Saturday, December 26, 2009

# 293: Exposing the Devil's Lies

John 8:44: “When he [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” It is absolutely imperative that every serious disciple of Jesus Christ learns of all, if not most, of the shenanigans (trickery) that Satan the devil has up his sleeve. He knows what type of lies certain people will fall for. In fact, with the help of his demons and angels, he knows us as well as (if not better than) we know ourselves. That is scary to say the least. We all have weak spots in our lives; these are the areas where he is instrumental in having us do his will, often without us even having a clue about what he is up to.

Don’t ever forget this: He is an angel, though fallen, and angels have superhuman abilities and intellect. Just when we think we are doing so well in spiritual matters, this is when he can get the best of us. The only—ONLY—way we can avoid being caught up in his clutches is to take the New Testament (NT) literally, and obey everything it teaches, regardless of how unnatural it may sound on the surface. Every command is there for that very reason: to spoil the devil’s schemes.

Other than having faith in Jesus Christ and keeping God’s love in our hearts and lives, there is no better advice anyone can give you and me. Repeating, strict obedience to all of God’s Word is the only way to know we are making it almost impossible for Satan to get us under his power.

The fighting thing is that many of us are not aware of it when we are doing his dirty work because many of us are living in the status quo of organized Christianity as it is/has been presenting itself for years on end. One of the weakest areas in many (if not all) humans, among other things, is that we go for what feels good and is easy and comfortable.

Satan’s shrewdness is almost comparable to God’s knowledge of all things. That tells me that we are not fooling around with a benign pussycat when we desire to have things our way, regardless of what any 2,000-year-old book teaches. That is the reason the majority of the world’s population is unknowingly under the power of his seductive charm.

These are only a few of the attitudes the devil loves to instill in all people. He silently says: “You are very important; you must love and take care of yourself because no one else will. It doesn’t hurt to be selfish; you are only human. It is okay to step on others as long you are not too conspicuous. Your motto should be, ‘I love me; who do you love?’ The top of the mountain should be your ultimate goal; that is where life is at its best. Cheating is acceptable in this ‘dog-eat-dog world.’ Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t let God scare you about hell; there is no such place. If you want to be respected in your community, go to church and outwardly be an outstanding person, but don’t believe for a minute all the foolish garbage they preach. Porn is just as natural as Adam and Eve: It relieves much of the pressures this world puts on you. Being unfaithful to your mate is okay as long as you do it discreetly. Your ultimate goal in life must be to become wealthier than the next person. You can’t beat wealth; it is supreme. It will do you much good to profess Christianity, but by all means, don’t get serious about Jesus Christ. He is a fairytale.”

This list could be unending. But in short, Satan wants your lifestyle to be emulated by as many people as possible so that you will become their idol. “Avoid outwardly evil attitudes/actions; you will only be labeled a bad person, and we don’t want that.”

“One of the most helpful things you can believe/do to help others believe the same is to tell yourself that hell and I (Satan) don’t really exist; it is only a tactic that was made up to scare people into doing good, and believing in God and Jesus Christ.”

Another of the devil’s attitudes is: “Just because men/women are pretending to belong to Christ and performing miracles, healings and the like, don’t be in a hurry to follow their teachings.” This is where it is important to know what the NT teaches so that you can’t be tricked. The reason I say that is because the devil has power with certain individuals to do things that defy logic. One such individual/organization is Benny Hinn Ministries. He has a following in the millions worldwide. I spotted him about 16 years ago on a so-called Christian network. The way he lives, and what he preached—and is still preaching—is not in accordance with the NT; he is a good fake.

The apostle Paul gives us such a warning in 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-11. I will quote it for those who don’t have a Bible. “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. . .”

Here is another section of Scripture that will give teeth to the previous scriptures. 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. [If nothing can frighten every serious Christian into knowing what the NT teaches, verses like this should] It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”

It has been emphasized dozens of times in this blog that it is utterly imperative to be familiar with every aspect of the NT, and to know that verses such as those above do exist. The NT was written not for gullible people, but for those who don’t want to be tricked by the evil one. I could almost guarantee that everyone who says he/she is saved and does not intimately know the contents of the NT may be on a path to destruction, regardless of how religious and devoted they are.

In fact, it can be dogmatically said that behind anything done in an ungodly fashion, for selfish or hateful reasons, etc., the devil is instrumental in making it happen.

Some might ask, “Is it possible for someone to obey/practice the NT to the letter and still be a fake?” I would say no. But God reads the heart, and if the motives do not spring from love for God and our fellow man, then the answer is yes.

In conclusion: one thing is for sure—the devil knows his stuff. And for us to outwit him, we must know God’s stuff and not what many preachers teach. Believe it or not, the majority of the clergy are the devil’s most prized comrades. If we listen to them only while thinking we know what the NT teaches, we are doomed, all the while thanking God for His salvation, love and goodness.

I have been associated with several well-known preachers. Although not one of them would ever admit it, their main interest is your name on their roster and your 10%. The more you earn, the more you will tithe, and they can continue to live high on the hog with little effort. It is no wonder that many of Satan’s workers who wear the cloth, secretly and some even openly, promote wealth and prosperity, which is a no-no according to God’s word. As a matter of fact, this deception has been one of the evil one’s most gleeful lies/deceptions. To put it another way: He gets more joy in having supposedly holy people in his ranks than openly evil people.

Monday, December 14, 2009

# 292: What a Wonderful, Wonderful God We Have

Human words cannot even begin to describe the wonders of our Almighty God. The description of Him in the Christian Bible is as explicit as possible, but there is much more we would like to know about Him. Hopefully this post will reveal Him and His Son Jesus Christ in a clearer manner.

Let us examine His attributes. His love for humanity is His greatest attribute; from that love springs all his other qualities. His grace has been a subject of inquiries by many writers. The question I ask is this: How can such a complex and Almighty God lower Himself and communicate with imperfect humans?

I will be delving into an area that surpasses human knowledge. In Ephesians 3:18-19, the apostle Paul attempts to describe God’s/Christ’s love for humanity.

Even though the majority of humans will be/are destined to perish, God never desires/desired for any of them to be separated from Him. Yes, God even loved/loves all those fowl, ungodly people. But as His love dictates, without love as their main focus in life, His hands are tied, so to speak: It would be utterly impossible to allow them to enter a realm where Divine love is supreme. It is fair to say that His heart has been broken over the loss of billions of people who were created in His image.

Let us examine some of the attributes that make our God the type of wonderful God we truly need. The love He has for all humanity can never be fully expressed in human terms. Nevertheless, let us do the best we can with what He has thus far been able to reveal.

All His many holy qualities are the result of His love for humanity. Let us start with God being a just God. At the judgment, as we are being judged to determine whether we are qualified to enter heaven, every thought and action we have ever had/done will be brought out into the open. He will examine our environment/country, which was a big factor in how we lived: our mentality, to see if we understood the seriousness of living or not living, as He requires. He will also examine whether we had the opportunity to know what His laws were concerning people in countries where the name “Jesus” is not known; and He will look into things that helped us form our decisions and the people who influenced the decisions we made.

The most important thing He will examine is all our motives that made us tick. In fact, our motives are as important as our actions, if not more important. But in all things, He will always give us the benefit of the doubt, if a doubt does occur. As a skilled lawyer for the defense, God our Father will accentuate our good points and downplay the negative ones. As God, Jesus or his holy ones are judging us, the fairness that will be shown to us is beyond human comprehension. The reason for that fairness is that His mercy and compassion will always be applied in every decision even though they cannot purposely violate His holy standards.

Grace will be a big factor in the judgment. Grace, also called undeserved kindness, will cancel many wrongs we have done, though it cannot override a set pattern of arrogance. Throughout this judgment period, God truly wants us to make the grade and thus get to be with Him—a father always desires the very best for His children. None of the decisions made by the Judge will be biased.

The reason God is so wonderful is because He will is going to go to all lengths to get us to be with Him. Hell is an awful place, to say the least, and He will do everything in His power to keep us out of there. And still, the faith and love a person had in how he/she lived will be the factor that will determine the outcome. And in every case, that love stems from having faith in Jesus Christ. If that faith is real and lasting, love that springs from obedience to all Jesus commands will be the final result.

Of course, the genuineness of repentance will also be a big factor. We all have stumbled and done wrong. Therefore, all who make the grade must have had true repentance on their side—with hope and determination so that transgression will never occur again. And still, there is no rigid standard as to how many times a person can repent. But one good thing is that God knows the heart, and if leniency is required, it will be waiting for all who deserve it. That is the reason God is so wonderful. Since we know that, we must never take advantage of the wonder of God. God will do everything in His power to get us into heaven without breaking any of His holy rules. While we are here on this earth, we must also do everything in our power to do the same. During this time, Satan the devil will be there at the judgment making all forms of unfair accusations. Revelation 12:10. “. . . For the accuser of our brothers [Satan], who accuse them before our God day and night, had been hurled down.”

God, more than anyone else, knows how difficult it has been to live and do what is right in His eyes. And don’t think God won’t take that into consideration. It is not easy to go against the flow that this godless world is taking. And still, those who are devoted to what is right (genuine love for all) will somehow (with God’s help) walk the straight and narrow. Actually, our human love will be converted by the Holy Spirit into Divine love. 2nd Peter 2:4."Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."

I don’t often write on issues not mentioned in the NT, but I will bring up a subject that could be a result of God’s Divine love. There have been people who have never had the opportunity to know the name of Jesus in cultures/religions that were/are not Christian. Some of these people may have had a love that equals Christian love. By His mercy, God could retroactively, as it were, give these people a chance to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; it is not great love alone that gives salvation, but belief in the saving power of God through Jesus Christ from which that divine love springs.

One action God will not tolerate is purposely committing sins with this thought in mind: “I will sin and then just repent; I know that God will forgive me.” Of course, if it is only one occasion or two, no problem. But if it is a pattern that continues, this action will be held against anyone.

Two of the Lord’s pet peeves are laziness and mediocrity in spiritual matters. How He will respond to these is unsure, but if done over a lifetime, the judgment is almost certain. In fact, it may cancel all the good one has done. The reason I bring this up is because there are seven verses in the New Testament (NT) commanding us to make every effort in how we live our holy lives—if anyone desires the location of those verses, leave me a comment or e-mail me. These are serious verses that one may never hear from the pulpit. That is only one reason the Christian walk is not a cakewalk. If His mercy and compassion will negate this serious “neglect of duty,” it depends on the seriousness of one’s Christian history.

Laziness is a detrimental habit to have in worldly affairs, but especially in spiritual matters. Laziness is a human trait that, if not overcome, will overcome anyone addicted to it. God may be stern in these last two matters, but how His love, compassion and mercy will intercede will depend on many other circumstances. Again, it all depends on whether one’s good works were many, and where one’s heart was in this situation. Remember: Where the heart is, most often, the life will follow. There will be no mistakes made in any Divine judgments.

No two lives will be even close to each other. Therefore, the judgment process will be as lengthy and complex as anything can be. But rest assured that everyone can speak up and defend themselves. But the best part of the judgment, and I am repeating myself, is that everyone will be treated with the utmost fairness, regardless of Satan’s accusations. In fact, the ones being judged will agree with his own judgment, although she/he will not like the outcome if the frying pan is the verdict.

The best advice I can give to everyone who claims to be a Christian is to make sure you are doing your best in all spiritual matters, which will confirm your faith in Christ Jesus, as will obedience to all His commands. To help any serious Christian on the road to obedience, I recommend reading John chapters 14 and 15, then reading them again and again, and even memorizing them.

One of the most wonderful parts of the Christian life, which many never give a second thought to, is that all genuine Christians have God Almighty as a Father. Think of it this way: God the Father, through His Holy Spirit, means you personally belong to Him and He personally belongs to you. Can you imagine that God Almighty who built the universe belongs to you and me? All of God’s attention is now directed to you (plural) only, through His Holy Spirit, who now, with your permission, is in control. This last statement pertains to every person who is possessed by the Spirit and thus is a Christian. Romans 8:9. “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” That is why everyone would call our heavenly Father a wonderful, wonderful God. To get more information on your personal God, click on Post # 82: “Your Own Personal God.”

In conclusion, as much as a human father loves his children, God loves His children immeasurably more, even if on occasion the children may inadvertently disappoint the Father. That is only one reason why we have such a wonderful, wonderful God, who desires only the best for His children. God is on your side and mine. Let us make certain that we are on His side!