Join the Resistance

“I have had times in my life and ministry when the burdens and the pressures seemed to be too much. Sometimes physical weariness adds to our problems and our temptation to give in to discouragement and doubt. At these times it seems that even in prayer it is impossible to rise above the load. More than once, by faith that seemed to have been imparted directly from heaven, the Lord has enabled me to claim all that I needed for body, soul and spirit. On my knees I have been given freedom and strength to pray, ‘Now, Lord, I have had enough of this. I refuse to take any more of this heaviness and oppression! This does not come from God–this comes from my enemy, the devil! Lord, in Jesus’ name, I will not take it any longer–through Jesus Christ I am victor!’ At these times, great burdens have just melted and rolled away–all at once.

“Brethren, God never meant for us to be kicked around like a football. He wants us to be humble and let Him do the chastening when necessary. But when the devil starts tampering with you, dare to resist him!” ~A.W. Tozer, “I Talk Back to the Devil”

think on these things…
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7 (NKJV)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. ~1 Peter 5:8-10 (NKJV)

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” ~Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV)

 

Some Assembly Required

I receive an email devotional from Rusty Howser. Rusty pastors a church in Vidalia, Georgia, where they grow those deliciously sweet Vidalia onions. But, I digress…

Rusty always has an encouraging word to share, but, his thought for today is especially timely, as many believers have decided that they can pretty much “go it alone,” when it comes to living the Christian life. I encourage you to take a moment and think on these things. The fact is, we need one another to fulfill our purpose and destiny as God’s people. There are many more things that I could say about this, but, for now, I’ll just let Rusty take it from here…


“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” ~Hebrews 10:24,25

“A lot of people are in the habit today of not meeting with other Christians. What a mistake this is! Some say, ‘I don’t have to go to church to be saved,’and they’re absolutely correct. But that’s not the point of gathering together. We gather together to encourage one another for starters. If you were to read the two preceding verses you would find out that it’s to encourage one another,’ to hold fast to our confession of hope,’ and, ‘to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.’ Wow! Those things are vitally important to our growth as Christians.

“We need people around us that  are going to encourage and lift us up all the time. We need to have people that we encourage and lift up. It’s a body that’s stimulating each other to do the best it can so that the whole body works efficiently. That’s what it’s all about. Ezekiel called it, ‘an exceedingly great army!’

“Some people sit home and are members of the bless me club. You know, ‘I want to receive a blessing,’ but you’re not worried about anyone else. You turn on your favorite TV Evangelist and you get your socks blessed off. That’s wonderful! But if the foot is blessed but the big toe is broke, the foot’s function is going to be limited. It won’t function properly.

“So, assembling together is not about us, it’s about family. God needs a strong healthy family more then ever, so what are you waiting for? Getup off your posterior and go find a bunch of believers that you fit into and become the vital part that you were called to be! You’ll be blessed, but, better yet, others will be blessed because of you!” ~Rusty Howser

 

You Can Quote Me

A few years ago, I was awakened early on a Sunday morning, picked up a notebook and pen, and began writing. Maybe something here will speak to your heart.

It’s true that the mind is a spiritual battleground. But it could be thought of as a playground, too–and the devil has his favorite rides.

Be aware of the times in which God speaks to you. For me, it is often in the waking moments.

God loves you, not for what you do, but for who you are.

The devil is not a creator–he is a perverter of the good things God has made.

It took the Apostle Paul a while to figure this out, too–it’s all about trusting in the grace of God.

Just about the time you think you’ve arrived…

Without God, you can do nothing of eternal consequence.

Find one person consumed with a vision for God and I’ll show you a thousand who couldn’t care less.

Seek not sympathy from the crowd. The suffering of others is great sport for the masses.

There’s always at least one Judas in the crowd–that’s true of Jezebels, too.

You’ll not know if your life has been successful until you hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

True faith is not a leap in the dark, or a step out onto thin ice. True faith rests firmly on the unchanging, eternal Word of God.

Make sure your dreams are God’s dreams for you–your thoughts, God’s thoughts about you.

It’s not only what you do for God that’s important–but why you do it.

If you are led by the Spirit of God many will not understand you, some will applaud you, a handful will admire you, and a few may want to kill you.

There are some things that God will speak to you or show you that are for you alone. Treasure them in your heart.

If God has spoken it, He will bring it to pass–but most likely not when or how you think He should.

As you grow with God, you will be amazed that the more you come to know, the more you’ll realize how little you really do know.

The world buys opinions–the wise seek Truth.

Following Jesus is an adventure of faith.

It’s true…if you don’t use it, you will lose it.

To grow, eat. To grow strong, eat and exercise.

The most profound truths are really very simple.

“If” is the biggest word in the Bible.

There’s always a reason people act the way they do.

One of the scariest thoughts for the public speaker is, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Give most of your time to the most important things.

Being led by the Spirit is the surest way to success and prosperity–and persecution, too.

There is one sure guarantee in this world–God’s love.

It’s one thing to believe in God–another to trust Him.

Many people find the way–only a few walk in it.

Criticism can hurt–but praise can prove deadly.

There’s always time to do the things God wants you to do.

The two most important things in life are knowing God’s will and doing it.

Never make lists of pros and cons. Instead, be led by the Spirit of God.

God is not influenced by opinion polls–and you shouldn’t be, either.

If you think God’s not watching or listening, well, you just don’t know God.

The gifts that God has given you are not for you–they are for you to give to someone else.

The highest calling in life is that of a servant.

It’s not how you learn, but what you learn that’s important.

There’s nobody else in the world exactly like you–and that’s probably a good thing!

Change is not always for the better.

Things that seem of little importance to you may be very important to someone else. Take time to listen.

I am convinced that nothing in life happens when you think it should or ever turns out the way you imagined it would.

© 2014 Randall Gearhart

Recapturing the Spirit of Worship

“The gospel as preached by good men in our times may save souls, but it does not create worshipers.

“Our meetings are characterized by cordiality, humor, affability, zeal and high animal spirits; but hardly anywhere do we find gatherings marked by the overshadowing presence of God. We manage to get along on correct doctrine, fast tunes, pleasing personalities and religious amusements. How few, how pitifully few are the enraptured souls who languish for love of Christ….

“If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship.”  ~A.W. Tozer, “That Incredible Christian”

think on these things…

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” ~John 4:19-24 (NKJV)

 

The Law of Unintended Consequences

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Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. “Let’s put a catchy message on our Dixon-Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils to help kids remember to stay away from drugs.” And so they did.

The upstate New York pencil pusher made their point by stamping the slogan, “Too cool to do drugs” on their writing sticks, and they were sent throughout the land. This was thought to be a noble idea. But, alas, ’twas not.

One day, an observant fourth-grade student noticed that as he sharpened his pencil, the message changed from “Too cool to do drugs” to “cool to do drugs” to“do drugs!”

D’oh!

This is a great example of “The Law of Unintended Consequences”at work.

In an article from The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, Rob Norton defines the law this way:

“The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people–and especially of government–always have effects that are unanticipated or ‘unintended.’ Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion have largely ignored it.”

Yes, choices have consequences. Take those pencils for example–what a wonderful way to get a positive message into the hands and in front of the eyes of young, impressionable children. Uh, erase that! Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe somebody should have thought this through a little more. Just maybe…just sayin’.

Now with this unfortunate misstep in mind, everyday we make decisions that affect our lives and the lives of others, and it’s impossible to anticipate or predict the resulting outcomes of our choices. What seemed like a good idea at the time can yield disastrous consequences in the long run. That’s sobering and even scary! That’s why we need God’s wisdom to make the right choices. When we seek, ask, trust, and obey, God has this amazing way of making “all things work together for our good.”

You may be facing a major decision in your life today. I encourage you to seek God first–and don’t make a move until you’ve heard His voice.

“Remember the Ticonderoga!

think on these things…
If you need wisdom–if you want to know what God wants you to do–ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do. ~James1:5-8 (NLT)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. ~Romans 8:28 (NLT)

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” ~adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns

© 2014 Randall Gearhart

The Bible Tells Me So

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“The Bible is the locus of God’s self-revelation and self-disclosure. The Scripture is God’s self-expression, his authoritative speech, and describes how we can have a saving relationship with him through Jesus Christ.

“By Scripture we know who we are, who God is. We know how to think and act in the world.  We know where we are going, that we are free, and that God loves us.  We know that God desires all men to be saved, that we can do nothing to save ourselves.  We know that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, and that Christ paid the penalty for us, and that he is coming back.” ~Patrick Schreiner

think on these things…
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do. ~2 Timothy 3:16,17 (NLT)

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. ~Romans 15:4 (NKJV)

 

I’d Rather Have Jesus

“In our time we have all kinds of status symbols in the Christian church–membership, attendance, pastoral staff, missionary offerings. But there is only one status symbol that should make a Christian congregation genuinely glad. That is to know that our Lord is present, walking in our midst! No matter the size of the assembly or its other attributes, our Lord wants it to be known by His presence in the midst. I would rather have His presence in the church than anything else in all the wide world.”
~ A.W. Tozer, “Jesus is Victor”