HEART, YOUR DESTINY The

Sat. March 30, 2019 YOUR HEART, YOUR DESTINY The state of your heart determines your place on the earth. It takes an open heart to open up your earth. If your heart is closed, your earth will be closed. The purer the heart, the greater your possession on the earth. Matthew 5:8. To the pure all things are pure and to the impure, all things are impure. What the engine is in a car is what the heart is to a destiny. Destiny will crash if the heart is broken. The race of life will slow down and be scuttled if the engine is not sound. Everything that is wrong in life has its root in the heart, you cannot possess a right heart and end with a wrong destiny. Brethren, work on your heart, make it pure to prepare you for a brighter future. Occupying your heart with irrelevant and complicated thoughts has significant negative effects with the evil thoughts occupying your heart. Learn to focus on God with positive expectations in every circumstances. Meditation Keep your heart to secure your destiny. Proverbs.4:23 .

4 Reasons God May Remove Someone From Your Life

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Here are seven reasons God may remove someone from your life.

Took them for Granted

This one may be the most hurtful. When I was in high school, I dated a beautiful girl and took her for granted. I would just show up on Friday nights to take her out on a date with my friends. She never quite knew what time I’d show up. I just knew she’d be there…until one Friday night. I came to her home and realized that her family had moved. I found a “For Sale” sign in the front yard. I had waited a whole week to call her…but it was one day too many. God may have removed her from my life because I took her for granted. I didn’t deserve her. God knew I wasn’t good for her then, still living as a unsaved young man.

To Be With Him

Years ago, a young pastor and his wife tragically lost their young child by a freak accident at home. I don’t think anyone of us can understand what that must feel like. There may be some who have been through such a tragic loss, but when a young child dies, it’s even harder to accept because they had their whole life in front of them. What about all of the missed Christmas’, birthday parties, bubble baths, and high school proms? This might be the most difficult thing for anyone to accept, so why does God remove someone so precious from our lives? I don’t know. Maybe it’s so that they can be with Him…and we too will be with Him…and them, someday! That’s the hope believers have.

When God removes someone from our lives, maybe it’s because He knows that they’re toxic for us. God knows who will be a bad influence and knows what trouble this might bring, so God, in His wisdom, removes someone that we might not even realize is dragging us down…maybe into sinful practices. If you knew something was wrong with your car, you’d probably take it into a mechanic and have them look it over, so God sometimes looks over our situation and knows that we are sometimes better off without someone, so God simply removes them from our life. Remember in the first paragraph? God removed me from my old girlfriend’s life because I was toxic to her and also took her for granted.

Someone Else

God may remove someone from your life in order to bring someone else in. That’s right! Sometimes, people can dominate a relationship. They might be people who have a lot of needs, and a few people I have counseled have told me that they are being used, and they finally had enough. They couldn’t continue the relationship because it was always a one-way street, so when that person leaves, pray to God for someone that will help you grow as a person and in the faith.

Bonus Content

Addition by Subtraction

Not long ago, one of our church members left our congregation. This person had been criticizing almost everyone you could think of. I got calls from him at various times about “such and such is doing this or that,” but I’d usually find out later he was assuming the wrong thing, and assuming things can be very thin ice to walk on. If we guess wrong, then we’ve believed the worst in that person, so I believe God removes certain members who are grumbling because it threatens to infect the whole church, so occasionally, the church adds members by subtraction. When the “constant grumbler” finally left, a couple of new people showed up, and older members starting coming back; that’s addition by subtraction. I truly believe God removed that person in the best interests of the church.

Bad Company Corrupts

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals” (1st Cor 15:33). Rather than do those things we used to do in running with the world, we are commanded to “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph 5:11). If we “expose them” they are not going to like that, and they will leave you as fast as they can, but that’s okay, so “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness” (2nd Cor 6:14)? The answer is nothing, so if a person professing faith in Christ is living in sin, expose them. That may cause them to be removed from your life, which is certainly for your own good.

He Knows the Future

God can see down the corridors of time, but more accurately, God has already been to the end and the beginning ,and knows every single thing that’s going to happen in your life, so when we lose a friend or even a spouse from our life, we have to trust the sovereignty of God. God will take every single second of our lives and use it for good, even if it’s really, really bad at the time (Rom 8:28). For example, God would know that in about 4 years, you’ll get your degree, but if your best friend is still around for those 4 years, they might try to talk you out of finishing college and say it’s just a big waste of time and money….and you might believe them. Losing a special friend can really crush us, but grapes that are never crushed can never make the wine; wheat that’s not ground can never make the bread. God knows that our pain will be our ultimate gain. I trust Him…more than a million best friends.

Conclusion

The Bible tells us that there is “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17), and “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” or sister (Prov 18:24b). Do you have that kind of friend? If not, find one, and to find a friend, just be a friend, because friends become more valuable with every passing day.


5 Signs You Are Dating the Wrong Person

5 Signs You Are Dating The Wrong Person
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Here are five signs you may be dating the wrong person.

It’s All About Them

If you’re dating someone who’s only interested in going where they want to go and doing what they want to do without asking your opinion, you might be dating the wrong person. A great sign is when the person you’re dating asks you what you want to do, even if it’s not their thing. But you may be dating the wrong person if that person makes themselves the center of the universe and only does what they want to do.

No Passion for the Things of God

If you’re dating someone and notice there is never any conversation about God or Jesus or they’re not interested in church, reading and studying the Bible, or prayer, that should bring up some red flags. Whoever says they have a hunger for God will have a hunger for His Word and they’ll desire to talk with Him in prayer. If all these things are absent, you might be dating the wrong person.

Never Shares His or Her Faith

Have you ever been with other Christians who have publicly shared their faith? Let me tell you, it’s not an easy thing to do. But if you’re dating someone who is embarrassed to pray in public before a meal or never even speaks the name of Jesus for fear of being overheard, there may be concerns about the person you’re dating. For most Christians they cannot help but speak about Jesus and God’s amazing grace.

Doesn’t Like Children or Pets

Children have a very good sense about people. It seems they can see through hypocrisy easier than adults can. Maybe that’s because their minds haven’t been infiltrated with years of sin yet. Some would say that about pets. I have sometimes noticed that people who are generally kind and loving have a better response from children and pets. One immediate concern about anyone you date is if they don’t like to be around children or they don’t like to be around pets. Whoever is harsh to children and/or animals is a person I’d think twice about before dating. If you notice they lose their temper easily when they’re around children or pets, I would be careful about dating such a person.

Substance Abuse

I know it’s legal to drink alcohol; but if you notice an ongoing pattern of drinking during the day (especially before lunch or supper), you might have someone who’s abusing alcohol. There are others who might be taking prescription drugs, but these also can be abused. Anyone who’s taking legal or illegal substances for the express purpose of impairing one’s judgment or being in an altered state of mind is a person you shouldn’t date. Anyone you’re dating with substance abuse problems may fool you into thinking, “Once we’re married, I’ll stop this.” Don’t believe it. You’re taking a gigantic risk.

Conclusion

If you’re considering dating someone or dating someone now, please think about these signs, which should tell you that you might be dating the wrong person, especially if it’s someone who’s obsessed with themselves, someone who has no hunger or thirst for the things of God, someone who is silent about their faith, someone who doesn’t like children or pets, and someone who’s abusing drugs or alcohol.

May God richly bless you.


7 Sins That Many Christians Seem To Ignore

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What are seven common sins that often get ignored by Christians? Which ones can you think of?

Bearing False Witness

We are still sinners, the Bible is very clear about this (1 John 1:8. 10), but we should not be bearing false witness to others. We can “stretch” the truth, but a half-truth is still a whole lie. I know I’ve done it, and I would imagine you have, too. I’ve been caught in a lie, and I’ve caught others in them, too. Most Christians repent of this and ask for forgiveness, but I also know a lady who claims to be a Christian and is a compulsive liar. This ought not be because this is one of the so-called seven deadly sins that God hates, and it includes being “a false witness who breathes out lies” (Prov. 6:19a), which is “a lying tongue” (Prov. 6:17).

Gossiping

This is one sin that God truly hates. It divides and destroys many churches and relationships, too. God says, “There are six things that the Lord hates [and] seven that are an abomination to him” (Prov. 6:16), including “one who sows discord among brothers” (Prov. 6:19b) because it destroys the unity which God is trying to create in the church. This was a huge problem within the Corinthian church, as Paul wrote that there should “be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10) because “a whisperer (gossiper) separates close friends” (Prov. 16:28b).

Stealing

We might not be robbing banks, but we can leave work early; have someone clock us in or out; or steal pens, paper, and even paperclips from work. If we aren’t giving it our all at work, then we’re stealing from our employer, who pays us the wages for which they expect us to work. Paul admonishes those thieves of property and time: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Eph. 4:28). Paul rebuked the church at Rome by asking, “While you preach against stealing, do you steal” (Rom. 2:21)?

Coveting

This is the only sin that is listed among the Ten Commandments that nobody can see. You can covet your neighbor’s spouse; you can covet their brand new car; you can covet their house; or you can even covet their job, status, or position in life. Coveting is the one sin that Paul apparently had trouble with, as he wrote, “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet’ But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead” (Rom. 7:7-8).  When you covet, you tell God, “God, I’m not satisfied with what I have–I want more.”

Dishonoring Parents

I hear this broken frequently by people who talk about their parents when they’re not there and even after they’ve passed away. Once again, I’ve done it, but I stopped. I repented of this. You can dishonor your parents even after you’re an adult by the way you talk to them, by the way you talk about them, and by the way you treat them (or mistreat them). This commandment is so important to God that He placed it first in the six commandments that are horizontal (human to human). This is the only commandment that promises a longer life if obeyed but a shorter life if not. This is not simply an Old Testament law, as Paul reiterated it in Ephesians 6:2-3, writing, “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Paul directly quoted Deuteronomy 5:16.

Bonus Content

Gluttony

The Bible describes gluttony as sin, but most Christian’s would never approach someone about this in a million years. Maybe it’s because they fear a backlash from the person they come to, but gluttony does not always have to be about food. We can be gluttonous with food, clothing, movies, sports, the Internet, Facebook, Instagram, and self, devouring hours and hours of time while neglecting prayer and Bible study. Gluttony means you are always wanting more than what you need, so want always outweighs need, and need is never enough, so our addiction (to whatever it is) takes priority over a lot of good things in our life. Gluttony and idolatry are cousins.

Neglecting the Saints

This is a big problem in many churches. Recently, I visited a man who was in the hospital for a week and almost no one in his church knew it. He had pneumonia and was on a catheter, so I ask if there was anything I could do for him. He asked me to get his phone charger, some clean underwear, and his toothbrush and razor, so I ran to his apartment and came back, and asked if he had many visitors, and he turned to me and said, “You!” His own church members, once they all knew, never once visited him, and I could tell this hurt him. This neglect is sin because visiting the sick is a command of Christ (Matt 25:36), but very few Christians seem to understand that doing this for others is doing it for Him (Matt 25:40), or doing nothing at all for Him (Matt 25:42-43).

Conclusion

I used the Ten Commandments because every sin we can commit are contained within these ten. I could have also added putting others before God and taking God’s name in vain, but I would not expect Christians to openly do these sorts of things. Surely, we should not be lying to one another, we should not be gossiping about others, we should be giving an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wages, we shouldn’t be coveting what others have but be content with what we have, and we should be honoring our parents.

4 Ways To Conquer The Goliath Of Lust

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Here are 4 proven ways that can help us avoid lusting in our hearts.

Look Away

Job had a very good idea when he was tempted to look at a young virgin. He just looked away. He went even further and made a covenant with his eyes, so when he saw a young virgin, he’d look away. When he saw a young virgin, he’d be reminded of his covenant and remember to look away. That verse is Job 31:1. It’s a great memory verse to help jog your memory when you’re tempted by something you see, no matter what it is. If we nip things in the bud, then we won’t let temptation hang around long enough to fall into sin. Lusting in our hearts for someone who’s not our spouse is sin. Jesus sees this as the same thing as adultery of the heart (Matt 5:27-28). C.S. Lewis put it this way: “He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.” It’s funny, but he brings up a good point. By looking at and dwelling on something we shouldn’t desire, we might finally give in and sin.

Recall Scripture

Jesus resisted Satan in the wilderness by quoting Scripture (Luke 4), but Satan always took the text out of context. Jesus always used Scripture within the context, but Satan always distorts the truth. He is the imitator of what is good. He’s even got his own ministers (2 Cor 11:13-15), and Satan can quote (or miss-quote) Scripture better than anyone, so what’s the best way to resist temptation when it hits you in the face? Recall Scripture. One such memory verse for me is the Apostle Peter’s admonition that “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16). God is so interested in our becoming holy or growing in holiness, that the Scriptures are full of such commands as, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” (Lev 19:2). And that is not part of the Mosaic Law. It is commanded of all mankind to repent (Acts 17:30). In fact, the very gospel Jesus Christ brought is about repentance and faith (Mark 1:14-15). If you recall the verse that God wants us to be holy because He is holy, it might deter us from falling into sin. We know God sees it.

Replace It

If you are in a place or position where you will be tempted to sin, replace it with another location or activity. No activity, no matter how fun it is, can be good if it leads us into areas where we’ll be tempted to sin. Many who have overcome their pornography addiction have taken drastic action. They’ve stopped running with their old friends, and some have even cut off the Internet, cut their cable cut, and even had their smart phone password protected. Some have put password protected filters on their computer and only a trusted friend has the password. They can still use the Internet, but it’s set at a “G-rating.” I had to replace a lot of my old friends from years ago because they were still going to places I no longer went. They were doing things I no longer did, and they were going places that I now avoid. I had replaced my friends by necessity. I didn’t like it and neither did they. In fact, I got some persecution for it. They Apostle Peter says it’s because “they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you” (1 Pet 4:4). What we must remember is “they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Pet 4:5).

Pray

If you are in a spot so tight that you cannot even recall Scripture, then pray and then pray some more, and keep on praying until you get out of the mess you’re in. Sometimes we are innocent victims of things we can fall into or victims of circumstances. A former friend and office worker who was retiring had a surprise office party, but it wasn’t long before it became a drunken party. People were getting carried away with themselves, and I felt completely out of place, so I just prayed about it and prayed…and God did hear and answer my prayer. Not surprisingly, He told me to “Replace It,” or get out of there. It was like the Spirit told me, “Run, Forest, Run!” And I did. If I had not prayed about that, I’m not sure how I would have handled it. And the jokes they were telling were so crude that I could hardly bear to hear them. I knew in my spirit that I had to get out. I didn’t feel good at all, so that’s what I told the host and I was leaving. Sometimes you’re not sure what to do. I was like a deer frozen in the headlights…it was fright or flight, but I chose neither. I prayed about it and then left. I did tell the man who was retiring that I was leaving and apologized for not feeling well, but I think he understood why and he gave me a big hug. Maybe that was a way of witnessing to him. I don’t know. I only know I couldn’t stay there…so I prayed and asked God what I must do and He made it crystal clear. I thank God for His answered prayer.

Conclusion

I use Job 31:1 even when I’m watching TV, because even on TV, there are things that are inappropriate, and I’ve made a covenant with my eyes not to look at sexually explicit images or grotesque images of violence. I know it’s not of God, so I look away, but I also get away when I need to. You know when you feel out of place? Are there times you feel like you don’t belong there? I do, and sometimes it’s in places where I have no business being. I also know the need to recall or memorize Scripture. Knowing God wants us to be holy helps me bring this verse to mind (1 Pet 4:4-5) when I’m tempted, but I also learned of the need to pray at all times (1 Thess 5:16-18). These 4 ways can help us conquer the Goliath of lust. With these weapons like these, we come armed for the battle.

May God richly bless you.


3 Ways To Approach A False Teacher

3 Ways To Approach A False Teacher

When you discover someone who is teaching error, what can you do? What is the best way to approach a false teacher?

In Prayer

What would you say to someone who you know is teaching error? I know it’s not an easy thing to do, but how would you best approach it, or would you say anything at all? Perhaps you’d tell a church leader or a close friend who you know won’t gossip, but I believe the first priority in trying to help a false teacher see their error is to pray about. Ask God to open their eyes, because only God can change a human heart (Prov 21:1), and that’s exactly what we can pray for. Ask for God’s mercy on this person. They’re not our enemy but someone who needs to see their error. They can easily lead others into the ditch. They may not even realize they’re in error. Perhaps they’ve learned from another false teacher, but either way, bask this in prayer. God has answered some amazing prayer requests, and I’m not talking about the Red Sea being parted. I believe one of the greatest miracles there are is when a person’s been converted from a child of the Devil into a child of God. When Saul was ravaging the early church, approving of the stoning of Stephen, I’m sure none of the believers would have ever thought about praying that Saul would be saved; maybe some, but probably not very many. They probably prayed to be protected from Saul, but did any of them really think that Saul would ever be saved, not to mention, becoming the Apostle to the Gentiles? Who in their right might mind would have went up to Saul and tried to share Christ? That would have probably been a death sentence, but perhaps some were praying for Saul’s conversion. We just don’t know, but it is possible, so start with prayer, stay with prayer, and plan on prayer for someone who is teaching false doctrines.

In Love

If we don’t come to our brother or sister in love, then we ought not to come to them at all. Love must be the motivating factor for correcting a fellow brother or sister in Christ. The opposite of love is not hate…it is indifference, or apathy. Indifference says, “I don’t care what happens to you.” That is about as unloving as anyone can be, so have love in your heart for this person who’s fallen away from the truth. Pray for them and come to them in love. A little bit of error renders the whole truth a lie, and even a half-truth is a whole lie. Jesus said that if we see a brother or sister sinning, we should go to them, and if that doesn’t work, take someone else with you (Matt 18:15-20). If that doesn’t work, Jesus said bring it before the church (Matt 18:17-18). Hopefully it won’t come to that, but if it must come to that, do it in love for your brother or sister in Christ. If we saw a blind man heading for the cliff, we’d warn them, so how can we not warn those who are teaching doctrinal error, or worse, teaching others the same. Our church had to go through church discipline with two members, and it was hard, but these were serious sins, and it was hurting the church, and slandering the church’s name before the community. The difference was, it was done in love, and when or if they repent, we are going to welcome them back, just as we should any church member who was dis-fellowshipped. We must always leave room for repentance.

In the Word

After having soaked this in prayer, and you have come to your brother or sister who is teaching error in private, and then with another person, it’s time to tell it to the church, and the church leadership, if necessary, can come to them and personally use the Word of God to expose the error. Maybe the person doesn’t even realize they’re in error. Maybe they misunderstood the verse, or maybe they were taught error. Whatever the reason, the Word of God is the final authority. The Word has power, so we must use it (Rom 1:16; 1st Cor 1:18), and God promises that the Word of God, when it is sent out, will accomplish just what God wants it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11), so we must trust God and His Spirit with the results, so after praying, and speaking with them as a friend, and then finally, bringing out the authority of God’s Word, which is God speaking, just wait…it’s in God’s hands now. Make sure you tell them, that it’s not your opinion, because we can be wrong, but tell them, “Here’s what the Bible says about that.” It’s not about “us versus them.” It’s about helping a friend find the error of their way. I told my church, “You will do me a personal favor if you find out I’m wrong or I cited a wrong verse. I will thank you for it, so don’t fear coming to me.” And it has proven true, but that’s okay, I am still a work in progress. An important point is, we must remain humble in all of this. If we don’t, then our pride can sneak up on us, and we can develop a sense of superiority, and believe me, that won’t help at all. In fact, it’ll make it worse.

Conclusion

I think you probably already know this, but there has been a rapid rise in false teachers today. There is every kind of teacher out there today, and they’ve probably written a book, so we must all be careful of what goes into our minds and whose teaching we listen too. The Apostle Peter’s warning is just as relevant today as in the day it was written. Peter warned that “false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction” (2nd Pet 2:1), so do what the Apostle Paul tells Timothy; “guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’” (1st Tim 6:20). We must do what Jude wrote; “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:3b-4).

4 Attributes To Identify A Truly Evil Person

4 Attributes To Identify A Truly Evil Person

4 Attributes To Identify A Truly Evil Person

How can you identify someone who is bent on doing evil apart from a believer?

Blasphemy of God’s Holy Name

No one who is saved characteristically continues to use God’s name as a swear word. I don’t mean when someone loses their temper and does it on an occasion when they’re extremely angry. I mean when someone uses “damn” as God’s last name and Jesus’ holy name is thrown around as if it’s just another word. In the first place, we all fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23), and not one of us is really good (Rom. 3:10-12). I mean someone who swears and curses all the time. Believers treat God’s name in a holy, reverential way and always with the deepest respect and fear. Not so with someone who is bent toward evil.

Money Is Their God

When nothing else matters but money and they will hurt anyone at any cost as long as it helps them financially, then that person has made money their god. They worship the dollar, and if someone gets in their way, they don’t care who gets hurt; they will get what they want no matter what. There are some that will use people instead of hard work in climbing the ladder of success. They use people as the rungs in a ladder, stepping on people in order to climb over them in trying to reach the top.

Taking Advantage of Widows and Orphans

I have experienced a few people who’ve taken advantage of their elderly parents or widowed parent to get what they want. I remember doing a funeral one time, and when the family returned home afterwards, they discovered that some of the family’s relatives had pilfered through and taken many of the possessions of their deceased parents while their parent was being buried. Can you imagine how evil that is?! While we were burying their parents or relatives, they were at their home going through and taking as many valuable possessions as they could get. That is so despicable.

Someone Who Abuses Children

There are fewer things that are more intolerable than someone who physically or sexually abuses children. How evil can you get!? That is truly a mark of someone who is evil of heart. Who hurts defenseless children? How can someone even consider wrecking some child’s life and leaving behind psychological scars that will last a lifetime?

Conclusion

If you take these four attributes and reverse them as something that a believer never does, then you also have the attributes of a believer. They never blaspheme God’s name, they never use people to acquire money, they never take advantage of the elderly or orphans, and they certainly never abuse children. Those who do are headed for the swift and sure judgment of God, and unless they repent and trust in Christ, they face the wrath of God for all eternity (Rev. 20:12-15; Rev. 21:8).

4 Attributes To Identify A Truly Evil Person

4 Attributes To Identify A Truly Evil Person

4 Attributes To Identify A Truly Evil Person
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How can you identify someone who is bent on doing evil apart from a believer?

Blasphemy of God’s Holy Name

No one who is saved characteristically continues to use God’s name as a swear word. I don’t mean when someone loses their temper and does it on an occasion when they’re extremely angry. I mean when someone uses “damn” as God’s last name and Jesus’ holy name is thrown around as if it’s just another word. In the first place, we all fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23), and not one of us is really good (Rom. 3:10-12). I mean someone who swears and curses all the time. Believers treat God’s name in a holy, reverential way and always with the deepest respect and fear. Not so with someone who is bent toward evil.

Money Is Their God

When nothing else matters but money and they will hurt anyone at any cost as long as it helps them financially, then that person has made money their god. They worship the dollar, and if someone gets in their way, they don’t care who gets hurt; they will get what they want no matter what. There are some that will use people instead of hard work in climbing the ladder of success. They use people as the rungs in a ladder, stepping on people in order to climb over them in trying to reach the top.

Taking Advantage of Widows and Orphans

I have experienced a few people who’ve taken advantage of their elderly parents or widowed parent to get what they want. I remember doing a funeral one time, and when the family returned home afterwards, they discovered that some of the family’s relatives had pilfered through and taken many of the possessions of their deceased parents while their parent was being buried. Can you imagine how evil that is?! While we were burying their parents or relatives, they were at their home going through and taking as many valuable possessions as they could get. That is so despicable.

Someone Who Abuses Children

There are fewer things that are more intolerable than someone who physically or sexually abuses children. How evil can you get!? That is truly a mark of someone who is evil of heart. Who hurts defenseless children? How can someone even consider wrecking some child’s life and leaving behind psychological scars that will last a lifetime?

Conclusion

If you take these four attributes and reverse them as something that a believer never does, then you also have the attributes of a believer. They never blaspheme God’s name, they never use people to acquire money, they never take advantage of the elderly or orphans, and they certainly never abuse children. Those who do are headed for the swift and sure judgment of God, and unless they repent and trust in Christ, they face the wrath of God for all eternity (Rev. 20:12-15; Rev. 21:8).

7 Signs God Is Trying To Grab Your Attention

7 Signs God Is Trying To Grab Your Attention

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How do you know when God’s is trying to get your attention?

Your Friends Confront You

Your real friends will tell you the truth, and it’s not always what you want to hear, but the proverbs teach, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov 27:6), so sometimes God will send friends into your life who are trying to get your attention over something you’re doing. If a friend sees a friend living in sin and says nothing, then that person is not really their friend.

The Word Convicts You

Students of the Bible know that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”(Heb 4:12), and that the Word of God exposes us all as guilty before God. Nothing is hidden from Him (Heb 4:13), so if you read some Bible verses that really convict you deeply, God may be trying to tell you something, and using His own written Word to do it. Whatever it was that convicted you may be what God’s trying to get your attention for.

Financial Storm

Every one has times of their lives when they encounter storms. Sometimes we don’t even see them coming and we’re blindsided, but other times we see it coming, but we’re still helpless to do anything about it. Is that you? Is God using a financial difficulty to get your attention? Have you not been giving to others…or to even, anyone? Maybe it’s something else. Getting near the bottom dollar is scary. That will get your attention.

A Lack of Peace

I heard one man who was thinking about going on a missionary trip to South America. He was prepared, well equipped, and had raised all the funds necessary (as missionaries sometimes do), but as he got closer to departure, he didn’t have peace about it. He couldn’t explain it, but he knew he wasn’t supposed to go on this trip. He ends up not going, and his wife falls terribly ill. If he had left, he would have left behind his spouse who was not gravely ill. When you don’t have peace about something, it may be God telling you, “No,” “Wait” or “I’ve got something better.”

A Damascus Road

Sometimes it takes a “Damascus Road” experience to knock us on the ground and put temporary limits on us, like Jesus did Saul. Saul was blinded for three days until he could finally see, and you know that must have gotten Saul’s attention. Saul was later renamed Paul, because Saul means “destroyer,” which he was for a time with the church, but now, having had to be humbled by the blinding light of Jesus’ Shekinah glory, he would have to depend on others for a time. God may not send a “Damascus Road” encounter, but that encounter can look like any number of different things (DUI, Jail, Prison, Cancer, etc.).

BONUS CONTENT

A Divine Appointment

I remember a prisoner who our church ministers to and he was really down because he was sent from a county jail to a state prison and he couldn’t figure out why God was doing this. It was only later when I came to visit him that we both saw what God was doing. He had allowed this man to go to a state prison so that I could visit him and then later, the entire prison allowed us to minister to all who sought counsel or biblical guidance. The prison even allowed me to preach to the inmates, so when this man’s apparent evil sent him to a prison, and neither of us could understand, it was only later that we saw God wanted us to go into this prison as we’re commanded to do (Matt 25:36). God was trying to get the gospel into the prison but He had to use another means for us to enter, so what looked like a bad thing for this inmate brought much good to those who may have never heard the gospel preached (Gen 50:20).

Death

How can the death of a person be used by God to get someone’s attention? The fact is, when I presided over a funeral and told them that they would never see their loved ones again unless they repent and believe, a few came up to me after the service and ask me about what I said. The person who was laid to rest had trusted in Christ and so I told them that Jesus said, even if a person dies, they will live again (John 11:25-26), so their only hope of seeing their loved one again was if they put their trust in Christ. Then, not even death can separate them from the love of God (Rom 8:37-39). For believers, the death of a family member or friend is not goodbye but “See you later,” however for the person who rejects Christ, that is the last time they will ever see their loved one because they will be with the Lord and the lost person will forever be cut off from God.

Conclusion

Hopefully God won’t have to take such drastic measures to get my attention but He must do it if I keep ignoring Him. Living in sin will bring God’s discipline, but it’s a discipline that is motivated out of love and not anger. Any parent who loves their child will prove their love by disciplining them, and so when we see that God is trying to get our attention, we had better take notice, otherwise, God might shake our life up a little more until we fall on our knees. If I keep praying and reading the Bible every day, it may help, but don’t forget about your friends who love you, and in their love, they seem concerned about something you’re doing. Friends are born for such adversity (Prov 17:17).

How To Fight Back When The Enemy Attacks

How To Fight Back When The Enemy Attacks

How To Fight Back When The Enemy Attacks
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How can you fight back when the enemy is attacking you?

Spiritual Warfare

Whether we even realize it or not, Christians are under spiritual attacks. We might not think about it that much, but that makes us even more vulnerable to the enemy’s ploys. This is why the Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus, to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might,” (Eph 6:10), but how can we be “in the strength of his might?” Paul tells us that we must “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:11). We will need this armor because the enemy’s invisible. Paul wrote that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). It would be much easier if we could see the enemy, but we can’t. That’s why we must take action and “put on” the armor. It’s useless unless it’s put on and maybe why Paul again tells the church, “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 firm” (Eph 6:13). If God repeats something in His Word, then it must be important, and the important thing in these verses (Eph 6:11-13) is to “put on”the armor of God so “that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”(Eph 6:11).

Start Praising God

When someone you know starts bragging about their sports team that just won the champions, but their team is an arch-rival of yours, then it’s irritating when they tart boasting about their team being number 1. In the same way, Satan and his demons hate it when we start heaping praises on God and giving thanks to Him over and over again in worship and in prayer. If you’re alone and you feel like you’re under spiritual attack, why not drop to your knees (if it’s possible) and start pouring out praises to God. Satan can’t stand to hear all of the marvelous things about God, so that’s one way to fight the enemy. Send irritants like praise and thanksgiving to God; it should drive him away. If it doesn’t, then keep doing it anyway because God is worthy of our praises and thanksgiving.

Start Worshiping God

I have a hard time separating worship from prayer, because while I’m praying to God, I am also worshiping God, and when I am worshiping God, I am also praying to God. One way to fight back when the enemy attacks is to start praying to God and worshiping Him and praising Him. That’ brings up another point. I believe we should do all these three things when we are under spiritual attack; start praising God, start worshiping God, and start praying to God. Those three things are like an assault weapon against the enemy, and we know that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3), so if we’re praying to Him, giving praises to Him and are worshiping Him, He’s inhabiting us or dwelling in us. That doesn’t leave any room for evil spirits; with God’s prayers, praises, and worship, you can tell the enemy, “Sorry, there’s no room at the Inn.”

Begin Living God’s Word

Satan will ramp up his attacks by sending spiritual or fiery darts at you when you begin to learn the Word of God more so, when you begin to live out the Word of God. When you are obeying God, you are disobeying Satan and his demons desire for your life. When we do what Scripture says, we’re not doing what Satan wants. This will likely bring on spiritual attacks. I don’t think demons spend much time on lukewarm Christians, but on those who are growing in the Word of God, obeying the Word of God, and sharing the Word of God. When a believer lives in obedience to God, though none of us do so perfectly, the enemy knows that we’re a threat to his kingdom of darkness. When Christians get the salt out of the shaker and light from under the table, then they’re going to face resistance because they’ll get the enemy’s attention. With a mind that’s stayed on Christ we can have the peace of God because we’ve made peace with God (Rom 5:1). Being a Christ-follower will bring persecution. Not because of who you or I are, but because of Who He is, however, following Christ (in obedience) will keep you near the Good Shepherd, and His rod and staff should give you comfort (Psalm 23) and refuge from the enemy, who like a lion, roams about, seeking whom he might devour (1st Pet 5:8).

Memorize Scripture

The psalmist had hidden or memorized God’s Word in his heart so that he would not sin (Psalm 119:11). For example, one man I know who has battled with an addiction to pornography for years, memorized Jobs’ words, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin” (Job 31:1)? This man memorized this so that when his eyes started to fix on something or some woman, he quoted this verse and looked away. I thought that was brilliant! That’s putting the Word of God to good use. Besides, the Word has God’s power in it (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18). That’s the weapon of Jesus’ choice when resisting Satan’s temptation in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11). Three times Jesus rebuked the Devil by using Scripture in context and right after Satan had taken Scripture out of context to make it a false pretext. He loves twisting Scripture or ripping it out of context. I suggest you store up on the ammo of God’s Word so that when you are under spiritual attack, you can quickly retrieve the Word of God. We already know that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Satan is no match for the living, active, breathing Word of God.

Conclusion

What have you done when you are under spiritual attack? Can you leave us a comment about an experience you had when you were under a spiritual attack? What did you do to resist it? How often are you under spiritual attack? I know this; we need the armor of God (Eph 6), we need to praise God, we need to worship God, we need to live out God’s Word, we need to memorize and quote God’s Word, so when the enemy attacks, they don’t have a chance.