Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 25, 2018

Today's Reading:

1 John 4

Ezra 1-2

Psalm 91

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Of all the Chapters in the Bible, Psalms 91 is my favorite. It was one of the first chapters which I memorized, as a child. And it was one of the first chapters which I taught to my children as well. So, today, let's praise Yahweh, be encouraged as we find peace in His Promise found in Psalm 91.

Peace, dear one! Yahweh has not forgotten you! Stay under the shelter of His Wings and all will be well.

Also, if you want to memorize this passage, I encourage you to get the music CD and piano music (it's a set) from Thy Word Creations. That's what I used with my children.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 24, 2018

Today's Reading:

1 John 3

2 Chronicles 36

Psalm 90

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

It may be argued that there is no more powerful chapter to
prove that Yahweh intends for His people to overcome sin than 1 John chapter 3. In this chapter, John just came right out and said it plainly, leaving no wiggle room. The people of Yahweh are to stop sinning, through the power of God.
1 John 3:7-10 "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He  that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."
What? We're supposed to overcome our bad habits and gain victory over our Law-breaking (by definition, sin is transgression of God's Law - 1 John 3:4)? "That's perfectionism!" liberal Christianity argues. Well, dear ones, I didn't say it - John did. 

But the idea that God's people are to live as "new creatures" with our old, sinful ways "past away" is portrayed plainly in Scripture time and again. Yet, it is commonly believed that the Good News of the Gospel frees us from the Law. In effect, this means that we can continue sinning (breaking God's Law) right up to His Return. But is that the good news? Yahshua saved me, yet I have no power for a changed life? I must still live just as weakly as I did before?



The most often repeated teaching throughout the Christian world is the “Good News” of the Gospel. Ask most any Christian to rattle off a definition of the Gospel message, and he or she will likely be able to comply without very much difficulty. The Gospel, by the commonly understood definition, is the powerful “Good News” of the death, burial, and resurrection of Yahshua (Jesus) Christ that provides full and free deliverance from the penalty of sin according to the grace of God through faith in Him.   

   

Yet, in spite of the “power” advertised in this message, the number of shipwrecked  lives among Christians today is staggeringly high. Church-attending Christians struggle with many ungodly situations like: adultery, substance abuse, addictions of all kinds, pregnancy out-of-wedlock, physical and emotional abuse, and destructive demonic compulsions of all kinds.

The leaders of Christian churches today are also succumbing to the devil’s enticements. In his book, Men's  SecretWars (Baker/2006), Patrick Means reveals a confidential survey of pastors and church lay leaders. Sixty-four percent of these Christian leaders admit that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to, the use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or other secret, sexual activity.

In our own experience, we have learned of church elders with gambling addictions. There are church members, and even pastors, who struggle to hide the immoral behavior of their teenagers. Numerous “Christian” spouses abuse their family members, and the list goes on and on…

It is no wonder that from the outside, the worldly person can see no real difference between the professed    Christians and himself. The church-goers have the same weaknesses and failings as those lost in the world. Where is the life-change? Where is the evidence in the “born-again” life revealing that the Gospel is powerful? 

Most excuse these failings in Christianity as being proof that there need not be a life change. For “sinners are saved by grace” and “churches are hospitals for the spiritually sick.” But, in fact, churches today are not like spiritual “hospitals” at all, for the spiritually sick find no cure there. Rather, churches have become more like thinly veiled support groups for the spiritually dead.  And all of the singing, Bible study groups, clubs, and church classes do no more to bring real life-changing vitality to these poor souls than does performing C.P.R. on a mummified corpse.

So what’s wrong with Christianity today that it has left its adherents so little help for the here and now? The   problem has largely been a lack of knowledge of the full Gospel message.  As it says in Hosea 4:6, “My people are    destroyed for lack of knowledge…” The knowledge that is missing in this victory-less version of “Christianity” is the     understanding of the other half of the Gospel message. 

The Gospel is not the Good News that Yahshua (Jesus) died to save people in their sins. The Gospel is the Good News that Yahshua died to save us from our sins.  Thus, it isn’t just about the fact that Christ died and rose again, the Gospel is also about how the precious Name and  Blood of our dear Lamb is powerful today. It is about how through the power of Yahshua, we can walk free from the sins and demonic bondage that have held us enslaved. 

As it says in John 8:34-36:  


“Yahshua answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  

And that really is Good News! Presenting only part of the Gospel, as much of Christianity does, is really far more serious than it may sound at first. For telling only a partial truth is really leaving one to believe a lie.  Thus, in sharing only part of the Gospel, Christianity has largely failed to share the true Good News at all, rather what is being taught is a perverted teaching—it is, in fact, the false Gospel the Apostle Paul warned us against in Galatians 1:3-8:

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Sovereign Yahshua Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father… I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed…”

Here, in Paul’s warning against this false gospel, that had begun to be shared even in his day, is a key point: the false gospel is really a “perversion” of the true Gospel message. To “pervert” in this Scripture is from the Greek word metastrepho (from which we get metastasis) meaning: “to turn… transmute or corrupt…” In other words, to “pervert” the Gospel truth is to mix it with error, causing what was once good to become corrupted. 


Not only does Paul warn against the false gospel, he also gives us keys to identifying the perversion in the false gospel teaching. They are found in 2 Timothy 3:1-7:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away... Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”


Let us take a moment to look carefully at this important description of false Christianity as detailed by Paul in the above text. There are several characteristics which deserve our attention, as they are fruits of the false gospel.



1. The above text refers to professed Christians, because it states that these people “have a form of     godliness,” or claim to be and look like Christians; “but deny the power thereof,” meaning they do not have a transformed life to accompany the claim.


2. This Scripture is discussing a condition of professed followers of God at the end of time, because it states that this will take place in the “last days”.


3. The characteristics of these nominal “converts” are the same character traits one would find in anyone enslaved to sin and under bondage to the destroyer of souls.



The identifying mark in the false gospel is its lack of life-changing power. As it points out in 2 Timothy, those caught up in its teachings will find they are still just as selfishly motivated as they were before being “saved.” They are still disobedient, unthankful, and unholy. And while they do have some affection for God, the truth is that they love   pleasure more. It is this sick sort of pseudo-Christianity that is giving Yahshua a weak image, rendering the life-changing power and Person of Christ virtually impotent. 


But the real Good News is that this is a FALSE teaching! Yahshua is our mighty Deliverer! He has come to set the captives free. He not only forgives us our past sins, but He also provides the power now to deliver us from every   demonic tendency and every satanic enslavement.  As it says so beautifully in Isaiah: 

“Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith Yahweh, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children” (Isaiah 49:24-25).
The victorious Christian life isn’t about human weakness. It’s about our Heavenly Father’s strength. The Good News is that Christians aren’t supposed to be conquered by satanic suggestion and sinful inherited tendencies.  

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).  
Our Heavenly Father expects us to overcome against every demonic downfall!  As Paul put it, 

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
This Heavenly expectation of weak and sinful beings should not serve to discourage us. Rather, it should be taken as a great comfort, because our Heavenly Father never expects anything of us that His power isn’t present to accomplish.  The very presence of the command to overcome is evidence of His promise to enable us to do so.


This is the other half of the Gospel message. Not only does the Gospel truth encompass justification (being made just as if we had not sinned), it also    includes sanctification (being set free from sin and devoted to a Heavenly purpose).  All of Heaven is committed to working out this wonderful plan in you. As it says in Jude 1:24:

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the Presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”
What does this mean to the worried Christian parent of a rebellious teen? What does this mean to the secretly addicted churchgoer? What does this mean to the church leader eaten up inside with bitterness and resentment? It means that the Saviour has the power to restore your life and home in righteousness. He can produce the beautiful Fruit of the Spirit in you while shattering these sinful chains that bind your soul.


Ultimately, the incredible Good News about the Gospel is that we can overcome through the power of Christ. Once we grasp the personal reality of Christ’s ministry on our behalf, we never need fall prey to another temptation again!  We are forever changed through what He accomplished here as our Example of victorious living, through what He did for us on the Cross as our substitutionary Sacrifice, and through what He is now doing for us as our great Heavenly High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). This is the vital missing other half to the Good News of the Gospel.


1 John 3:7-10 "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might  destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 23, 2018

Today's Reading:

1 John 2

2 Chronicles 35

Psalm 89:38-52

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

One of the most difficult things to face, as a parent, is the awareness that our beloved children are not right with God. In 1 John 2, we find the warning that we are not to "love" the "world" nor the "things" that are in the world. And if we love the world and its things the love of the Father is not in us. 

Bleakly, many of us are faced with the dreaded awareness that our children simply do not love Yahweh - but rather love the world. What are the signs? Maybe they are "good people" in most every way except that they do not worship God, keep His appointments, or spend any time with Him at all in order to foster a love relationship with Him. Maybe they are "successful" in their jobs and worldly pursuits, but their focus is on keeping up with Jones, paying bills, finding a love-relationship, choosing a career path. And when they come home at night from all their daily pursuits, they "unwind" with some RP (roll-playing) game online or watch a movie...  But whatever it is that they are doing, God simply isn't part of it. You may know what I'm talking about all too well... 

You are torn between being proud of your children for being "decent" people, while being deeply disappointed at their decided lack of interest in God, a Biblical-world-view, or anything spiritual which you tried to raise them to understand. You notice this "God-less-ness"...  It worries you...  It breaks your heart even! What happened to that precious little one that you used to take to church or read Bible stories with? Where is the knowledge of God in your children now? Are those seeds you spent their childhood sowing simply gone?

If God is the most central part of your own personal world, you find yourself loving your children (of course! - and deeply), but you cannot relate to them as deeply as you would if you shared the same values and beliefs. You try to comfort yourself with the belief that you did your best. Maybe you quote the Scripture that if you train up a child in the way he should go he will not depart from it...  You wonder if that means you will have to wait until your children are in their 50's before they will return to God and the Truth of His Word. What if the world doesn't last long enough?

Then guilt eats away at your soul. Deep down you worry that maybe you can't even claim that "train up a child" verse from Proverbs 22:6. After all, you look at your own failings in raising your children (let's be honest, we have all fallen far short of the perfect parenting mark!) You worry that maybe you didn't "train up a child in the way he should go..." You see-saw back and forth in a useless inner turmoil unsure whether you did enough.

But the reality is that all of this sorrow and inner turmoil can be a distraction. Its time to face facts and do something productive for the saving of your children. Instead of waffling around on the issue of whether or not they're saved or lost, fact up to it. If your children simply know of God, but do not honor or worship Him; if they are aware of Him, but do not have a personal relationship with Yahshua; they are not spiritually safe. In fact, they cannot be saved without have a personal connection with Christ as their personal Redeemer. So, the first step in being effective is to recognize the reality that they may be spiritually lost. Once the awareness of the full reality is allowed to sink in, we as parents, are motivated to stop "accepting" and "ignoring" what's going on with our kids. And we are motivated to move into spiritual S-O-S mode in daily prayer for the salvation of our children.

If your children are spiritually dead - ask Yahweh, Who raises the dead to raise them up (Hebrews 11:35).

If your children's hearts are far from you, as their parent, because they have rejected your Biblical world view - ask Yahweh to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers (Malachi 4:6).

Pray for your children, twice a day...  Labor in the prayer trenches on their behalves. Claim the Saviour's Blood over them while they are not repenting for themselves. Stand in the gap! Commit to praying twice a day for your children - not some weak, mamby-pamby prayer...  but full-on intercession. Here are some prayers to pray, first for yourself, and then for your children:

Warfare Prayer for Yourself
Dear Heavenly Father, as You have instructed me to do in James 4:7, I now submit myself to You and to Your will for my life today. As it is my desire to be wholly Thine, I lay my sins down before the foot of the Cross and seek complete forgiveness and cleansing from the unrighteousness of ______________ (List your sins completely and specifically at this point in this private prayer with God.) 
I now claim Your promise of 1 John 1:9, which says that if I confess my sins You are faithful and just to forgive me my sins to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Thank You for doing this mighty work in me just now.
I am currently under attack in the area of ____________ (state the Fruit-Test-failing emotion or other form of temptation at this time). Heavenly Father, because of what Jesus has done for me in defeating the enemy, You have promised to give me authority over all the hosts of hell in Matthew 12:29 and Mark 16:17. Thank You for these promises, and in Christ’s holy Name I claim them now.
Satan, where you have been attacking me in the area of ______________ I resist you in the mighty and powerful Name of Jesus Christ, my Saviour. In the Name of Jesus, I bind and rebuke you, Satan, and I command you to leave me. You and all your demons must leave me right now, because of the victory Jesus has claimed for me at Calvary.
Heavenly Father, I know that it is Your will for me to be victorious in this struggle with the enemy. Thus, I know I am praying according to Your will as I claim the precious blood of Jesus to be a mighty protecting shield be-tween me and the enemy at this time. And I ask that You will surround me with a wall of holy angels with flaming swords to drive back the forces of darkness that have been assaulting me in this way. By faith, I know that You are already fighting for me. And I thank You for this and for the deliverance You are providing me at this very moment.
All praise and glory for this victory I render rightly unto You my Heavenly King. For it is through Your power that I am enabled to stand right now. Thank You for Your love and for helping me to escape the onslaught of Satan and his evil angels. Thank You also for the freedom and victory You are giving me in answer to this prayer. In Jesus’s Name I ask it, Amen. 
Warfare Prayer for Your Child(ren)
(It is recommended that you pray the warfare prayer for yourself first before praying this prayer on another’s behalf). Dear Heavenly Father, in prayer I now come before Your throne because of Your wonderful invitation in Hebrews 4:16, where You have invited me to come boldly before Your Throne to find grace and help in time of need. Thank You for this promise and this invitation. I do indeed seek Your grace and help on behalf of ______________.
He/she does not realize it, but he/she is under attack from the enemy in the area of ________________. Thus, I come to You heavenly Father to pray and intercede for _____________ today. It may be that _____________’s own choices of friends or influences is giving Satan the legal right to attack as heavily as he is. Thus, as Hosea prayed for Gomer, I ask that You place a hedge of thorns around ________________. Cause the path of sin and all unholy influences to become a source of irritation to ________________. May he/she not find peace or comfort on this destructive path. 
Satan, where you are working to destroy ________________, in the Name and Blood of Jesus Christ, I bind and rebuke you and command you to take your hands off of him/her. Your legal rights to destroy ______________ are cancelled by the fact that I claim the sacrifice and victory of Jesus on ___________’s be-half against you. 
Heavenly Father, I ask that You will anoint _______________’s eyes with eye-salve that he/she may have spiritual discernment to recognize the spiritual battle that is going on. Please take the demonic scales from his/her eyes at this moment. May he/she have wisdom to recognize his/her need of You. Please pour out Your Spirit upon __________ in a mighty way just now to convict of sin and lead this precious one back into a right relationship with You. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on ___________’s behalf I claim His victory on the Cross for him/her. I ask that Your Holy Spirit will have all legal rights because of Christ’s sacrifice to work in a powerful way upon ________________’s mind. 
Draw _______________ to You in any means You see fit and most effective. Please spare nothing, but rather do all that heaven can do to save ______________________ from this and all demonic strongholds and influence to the saving of his/her soul. 
Thank You for hearing and answering this prayer. In Jesus’s Name I ask it, Amen.
Keep this up day-by-day. As Job prayed daily for his wayward adult children, don't quit! No one on earth is better able to pray for your children's salvation than you. Cry out to God for the strength and then stay in the prayer trenches on their behalves. And may God bless you for it as you stand in the gap, Heaven will gain the legal right to interpose in your children's lives. Prayer...  its the key. And be encouraged!


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 22, 2018

Today's Reading:

1 John 1

2 Chronicles 34

Psalm 89:19-37

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In our reading from Psalm 89, we find the powerful promises which Yahweh made to David. Yahweh promised to sustain, amidst his enemies. He would prosper David and keep him. From David's end, Yahweh desired for him to stand faithful, no matter what. This perspective of David, his faithfulness to Yahweh, and the trials of being surrounded by enemies, reminds me of Daniel in Babylon. 

For all of us who love and follow Yahweh today, we have many points of inspiration and encouragements from both Daniel and David. We live in modern Babylon. And just as Daniel stood faithful amidst the pressures of Babylon, we too are empowered to be true to Yahweh while living in a culture that is saturated with Babylon.

Let's take a moment to consider what it means to stand faithful amidst the paganism and pressures of Babylon, by looking at the life and example of Daniel. This beautiful perspective on the life of Daniel is found in the Benham brothers' book, Living Among Lions: How to Thrive Like Daniel in Today's Babylon.

Daniel, whose name means "God is my judge," was likely a teenager when he was taken captive to Babylon. The southern kingdom of Judah - like the northern kingdom of Israel before it - had sinned against God and fallen under His judgment. After years of continued rebellion, even though God had sent prophets to warm them and encourage their repentance, the people continued in their depravity. So God raised up an enemy to defeat them and remove them from the Land of Promise.
The king of Babylon took many Jews into exile, choosing the "best of the best" to train and then serve in his court. Four of them were young men named Daniel (renamed Belteshazzar) and his three friends - Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-nego). They were from the royal bloodline and had mad-crazy wisdom and skills. They were the millennial rock stars of their day.
Upon arriving in Babylon, they were taken into the king's court for three years to be indoctrinated into their new culture. They would be served the finest food and wine available. Every day would be an all-you-can-eat buffet from the best five-star chefs in the region. Daniel and his buddies lived in the lap of luxury, treated with privilege and surrounded by the brightest and most beautiful people in the "Hollywood" of their day. Surely the temptation to melt into their new, pagan culture was present on many levels (Daniel 1:3-7).
But right out of the gate, these guys kept their form... Though they mixed in - learning the nation's history, principles, and language; respecting its government as much as possible; and versing themselves in all things Babylonian - Daniel and his friends still refused to blend in. They distinctly remained God's men (Daniel 1:8-17).
This concept of mixing without melting reminds us of a quote most often attributed to Thomas Jefferson but that is really of unknown origin: "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."...
At the time of Daniel's deportation in 605 BC, Babylon was the most powerful empire in the world - the cultural center for art and industry, creating great wealth and luxury for its citizens. This environment, coupled with blatant idolatry and fascination with the occult, created the perfect storm of sin and rebellion among its people.
...We googled phrases related to "comparing America to Babylon" and got almost twenty million results! Although there are major differences between America and Babylon, there are some alarming similarities: wealth, world influence, natural beauty, sexual promiscuity, increasing paganism, and more. So, if Daniel could live faithfully there, we can do it here.
During their three years of training, Daniel and his friends were fully indoctrinated into Babylonian culture, one that did not and would not honor their God. Persecution in those days wasn't a rude tweet or a mean Facebook post but actual, straight-up, cold-blooded execution.
These four young men knew God. They had studied the Law and the prophets and knew the Scriptures well. They were familiar with the Psalms, including the passage in which King David wrote: 
I am surrounded by lions;
I lie down with those who devour men.Their teeth are spears and arrows;Their tongues are sharp swords (Psalm 57:4 HCSB) 
David's God was their God. They were going to live faithfully just as David did before them, even among the lions... 
And because Daniel didn't conform, but stood faithful, the king of Babylon - and the pagan culture - encountered the true God through God's man. Because Daniel himself was transformed, he was able to transform his world!

So whatever you're facing today, remember what God can do through one submitted life. Can one person really make a difference in a world as pagan as ours? Yes! As Daniel demonstrated, Babylon can be transformed by the power of Yahweh in one fully submitted, completely Spirit-filled life! Won't you be that one? 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, September 21, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 21, 2018

Today's Reading:

John 21

2 Chronicles 33

Psalm 89

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Today, I would just like to focus on praising Yahweh. Praise is the Place where Yahweh is Enthroned. Praising Him transports us instantly into the very Presence of the Almighty. Psalm 89 begins with one of my favorite praise passages:
"I will sing of the mercies of Yahweh for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations."
What has Yahweh done for you?  I'd like you to think about it, and then bless us all by sharing some of your personal testimony in the Comments at the end of this blog.

I'll start us off with making known the mercies of Yahweh and declaring His faithfulness in my life.  

The most dramatic mercy of Yahweh in my life was shown 1) at Calvary and 2) in the story recorded in my book, Escaping from the Dragon's Jaws.

Remembering the insidious attack of the enemy on my life makes me grateful to my Heavenly king. For the devil sent a woman, who was a high (low) witch, to feign Christianity, become my prayer partner, and infiltrate herself into my life and family deeply enough to become my best friend. 

Her influence was dangerous - deadly. And my life quickly left the realm of the "normal" and became increasingly paranormal. Science-fiction like things became commonplace. And yet, I was deeply deceived by this time. I was losing my soul.

Over a couple of years of continually planting seeds in my mind of ideas which were of witchcraft, but which were always couched in Scripture (twisted Scripture), making them appear right, this woman was used of Satan to remove me from the path of Scriptural truth and to nearly break up my marriage and destroy my family and ministry.

But God interposed. He stepped in and grabbed me as I was falling off the cliff and into a dark abyss from which I would never have seen the light again! He pulled me back, when I was too foolish and deceived to cry out to Him to do so. He saved me, when I didn't even realize that I needed saving.

But now, looking back on my story and experience, I can join with Psalmist to say, "Yeah, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death..." I have experienced the saving power of my Heavenly Shepherd's Rod. He reached down and pulled me up from the brambles of hell which were choking the life out of me. He carried me. He redeemed me! Yes:
"I will sing of the mercies of Yahweh for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations." 
Now, won't you encourage us with your testimony? What has Yahweh done to demonstrate His mercies to you?

Daily Bible Reading - September 20, 2018

Today's Reading:

John 20:19-31

2 Chronicles 32

Psalm 88

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Sennacherib's attack against Hezekiah and the kingdom of Judah was most insidious, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 32. It struck me how similar was his attack to a spiritual warfare battle which we face, when Sennacherib's messengers called out to God's people with words to get them to doubt the reality and delivering power of Yahweh. 

"Where is your God?" he asked. "Do you really think he can save you from me? Look what I have done to other nations! Their gods couldn't save them from me!"

What a horrible - satanic - thing to do! And how was Sennacherib's demonic doubt campaign defeated? Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah prayed - crying out to Yahweh for deliverance. And Yahweh heard their prayers and dealt with Sennacherib.

This story is much more than a historical account. It is a spiritual warfare lesson. Because the way Sennacherib attacked Judah is the way the devil attacks the people of God all the time!

So, how can we respond effectively to the words of satan, when he tries to convince us that God can't help us - and that we'd better let him have his way or he'll crush us like bugs? 
Let's look at the steps in the story from 2 Chronicles. 

Often times, when we are hit with a spiritual warfare encounter, we think we've already failed because the instant the attack comes, we don't sense peace - we are in distress. Judah, Hezekiah, and Isaiah were not peaceful about the words of Sennacherib either. They were troubled, prayerful and weeping!  

Similarly, when you are in a spiritual warfare attack, do not expect to start with peace. When you get troubled or upset, when attacks come, do not try to start with making your heart feel at peace. This is a mistake many people make. They try to conjure up some kind of feeling of peace within and succeed only in upsetting themselves more. Do not start with peace. Start with truth. Work your way back down through truth and righteousness and you will come out at peace. This is the way to begin.

Now let u s take a closer look at this battle. If we remind ourselves of these great truths, they ought to set our hearts at rest. But we all know that even though these truths often will set our hearts at rest, there are times when they do not. We are still depressed and filled with doubts.

Perhaps there is no good reason for us to feel this way. We may wake up in a blue mood even though we were happy when we went to bed the night before. There may be no good reason for our depression. There is nothing wrong physically (the physical elements of our lives can have a very great bearing on our feelings), but still we feel depressed.

Well, what is happening? We are experiencing What Paul calls here "the flaming darts of the evil one." These stratagems of Satan come to us in various forms. Sometimes they are evil thoughts and imaginations which intrude suddenly upon our thinking, often at the most incongruous times. We may be reading the Bible; we may be bowed in prayer; we may be thinking about something else entirely when all of a sudden filthy, lewd thought flashes into our mind. What is this? One of the fiery darts of the evil one. We ought to recognize it as such.

Sometimes these darts come as doubts and even blasphemies--sudden feelings that perhaps this business of Christianity is nothing after all but a big hoax or a dream. Perhaps we feel that it can all be explained psychologically or that Jesus Christ was a victim of self-delusion. Perhaps the world is not the way we have been taught to believe it is, and things are not the way the Bible says. You have doubtless experienced these times of doubt. All Christians have had this sudden feeling that perhaps it is all a fantasy. Again, these fiery darts may come in the form of sudden fears, anxieties, fleeting sensations that things are all wrong. We cannot seem to shake them off.
The Devil's Whispers

These feelings, in whatever form they may take, are always from the same source. They are the fiery darts of the wicked one. We are the biggest fools on earth if we do not see them in that light and deal with them as such. And in whatever form they may come to us, they always have two characteristics. First, they seem to rise out of our own thoughts. They seem to come right from our inner selves. We feel, "This is something I am thinking," and oftentimes it is a shocking thing.

But the Devil is really whispering to us. He is influencing us. Ah yes, but it doesn't seem like that to us. In our ignorance and innocence we blame ourselves: "How can I think a think like this if I am a Christian? Can a Christian have such a lewd and filthy thought as this? Can I really be a Christian if I think like this? I must not be one after all."

This, of course, is exactly why the Devil sent those thoughts to you. He wants you to think that way. If it is doubt (and we are always exposed to doubts, these sudden attacks upon faith, these sudden feelings that Christianity is not as sure and certain as it once seemed to us), we say to ourselves', "I must have already lost my faith or I would not think like this." What is the matter with me? How can I be a Christian and even have such a bought?" So we try to repress the thought. We think, There must be something wrong; we should not feel like this," and we push the thought down in-to our subconscious. But it is still there, lurking underneath, and we feel dishonest because we are not even willing to look at it and face it. This takes its toll on us in physical ways as well s in mental and emotional strain and tension.

We feel uncertain and confused because we are convinced that the opposite of faith is doubt. We think if we have doubts we cannot have faith and if we have faith we do not have doubts. Therefore, if we have doubts, we cannot be men and women of faith. We fail to recognize this as the lie of the Devil.

The second characteristic is that doubts are always an attack upon our position in Christ as the truth--as our  righteousness and our peace. These darts are always an insinuation of doubt about those matters-never about anything else. They are an attack upon those areas of faith.

This is always the way of the Devil. He said to Eve in the garden, "Has God said unto thee--did God say that?" There is the implication of doubt. He said to Yahshua in the temptation in the wilderness, "If thou be the Son of God, then turn these stones into bread." If! There is the insinuation that these things are not true. This is the way he raises doubts, creates guilt, arouses fear. These are the attacks of the evil one.
The Quenching Process

Now, what are we to do? How are we to combat these attacks successfully? Well, the Apostle says, "Take the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts, of the evil one." Notice that he did not say the "shield of belief." We have already reminded ourselves of our belief when we have put on the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and--the equipment of the gospel of peace. That is our belief in what Christ is to us.

But faith is more than that. This is very important to see. Faith is acting upon belief in Christ and in His Word. Faith is decision, action, resolution. Faith is saying, "Yes, I believe the Word of God is the truth. Yahshua is my Righteousness, He is my peace. Therefore this, and this, and this, must follow." Faith is working out, the implications of belief. When you say "therefore" you move from belief into faith. Faith is particularizing; it is taking the general truth and applying it to the specific situation and saying, "If this be true, then this must follow." That is the shield of faith.

Now, have you learned how to take the shield of faith when doubts come? Do you say, "Christ is the truth. He is the basic revelation of things which really are. He has demonstrated it. Therefore, I cannot accept the thought that the Word of God is a hoax. I cannot believe that the Bible is the truth and that my doubts are true, too. I have committed myself to Christ because I have been persuaded that He has demonstrated truth fully. I stand on that ground. Therefore. I must reject this insinuation."

Do you reason that "the Word is the truth? Therefore I cannot believe this subtle philosophy which exalts man and makes God unnecessary in human affairs. I must reject it. Since I have found Christ true, I cannot believe this sudden feeling I have of unreality. I must regard it as what Christ says it is: from the Devil. God's Word says he is a liar from the beginning. Therefore this is a lie and I reject it."

Is this the way you think it through? Our problem is, that we have become so accustomed to believing our feelings as though they were facts. We never examine them. We never take them and look at them and ask, "Is this true?" We simply I say, "I feel this way. Therefore it must be true." This is why so many are constantly defeated; they accept their feelings as facts.
Rather, we are to say, "Christ is my righteousness. I am linked with Him. I am one with Him. His Life is my life and my life is His Life. I stand upon the Foundation of His Word. Therefore, I cannot believe this lie that these evil thoughts are my thoughts. They are not my thoughts at all. They are thoughts which come because of another force. It is not my thinking at all. No, it is the Devil again. I do not want these thoughts. I do not believe them. I reject them. I do not want them in my thinking; therefore the are not mine!" With this, we are using the shield of faith.

Using the shield of faith means refusal to feel condemned or to feel guilty. "God loves me. He says so. He says nothing will change that. Nothing will separate us! All right, then I will believe that, and I will not believe the thought that God does not love me and want me." You see, you cannot entertain both thoughts. "No man can serve two masters."

Christ is the ground of my peace. Therefore it is his responsibility to take me through every situation. So I  cannot, I will not believe this fear, this sudden anxiety which grips my heart. I will not believe that it is from me. It is simply sent to shake my confidence in Christ. It is an attempt to destroy my peace. But Christ is adequate for even this, and I refuse to change.
Proof of Faith's Reality

This is what James calls "resisting the devil." This is the shield of faith. It is refusing to believe the lie that if you have doubts you cannot have faith. Because that is a lie. Doubt is always an attack on faith. The fact that you have doubts proves that you have faith. They are not opposites at all. Doubt is the proof of the reality of faith. Therefore reexamine the ground of your faith and reassert it. Remember that feelings are not necessarily facts at all.

And James says further that if you keep on resisting the Devil he will flee from you (James 4:7). Think of that! He will flee from you. Resist the Devil again and again every time an evil thought or doubt comes back. Refuse to give up your position. And, sooner or later, inevitably, the doubts will clear, your feelings will change, the attacks cease, and you will be back again in the sunshine of faith and the experience of the love and joy of God.
That is what Paul is talking about when he says, "Take the shield of faith. It is able to quench every fiery dart of the evil one."   (adapted from on online article by Ray Stedman)
So when the devil comes to you with the insidious doubt tactics of Sennacherib, remember the stand up on the Word of God - and resist him. Pray! And believe God's Promises. The fiery darts of the wicked one can only burn, defeat, and destroy if you let them in! So, instead, use the shield of faith in God - and in His Word.