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SELF-CENTERED VS. GOD-CENTERED


by Neil Anderson

August 29

Matthew 16:23
You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s

The apostle Peter is a glaring example of the struggle between self- and Christ-centered living. Only moments after Peter confessed the fundamental truth that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:13-16), he found himself in league with the powers of darkness. Having just blessed Peter for his noble confession, Jesus announced to him and the other disciples the suffering and death which awaited Him at Jerusalem. “And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You'” (verse 22).

Jesus responded: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (verse 23).

Jesus’ memorable rebuke seems mercilessly severe. But the fact that He identified Satan as the source of Peter’s words describes precisely and appropriately the character of the advice Peter tried to give: “Save yourself at all costs. Sacrifice duty to self-interest, the cause of Christ to personal convenience.” Peter’s advice was satanic in principle, for Satan’s primary aim is to promote self-interest as the chief end of man. Satan is called the “prince of this world” because self-interest rules the secular world. He is called the “accuser of the brethren” because he does not believe that even a child of God has a higher motive than self-service. You can almost hear him hissing, “All men are selfish at heart and have their price. Some may hold out longer than others, but in the end every man will prefer his own things to the things of God.”

That’s Satan’s creed, and unfortunately the lives of all too many Christians validate his claims. Satan has deceived them into thinking they are serving themselves when in fact they are serving the world, the flesh, and the devil. But the Christian worldview has a different center. Jesus confronts our humanistic, self-serving grids and offers the view from the cross. Only from this center can you escape the bondage of the one whose sole intent is “to steal, and kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).

Prayer: Loving Father, help me forsake self-centered attitudes and actions in order to take up my cross daily and serve You.


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Why Humanity Is In Love With Itself And Not God: Satan

God's Healing Hand On You

 

Editors note: This post was actually a comment to a reader that believes the “we are gods” mantra. I have added a little more to it in hopes of this being an article worth reading and in the hope that it will reach someone who needs it. Not my words per-say but the words of God. Feel free to share and comment, I would love to hear your thoughts!
God bless
Greg Publisher ICB

Satan is one being created by God, as he was a former high-ranking angel of God. One can no more disbelieve in the existence of Satan than one can say the Bible is not a book…that is if you believe in God. Satan is very real and is most definitely in control of this world. As a matter of fact the Bible refers to him as the “god of this world”. 2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them Obviously this verse means that Satan attempts to block all that leads us to God while at the same time leading us into sin. Satan is an already defeated foe, through Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan on the cross, and we can partake in His defeat of the evil one. Christ’s victory is ours! Ephesians 6:10-18

Anyone involved with Satan plays a very dangerous game. Satan leads all who do not believe in Christ to hell. That is his aim. The notion that “we are gods”, New Age beliefs, spirit guides, channeling, the divine mother, other gods…all are attempts (very successful) to lead us away from God. The homosexual agenda and the supposed freedom to live that lifestyle (if anyone so chooses) is yet another attempt to lead us away from God and is succeeding very well in the U.S. Keep in mind God hates the sin, not the sinner. Satan cares not a whit even for his servants, his only aim is to corrupt humanity and lead us into temptation and sin and thereby away from God, our only true salvation. The Word of God tells us to stay away from these things…Satan the master deceiver is behind them all. Bad company corrupts good character.

We are in NO way gods and the Word of God teaches no such thing. There is a verse in the book of Psalms that mentions that, but if your understanding of that passage is that we are ourselves gods, you misunderstand. Scripture will uphold itself…meaning that if something is taught in one place it will be attested to in another…you will find NO references in the Bible that teach we are gods, there is only ONE God existent in 3 persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Psalm 82:6, and John 10:34 (Jesus quoting Psalm 82:6) Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

Now, lets take a closer look at these Scriptures:
This use of the word “gods” to refer to humans is rare, but it is found elsewhere in the Old Testament. For example, when God sent Moses to Pharaoh, He said, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh” (Exodus 7:1). This simply means that Moses, as the messenger of God, was speaking God’s words and would therefore be God’s representative to the king. The Hebrew word Elohim is translated “judges” in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8, 9, and 28.

Now, let’s look at how Jesus uses this passage. Jesus had just claimed to be the Son of God (John 10:25-30). The unbelieving Jews respond by charging Jesus with blasphemy, since He claimed to be God (verse 33). Jesus then quotes Psalm 82:6, reminding the Jews that the Law refers to mere men—albeit men of authority and prestige—as “gods.” Jesus’ point is this: you charge me with blasphemy based on my use of the title “Son of God”; yet your own Scriptures apply the same term to magistrates in general. If those who hold a divinely appointed office can be considered “gods,” how much more can the One whom God has chosen and sent (verses 34-36)? (Courtesy of http://gotquestions.org)

Falling into the notion that we (humanity) can be our own gods is a deception of Satan who aims to lead all people away from the One true God. For if you believe in yourself as god, or even believe in your own good nature and/or humanistic value as a vehicle to attain heaven, then your trust and faith is placed in yourself and not in Christ…this type of person will never see heaven unless and until they repent of this attitude/mindset as they rely on themselves to get there. Others care not what the Word of God has to say; disbelieving in heaven and hell, these people are right where Satan wants them. Either way, Satan encourages these things, as this is what he desires, to place himself above God and take humanity away from the Lord our God.

There is only one source of perfection and that is God, not one of us is perfect nor will we ever be so until and unless we see Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior repenting of our sins and asking for His forgiveness. We will of course still not be perfected until we are resurrected by Christ in the end and made perfect through Him in heaven, never will we be perfect on this Earth as our basic nature is of sin and to sin. The only perfect man was Jesus whom was both man and God at the same time. Anyone who claims to be perfect in this world even through the power of the Holy Spirit is deluded, and the truth resides not in that person.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Have you ever stolen anything, even a pencil? Ever looked on a woman with lust? Ever lied? Ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Ever had sex outside of marriage? Ever hated anyone?
My point here is this: we have every one of us sinned…and it only takes one sin to make you NOT perfect, and one sin is all it takes to incur the Lord’s wrath. The penalty for sin is death, not physical death but rather the permanent death of your spirit, separation from God forever in hell. None are exempt in themselves from this death penalty; all will stand before a righteous God to receive the fruits of their labor whether good or bad. If the fruit you bear is like the sweet and tasty grape, and you stand before the Father clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ…you will be in heaven. If however the fruit you bear is like the moldy rotted grape that is only good for the trash bin…attempting to stand in your own righteousness, then you will surely be in hell.

Each person has to determine their stand before Christ, not by my words, nor your pastors, nor anyone else…but by the Word of God…the only Word that truly matters. Many are the words of the past that are remembered and even considered immortal…but only a very few words are truly eternal…the Word of God.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away

Friends I would tell you here that:

The most popular book of all time is: The Bible
The most talked about person in all of history is: Jesus Christ
The most written about person ever is: Jesus Christ.

Is this coincidence? I think not…consider this carefully.

But God provides the way out of this dilemma of death, for we all are subject to this death…for we all have sinned. Since we cannot save ourselves; so are we therefore condemned to death. But God in His mercy sent His only Son (John 3:16) to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus paid the price of our sins so that we do not have to. We need to go to God, confess our sin to Him and ask for His forgiveness. When we do this, sincerely repenting (being sorry for) our sins, asking forgiveness from God, and believing that ONLY Jesus can save us from our sins…we are forgiven and are granted eternal life even now. Believing that Christ died for our sins, was resurrected and is even now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and having done the aforementioned things – we receive and can know we receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life…we can and do claim it now not later, we posses this eternal life here and now.
1 john 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God

“What is the catch”, you may be thinking? Well, we agree to live a new life. We will do our best to live the way that God wants us to. We will all miss the boat on this, no one is perfect and anyone that says otherwise is lying. Still, we will seek to serve God, to stop doing the things He does not like: lying, stealing, killing, sex outside marriage, getting drunk and using drugs etc. If we are really “saved”, we will desire to do God’s will, no one forces us to do so including God Himself. God is a gentleman…if you walk away, if you refuse to do as He asks, well so be it. He will of course try to reach you (everyone) as He loves us, but He will not force Himself on us. Then again, we need to remember that if we choose our will over His, there are consequences to that. There will be 2 types of people standing before Christ the Lord in the end.

The first type says: “my will be done”. God says to them ok…and these shall wind up in hell for eternity. No one chooses hell, but choosing to disbelieve/walk away from God is in fact making a choice to reside in hell for all eternity.

The second type says: “thy will be done”. They will be in heaven with God, for they have chosen to obey God.

If we believe in Christ we are and will be children of God eternally. 1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Salvation is the greatest gift of God to us. We can do nothing to earn it; if we could (we cannot) it would no longer be a gift.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast

Please, please consider these words, they are but a poor representation of the words that truly do matter, the Word of God. What I say is not important but the Word of God is. I merely seek to paraphrase His words. The Word of God brings life, it brings forgiveness and freedom. Turning to God in sincere repentance brings freedom, freedom from certain death via our own choices…sin.


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HOW GOD WORKS


by Neil Anderson

August 20
 
 
You shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him
 
I believe in miracles, and I accept as fact every one recorded in the Bible. I believe that our entire Christian experience is a miracle. It simply cannot be explained by natural means. And God’s power is seen in other miraculous ways today, but must He always prove Himself by stepping outside His created order? If God doesn’t primarily guide us through His Word (which never changes) and take into account the fixed order of the universe, how can we ever have any stability? How can we make any plans if God doesn’t reveal His ways and then stay consistent with them?
 
God is not capricious in His dealings with man. He has clearly established His ways and He is faithful to them. I believe God has revealed His ways and we are to walk in them. The question is, how does God work through human responsibility and the natural order of the universe to bring about His will? Somehow He works through a less-than-perfect church, orchestrating human affairs in such a way as to guarantee the outcome of the ages. What really impresses me is His timing, not His miraculous interventions.
 
Notice how Jesus responded to those who insisted on a sign: “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet” (Matthew 12:39). Satan wanted a sign too. He said, “If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down” (Matthew 4:6). To this Jesus responded, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (verse 7 NIV ). Jesus was saying that the sign we need is the Word of God, and we are to use the Word to guard against Satan’s temptations to force the Lord to prove Himself.
 
I think it is better to prove ourselves to God rather than demand He prove Himself to us. We are the ones being tested, not God. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
 
Prayer: Lord, I want to be responsible to use the gifts You have given me and lay aside sin and fruitless activities.


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TEST EVERYTHING


by Neil Anderson

August 18

1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 NIV
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good
 
Alvin was discouraged and defeated. For several years he believed he had a special gift of prophecy from God. But over a period of months his personal life began to fall apart. By the time he came to see me he had been unemployed for two years, he was being cared for by his father, and he was a slave to prescription drugs.
 
Alvin and I read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. I said, “Alvin, Satan can counterfeit spiritual gifts. That’s why the Scriptures instruct us to put everything to the test.”
 
Alvin admitted, “I think my problems began when I failed to test the ‘gifts’ of tongues and prophecy conferred on me by false teachers.”
 
“Would you be willing to put your gift of tongues to the test?” I asked. Alvin really wanted to be free. “Yes,” he answered.
 
I instructed Alvin to begin praying aloud in his “spiritual language.” As he began to chant an unintelligible prayer, I said, “In the name of Christ and in obedience to God’s Word, I command you, spirit, to identify yourself.”
 
Alvin stopped in the middle of his chanting and said, “I am he.”
 
“Are you the ‘He’ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, buried, raised on the third day, and who now sits at the right hand of the Father?” I asked.
 
Alvin almost shouted the response: “No! Not He!” I led Alvin through a prayer renouncing Satan’s activity in his life, and he was free from that deception.
 
I am not against spiritual gifts, even prophecy and tongues. I am committed to obeying Scripture, and 1 Corinthians 14:39 says, “Desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.” But Scripture also requires that all spiritual phenomena be tested. I believe that false prophets and teachers flourish today simply because Christians accept their ministry without testing the spirits behind it.
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to stay alert to spiritual seduction and reject all phenomena that do not come from God.


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FALSE GUIDANCE


by Neil Anderson

 

August 17
 
Leviticus 20:6 
As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people
 
The craving for esoteric, “extra” knowledge in our culture was starkly illustrated to me when two conferences, both open to the public, were recently held in Pasadena, California. One was a major world conference on international missions and about 600 people attended. At the same time, a New Age conference was being conducted nearby, and more than 40,000 people showed up! That’s our society today. People don’t want to hear what God has to say. They want information and direction from someone else who “knows”: a psychic, a channeler, a palm-reader, a card-reader, or the spirit of a dead friend or relative. All you have to do is change the wording from medium to channeler and demon to spirit guide and a gullible society accepts it!
 
The Scriptures are very clear on the subject of seeking knowledge and direction for our lives from anyone but God. We’re about as far away from that stance on the purveyors of psychic and spiritual advice as we can be. We have people channeling on TV and radio programs and they’re considered celebrities. I read recently that more women in Los Angeles consult spiritists than professional counselors. You can attend a psychic fair in practically any city in our land and get a personal spiritual “reading.” The reader is either a fake or a spiritual medium who enters a trance and seemingly receives instruction for you from the spiritual world. Far from being seen as a blight on society, these people are often revered as highly as doctors and ministers for their “expertise.”
 
Don’t allow yourself to be sucked in by these “experts” no matter how socially acceptable they may be. Nothing is condemned more by God in Scripture than false guidance. All the wisdom and knowledge you need is available in your relationship with God and His Word.
 
Prayer: Father God, forgive me for seeking guidance from sources outside Your authority. I commit myself to renew my mind through Your Word.


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SATAN’S DEFEAT


by Neil Anderson

August 16

Colossians 2:15
He [Christ] disarmed the rulers and authorities [and] made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him
 
In Colossians 2:15, Paul identifies something very important that happened at the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Not only were we made alive in Christ, but Satan was also disarmed and defeated. His defeat is not pending, nor is it future; it has already happened.
 
If Satan is already disarmed, why don’t we experience more victory in our lives? In a word, the lie. Satan roams around like a hungry lion, looking and sounding ferocious. In reality his fangs have been removed and he has been declawed, but if he can deceive you into believing that he can chew you up and spit you out, he can control you, which is just what he wants to do. He is gumming Christians to death!
 
The very reason Christ conferred His authority on us was to demonstrate to the kingdom of darkness who is really in control in this world. In Ephesians Paul wrote that his call was “to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carries about in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11).
 
How are we doing at making Christ’s victory known to “the rulers and authorities in heavenly places,” which is God’s eternal purpose? In many quarters, not very well. Some of us are still saying, “What rulers and authorities?” We’re not sure that demons even exist. How are we ever going to get our job done in the world if we don’t believe what God says about the kingdom of darkness? Others of us are cowering in the corner pleading, “O God, please help us! The devil is roaring at us!” And God responds, “I’ve done all I’m going to do. I defeated and disarmed Satan at the cross. I conferred all authority on you in Christ. Now open your eyes. Realize who you are and start demonstrating the authority you already possess.”
 
Prayer: In Your name, Lord, I will take an active stand against the devil and his demons, renouncing both apathy and fear.


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SPIRITUAL WAR


by Neil Anderson

August 14

John 17:11 NIV 
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name
 
The Christian worldview perceives life through the grid of Scripture, not through culture or experience. And Scripture clearly teaches that supernatural, spiritual forces are at work in the natural world. For example, approximately one-fourth of all the healings recorded in the Gospel of Mark were actually deliverances from demon activity. The woman whom Jesus healed in Luke 13:11, 12, had been the victim of a “sickness caused by a spirit” for 18 years.
 
Many people I have counseled came with physical problems which disappeared shortly after the demonic influence was dealt with. The most common symptoms I have seen are headaches, dizziness, allergies, nausea and general pain throughout the body. The most conservative estimate by medical doctors is that 50 percent of their patients are suffering psychosomatic illnesses. Biblically, it is reasonable to expect that if a person’s personal and spiritual problems are resolved, the physical body will be benefited. Stress is a leading cause of heart disease and cancer. The peace of God alone will cure many diseases.
 
I’m not saying that everyone who is ill or in pain is being terrorized by a demon. But I am convinced that many Christians battle physical symptoms unsuccessfully through natural means when the essence of the problem and the solution is spiritual. “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you” (Romans 8:11).
 
The fact that Jesus left us “in the world” (John 17:11) to wrestle against “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12) is a present-day reality. Supernatural forces are at work on planet Earth. We live in the natural world, but we are involved in a spiritual war.
 
Prayer: Dear God, keep me alert to the spiritual conflicts occurring around me and ready to respond in Your authority and power.