whoever believes in the Son of God, will have eternal life. So if you commit suicide, will you go to Heaven? If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, if you have faith in Him, then yes you will go to Heaven. If not, then you would have just sent yourself to Hell.  Did I just say that if you kill yourself you can still go to Heaven? Yes. Suicide’s a sin, but here’s the thing: Jesus hasn’t just paid for your sins from the past. He doesn’t just forgive every time you ask. If you are truly in Christ, he has forgiven ALL of your sins….past, present, and future. He doesn’t wait for you to ask forgiveness every time (you should still do that though). Your sins are already forgiven. He already has paid for them. 

I’m not condoning suicide by any means. “Suicide doesn’t prevent a life from getting worse, it just prevents it from getting better.” However, sometimes even Christian lose sight of what’s ahead and get desperate. We’re still human. I have to belief that God’s grace extends to those who take their own life. If God’s grace can redeem a murderer like King David, it can still reach someone who took their own life. 

That’s my answer. If you are in Christ and you commit suicide out of a moment of desperation, I have to believe you will still go to Heaven. 

If you are having suicidal thoughts though, I would encourage you to seek help from a godly friend, counselor, or minister. Jesus can set you free from the bondage of these thoughts. Keep your eyes on the King.

God bless!

-Austin


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Add To Your Faith: Love

I’m currently contemplating how to begin another post I’ve been thinking about for over a week now. Until then, here’s this:

2 Peter 1:5-8: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV 1984.)

The Greek word used here for love is agape. This word in indicates a selfless love. This love is the same kind of love that God has for us and it promotes what is best for another person. Agape is also used in Galatians 5:22-23 when Paul is talking about the fruits of the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

So what is love? 1 Corinthians 13 says:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 

When we begin to show the love we are supposed to, when we begin to love like God loves us, that’s what will change the world. Our words will not change the world. They’ve heard it all. This blog will not change the world.

Ephesians 5:1-2: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Colossians 3:14: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Show the love of God to everyone you come across. Actions speak louder than words. As Ephesians 5 says: “Be imitators of God.” When you show the God-type of love people will identify you with Christ. God loved you so much that he sent is Son, Jesus, to die for your sin. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. If you look through the Old Testament, you’ll see the love God had for His people. He always provided a redeemer to bring them back to Him. Now, he provided Jesus Christ, so that even when we do fail we can run back into His arms. God’s love is unconditional. It never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:13:And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

Blessings,

Austin


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In Praise of our Father When Times are Hard

How is your day going today? Good, ok, maybe just plain bad?

It is easy to praise God when all is well, no problem to lift up your voice and worship. How about when your day is awful? How about if you are having the worst day ever…or at least since the last time your day was this horrible? Can you worship now, or give God praise?

If you are having a bad day, no matter how bad that day is…the Lord of all creation, He cares for you and is with you. Yup…the ruler of heaven and earth is concerned about how you feel. Amazing isn’t it? All that goes on in this world and the Lord God knows all about your bad day. Hmmm…

So instead of feeling helpless, instead of trying to lift yourself out of this blah feeling, this rotten day…offer up praise to your Father in heaven. Pray to Him and thank Him for your day, all of it. Yes you read that right…thank God for even the bad things. Thank Him in advance for lifting you up and restoring you to a better place in Him.

Doing this is not easy, in fact it is very hard. Doing this has a reward…you will feel better. As hard as it is to do this, you need to…right now.

I know…I just did it myself. God will hear you and lift you up when you honor Him first.
Thank you Lyn….