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OVERCOMING THE EVIL ONE


by Neil Anderson

April 23

1 John 2:14 
I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one
 
First John 2:12-14 describes three levels of Christian growth in relation to sin. The first level is compared to “little children” (verse 12). Little children in the faith are characterized by having their sins forgiven and possessing a knowledge of God. In other words, they are in the family of God and have overcome the penalty of sin, but they haven’t grown to full maturity.
 
The second level is “young men” (verses 13, 14), those who have overcome the evil one. These are aggressively growing believers who are strong because the Word of God abides in them. They know the truth and how to use it to resist Satan in the battle for their minds. They are no longer in bondage to uncontrollable habits, and they have resolved the personal and spiritual conflicts which keep many Christians from experiencing freedom in Christ. They are free, and they know how to stay free.
 
The third level is “fathers” (verses 13, 14), those who have developed a deep personal knowledge of God. Their faith is securely founded on a close, intimate, loving relationship with God which is the goal of our spiritual growth. What about your faith? Are you a “child,” a “young man” or a “father”? Is it your daily goal to grow to maturity in your faith? Have you overcome the evil one?
 
Having challenged us to combat sin’s power in our lives through a commitment to growth, John goes on to describe the avenues through which Satan tempts us: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. We will consider these avenues over the next few days.
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please shake me good if I become stagnant , stale or static in my spiritual growth. I want to grow into Your image of me.


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YOUR LIFE APART FROM GOD


by Neil Anderson

 

April 21
 
Romans 8:13, 14 
If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
 
Why do you still react as if your old skipper were still in control of your behavior? Because while you served under it, your old self trained and conditioned your actions, reactions, emotional responses, thought patterns, memories, and habits in a part of your brain called “the flesh.” The flesh is that tendency within each person to operate independently of God and to center his interest on himself. An unsaved person functions totally in the flesh (Romans 8:7, 8), worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Such persons “live for themselves” (2 Corinthians 5:15), even though many of their activities may appear to be motivated by selflessness and concern for others.
 
When you were born again, your old self died and your new self came to life, and you were made a partaker of Christ’s divine nature. But your flesh remains. You brought to your Christian commitment a fully conditioned mind-set and lifestyle developed apart from God and centered on yourself. Since you were born physically alive but spiritually dead, you had neither the presence of God nor the knowledge of God’s ways. So you learned to live your life independently of God. It is this learned independence that makes the flesh hostile toward God.
 
During the years you spent separated from God, your worldly experiences thoroughly programmed your brain with thought patterns, memory traces, responses, and habits which are alien to God. So even though your old self is gone, your flesh remains in opposition to God as a preprogrammed propensity for sin, which is living independently of God.
 
Be aware that you no longer have to obey that preprogrammed bent to live independently of God. You are a child of God, and you are free to put to death those fleshly deeds and obey Christ.
 
Prayer: Lord, I make a fresh declaration of dependence on You for today. I renounce all my old tendencies to live independently of You.


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YOUR NEW SKIPPER


by Neil Anderson

 

April 20
 
Romans 8:12, 13 
We are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die
 
When I was in the Navy, we called the captain of our ship “the Old Man.” Our Old Man was tough and crusty and nobody liked him. He used to go out drinking with all his chiefs while belittling and harassing his junior officers and making life miserable for the rest of us. He was not a good example of a naval officer. So when our Old Man got transferred to another ship, we all rejoiced. It was a great day for our ship.
 
Then we got a new skipper–a new Old Man. The old Old Man no longer had any authority over us; he was gone–completely out of the picture. But I was trained under that Old Man. So how do you think I related to the new Old Man? At first I responded to him just like I had been conditioned to respond to the old skipper. I tiptoed around him expecting him to bite my head off. That’s how I had lived for two years around my first skipper.
 
But as I got to know the new skipper, I realized that he wasn’t a crusty old tyrant like my old Old Man. He wasn’t out to harass his crew; he was a good guy, really concerned about us. But I had been programmed for two years to react a certain way when I saw a captain’s braids. I didn’t need to react that way any longer, but it took several months to recondition myself to the new skipper.
 
You also once served under a cruel, self-serving skipper: your old sinful self with its sinful nature. The admiral of that fleet is Satan himself, the prince of darkness. But by God’s grace you have been transferred into Christ’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13). You now have a new skipper: your new self which is infused with the divine nature of Jesus Christ, your new admiral. As a child of God, a saint, you are no longer under the authority of your old Old Man. He is dead, buried, gone forever.
 
So why do you still react as if your old skipper were still in control of your behavior? We’ll answer that question tomorrow.
 
Prayer: Praise You, Lord, that my relationship with my old skipper, that old sinful self, is gone. I choose to live today in the realty of my new nature in Christ.


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NEW AGE DECEPTION


by Neil Anderson

 

April 19
1 Timothy 2:5 
There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
 
The fourth unifying factor of the New Age Movement is a cosmic evolutionary optimism . There is a New Age coming. There will be a new world order with a one-world government. New Agers believe in a progressive unification of world consciousness eventually reaching the “omega point.” This is a counterfeit kingdom and we know who its prince is.
 
Fifth, New Agers create their own reality . They believe they can determine reality by what they believe, so by changing what they believe, they can change reality. There are no moral absolutes because there is no distinction between good and evil.
 
Sixth, New Agers make contact with the kingdom of darkness . Calling a medium a “channeler” and a demon a “spirit guide” has not changed the reality of what they are. They are in contact with the god of this world instead of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
 
Recently I received a call from a lady who was concerned about the turn of events in a small group she was attending. It had started out as a group of supposedly Christian women. The one woman began to function as a medium, and they thought they were hearing from God. They recorded six hours of videotape, and in that six hours, five different personalities can be identified in the medium. The group was convinced they were hearing from God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and two angels.
 
The lady functioning as a medium was later identified as not being a Christian. In the tape her eyes roll back in a trancelike state. At one point a voice says through her, “It’s going to snow here tomorrow.” I’m surprised that when it didn’t snow the next day, they couldn’t see the snow job being done on them!
 
How can a thinking person, professing to be a Christian, consider this as anything other than demonization? But it isn’t just lonely homemakers who are being deceived. This deception is invading every area of society today.
 
Prayer: Father, keep me alert to the deception of New Age thinking around me, and help me dismiss the darkness I encounter with the light of Your truth.


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A Love Like No Other

I post this blog every year at this time of year, so I will do it again! :)

Matthew 27:32-56: 32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Jesus went through torture beyond any of our imaginations. He went through personal humiliation, physical pain, and spiritual anguish. The worst of all was probably the suffering that came in verse 46. He experienced separation from God. That is the ultimate consequence of sin. Separation. Spiritual death. I can’t even imagine what he went through at that moment. The weight of sin for everyone who ever lived, was living, and would live was upon him at that moment. That full amount of God’s wrath was on Jesus. Jesus had never sinned, but God made him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s Son, the Creator of the universe, was rejected by His creation and isolated from His Father. The separation had to be the worst suffering of all. The wrath of God was satisfied.  Because of Jesus’ suffering, we are restored to a right relationship with God if we accept His FREE gift of salvation.

According to John’s account (John 19:30) of Christ’s death, what Jesus said in verse 50 was “It is finished.” These words mark the end of his suffering. It marks the completion of Jesus’ mission to restore us to a right relationship with the Father. At the time Jesus Christ died, the “curtain of the temple” was torn from top to bottom. This symbolizes that the way into God’s presence was now open. Because of what Jesus did, we have permanent access to God for all those who give their lives to Christ.

Just one person’s sin would’ve been enough to put Him on the cross. ‎”A cross, 3 nails, the weight of my sin, loneliness, pain and sorrow. That was on my Savior’s,”to do list”,for today. I am the cause.”

“It was my sin that held him there. Until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished.”

Jesus did all of this out of love. When He was hanging on that cross He was thinking of you. He gave salvation to anyone who comes into contact with His saving and delivering power. He paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we don’t have to be separated from God anymore. We now can have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

“It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus to the cross, it was love.”

-Austin


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NEW AGE THINKING


by Neil Anderson

April 18

Psalm 83:18 NIV 
Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD–that you alone are the Most High over all the earth
 
The New Age Movement is very attractive to the natural man who has become disillusioned with organized religion and Western rationalism. He desires spiritual reality but doesn’t want to give up materialism, deal with his moral problems, or come under authority.
 
I’ve discovered six unifying factors in New Age thinking. We will consider three of them today and three tomorrow.
 
The first is monism –the belief that all is one and one is all. It says we all swim in one great cosmic ocean. History is not the story of humanity’s fall into sin and its restoration by God’s saving grace. Rather, it is humanity’s fall into ignorance and the gradual ascent into enlightenment.
 
Monism is a counterfeit to the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17:21. That unity is possible only when we are united together in Christian fellowship.
 
Second, all is God . If all is one, including God, then one must conclude that all is God–trees, snails, books and people are all of one divine essence. A personal God is abandoned in favor of an impersonal energy force or consciousness, and if God is no longer personal, He doesn’t have to be served.
 
New Agers say, “When I was a little child, I believed in God. When I began to mature, I stopped believing in God. Then I grew up and realized that I was God.”
 
A third unifying factor refers to a change in consciousness . If we are God, we need to know we are God. We must become cosmically conscious, also called “at-one-ment” (a counterfeit of atonement), self-realization, god-realization, enlightenment, or attunement. Their faith has no object, neither does their meditation, so it becomes an inward journey. To us, the essential issue is not whether we believe or mediate, but who we believe in and what we meditate upon. We believe God and meditate upon His law day and night.
 
Prayer: Lord, I affirm that I am nothing, can do nothing, and will amount to nothing apart from You. You are the object of my faith and life today.
Ps 30 Wailing 2 Dancing TL


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Rise From Your Ashes

 

Ps 30 Wailing 2 Dancing TLRight after my brain surgery, I was alone while recovering in an assisted living facility in Phoenix, AZ. My life was so uncertain. My dream home in Oregon was sold, my teaching career seemed to be over, I didn’t know where I would live, ifI would ever recover my health, work, or live independently. MY LIFE WAS IN ASHES. Then….

While driving in my car I heard this song. Tears came to my eyes as I realized God had sent me a message of hope.

“Yes I will rise Out of these ashes rise From this trouble I have found And this rubble on the ground I will rise”

When we need it most, our God will faithfully send us word that we are not alone. That with HIS strength… we will rise out of our ashes to new victories. Don’t ever loose hope, hang on…. you have yet to live the best day of your life!

“And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 63:1 (NIV)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS5vlffO2E


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THE SEDUCTION OF OUR CHILDREN


by Neil Anderson

 

April 17
 
Ephesians 6:4 
Bring them [your children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
 
What are parents, Sunday school teachers, youth workers, and pastors to do in the face of Satan’s assault on the minds of our children? Let’s begin by stating what we can’t do.
 
First, we can’t bury our heads in the sand. This is not the time to respond in denial or claim that our Christian kids are immune to this kind of problem. Satan’s seductive activities are aimed at destroying the church at its point of greatest vulnerability: the family. The enemy is after Christian families in general and the families of Christian leaders in particular. Half of all my counseling regarding demonic influence has been with Christian leaders and their families.
 
Second, we can’t run in fear. Remember: Thanks to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Satan is a defeated foe. The war against the seduction of our children is a winnable war. If we retreat instead of advance, we forfeit ground to the enemy that doesn’t belong to him. We must exert our authority in Jesus Christ and claim His victory in the lives of our children.
 
How can we do that?
 
First, we must become aware of the spiritual nature of the world we live in. Our children are growing up in a seductive world. Many of the things that surround them are subtly influenced by the New Age Movement, the occult, and Satanism.
 
Second, we need to understand how parents and parenting styles can either assist or block the resolution of a child’s spiritual conflicts. If a child comes from a dysfunctional home, it’s rather pointless to deal with his problem only to send him back into the home that caused the problem in the first place.
 
Third, we need definite strategies for protecting our children from spiritual assault and helping them resolve their spiritual conflicts. This is a winnable war, and it is a war we must win for the sake of our kids and the cause of Christ.
 
Prayer: Dear Father, keep me alert to spiritual opposition and bondage in my children, and equip me to assist them in appropriating Your freedom.


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A SOLID BELIEF SYSTEM


by Neil Anderson

April 16
Romans 8:15 
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
Claire attended a church college ministry I was involved in several years ago. On a physical, material level, Claire had absolutely nothing going for her. She had a dumpy figure and a bad complexion. Her father was a drunken bum who had deserted his family. Her mother worked two menial jobs just to make ends meet. Her older brother, a drug addict, was always in and out of the house.
When I first met Claire I was sure she was the ultimate wallflower. I didn’t think there was any way she could compete for acceptance in a college-aged society which is attracted to physical beauty and material success. But to my delight, I learned that everybody in the group liked Claire and loved to be around her. She had lots of friends. And eventually she married the nicest guy in our college department.
What was her secret? Claire simply believed what she perceived herself to be: a child of God. She accepted herself for who God said she was in Christ, and she confidently committed herself to God’s great goal for her life: to be conformed to His image and to love people. She wasn’t a threat to anyone. Instead, she was so positive and caring toward others that everyone loved her.
Claire’s experiences illustrate the importance of establishing our Christian lives on what we believe instead of how we behave. She knew that she couldn’t compete with the world, so she gladly accepted her spiritual heritage, believed God, and lived accordingly. We need a firm grip on God’s Word before we will experience much success at practical Christianity. We need to understand who we are as a result of who God is and what He has done. A productive Christian behavior system is the byproduct of a solid Christian belief system, not the other way around.
Prayer: Thank You for the Claires in my world, Lord, who reflect Your beauty. Forgive me for focusing on myself instead of looking to You and seeking Your eternal qualities.


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THE POWER OF THE BELIEVER


by Neil Anderson

April 14

John 8:32 
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
 
When I was a boy on the farm, my dad, my brother and I would visit our neighbor’s farm to share produce and labor. The neighbor had a yappy little dog that scared the socks off me. When it came barking around the corner, my dad and brother stood their ground, but I ran. Guess who the dog chased! I escaped to the top of our pickup truck while the little dog yapped at me from the ground.
 
Everyone except me could see that the little dog had no power over me except what I gave it. Furthermore, it had no inherent power to throw me up on the pickup; it was my belief that put me up there. That dog controlled me by using my mind, my emotions, my will, and my muscles, all of which were motivated by fear. Finally I gathered up my courage, jumped off the pickup, and kicked a small rock at the mutt. Lo and behold, it ran!
 
Satan is like that yappy little dog: deceiving people into fearing him more than God. His power is in the lie. He is the father of lies (John 8:44) who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9), and consequently the whole world is under the influence of the evil one (1 John 5:19). He can do nothing about your position in Christ, but if he can deceive you into believing his lies about you and God, you will spend a lot of time on top of the pickup truck! You don’t have to outshout him or outmuscle him to be free of his influence. You just have to outtruth him. Believe, declare, and act upon the truth of God’s Word, and you will thwart Satan’s strategy.
 
I have learned from the Scriptures and my experience that truth is the liberating agent. The power of Satan is in the lie, and the power of the believer is in knowing the truth. We are to pursue truth, not power.
 
Prayer: Father God, when Satan is badgering and confusing me, remind me that Your Holy Spirit within me is greater than all the evil around me.