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Flesh vs. Spirit, part IV

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Hebrews 4:15 (NAS): For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Matthew 16:24 (NAS): Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross and follow Me.

Romans 9:6-8 (NAS): For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

 

Homosexuality is a huge debate these days; should they marry, shouldn’t they marry? The problem is that we’re focused on the sin (flesh) which leads to condemnation instead of the God (Spirit) who brings freedom. Instead of God’s holy people acting in outrage, condemnation, bigotry, and hatred (all equally sin), God’s royal priesthood should be led by Holy Spirit in our conduct. We need to deal with the nature of the flesh which is hostile against God instead of individual sins. To be tempted by anything ungodly (homosexuality or anything else), is NOT sin lest Christ is a sinner.

Since Christ established that temptation alone is not sin, we must address the nature of hostile flesh as a whole. For one who desires to “take up his or her cross and follow Christ,” they must actually deny any desire that is set against God. Old and New Testament Scriptures speak against homosexuality, therefore, any person who is tempted by homosexuality must understand that they must deny the sexual urges so as to truly follow Christ. It does not mean that they suddenly desire the opposite sex, but rather that they choose the way of Christ over their natural urges; they choose to be a eunuch unto God as written in Matthew 19. In this, it isn’t a matter of homosexuality vs. heterosexuality, but unholy vs. holy.

This is where we need to understand how to “count ALL as loss” considering the magnitude of the Kingdom of God. Counting all as loss debunks the whole “God wants me to be happy” theory. I can’t think of one account where God directs us to fulfill the desires of our flesh so as to be “happy.” That theory was born in the flesh and is death; it has zero to do with holiness. Imagine if we all did whatever we wanted, whenever, however, to whomever. This is not merely an issue of morality but of holiness.

God’s people led by emotions of any kind are not in obedience to Christ. Those operating in hatred, wrath, gossip, malice, rage, perversion, thievery, gluttony, etc. – the same rules apply. If you love God and desire to follow Him, your “cross” is giving up whatever fleshly temptation you may have that is against God. If we would begin to teach holiness instead of hatred and condemnation, I’d imagine that we’d all walk closer to God!

Whatever your temptation, God is sympathetic. He understands. He has no desire to shame you, but to heal you from the inside out. The flesh will always desire that which is contrary to the cross and the Kingdom of God. Don’t be surprised or ashamed in your temptation (whatever it is), but in it, walk away from it toward the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

 

I Peter 1:16: Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.

 

Philippians 3:8 (NAS): More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s Flesh vs. Spirit! If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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A LIBERATING FRIEND


by Neil Anderson

August 13

Psalm 51:6 NIV

Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place

Absolute truth is the revelation of God’s Word, and we must live that truth in the inner self. When David lived a lie he suffered greatly. When he finally found freedom by acknowledging the truth, he wrote, “How blessed is the man . . . in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:2). When David later reflected on the same incident, he wrote, “Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place” (Psalm 51:6 NIV ).

We are to lay aside falsehood and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25). A mentally healthy person is one who is in touch with reality and relatively free of anxiety. Both qualities should epitomize the Christian who renounces deception and embraces the truth.

Deception is the most subtle of all satanic strongholds. Have you ever noticed that all people with addictive behavior lie to themselves and others almost continuously? The alcoholic lies about his drinking, the anorexic lies about her eating, and the sex offender lies about his behavior. Lying is an evil defense prompted by the father of lies, Satan (John 8:44).

The first step in any recovery program is to get out of denial and face the truth. Truth is never an enemy; it is always a liberating friend. People in bondage to the lie grow weary of the darkness. They hate to sneak around, lie and cover up. “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (l John 1:5). We must “walk in the light as He Himself is in the light” (1 John 1:7). There is great freedom when truth dispels the anguish of living a lie.

Choosing the truth may be difficult for you if you have been living a lie for many years. You may need to seek professional help to weed out the defense mechanisms you have depended on all this time to survive. The Christian needs only one defense: Jesus. Knowing that you are forgiven and accepted as God’s child sets you free to face reality and choose the truth.

Prayer: Lord, I choose the truth, and I renounce all self-deception and rationalization of wrong behavior and attitudes.


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Flesh vs. Spirit, part III

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Romans 7:24-25 (NAS): Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the BODY of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

Romans 8:1-2 (KJV): There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

 

Romans 9:6-8 (NAS): For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

 

In the above verses, we read, “body of death,” “the flesh is hostile toward God,” “the mind set on the flesh is death,” and “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” DEATH and HOSTILITY are the themes of flesh, but LIFE and PEACE are the themes of Holy Spirit. The sooner God’s Kingdom heirs understand this, the sooner we’ll walk in the freedom Christ died to grant mankind.

Many versions of the Bible, including my favored NAS, remove the part of, “…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” found in Romans 8:1-2. It’s crucial to regain this missing link because otherwise, “saved” people can’t understand why they continue to sin, or why they continue to feel condemned when Christ said there is no more condemnation.

Anything of the flesh is DEATH – no exceptions.

Anything of the Spirit is LIFE – no exceptions.

Simply dealing with individual sins such as lying, addiction, homosexuality, theft, greed, malice, gossip, malice, hatred, so on and so forth, is errant in so much as the sins themselves have become the focus. Since “all have sinned” there is no way anyone has the right to point at a neighbor’s spec with planks in our own eyes! God’s people are to correct fellow brethren, but most don’t understand how to correct properly. Correction led by the flesh simply breeds more death!

The Bible is clear that the afore mentioned and more are in fact sins and we shouldn’t give way to them, but the Bible also always redirects to Holy Spirit leading and dying to the nature of the flesh as a whole – this can only come from a Kingdom mindset. All are born naturally in sin therefore we shouldn’t be surprised when we are drawn to sin of any kind. The shame and condemnation are not in the temptation, but in the acting on the temptation. People act on the temptations because we simply aren’t following the lead of Holy Spirit because we don’t understand the Kingdom of God.

Holy Spirit and His Kingdom should be our focus, not the sins. The, “do this but don’t do that” is worthless instruction if we’re not taught to understand how to be led, not by the flesh, but by the Spirit of the Living God. The “do this but not that” is based on law – you know, that thing no one can fulfill – and Christ fulfilled the entirety of the Law in His death, burial and resurrection. When we base instruction on law, it’s formulated merely from a morality stance and anyone can easily find their happy “grey areas” and feel justified.

 

Hebrews 4:15 (NAS): For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s Flesh vs. Spirit! If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

 

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

 

https://www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/

 


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Yes, the Church Definitely Stinks! Letter to an (Absent but Vocal) Church Critic

sinners-wanted-001[In response to a Facebook post about the sad, sin-plagued state of the church today.  Names have been withheld, changed, or translated into Common Eldarin & Westron to avoid offense.] 

My response:  Guilty.As.Charged. 

Is the capital “C” Church, and are all the many, many individual churches, populated by sometime cantankerous, grumpy, judgmental people?  Yes, absolutely; guilty as charged.  Do those same people fall short of biblical expectations for life and service?  You betcha! 

Should those facts make me stay away?  Better yet, should those facts make me stay away and then target those in the camp with explosive-laden complaint drones?  Well… 

There are a million reasons not to be connected with a local church or regularly in worship.  I’ve heard them all and, in moments of personal honesty, I’ve used some of them myself.  At the top of the list: many of the people you find there.  One seminary wag said it:  “Ministry is great, except for the people.”  Or, as a former parishioner of mine put it so eloquently, “I love God’s church; it’s God’s people I can’t stand!” 

There are a million reasons not to be in worship regularly.  But there is one overriding reason to be there:  God says so.  So, from a simple “obedience” perspective (for those of you concerned about the disobedient people in the church), I think you’d need to deal with that.  The Writer of Hebrews says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24,25). 

But, in the purity of the power of a relationship with the Heavenly Father, that’s not what moves me to be among God’s people, in church.  I don’t “have” to go; I “get” to go…and there are light years difference between those two things. 

The God who loves me wants me to hang out with Him AND He wants me to regularly hang out with those other people He loves…not so that we can all show off how much better than the rest of humanity we are, but to worship Him and adore Him and face our need for His grace and power to accomplish His purposes.  “Apart from me you can do nothing,” Jesus said…nothing

The church is not a beauty contest, it’s a “Critical Care Unit” — “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  That’s true before people come to know Christ and, sadly, still true after we come to know Christ.  This side of heaven we are still plagued by sin. 

Is the Bible full of calls to be better?  Certainly.  But that “betterment” is not a self-help effort.  It’s an “only Jesus can make this possible” effort.  And the very second we start to compare “betterment” we are in serious, serious trouble.  “Do not judge,” Jesus said, “Do not judge.” 

I think a wise church leader friend of mine is right: many in the church over the years have thought they were going to a spiritual Lowe’s to pick up the tools to be able to become better people (Let’s Build Something!).  When, in fact, worship is about God, not the life “score card” of the person sitting next to me–nor even my own spiritual “batting average.”  I don’t have to go; I get to go.  And, when I do go, I get to worship the God who loves this broken sinner.  And (and here’s the key point in this particular ramble): I get to hang out with others just like me who know they’re broken and who are partnering with each other and the Living God to experience grace such that we might show grace to each other and to the rest of the world. 

Do we get that right?  Sometimes…ok, maybe rarely…perhaps hardly ever…but when we do, it’s a wondrous thing to behold…and it’s worth every second of church-based stupidity I’ve ever experienced.  And trust me, as a pastor, I have seen, heard, felt, and been bashed by more of that stupidity than anyone observing from the sidelines will ever know. 

And…by the way…I do know that many have been egregiously wounded by those in the church…wounded by those who thought they knew better…or perhaps even wounded by those who did know better but couldn’t “speak the truth in love.”  This is not to diminish any of those hurts and pains.  It is to say, with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).  And, if we think we can have Jesus (Simply Jesus) without the pains, travails, and (yes) joys of the church, then I think we miss the entire tenor of the New Testament’s witness about the church. 

Winston Churchill, in commenting on the frailties of democracy, once remarked: “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise.  Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those others…”  The same could likely be said of the church:  “No one pretends that the church is perfect or all wise.  It’s the worst form of Christian gathering, except for all the others.” 

To a more “Christianly Correct” audience, perhaps it would be better for us to hear Billy Graham’s pithily profound observation: “There’s no such thing as a perfect church; if you think you’ve found a perfect church, don’t join it–you’ll ruin it.”  

I regularly hearken back to John Newton’s, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.” 

What do I see? Not how much better I can perform now, but how much I desperately need the power of God every day.  What do I see?  That grace is not a onetime proposition, but the constant outpouring of undeserving love on this weary and wary sinner.  Where do I see that best?  With and among God’s people…in worship…even when they’re cantankerous, grumpy, and judgmental. 

Before you discard the church, friend…remember that the church was (and is still) God’s idea (Matthew 16:17-19).  Standing on the outside looking in and lobbing verbal grenades?  Well, that’s someone else’s idea.

 


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Flesh vs. Spirit, part II

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“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Galatians 5:17, NAS).”

 

Self-discipline is a huge part of spiritual warfare. We have been given authority over demons, absolutely, but too often we focus more on that than learning to simply discipline our bodies so as to “make them a slave” as did the Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 9:27). After all, the first place one should take authority is over their own temple.

Time and time again we read that self-control is an attribute of the fruit of the Spirit. Just because we’re tired, angry, sad, mad, stressed, or whatever, does not give us license to sin. In fact, it’s in these tricky situations that God is actually at hand. He allows us to be tested so as to reveal to us our remaining ungodliness – not for condemnation, but for further refinement. God is not punishing us, He is perfecting us.

First, we need to correct an untruth. Many say, “Followers of Christ have two natures.” This is false. God’s people have one nature – God’s – Holy Spirit. Though we (the spirit) temporarily dwell in a compartment made of flesh, its nature does not belong to us. It’s like living in your house; you are not the house, you merely dwell there temporarily. If the house is old and creaky, that does not me you have to be. You must upkeep the earthen temple in which you dwell, but it isn’t who you are. It’s our downfall when we think, “Well, that’s just who and how I am. I can’t help it when I act this or that way.” Likewise, if it’s our downfall, it’s equally the downfall of the Kingdom of God because we represent the King and His Kingdom.

Secondly, emotionalism will always dictate “do whatever makes you feel better.” Truth will dictate the polar opposite. When I walk with God, I choose self-control when otherwise I want to use profanities, lash out at someone, or anything of the like. When I give in to emotionalism and conduct myself in a fleshly (evil) manner, I cease walking with God. Everyone’s trigger point is different and we need to be aware of what they are and purpose to surrender them to Christ.

It’s simply being pro-active by knowing who we are in Christ and allowing Christ to overrule the flesh in everything. No one has perfected this, I certainly haven’t, but we need to purpose to strive toward the mark of Christ choosing to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ always and in everything. When we falter, repent, receive forgiveness and begin again. His mercies are new every day! 

 

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:14-25, NAS).”

 

Stay tuned for next week’s part III! If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

 

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Ephesians 4:3-6 (NAS): Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

 

Matthew 16:19 (NAS): I will give YOU the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever YOU bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever YOU loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

 

There are at least 68 references in the New Testament about the Kingdom of God. Everything Jesus taught His followers to know and teach is THE KINGDOM, not anything outside of the Kingdom or fragments of the Kingdom. Every other reference about love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, salvation, humility, overcoming, having the mind of Christ, and every other topic all fall under the Kingdom – EVERYTHING. None are exclusive in and of themselves. We’ve had it backwards for centuries preaching only salvation and the cross, or prophecy, or healing, or deliverance, as somehow exclusive from God’s Kingdom. We need to be preaching exactly like Jesus – the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and nothing less. All other subjects fall under Kingdom heading.

If my great, great, great grandparents call dogs cats and teach their kids to call their dogs cats and I then continue such a practice and everyone in my family for generations thinks that dogs are called cats, does that make my family right? Of course not! It’s simply a matter of wrong thinking passed from generation to generation. I could argue until I’m blue in the face to convince people that I’m right, but I’m still wrong no matter how passionately and good intending I may be at heart hoping to bring someone into, in my estimation, truth that dogs are called cats.

So it is with religion. We, many (most) of God’s people, have practiced a garden variety of religious traditions for centuries. Does that make it right? Absolutely not! For most that fervently practice the religions of their forefathers do it wholeheartedly with good intentions. Needless to say, it’s still wrong. Jesus preached the Kingdom. Jesus came to tear down the wall that divides (Ephesians 2:13-16). Jesus came against the religious practices and man-made traditions that kept (and continue to keep) people of all walks of life in perpetual bondage and division.

Ladies and gentlemen, Christ came to bring all people freedom from religion, not create more religions. Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Non-denominational, Church of God, Church of Christ, and countless other denominations inadvertently stand between people, their Creator and His Kingdom – our Kingdom – He graciously offers His people. Divisions of every kind (e.g. color, race, money, politics, etc.) stand as a tall, wide and deep barrier between imprisonment and liberty and it needs to stop. God has called His holy people to bring heaven down to earth, not become more like the earth.

When we begin to discover the Kingdom of God, His government, His mind, His ways, His plan, His purpose and all that fall under the umbrella of His Kingdom, we will cease hating each other, competing against one another, dividing ourselves from one another – killing each other instead of healing each other. He has equipped His people with power from on high and it’s time to learn it, understand it, apply it to our own lives, and then walk in it in a world full of sickness, sorrow, darkness and death.

 We who carry the name of Jesus are to be the walking, talking, physical manifestation of Jesus Himself. If He is in you, He needs to come through you and that requires unity in love. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. If you want to expand God’s Kingdom, stop the division. Recognize that possibly, just possibly, much of what your parents taught you may be incorrect. There’s no shame in this admission as no one is perfect. What is shameful is to know things need changing and pridefully refuse to change.

Supernatural love that is God is the key because it is the essence of His holy Kingdom. Know His heart and allow it flow through you.

……………..

Closing verses:

Philippians 2:2 (NAS): Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

I Corinthians 1:10 (NAS): I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

I Corinthians 6:17 (NAS): But the one who joins himself to the Lord is ONE spirit with Him.

 

I hope you’ll come back next time. If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/

 


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OPEN DIALOGUE WITH YOUR CHILD


by Neil Anderson

June 30

Proverbs 25:11 
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances
 
All discipline must be based on prior instruction. Make a clear statement of your expectations for a given situation and the consequences for disobedience. Ask your child to repeat what you say to make sure he understands. Then invite his questions and comments.
 
Honest and open dialogue after disobedience is a powerful means of discipline. Many children would rather face a paddle than verbal confrontation. Even parental silence communicates volumes. For many children, sitting emotionally exposed before an authority figure is much more threatening and shameful than a simple spanking.
 
What is the motivating deterrent behind a verbal confrontation? The fear of being called into accountability. We find that in our relationship with the Lord. We fear Him because we are going to stand before Him someday and give an account of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:10, 11)–not to be punished but to be rewarded. Knowing that we are going to be personally accountable before the Lord is a great driving force in our lives. We want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
 
Your child feels the same way about having to answer to you. He doesn’t want to look bad in your eyes. That’s why it’s often difficult for him to confess his misdeeds in a confrontation. When you sit down with him it will be easy for him to say, “I’m sorry,” a little harder for him to say, “Will you forgive me?” and hardest for him to say, “I did it.”
 
Helping your child learn to speak the truth in love will take a lot of love and skill on your part, especially if your child is prone to lying. If you allow him to establish a pattern of deception as a means of avoiding confrontation, you are in for a lot of pain during his adolescence. You must work toward honest confession or any method of discipline will be ineffective.
 
Prayer: Lord, help me develop honesty and openness with You so I can model and teach these qualities to my children.

 


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FENCES AROUND THE LAWS


by Neil Anderson

June 3

Romans 6:14 
You are not under law, but under grace
 
In His ministry, Jesus often violated the traditional instructions surrounding the observance of the Sabbath because they were a clear distortion of God’s commandment. A common practice, born out of a desire to protect a known law or principle, is to establish additional rules to keep us from breaking the laws or violating the principles. We establish fences around the laws, but within a short time the fences become laws.
 
For instance, we are not to be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14, 15). To ensure that this doesn’t happen, we sometimes build a fence around the law by establishing additional rules such as, “You can’t associate with or date a non-Christian.” That may be advisable in some cases, but don’t make it a law. Some have gone to the extreme by requiring that their children never associate with non-Christians. This makes the Great Commission a formidable task!
 
Here’s another example. A common practice in many churches, left over from the Prohibition era, is to require total abstinence from alcohol. Again, that may be wise in many cases, but the Bible instructs against strong drink and drunkenness and teaches us to do all things in moderation. The major biblical concern is not the alcohol, but whether we’re being a stumbling block to a weaker brother. Total abstinence may actually keep some from the medicine they need or it may be detrimental when relating to a weaker brother.
 
The point is that we can easily distort the true Word of God by adding our own traditional practices and making them equal with the original intent of God. We may need to stand against Pharisaic practices as the Lord did–before we find ourselves in bondage to man-made traditions.
 
Prayer: Dear Father, make me sensitive to the spirit of Your law and nonjudgmental toward others no matter what their practices may be. Help me preserve the unity of the Spirit.


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THE LURE OF SATAN’S COUNTERFEITS


by Neil Anderson

May 29

Deuteronomy 18:9 
When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations
 
The lure of the occult is almost always on the basis of acquiring knowledge or power. We desire the power that comes from unusual insight and a knowledge of the unknown. We want to experience a power that is spiritual and supernatural in origin. In a sense these are God-given desires, but they are intended to be fulfilled by the knowledge and power which comes from God. However, Satan is busy trying to pass off his counterfeits for God’s knowledge and power as the real thing. If he can get you to accept his versions of knowledge and power, he has a foothold in your life.
 
The lure of satanic knowledge and power is nothing new. God’s people have been warned against it from the earliest times. The command in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 is as viable for us today as it was for the Israelites under Moses’ leadership. We live in a contemporary Canaan where it is socially acceptable to consult spiritists, mediums, palm-readers, psychic counselors and horoscopes for supernatural insights and abilities.
 
This was clearly brought home to me while I was finishing my doctorate in a class I took on business forecasting. One of the men in the class presented a paper describing a scenario of the future he had researched. He excitedly explained that we were on the threshold of new frontiers in the mind: astral projection, telepathic images, levitation, etc. This public school principal was promoting New Age and the occult and the other class members were eating it up.
 
After the class had enjoyed several minutes of lively discussion I asked, “In all your exploration of your subject, did you ever ask yourself if it is right for people to get involved in it?”
 
“Oh, I’m not interested in whether it’s right or not,” he replied. “I just know it works.”
 
“I have no question that it works,” I argued. “The question we need to answer is not whether or not it works, but whether or not it’s right. What you are presenting is as old as Bible history.”
 
Prayer: Create in me a constant thirst for knowing You, Lord, and a readiness to recognize and reject Satan’s counterfeits.


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CHOOSING TRUTH


by Neil Anderson

 

May 28
 
Ephesians 6:14 
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth
 
Persons in bondage are not liberated by what I do as the pastor/counselor, but what they do with my help. It’s not what I believe that breaks the bonds; it’s what they believe, confess, renounce and forgive. Notice the progressive logic of Scripture:
 
You shall know the truth , and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).
 
I am the way, and the truth , and the life (John 14:6).
 
But when He, the Spirit of truth , comes, He will guide you into all the truth (John 16:13).
 
I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. . . . Sanctify them in the truth ; Thy word is truth (John 17:15, 17.
 
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth (Ephesians 6:14).
 
Finally, brethren, whatever is true . . . let your mind dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8).
 
When Satan harasses you, you may be prone to languish in the shadows of your misery. You cry out for God to deliver you, like Jesus miraculously and instantaneously delivered the demonized people in the Gospels. But when you read through the Epistles, it is obvious that your deliverance has already been accomplished in Christ’s work on the cross and His resurrection. Since you are with Christ in the light, you never again need to live in the shadows.
 
You must choose the truth and assume your responsibility to exercise your authority and resist the devil. From your position in Christ, you must resist the devil, renounce participation in his schemes, confess sin and forgive those who have offended you.
 
Prayer: Lord, Your truth gives me life and leads me in the everlasting way. I embrace Your truth to direct my steps today.