Refined

Sand and Shingle Beach

Where the land meets the sea
Is a beautiful place to be
Where the water covers the land
And the stones get turned to sand

Where your life meets the King
Is the most amazing thing
Where his Power opens your mind
And your thoughts become refined

The Enemy – Part 5: Fully Amoured

Death 2

Part 4 Yesterday

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“This is a war in the eternal world – a war for our everlasting-lives – and we fight halfheartedly, forever losing parts of our armour and leaving ourselves and others wide open to attack.”
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At the start we said: ‘It would be great if we could deal with the Enemy and give him no influence in our lives.’ And we asked: ‘Do you think that we can achieve that.’

So, what do you think?

We also said: ‘we must not be lulled into a false sense of insecurity.’

What I mean is this:

We have security – in God. In absolute respect for God and a complete dedication to obey everything that Jesus said – there you find security. This is a security that stretches into the everlasting world of God; it never ends. Even if we die in this life, we are safe for eternity.

I’m not saying that we will never slip up but I AM saying that we should be totally committed to following Jesus and obeying everything He said – with all our hearts, minds and strength – to the best of our abilities – with the same motivation we might have if $100m was on the table for our reward – just how dedicated would we be then!

This is a fundamental truth: the Devil has no body – he does nothing unless we do it for him. He pushes us and tempts us; gives us feelings and thoughts – doubts and lies but he has no hands, no feet, no mouth – no body. Evil only happens when we do it – and look how constantly we fall into his traps.

What are we going to do about it?

Not one of us is innocent, Christian or otherwise, we are all subject to his work. We really need to pull together and bring ourselves into a state of mind where following Jesus, with actions and life-style as well as words, is our very top priority.

Paul wrote this brilliant example:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10-18(NIV)

We have hope and we should not be insecure but we must know that our strength is in God. Our strength is in trusting our lives to Him and following Him in everything we do.

The devil is scheming against us all the time but we have clear instructions on how to deal with him. We are not fighting each other here, we are fighting all the invisible evil forces that are driving us to destruction. We are fighting against this Enemy that we can’t see but we can certainly feel and he is constantly leading us astray – this is a war and we need to be fully armoured so that we can stand in this fight and after all is done – still stand.

As Paul puts it:

  • Truth – We need to always be truthful, with our mouths and our actions, in everything we do, never lying.
  • Righteousness – This must be our dedication – ultimately ours comes from Jesus but we know how we should behave – this must be our hearts desire.
  • Peace – We must do what we do with peace. ‘Slow to anger’ and ‘turning the other cheek’ are our mottos. Our trust is in God’s power, not our own.
  • Faith – Our faith in Him tells us that He is the Powerful One – no matter whats lies we here, we will trust in Him – to the absolute end.
  • Salvation – Once we open the door to God, we know we are safe, no matter what happens in this world. We know that we can afford to do what is right, every time.
  • Word of God – This is our weapon. If we want to be set free in this war so that we know which way to go at any moment then we have to know the truth.
  • Pray – We want to be led by God – we must speak and listen to Him, always

If you were going into war and your tank had no roof or your battleship had a massive hole in the side – what would you do? This is a war in the eternal world – a war for our everlasting-lives – and we fight halfheartedly, forever losing parts of our armour and leaving ourselves and others wide open to attack.

This Enemy is all over us and he is leading us to do exactly what he wants – ruin the lives of as many of us as he can.

We must take this war seriously and our most deadly weapons are faith, truth, righteousness, prayer and the arrows of grace, compassion and forgiveness that we constantly unleash into the fray.

We can wipe out the work of this Enemy – with help from and complete faith in God. We don’t need to wait for some future event before we give this all our effort – we can do it NOW.

The enemy breathes through us and the things he persuades us to do – let’s suffocate him with Love. No holds barred, fully armoured Love.

Back to the Start – Part 1

The Enemy – Part 4: Body of Satan

Death 2

Part 3 Yesterday

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“We are dealing with an Enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy us – and we are doing the work for him.”
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As we have already said, the enemy is going to do whatever he can to make us disobey God. He is going to use all his influence to cause as much mayhem in this world as he can. This is a big question: who is actually carrying out the mayhem?

I have certainly never seen the Enemy but I have seen so much of his work being done by people – by non-Christians and Christians alike.

This is something that Paul wrote:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
Ephesians 2:1-3(NIV)

The world, that is us, is being influenced by the spirit of the Enemy to do all kinds of crazy things – from the tiny to the massive. By the way, I’m not sure that you can’t have the massive without the tiny – the Enemy is causing us to build a foundation of sin that supports the huge evil in this world.

We fall for his tricks time and time again. His power is in the fact that he lies and we believe him. He is not always easy to recognise; he disguises himself – Paul also wrote this:

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15(NIV)

Satan does not always advertise himself; he cloaks himself in fake light. There are people, false teachers and ‘church’ people who, for whatever reason, do not know God and will lead us astray. The road to hell is signposted ‘Heaven this way’. The Enemy is a LIAR and he has deceived a lot of people – a lot of whom don’t even believe that he exists. We need to be careful.

This one example from the start of the Church that Luke recorded:

Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
Acts 5:3(NIV)

You probably know what happened to Ananias, luckily we don’t seem to practice that level of discipline now! But – the point is this: if we are not careful then the Enemy will lead us astray and will have us doing his work – especially inside the Church.

If you want to defeat the Enemy in your life then you need to get to know God and get to know how the Enemy works. We must pray and read the Bible – and obey everything that Jesus said – if we do then what influence can the Enemy have?

Ultimately, what I am saying is this: The Enemy does not have a body – we do his dirty work for him. The Enemy influences us spiritually but we are the ones carrying out his mission to destroy us. We have the power to cut him our of our actions.

How do we do that?

We dedicate our lives to obeying everything that Jesus said – and we love it – there is nothing better that we could do.

We forgive, have compassion, share with each other. We listen rather than talk and, when we get offended, we turn the other cheek and forget it. We are dealing with an Enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy us – and we are doing the work for him.

Now is the time that we take the body of Satan out from underneath him. Now is the time that we cut him out of this world. Now is the time that we follow Jesus. Don’t wait.

Concluding with Part 5 Tomorrow.

The Enemy – Part 3: Roaring Lion

Death 2

Part 2 Yesterday

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“some physical problem that we suffer with could actually be part of our spiritual healing”
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The Enemy is going to do whatever he can to frighten us or persuade us to disobey God and fall away from the faith. He will throw all kinds of feelings and thoughts our way to try and lead us to a place where we lose our trust in the Father.

We will face all kinds of trouble. We will come up against many problems and hardships, but, does that, in any way, mean that we cannot trust God? Of course not – it means that we have to trust Him even more.

Jesus suffered – massively – and the Enemy attacked Him. All his disciples suffered and they were also subjected to the Enemy’s tactics. Although there is so much unnecessary suffering and so much that the Devil will send our way, often it is part of something that helps us or changes us for better. Certainly, just because we reach some difficult times, we must not give up, even when the Enemy is all over our lives, we carry on and trust God.

Paul said this:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:7b-9(NIV)

Paul is a bit of an extreme case but this shows one of the limitless ways in which God works. God’s top priority is getting you and as many others as possible, into an ever-lasting life with Him. His aim is not to make your life comfortable here but rather to help you become the person that He already sees you can be. Paul prayed to be healed from a ‘thorn in the flesh’ – from a messenger of Satan – that he had been given but God said no – He had greater priorities. Who do you think gave him that thorn in the first place?

I am not saying that God doesn’t heal us physically – He does – but much more important than that is our spiritual healing and our journey to an eternal life with God. So, God doesn’t take away every physical issue that we have and, on top of that, some physical problem that we suffer with could actually be part of our spiritual healing – does that sound crazy? Just look at Paul’s situation above. There you see Satan or a messenger or Satan or at least something that relates to the Enemy – but it was actually for Paul’s benefit.

What I am really saying here is: we need to trust God above everything else – even when we suffer and He remains silent or doesn’t heal us. We must never give in to the influence of Satan or think that all is over in our lives just because of some hardship that we face.

To see some of God’s spiritual healing in the face of the Enemy’s hate for us, you can look at Simon Peter. Luke wrote about this:

‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.’
Luke 22:31-34(NIV)

The Enemy wants to lead us astray and accuse us before God. He wants to show our evil, he is so bitter, but God wants to save us from this broken world and make us new again. Peter thought he was strong but Jesus knew that he wasn’t. Peter did deny Jesus but when you read on, you see that Jesus forgave him and encouraged him to continue in his ministry. Peter went through that, the Enemy wanted to finish him but Peter didn’t give up – and he became stronger for it. He had a flaw and it was dealt with.

Later on in his life, Peter said this:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:8-10(NIV)

This is just what he had experienced in his own life, and, even though he wobbled, he did not give in. We can trust God – He will not let us down.

The Enemy wants to see us wiped out; he would do anything to achieve that – we must never give in to him and the spiritual influence that he exercises in this world. John recorded these words from Jesus:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10(NIV)

The enemy wants to take everything from us and leave us in an eternal separation from God. God wants to give us life – all we have to do is follow Him, follow Jesus.

The Devil prowls around like a roaring lion – but he has no teeth. All he can do is scare you or tempt you into giving your life to him. He can harass you but, ultimately, you can give your heart to whomever you please.

You know what to do.

Part 4 Tomorrow

The Enemy – Part 2: Beauty and the Beast

Death 2
Part 1 Yesterday

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“We must learn to see beauty as God sees it.”
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If you were asked ‘what is the most dangerous thing in this world’ – what would you say?

I am sure that there are a few good answers to that question. Perhaps pride or greed or envy; they are some of the most deadly feelings that underlie all the nonsense that goes on – but where did they come from?

Let me tell you, one of the most deadly things in this world is beauty. It has nearly destroyed our world and we really need to understand that. Do we think that the Enemy is a beast? Well, he has an interesting relationship with beauty. Here is a quote from Ezekiel:

“‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.
Ezekiel 28:12b,14,15,17a(NIV)

This passage in Ezekiel is, more or less, universally regarded as talking about Satan. This enemy that hates us and wants to destroy us was beautiful, ‘perfect in beauty’ but his beauty lead him astray. In this case it was beauty that created the beast. Yet, it seems that we ourselves still adore this beauty – do we not build our world around it?

What about Jesus? Look at this quote from Isaiah:

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Isaiah 53:29(NIV)

Jesus did not come bringing physical beauty for us to follow. He came bringing the real beauty of a holy life. A life that does not do wrong, ever. That is God being human. Yet which type of beauty do we prefer?

This is a quote from Peter:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4(NIV)

He is talking to the ladies here but this clearly relates to all of us. The beauty that counts is not on the outside, it is in our hearts – our personalities and resulting way of life.

So, let’s just ask this question: which beauty do you crave; which beauty touches you the most; which beauty does your heart desire?

We have to answer that question for ourselves – and the answer will be written in whatever it is that we spend our time doing; whatever it is that we chase.

There is physical beauty all over this planet and I am not saying that it is all bad but I am saying this: it comes and goes and it is so misleading. It is used by people to get what they want – and their motives are never pure. We must learn to see beauty as God sees it. There is a true beauty. A beauty that is found in his character. A perfect and incorruptible beauty. This is a quote from David:

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Psalm 29:2(KJV)

This is the killer question: Do we find holiness beautiful? There are so many ‘beautiful’ things that we see with our eyes and then chase we our hearts; women, men, sports cars, clothes, houses, hair styles, jewelry; you know how long this list could be. In every case, that beauty can be misleading – all those things do show creativity and power and there are reasons for the beauty – but, and this but is huge, it’s can all mean absolutely nothing.

All those things that we chase, lie. People lie, flash cars mean nothing but they corrupt your hearts and minds, clothes lead us astray – we walk around half-naked just to get the attention that our insecurity craves. Everyone want’s a bigger house, fine, but envy and one-up-man-ship is rife, driving us to waste our lives and become bitter. We focus on our hair and outward appearance but there is only one thing that matters; one thing that brings life – holiness.

Holiness is the only truly beautiful thing in this existence. That is God’s character and is should be our hearts desire for it to be our character too. That is not something that we can achieve on our own but, with God, ultimately that is where we will be.

Let’s leave all the distractions behind and really ‘worship him in the beauty of holiness.’ Let’s not fret about achieving this alone, Let’s just acknowledge the facts and bring our lives to God; to Jesus – He will lead us.

Part 3 Tomorrow.

The Enemy – Part 1: He is so clever?

Death 2

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“We must not be lulled into a false sense of insecurity”
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It would be great if we could deal with Satan and allow him no influence in our lives. Can we achieve that?

Here’s part 1:

‘The Enemy is so clever’. We hear this all the time:- how true is it?

Here’s a quote from the back near the beginning:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Genesis 3:1(NIV)

According to Moses, the serpent was more crafty than all the wild animals. We know that he is referring to the Enemy, the Devil, Satan or whatever you want to call him. So, how clever is he?

Being ‘more crafty than all the wild animals’ means what exactly – have you ever been outwitted by a fox or a bear – perhaps – it happens quite often by people who are forgetful enough to leave food on display in their car! In fact we don’t know how clever Satan is but we do know that he was made by God, as we have been, and that he was a powerful Angel. We also know that he was pretty amazing before he became corrupted.

Ezekiel said this:

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.// Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.
Ezekiel 28:14a+17a (NIV)

Whatever we do know about him, this we know for sure: he has deceived the whole world and continues to do so every day. That is a massively scary fact – and it should very clearly lead us to a place of seeking God with all our minds, all our hearts and all our ability.

The Enemy’s strength lies in the fact that he is a bare-faced, no holds barred liar. He will say absolutely anything to get us to disobey God – anything. There is no compassion and no limits, any age; young or old, he will steal your life and lead you to destruction if he can. And, the less we dedicate ourselves to God; to learning about and getting to know Him – the more we leave ourselves open; the weaker we are against Satan. It is so very important to understand this and also understand that God does not lie and that we can trust him. The Enemy will do anything to make us believe that we should disobey God.

We should not be immature or naive here; the Enemy has many schemes in his attempt to lead us astray – this is a quote from Paul:

‘Another reason I wrote to you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.’
2 Corinthians 2:9-11 (NIV)

This quote from Paul is taken from a passage where he is imploring us to be obedient in everything – especially in forgiving one another, so that the devil may not outwit us. He outwits us by tricking us into disobeying God; by driving us against each other with feelings of mistrust and jealousy. This is Spiritual Warfare at it’s toughest – more on that later this week.

The enemy will talk to you through feelings, emotions and thoughts that contradict God’s Word and God’s Promises and he will also touch other people and use them to interfere with your life. If that happens, DO NOT LISTEN.

We should not be afraid here; we must not be lulled into a false sense of insecurity. And, we must understand that our security comes in knowing God and doing what He says – always.

So, people say: ‘The Enemy is so clever’ but you could also say: ‘We are so disobedient, lazy in our duty and lacking in trust towards God’

We are led astray by every evil thought and desire that comes our way. If we want to defeat the Enemy then we must defeat our disobedience to God.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Imagine This

gorilla-deep-in-thought

Being in a world
Where our actions
Are not driven by fear

Being able to look
Without ever seeing
Any bad things

Being able to talk
Without saying anything wrong
About anybody else

Being able to laugh
Without laughing at the misfortune
Of any other person

Being able to think
Without thinking
Any nasty thoughts

Being able to live
Without living at the expense
Of anyone else’s life

Being able to do good
Without any fear
About what might happen

Being in a world
Where you know that nothing bad
Will ever happen to anyone

Being in a world
Where you know that you’re loved
And you always will be

Isn’t that what we all what
Well, that is all the bible talks about
And that is exactly what God wants

This world is not just about you
It’s about everyone; we’re in this together
And God – He must be in the middle

My Own Little World by Matthew West

Life and Death – Part 5: Renew Your Mind

Dark side of Earth

Part 4 Yesterday

Let’s bring together the last four posts here and say:

Firstly: We would all like to get rid of the darkness or evil or whatever you want to call it. Get rid of all of it – Put it somewhere else and live a perfect life in a perfect world.

Secondly: We are all already trying to do this in our own lives. We are all trying to choose the right things to do each day. And, when we think about what this task involves, we realise that we are trying to divide our own minds and hearts to remove the evil and also the confusion that causes us all to act badly – along with all the hurt and scars left by all our bad experiences.

Thirdly: We realise that, whatever you believe is causing this, we are bombarded with feelings and emotions on a frightening scale in the invisible world that is all around us. This is a war-zone and there are so many casualties. We are spreading evil constantly, through our actions but something is driving us to do that – we should be able to just walk away from anything, from eating to much to disagreements that lead to murder – but we can’t – evil is all over this planet.

Fourthly: We have grown accustomed to, even dependent on this evil. We have allowed it to be with us throughout history and it has fundamentally changed us. We have become a planet of obesity and starvation, obscene wealth and abject poverty, all driven by our underlying mental and spiritual condition. We see the more horrible symptoms of evil without realising that they are all being caused by the smaller actions of everyone of us.

One example may say: Genocide has a huge foundation built of many smaller issues of greed, selfishness, jealousy, pride, inaction, all carefully structured together, unseen, us as the surrogate builders, until the terrible act is able to take place. It is the same in every area of evil.

So…

We go from wanting a good place to live – to realising the enormity of the task and also to seeing that we all need to change – that is the only way to make this happen.

We are doomed – or are we – enter the Solution:

Let’s just look at some things that have been said – these are people who have already made huge changes in the world:

Paul said this:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

– Paul urges us to dedicate ourselves to God, He is the One who can change us. He is the One who can transform our minds. If we ignore Him, what will happen?

Jesus said this:

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
Matthew 13:41 (NIV)

– Whether we like it or not, Jesus is going to do exactly the Job that we are desperate and yet unable to do.

John said this:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)

– John was given a vision of some of this future and this is one of the things he heard in that vision – by the way, this vision is the final part of a book that is already being used by God to help to change the world. It has sold more copies than any other book, ever.

John also said this, talking about the Kingdom of God:

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:27(NIV)

– Again, whether we like it not, the very thing we want is going to happen. What do we have to do?

Trust in Jesus and ask Him to include us in His Book of Life.

This Jesus has already, throughout history, been changing the world. The problem is that so many fight against him – in our changed state we prefer the bad things and the root emotions that cause them to the Good things that will bring about our new world.

If you doubt this all you have to do is seek God – if you do, you will find Him and when you do, it will change your life.

Ultimately this prefect world that we crave so badly will come about – not through our own work (it’s obvious that we are not able to do it alone) but through the work of God and Jesus.

Please, make sure that you will be there:

Get Jesus. It will cost you nothing, all you have to do is bring your life and be prepared to change those very things that you want to change

We will have our good world and all the bad things will be banished – until then, now you know what to do: renew your mind.

Back to the Start – Part 1

Life and Death – Part 4: Embracing Death

Dark side of Earth

Part 3 Yesterday

How are we getting on so far – I am sure we are not lost but this is a sizable task that we have taken on here – best put on your hard-hats and steel toe-cap boots for the rest of this series.

We asked:

If you divided this planet in two, took all the bad things that exist and that happen, all the evil and darkness, and put them on one side so that the other side was only good – which side would you want to live on?

So, hands up for the good side – I am sure that’s pretty much everyone. Let’s just see how many still have their hands up by the end of this page.

As we have said since that initial question, we are talking about splitting are actual hearts and minds here; the evil as well as the good is done by us and is powered by the feelings and emotions that seem able to, all to readily overtake us. We are not just talking about putting our dodgy DVDs, guns, peculiar body piercings and short skirts in a box and posting them to Hell. We are looking at how we can master those feelings that cause us to act in, sometimes, terrible ways. Also we need to deal with the effects that those feelings, as well as all the bad actions that we have seen and been touched by, have had on our hearts and minds – how they have changed us.

This is the main point that we are discussing today – we have been changed. The feelings and emotions that push us have changed us and all the bad that we have seen and experienced has also changed us. We are what we are today because of so many things that have happened in this world; in us. Now we need to be changed back.

The evil has made things here different and, to be very clear, we have embraced it – that may not be obvious to everyone but we are all playing our part in this world, whether loudly or quietly. We have all embraced evil in one way or another – and we are all reaping the benefits that we perceive – even just an easy life.

Let us just try to expose a bit of this darkness that we would like to banish:

Rape and All the Other Sexual Evil – Terrible things that happen in this world but we have embraced lust. We have an internet full of pornography. We use nearly naked women to sell just about anything. Ladies seem to love to walk around leaving little to the imagination of the men whose attention they crave. The men – well they are the one’s driving this whole issue with their rampant passions and almost non-existent morals. We are obeying our feelings over what is obviously wise and good.

The result: Broken families – men addicted to porn – men leaving their wives for other women, leaving children in broken homes – so many single parent families – so many children growing up without fathers – so many children becoming broken adults; the cycle goes on – Also women taken advantage of when they find themselves in bad need of help – or worse: abducted, abused, even as children – stolen from their homes and used as assets to make money in this filthy marketplace – this list could go on and on.

But who cares – WE LOVE TO LOOK AT NAKED WOMEN – WE CAN TRY TO SATISFY OUR EVER INCREASING LUST – AND WE CAN MAKE LOTS OF MONEY OUT OF EVERYBODY WHO LOVES TO LOOK AT THEM: Here lust meets greed and they become great buddies.

Shall we go on – now that we have brought greed into the picture? Let’s reveal just a little more of that darkness:

Murder and Starvation – We can stop buying things, hoarding things that we don’t need. Deliberately making things with short life-spans so that us rampant consumers will have to keep on buying and buying and the money will keep on flowing – but where it goes, nobody knows. We fill our houses and our lives with things we never use. We want more and more – to the extent that we go to war over disagreements about who owns what, killing millions and millions in cold blood – are we mad!

The result: Some people with more money and possessions than they could ever use but many other people who can’t even afford clothes and shoes to wear and simple food to eat, let alone somewhere to live. Countries full of unhealthy people, dying of self inflicted heart attacks and other various diseases – other countries full of people, even little babies, starving to death. Endless suffering and countless dead people, all lost to pointless arguments over things that we could just walk away from.

This is our very real reality; just a slice of our amazingly broken world and the evil that has become our best friend, and is stealing our lives from under our noses.

I did say to put on your hard-hats and steel toe-caps; we are not messing around here. This is the darkness that we want to banish – are you going to give up already – or are we going to somehow see that we are wrong. We have embraced evil and it has changed us – we need to let go of it.

We need to see the terrible place that we have allowed ourselves to be lead to – see that we need help and get down on our knees and talk to the One Man who can help us:

THE ONE WHO IS ACTUALLY DESPERATE TO HELP US – FREE OF CHARGE – IF WE WOULD JUST LET HIM IN.

Concluding with Part 5 tomorrow

Life and Death – Part 3: Invisible War

Dark side of Earth

Part 2 yesterday

How are we going so far – I guess we are getting a bit deeper but this is not a rabbit hole – that is as long as you don’t get lost – just follow the Light.

So, splitting the world in two and getting rid of all the bad stuff – now we can see that we are all trying to do this – and, actually it’s not so easy. Like we said, the physical world that we live on is amazing but it doesn’t have life – the life is in us. This dark side that we want to banish all the bad things to and the good side that we would all choose to live on – those places really only exist on a mental and spiritual level. It is, in fact, our hearts and minds that we are trying to split – this is a task on an invisible scale.

This is something that Paul said:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Is this some crazy science fiction movie that we are in here! Or is this simply what is going on all around us. Whatever you believe, something is driving the evil in this world and all that evil is committed by people. Those people are being motivated by the emotions and feelings that they have (that we have) and, hence, it is there that the battle is going on; in our hearts and minds – this is an invisible war. The things that we are fighting against are the things that are causing this evil – and those things are unseen. They are only visible through the actions of the people being affected.

Why are we finding it so difficult to deal with this issue – why is this war being so clearly lost?

Perhaps it is because most people don’t even recognise that there is a war; that evil is trying to force it’s way into to every area of are lives – leaving countless bodies strewn in it’s wake.

Also, could it be that we have somehow grown to like, even crave this darkness? Could it possibly be true that we have become accustomed, or actually dependent on the things that are destroying us?

We are talking life and death here – this is going to require some further digging.

Part 4 tomorrow

Life and Death – Part 2: Salvage

Dark side of Earth

Part 1 yesterday

We are all in the business of separating good from evil – at least in our own ways. We are all trying to salvage what we can from this, far from perfect world.

Let me just say: when I say world I mean us – the ball of rock we live on and all the physical things that we have made are lifeless – our real world is the hearts and minds of all the people and the invisible ways in which we connect together.

So, in our world, we try our best to decide what we should and shouldn’t do; what is good for us and what isn’t – ‘us’ being the operative word because our decisions are generally weighted in our own favour; ‘What is good for me’ rather than ‘what is good for everyone’ or even ‘what is good for him or her’.

We are, at least in a sense, and probably without thinking too much about it, all trying to do this most difficult of jobs; separating the good from the not good.

How well do you think you do?

Have you already go it nailed down – or are your perceptions a bit blurred, or even biased when it comes to this task?

If it were up to you, would you be secretly, even unknowingly, keeping some of the ‘not good’ stuff and hiding it for yourself. Perhaps under your bed, in your DVD collection, maybe on your hard-drive or even in that most private place in the back of your mind or the depths of your heart. Either way, it won’t do – if we are going to do this properly then ALL the bad stuff has got to go – somehow – even if we have to call in the Experts.

I’m sure that we can see that we are:

1. Trying to be set free from this dark side that is currently mixed in with the good side.

2. Due to the way that this dark side is mixed in, needing to know just how to get rid of it – and perhaps requiring assistance from some Salvage Professionals to deal with it properly.

Jesus was pretty clear on this subject. Actually He was very clear on the things we shouldn’t do. He spoke about the obvious things and also the less obvious, unseen things that we do, things that live in our hearts and minds and drive the more obvious bad things that happen.

I don’t know about you but I really want to sort this out. I want this dark side done – all the bad stuff out of the way on the other side of where-ever – preferably without losing any people (I appreciate that that maybe impossible but don’t forget, that is God’s desire too).

I admit that I am not innocent in all this. The dark side has touched my life and all too often I have enjoyed it, even embraced it. That said, it is called ‘dark’ for a reason and I have also felt it’s negative effects on my life.

I am so ready to be set free from that now, all I need to know is the Truth about what, exactly, that dark side is. Then, if I could get some help to salvage my life so that I have only good stuff, that would be spot on.

I am not sure that this will be easy – actually I am sure that it won’t. Shall we continue – you never know, if we can manage to get the right Man for the job, we might just get Somewhere – Somewhere worth getting to.

Part 3 tomorrow

Life and Death – Part 1: The Dark Side

Dark side of Earth

If you divided this planet in two, took all the bad things that exist and that happen, all the evil and darkness, and put them on one side so that the other side was only good – which side would you want to live on?

I guess that’s a silly question – I am sure that the answer is obvious.

Who would ever choose Hell over Heaven?!

But what would be on the dark side – any people at all? I doubt that anyone would volunteer to go there. Could it even be possible to separate the good from the bad. Nothing is done apart from by people; you certainly couldn’t just put our actions on the dark side and us on the good side – could you?

So how would you do it – shall we try?

We should – but it may be violent process.

Part 2 tomorrow

If

Planet Earth In His Hands

If we hadn’t seen so many wrongs
We wouldn’t thirst so much for right
If we hadn’t struggled for so long
Our patience wouldn’t be our might

If our race hadn’t become so fake
There wouldn’t have been so many lies
If we hadn’t made so many mistakes
We wouldn’t have become so wise

If we don’t learn from all our errors
We will never have stand a chance
If we can now see this path is failure
Perhaps we can manage to advance

If still remains when we hold dear
To lies we do not understand
If will only disappear
When we are fully in His Hands

If we want to live with God
There is still much to be done
If we trust what He said
We just have to let Him come

God of this City – Chris Tomlin

Heavy Life – Part 5: Living with God

Heavy Burden

Part 4 Yesterday

This is the best bit:

I am sure that you’d hope it would be; most of what we’ve mentioned so far has been about the difficulties we currently face and the suffering that is down every street. Well, guess what: It’s not over. In fact it hasn’t even started yet. This messed up place that we have made has simply become the womb that will birth a perfect life for all who want to accept it. Of course, there is still evil and causes of evil to deal with; we have talked enough about that – that is in hand.

All these problems we see are the result of the behavioural issues of every person who has ever lived. We are just like a child who has wandered off from his dad and has lost sight of him, or rather, a child who was not paying attention and has grasped the hand of the wrong dad. When that kid realises his mistake how quickly will he let go and cling to his Real Dad. So when will we realise; when will we see our mistake – that we are holding the wrong hand – how much more evidence do we need. When we see our error, we are going to let go of that hand so fast… and we are going to cling to our True Father so hard.

So, for now, if this world is heavy or burdensome then we thank God. We get down on our knees and praise Him that He hasn’t abandoned us and left us to our own destructive ways. If this life is heavy it is because He is correcting us and calling us back to Him; when will we answer? We have pain so that we can see wrong – pain is insight into the world of good and evil. When pain speaks we must listen. The weight of God’s hand is there to help us; He doesn’t play games or get things wrong. He is not flawed like you or me.

If there are problems then He wants to fix them and if we have pain then we are made aware of our errors. Without pain and an awareness of wrong we would stroll into destruction happily unaware; we would drive off a cliff with a smile on our faces and be smashed to bits on the numb floor below – without ever batting an eyelid. He has given us these things to help to guide us and He is working to draw us back to Him. Ultimately He will deal with all the issues that we see.

This is a quote from John:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)

This current order or way of life will change. There will be no more evil in God’s ever-lasting world. A bit more from John:

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:27 (NIV)

Let’s be clear:

We do not want an impure world; ideally, we don’t want anything impure in our world. Lies, immorality, greed, jealousy, murder… so many things that we need to get rid of and we are all involved. The things we watch on TV, our music that we love, our video games, our rude jokes, our flirting, our internet full of pollution that now spreads our nonsense to every corner of the world at super fast speed… there are so many things so underlie this heavy life and that drive the impurity.

Let’s be very clear:

These things need to be dealt with. We don’t want any of that stuff in our world. Here’s the problem: we just can’t tell good from bad well enough to do this. In the face of all our mixed feelings and emotions, we are so easily confused that we don’t stand a chance. The truth of that statement is written in any one of the countless, pointless arguments and disagreements that have covered the face of the planet all throughout history.

Here’s a quote from a long time ago:

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV)

It is so clear that it is the knowledge of good and evil that is destroying us. We just can’t decide and aren’t capable of making all the right choices in this regard. We don’t know what is good for us and what isn’t, even though we have clearly adopted the responsibility for making those choices – and this is what we have ended up with; a very impure world. We have got it really wrong.

So, enter that Way it was always meant to be:

God doesn’t want us to go it alone and He never did. He wants to be at the centre of our world helping with all these decisions about life which are actually decisions about Him – about whether we choose Him or not. Now we are learning the hard way – learning that the way to Pure Life is to choose him each and every time.

So start now – choose Him – He is waiting for us – waiting for you. The Lamb who has that Book of Life is Jesus and He is desperate to include your name – the things He has done for us, who could do?

It is that simple. Life will only be perfect when we are living with God and we have an open invitation – what are we waiting for.

Now, if we are going to live with God then we need to get to know Him. Reading about Him and talking to Him.

You can start with this prayer:

Thank you Father that you never left us. Thank you that you came as Jesus and have provided us with a way to enter into a pure world, free from all the pollution that our race has created. Jesus, please include me in your Book of Life and please come into my life now and show me how to live, I only want to know the Truth. Thank you for what you have done.

Amen.

Please send me a message if you have any question or want to talk.
Thanks,
Ben.

Back to the beginning – Part 1

Heavy Life – Part 4: Crushing Evil

Heavy Burden

Part 3 Yesterday

What is going to happen to all this evil?

Like we said, there are (at least) two sides to this thing:

We have already said that we are causing problems in this world and we have also said that God is actively working to fix things; fix us.

Some of the weight felt in this life is down to the consequences of our actions and some is down to God’s hand making the changes that He needs to make; changes that are for our benefit.

We have already said that God gave life to us and that we took that life and ran off it. That is what happened and look where we are now; without Him things will not work. In running off with life and living it in exactly the way we feel like, we have given birth to so much evil. That evil must be and will be and in fact is being dealt with now by God; He is crushing it.

Let’s go back to Paul’s comment:

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:20-21 (NIV)

In this life that we have made we have become addicted and habitualised to behaviours that are not good and we have become subject to all manner of feelings and emotions that are driving us to many terrible places.

In this frustration that Paul talks about, God is dealing with this evil. He is working to make us obedient to a Truth that will take us in the right direction as opposed to our current path that is bringing destruction to this world.

On top of that He even works with our own mistakes and bad decisions to use them to benefit us and to help us see the wrong that is in us.

Have a look at this quote which is just a couple of lines on from the one above:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NIV)

God is working for our good, even when we mess up. He is working to destroy evil in this world and we are right in the middle of that process. Currently we are suffering because of the consequences of so many bad actions and we also feel the pressure of God trying to rid this world of what is causing those bad actions in the first place; He is crushing the evil. That sounds grim but the positive side of this is that He is working for our Good and all that suffering and weight that we feel now is nothing compared to the amazing life that He has prepared for us and is bringing about.

This is another quote from Paul, from a different letter that he wrote:

However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”*— the things God has prepared for those who love him — these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NIV) *Quoting Isaiah 64:4

This life we have is not Life. We live, for now, but we are revolving around feelings and motives that are destroying us, bit by bit. God has prepared and is preparing this better world that we are talking about, where Life is based on ever-lasting principals that benefit everyone involved.

This is very important:

If you say that you are not involved or that you do not love God then just get to know Him, once you do you will be full of love for Him; beg Him to come into your life – it will be incredible.

Let’s just finish today dealing with our destructive behaviour and tomorrow we can look deeper at the Life bringing relationship with God that was always His intention:

This evil that He will put an end to is all around us and it is being committed by each one of us; we all implicated in one way or another.

The roots that that evil grows from are:

Pride – We love ourselves and just can’t admit that we’re wrong. So much of what we do is driven by the false image that we want others to be impressed by.

Envy – We base our lives on what we want others to think of us. We do things that are pointless just to impress others so that we can try to satisfy that unquenchable thirst inside us to be loved – actually it is not unquenchable but who do you think is the True Quencher.

Lust – We all know about this, just look at the broken families and fatherless children all over this planet – why? Because we love to obey our feelings over what we know is right and good.

Greed – We take more than we give, result: world of obesity v’s starvation – how could we let that happen – but we have.

Jealousy – We have built a world that has killed trust so now we all have to live for ourselves, cover our own backs and fight our own corners. It’s dog eat dog and so many suffer and die as a result.

Those feelings that cause the evil are in all of us. If you think that you can justify yourself of wrong doing and acquit yourself before God then that is up to you. I believe that we are all guilty of having a part in this mess and we all need help (by the way, the Help is free – you just have to ask).

This is another quote from Paul about the evil in this world:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

That may sound far-fetched but that evil and those forces are all around – why else do you think we have become so bad.

Let finish today by saying, as Paul said:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21 (NIV)

Let’s not be overcome by evil anymore, let us overcome evil with so much good – and to do that we need to get connected to God, then we will be more clearly aware of all the spiritual evil.

Ultimately He will deal with this completely and is now doing that. This time Jesus speaking:

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
Matthew 13:41 (NIV)

This will happen and is now going on – let’s all join in on the Right side – why on earth wouldn’t you?

Concluding with Part 5 Tomorrow