Sin Is a Big Deal!

If you go onto Google and type in “What’s the big deal about sin?” you’ll find approximately 3,180,000 links to this subject or something relating to this subject. When I was thinking of this title I was very surprised to see this many individual searches for this particular subject.

It’s my opinion that the church (on a global scale) has failed to some degree in communicating the vital importance of understanding the issue of sin and what it really is and why it hurts us…now and later.

This post is based on two things. My opinion of why I think sin is a big deal and God’s opinion of why He thinks sin is a big deal and what He says about it in the Bible. For those of you who may be disconnecting already because I mentioned the word “Bible,” please hang on until the end of this post. This is not going to be the ranting of some religious, self-righteous bigot who thinks he’s perfect and dare not be contaminated by anyone who believes differently than he does.

Sin Defined

What is the best definition of sin? Dictionary.com says sin is any act regarded as a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.

I believe this definition is accurate as long as we understand what real religion is. James 1:27 in the Voice translation says, “Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and [for us to] resist the evil influence of the world.”

In the New Testament in the original Greek language of the day in which it was written, sin means to be without a share in, to miss the mark, to be mistaken or to wander from the path of uprightness.

 Sin is Fun…for a while!

Many years ago, I, like many others in the world today lived the lifestyle of drinking, partying, drugging and everything that went along with it. I didn’t live that life as long as some have but it was long enough to learn some valuable lessons.

Lesson one is this, sin is fun for a while. Lesson two, sin almost always makes you stay longer than you had planned and it always costs you more than you thought it might. Lesson three, it usually takes longer to get out of it than it did to get into it.

Hebrews 11:25 says that Moses chose rather to endure suffering (from Pharaoh of Egypt) with the children of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.

Sin can never satisfy long term. You’ll always need more of what you’re involved in to get your buzz the next time around. Whether it’s drugs, sex, crime, food, or whatever. You’ll always need more because sin is motivated by a demonic spirit that is only interested in your ultimate destruction and it is never, never satisfied.

So, what am I missing out on?

The definition above that says sin is being without a share in refers to wandering from the path that God has laid out in His word for our blessings in life and the privilege of daily intimate friendship with Him. But that’s the tip of the iceberg metaphorically.

There are approximately 7,000+ promises listed in the Bible that are given for our protection, instruction, wisdom and prosperity that will enhance our lives spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, physically, relationally, financially, etc.

If we know what God says in His word about a specific issue but we decide to do things on our own and go our own way, that is called sin. When we deliberately or ignorantly sin we have “missed the mark” that God has laid out for us in this area and there will be consequences if we don’t ask forgiveness and truly turn and go the other way (repent). One of the first and most noticeable ways you know you’ve sinned or missed the mark is a lack of peace (if you’re a Christian) because the Holy Spirit is grieved or saddened when we allow sin into our lives, no matter what the nature of it is.

If you continue living in sin whether you’ve accepted Jesus or not, you are still opening the door to your spiritual adversary and destroyer of your soul. If you’re a Christian the devil or satan can never take you to hell…ever! But if you continue in sin he can make life “hell on earth” for you. And don’t think for a minute that’s not part of his plans for you. John 10:10 says that satan’s mo (method of operation) is to steal, kill and to destroy. That’s all he has in mind for you and he is very persistent and very patient in this perverted, evil endeavor.

Your Share is Waiting

 If you don’t believe in Christ, that’s your privilege. But the consequences are much more serious if your life comes to an end and you still have not accepted Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior. Don’t wait! Simply say, “Jesus, please forgive me for not believing in you and taking You as my Savior and Lord, I receive You today, now and forever.”

If this makes you snicker or mock, God still loves you and He will honor your decision to die in your sin and end up in hell, but you don’t have to. You can literally change your eternal destiny in seconds with a simple choice and declaration. Romans 10:9 says if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead you shall be saved. That word saved in the Greek literally means to be delivered, protected, preserved and made whole.

When Jesus provided salvation for us on the cross through His shed blood and broken body He fully intended for His sacrifice to also include healing and deliverance of the body and soul. He made provision for all us to be restored to the original intent God had for us from the beginning. And that was wholeness and purity in spirit, soul and body (see 1 Thess. 5:23).

The second you accept Jesus as Lord He moves into your human spirit and real life begins for all eternity. Then you need to get a Bible and start reading about how to think, believe, and “really live.”

Compromising Christians

 For those of us who are Christians, we simply cannot afford to compromise our lives, thoughts, and behaviors in these last days. The enemy of our souls is playing hardball and he’s trying desperately to win by any means necessary that is available to him. Secondly and equally important is the fact that the world is watching us because they need someone that they can count on for some answers to this crazy screwed up world we’re all living in.

Please?! Let’s not help the enemy of souls or make it any easier for him. I have dropped the ball many times in my daily walk but I don’t ever want that to become a habit. There are so many areas where we can compromise and I don’t have white space here or time to list the myriad of ways possible and I shouldn’t have to.

We have Holy Spirit living inside of us and if we’ve been attempting to follow the Lord’s leading for any amount of time we should have enough history with Him to know whether or not we have peace from Him about any decisions we’re making.

Keep this in mind as I close. Even the smallest, seemingly insignificant unseen sin that remains hidden or not dealt with in your life is very dangerous and will eventually grow into something more destructive. It is subtle and the longer you ignore dealing with it the more calloused your heart and conscience will become.

Callousness is as thin as layers of an onion. Just one thin layer of sin at time will eventually grow into something much larger and much more difficult to deal with you and you WILL NOT be happy with the end result.

If you have something that needs to be confessed and repented of, do it today and let the peace of Christ that passes all understanding return to your heart. With it will come the joy of the Lord that is your strength. It’s such a good feeling going to bed and knowing in your heart you’re right with God. We can never earn or deserve that kind of blessing in our lives because it’s all the result of the grace, mercy, and love of God for His creation of which you are one.

We may just wake in heaven tomorrow morning.

Don’t be left behind.

 

Serving You Truth,

Dennis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divine Frustration

Can you remember a time when you wanted to accomplish something so much, something you believe was a sincere passion of your heart? You believed at a gut-level that the achievement of this thing or experience would not only make you a better person, it would potentially allow you to provide better for yourself and your family, and it would also allow you to serve others and make their lives much easier or better somehow.

Have you experienced the emotion of frustration as a result of not being able to pursue a particular goal that you really believed was possible? Something that you could “actually see” with the eye of faith and you knew it was right in your heart to pursue?

Webster’s defines the word frustration in several interesting ways.

  • A feeling of anger or annoyance caused by being unable to do something.
  • The act of preventing the success of something.
  • A deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs and dreams (emphasis mine).

Pay Attention to Frustration

In situations where relational conflicts are involved, or issues that may cause anxiety and fear to come to the surface etc, it’s very beneficial to have enough self-discipline to keep your emotions reigned in.

There are other emotions (while still keeping them in check) that we should pay particular attention to such as anger or frustration. Emotions were given to us at birth to be able to enjoy the pleasant aspects of life, warn of us of danger, and so on. On the flip side, negative emotions can be and are great teachers if we know enough to pay attention to them.

As I mentioned earlier, the emotion of frustration lets us know when something specific is wrong. If you’ve been trying to succeed at something for an extended period of time, chances are that you’ve already experienced the emotion of frustration, or will very soon.

Let Frustration Be Your Compass

Frustration can be a great tool for determining direction in life or for a career; much like a compass directs a hiker or outdoors man when he’s in unfamiliar territory.

For example: you may be in a particular position with an organization and you’re very efficient and productive at what you do. The company takes good care of you and provides excellent benefits for you and your family. If you are, that’s great! But being comfortable and secure is not always the answer long-term.

Are you truly happy and fulfilled? Do you believe you’re following the passion of your heart? Do you feel like your natural gifts and talents are being utilized in the best possible way and to their maximum potential? If not, how does that make you feel? Frustrated…perhaps?!!

That can be a good thing if you know in your heart you’re giving that company your very best every day when you come to work. If not, maybe you need to pursue a more challenging position that will allow better use your gifts and talents. Or, you may just need to check your attitude.

Psalms 37:4 in the Amplified Bible says: Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. The word “delight” here means to keep your heart soft, pliable, and teachable. When you do that consistently, God will plant His desires in your heart that will perfectly fit the gifts and talents He’s given you at birth. And you can be sure that those desires will bring maximum contentment and fulfillment.

Psalms 37:5 in the same translation says, Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass (amplification excluded).

You’ll Never Be Happy Until…

you’re pursuing what you were created for.

If you’re gifted in a particular way that you have not yet pursued, but you know what your gifts are, then you need to make some specific effort toward developing and exercising those gifts.

It may not be something that will eventually turn into a career for you; but it just might be!

It could be something as simple as creating an object with your hands that can be turned into a gift or service that would bring someone great comfort, joy, and blessing. It could be that you have an usual ability to fix things like cars, people’s houses, or any number of things.

It’s also very possible that someone reading this article has a particular gift or talent that could be in an infant stage just waiting to be birthed. When that happens, it could mature into a creative, cutting-edge idea for a product or service oriented company that could potentially employ dozens or hundreds of people that would make this world a better place.

Regardless of what your gift or talent is, the world around you and the people around you need what you have and who you are. You see, regardless of what you believe, there is an “all-wise” creator of human beings and He has gifted every person on the face of the earth with particular gifts and talents. And those gifts will, and do reflect glory and honor back to Him first of all.

Secondly, many people’s gifts and talents can be, have been, and are being sharpened, honed, and developed into careers that make the possessor of that gift immensely happy, fulfilled, and prosperous when they discover what they’ve been created for.

Don’t stay frustrated!

Let it challenge you to find out who you are and what you were created for. And don’t buy into the lie that you are too old, too young, too uneducated, or too anything. Where there is a will, there is a way!

Serving You Truth,

Dennis

 

 

 

 

The Spirit of “This” World

As a Christian today, you don’t have to be very perceptive to see that our culture and everything about it is becoming increasingly antagonistic toward the things of God and the church.

Let’s take television for example. It’s very difficult nowadays to actually find something decent to watch without having to place your fingers on the mute and the channel buttons simultaneously to keep from dumping raw sewage into your living room, not to mention your heart.

Christian values are being targeted in the media every time we turn around. It’s everywhere! Radio, TV, the internet, billboards, etc. But Jesus said this would happen. He said if they hated Him in his day, they would hate us too. In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul the apostle said that all those who live godly in Christ would suffer persecution.

What’s behind all of this anyway? Is it just the battle between good and evil, darkness and light? NO! I believe it’s much more than that in these last days.

The Man Jesus—the Christ

While I do not have extensive knowledge about world religions, I have researched some of their beliefs to a certain degree and many of them believe that Jesus was a good man, a teacher, and some even agree that He was prophet.

On the other hand, many do not believe that He actually was, and is, as much God as God Himself.

Why is there a growing contempt for “real” Christianity when Jesus only went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil (see Acts 10:38)?

Stop and think about this for a minute. Do you remember what happened when Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan? Matthew 3:16 in the NKJV says “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He (John the Baptist) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him” (Jesus).

At this precise moment in time, Jesus was no more just Jesus. He was now Jesus Christ, the anointed son of God.

He was anointed with the same Spirit that lives inside God the Father. The word anointed or to anoint actually comes from three or four Greek words. They mean to smear with or to rub on. Anoint also meant to consecrate Jesus to the Messianic office and to furnish Him with necessary power for its administration. It also meant to endue Christians with the gifs of the Holy Spirit.

If you study the life and ministry of Jesus, you will find that He did not engage in any miracles in His ministry until He was baptized in water, and in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that baptized and empowered Jesus was and is the same Spirit who was present and intimately involved in the creation of all living things, as well as the planets, our solar system and a myriad of other things as well.

He is the same Spirit that caused each one of us to receive the life of God at the new birth, or salvation, or whatever term you’re most familiar with.

 The Spirit of Anti-Jesus, or Anti-Christ?

As I said earlier, there are other religions that believe that Jesus was a good man or teacher and prophet. However, my purpose in this is not to discuss world religions, but the spirit that is currently operating in the world and in those today who are antagonistic toward the Gospel.

The apostle John said in 1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world (NKJV).

This passage clearly states that we can discern and target any spirit that is against Jesus Christ by asking one simple question. Do you believe Jesus Christ came in the flesh and that He was and is God? If not, you know what spirit is motivating them.

I tried this once with two women who came to my door on a cold Saturday morning. Once I asked them this question they started stumbling and back peddling for answers. When we’d talked for a few minutes, they ended up telling me that Jesus wasn’t God and that it wasn’t possible for Him to be God.

Satan is After the Anointing in Our Lives

Think about this for a moment? Why do you suppose John wrote about testing the spirits and specifically mentioned confessing Jesus Christ and not just Jesus?

I completely agree that Jesus was God and that He was virgin born. However, it was His own Father’s plan that His ministry not begin until the Holy Spirit came upon Him and indwelt Him. That’s how He turned the water into wine, healed the sick, the lepers, the blind, raised the dead, stilled storms, walked through walls (yes, that’s right!), walked on water, translated a boat to shore from the middle of the sea of Galilee, received instructions from His Father in the Spirit realm (see John 5:19-21) and more.

While I cannot find specific scripture for this, it’s my personal conviction that John wrote about Jesus Christ because he was trying to warn us to protect, guard, and treasure the presence of the person of Holy Spirit, or the anointing in our lives as Christians.

When we do not treasure or value the presence of Holy Spirit and His anointing in us, or upon us, He can and will withdraw inside us because while He is very powerful, He is also a gentleman in every sense of the word and He can be grieved or hurt.

When we let in the wrong type of entertainment, or dwell on unkind and negative thoughts as well as other ungodly things, the power of Holy Spirit diminishes in our lives by our own choices and our hearts gradually harden to His gentle promptings.

Holy Spirit will never crowd His way to the front of our lives. He lets us choose. We are created as love creatures of His. And as such, love NEVER, controls or manipulates for it’s own purposes or it ceases to be love.

Manipulation and control actually have its roots in witchcraft because satan loves to control, force, and coerce us into fulfilling his plans. But if we keep our hearts tender so that Holy Spirit knows He is welcomed, we’ll never have to be concerned about our enemy taking advantage of us.

 Invite Holy Spirit to Live in You Today

If you’re interested in having God’s Holy Spirit take up residence in your life, it’s so simple. John 3:17-18 says that God DID NOT send His son into the world to condemn them, but to save them. Verse 18 says that if you believe in Jesus you are not condemned.

Sinning does not condemn you or keep you from being saved, contrary to many traditional teachings today. But God’s word says, simply BELIEVE on the only begotten son of God, and that is Jesus Christ.

Ask God to forgive you for not believing in Him and accept what His Son did for you and Holy Spirit will come into your heart and make you come alive. Your whole world will change or you’ll begin to see things from heaven’s perspective instead of this world’s view.

Don’t stress over how you’re going to live this new life, the Holy Spirit is also your teacher, guide, comforter, and friend and He will never let you down.

I hope you choose Him, you will not be sorry.

If you have any questions, please post your comments, negative or positive. I welcome any feedback.

Serving You Truth,

Dennis

 

 

 

 

Hope vs. Hopelessness

Hope is a priceless but fleeting commodity nowadays. It seems like trying to acquire and maintain hope for any length of time is difficult and futile—like trying to catch the wind.

The different forms of media available today are doing very little to instill hope in anyone. In fact, in most (not all) cases they’re promoting fear and hopelessness on an exponential scale.

Why? Because fear sells news and boosts ratings; regardless of the format.

I personally believe it’s extremely detrimental to your mental, emotional, and spiritual health to “feed regularly” on any negative news. I’m not saying don’t be informed, that’s equally foolish. But you should know your limits in how much you can take in and still maintain a positive and confident outlook about your future.

If you can’t do that, you’ll not have much to offer others around you who are looking for the right answers to questions that desperately need answering.

There are multiple news apps available for our cell phones today and any of them will provide sufficient information for you to become depressed in an amazingly short amount of time.

Our Government Can’t Do It!

It’s a “no brainer’ that not one government on the face of this earth is able to successfully handle all the problems that it’s citizen’s face financially, physically, morally, vocationally, etc. They are humans just like us, limited in their ability and knowledge, just like us.

I believe our government officials (many of them) have done their best locally, nationally, and internationally to keep our countries strong, vibrant, safe, and productive. But even when man has the best intentions for good, he has fallen woefully short of providing and maintaining hope to others because, once again, he is just a man and he is limited at best with his abilities.

One Source of True Hope

The kind of hope we need is different than what most people are familiar with. If you asked most people what hope means to them today, you would probably get something like this. “To me, hope means something that I’m optimistic about happening for me, but I can’t really be sure or believe it until I see it.”

The hope I’m talking about is from the bible, based on God’s word, and the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a: joyful, confident, absolute expectation with anticipation of pleasure accompanying the manifestation of the thing expected and believed for.

Maybe this will drive the point home visually. If you’re a parent, you’ll remember seeing your young children get up early on Christmas morning with great excitement at the thought of opening gifts, that is a good picture of bible hope. The children “know” there’s something under the tree waiting for them, they can see the packages with their names on them, but you have not given them the OK to open them and they’re bouncing off the walls with excitement.

That is the most accurate picture of the kind of hope Jesus offers to all who will accept Him.

Unshakable Hope

For you to have the kind of hope I mentioned above, you need to simply receive the truth that you need God’s involvement in your life, your heart, your thoughts and actions.

If you will simply say, Jesus, I believe you died on the cross for me. Please forgive me for the sin of not believing in you and for me trying to run my own life and trying to be my own god. I accept your sacrifice today and want you to be my God and bring living hope into my life. He will do it immediately and you will be eternally sealed by the Holy Spirit and destined for heaven to live there for all eternity.

You may ask, “Is it really that simple?” The answer is yes. Much of organized religion and traditional denominational churches teach that you need to spill your guts and confess “all” your sin before accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord. There’s nothing wrong with that if you know at some point the Lord is telling you to do that.

But the bible “does not teach” confession of all sin first to come into relationship with Jesus.

John 3:16-18 in the NKJV says: 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Then Romans 10:13 says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. If you mean it in your heart when you ask forgiveness from Jesus, you will become His child forever and nothing will ever change that because this promise is written in blood!

When you do that, you “immediately” enter into a relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and there is NO ENEMY that will conclusively defeat you.

You now have the God who created the earth and personally designed you, living inside your human spirit and He will guide you the rest of your days on earth and be with you through all eternity.

Jesus is the great hope, the living hope, and He is all you will ever need.

He is THE SOURCE of healing, protection, provision, success, wisdom, knowledge, creative and innovative ideas, understanding, peace, joy, fulfillment, happiness, and a million other wonderful experiences that you haven’t even imagined yet.

Please let me know if you invited the GREAT HOPE to live in you.

Serving You Truth,

Dennis

 

 

 

 

Stratagems of Satan

Have you ever experienced a prolonged mental or physical battle that literally sucks the life out of you? It may have been an hour, a day, a month, a year or a decade. Maybe it was something that happened in the natural realm that others have dealt with as well, but it seems like you cannot forget what happened or get free of it. It just keeps returning, beating you down, bringing with it guilt, shame, and condemnation. Maybe it was a lust-filled thought or image and you knew in your heart you weren’t intentionally dwelling on those kinds of things. You wonder…“Where did this come from?”

Unless you knowingly and willingly opened yourself up to wrong appetites and behaviors, you probably were experiencing the stratagems of Satan. Webster’s Dictionary says a stratagem is: a) an artifice or trick in war for deceiving and outwitting the enemy, b) a cleverly contrived trick or scheme for gaining an end.

The Bible says in John 10:10 Amplified, the thief (Satan) only comes to kill, steal, and to destroy, but Jesus came to give us life and give it to us in abundance. It also says in 1Pet. 5:8: Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

It’s All in Your Mind

Please understand this vitally important truth. If you’re reading this article and you’re not a Christian, a believer in Jesus, this information is just as true for you as it is for someone who is a Christian. Satan is the archenemy of God’s creation…period! And that means you!

Please understand, if Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness during a 40-day fast to try and keep Him from fulfilling His purpose, we can absolutely expect him to come after us.

Once you become a Christian, you are a threat to the kingdom of darkness because of Who possesses you. If you’re not a Christian, Satan still hates you and will exert any amount of effort in distracting and deceiving you with the hopes of capturing your soul eternally.

Satan attempts to captivate and deceive all of us by means of mental and spiritual deception. He is a spirit and his demons—cohorts or fallen angels—are also spirits. They cannot simply take over someone without their will first being compromised or without that person willingly yielding to them (see Romans 6:16). If a person is ignorant of how satan works or is uneducated spiritually about his tactics, he then has uncontested access in the spiritual realm and uses deceptive thought impressions, carnal appetites and weaknesses that can and will ultimately destroy a person if satan is allowed to go unchecked in that person’s life.

However, there is no reason for us to ever be defeated by satan or his minions because there is more than enough battle strategies in God’s word for us to experience victory continuously when we engage our enemy.

Engaging Our Enemy

For this section, I’m including a rather lengthy excerpt from a book titled, Spirit Wars, authored by Kris Vallotton, one of the pastors from Bethel Church, in Redding, CA. In my opinion, the revelation that follows is some of the most accurate and helpful information I have ever read about Satan’s strategies and plans to defeat us.

“Spiritual conflicts most often occur when we advance into new territory currently inhabited by evil spirits. Just as enemies fought Joshua in the Promised Land and Nehemiah as he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, so will our enemy fight us when we begin to take the spiritual terrain God has promised to us. Most Christians, however, are completely unaware that the resistance they encounter as they step into God’s promises is actually part of a spirit war. They retreat at the first sign of conflict because they fail to recognize the true source of the battle or the way in which war is waged in the invisible realm.

One of the most common ways demonic spirits attack is by giving us thoughts that the Bible describes as flaming arrows (see Ephesians 6:16). Because these thoughts are actually manifestations of the evil spirits and not just bad ideas, they are compelling—in other words, there is an unction [or motivation] to “do the act” that we are contemplating, even though these ideas are contrary to our new nature. Then these same spirits accuse us of originating these thoughts and impulses. If we believe their accusations, we lose confidence in our identity and digress into emotions like depression, anxiety and self-hatred.

The enemy and his cohorts also attack our imaginations by inspiring terrible visions or pictures that wrestle against our minds and can be deeply troubling, especially if we do not understand the source of these assaults. The same unction [or motivation] that accompanies false thoughts usually accompanies these false visions.

Some people experience warfare without a thought or picture in their minds, but with awful “feelings,” false impulses or unction’s that rage against their souls. But no matter what manifestations spiritual warfare takes on, the most important fact to remember is that these are symptoms of the enemy’s devious plot to steal our inheritance, kill our offspring and destroy our very lives.” 

You Already Have the Victory

As Kris mentioned previously, Satan first comes against our thoughts and imaginations. This triggers negative, debilitating emotions that keep us from enjoying our lives and ultimately fulfilling our God-given calls and destinies.

But, I have really good news for you if you’re a Christian. Regardless of how long you have been following the Lord you can experience victory in your life because it’s already been paid for and deposited in your account.

While your enemy can come against you with many different temptations he can never come up with anything new that God does not already have the answer for.

In 1 Corinthians 15:57, the apostle Paul said, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV). He also mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:14 that God always leads us in triumph. In Romans 8:37, he said that no matter what things Satan brings against us, “We are more than conquerors through Him” (Christ).

You see, when Jesus said, “It is finished!”, in John 19:30, He really meant what He said! It was finished! We have to remember that Jesus wouldn’t have left and then sent the Holy Spirit to us if He went wasn’t capable of making us victorious over the enemy.

Second Corinthians 10:4-5 gives a clear strategy against the enemy when he oversteps his boundaries and assaults our thoughts. We must act immediately and take authority over him in every thought if we are to enjoy the victory Jesus paid for, as well as maintaining it.

I know this was a lot of scripture, but I wanted to drive the point home that we already have the victory and we do have the weapons of warfare to be successful in the spiritual realm (see Ephesians 6:10-18). But we have to put them on daily and the Holy Spirit will not do it for us.

I pray that this ministers to you and that you will experience victory in every area of your lives in the coming days, weeks, months and years.

 

Serving You Truth,

Dennis

 

 

Side note: I intentionally “did not” capitalize the name of satan. I don’t want to give him the credit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falling Out of Love

Some recent church attendance polls were taken in America and the final statistics were not near what earlier stats by the Gallup poll revealed. According to one man’s statistics, his findings showed that approximately only 17.7% of Americans attend any Christian church on a given Sunday. That’s a serious decline from what it used to be. These figures were arrived at by a man who is the director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church (covchurch.org). He started his study in the 80’s and followed the regular attendance of more than 200,000 individual Christian churches over the course of approximately thirty years.

I have to wonder why, as Christ’s body, we started drifting so far away from what we once knew to be so important and would have never compromised or given up on. I believe there are many reasons why we have stopped attending church as we did in years gone by and I am going to make a genuine effort to address the ones I believe may be some of the most important ones.

We Have Lost Our First Love

In Revelation 2:2-5 (NLV), John the beloved writes, “Write this to the angel of the church in the city of Ephesus: ‘The One Who holds the seven stars in His right hand and the One Who walks among the seven lights made of gold, says this: I know what you have done and how hard you have worked. I know how long you can wait and not give up. I know that you cannot put up with sinful men. I know that you have put men to the test who call themselves missionaries. You have found they are not missionaries but are false. You have waited long and have not given up. You have suffered because of Me. You have kept going on and have not become tired. But I have this one thing against you. You do not love Me as you did at first. Remember how you once loved Me. Be sorry for your sin and love Me again as you did at first. If you do not, I will come to you and take your light out of its place. I will do this unless you are sorry for your sin and turn from it.

 I believe John was saying that we, you, and I can get so busy serving God that we forget what it’s really about, why we’re doing it, and for Whom. If you’ll notice, Jesus inspired John to tell the church in Ephesus that that were doing things correctly and accurately, but that they still fell away from their First love who was Jesus. This was a very serious and sobering statement and it still very relevant for today.

God said in Matthew 23:11 that “…the person who is the greatest among you will be your servant.” But it’s also entirely possible to become so servant minded that you neglect your intimate fellowship time with the Lord. Remember, you cannot give out what you do not first possess. Serving needs to be kept in balance because it can become a very subtle deception. We’re serving in His house and loving people, and we’re staying on guard against the wolves that would desire to come in and kill the sheep. What could possibly be wrong with that?

We have to listen for that still small voice to make sure our motives for doing it are right and that our service “for Him” and “to others” never becomes an idol or a spiritual badge of honor or recognition.

Legalistic Religious Traditions

 I believe another reason we can fall out of love with Jesus is because of harsh, legalistic, religious traditions. My belief about this one has a valid basis because I spent almost forty years existing in this narrow-minded way of thinking and living.

Over the course of the “almost forty years” I spoke of, I attended several different churches due to moving, getting married, and getting better jobs in others cities, etc. However, I always stayed in the same kind of church I was raised in, no matter what city I moved to next. I was raised in a Baptist Church, but not just any Baptist Church.

I used to hear some of the older men say this when they were discussing their church or their doctrine and they were proud when they rattled it off like machine-gun fire, “I’m an Independent, fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist!” It came across to me in later years like they were more proud of this than being a Christian. It actually seemed like that phrase described their identity more than who and what they were in Christ. I’m sure I’m wrong, but it sure sounded like it at the time.

They would say they believed the bible from cover to cover. And yet, they didn’t believe it was God’s will to heal all the time. They believe He did and He could heal…but not that He would. They didn’t believe in the fullness of the Holy Spirit or His gifts which were and are so desperately needed in today’s world.

I know those people loved the Lord because that’s where I accepted Jesus as my Savior; so I’m truly grateful for that. But looking back from where I stand now, there was little to no real freedom in Christ for anyone I observed, let alone the knowledge or teaching about how to make that a living reality. Instead, there were more than enough rules to keep a person in guilt, condemnation and fear that God was about to drop an iron fist on you if you so much as stepped out of line. What’s so sad is this, I really don’t think they had a clue at that time of just how good God is, but I hope that has changed.

Harsh, restrictive, rule-oriented religion will instill fear instead of faith and crush creativity and freedom to be yourself instead of releasing you into what God has called you to be…even if it’s not something particularly spiritual for a vocation.

First Corinthians 15:56 in the Amplified says, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law”…. In other words, when you’re forced by anyone to constantly live with “unreasonable” religious laws and restrictions, you will ultimately end up sinning somehow because God intended His word to bring freedom to us. We must keep all things in balance though. This DOES NOT mean you can break the moral laws and laws of the land and relationships with people just so you can have your way and be free. That is not freedom, that’s stupidity and that leads to bondage.

Impotent Churches

 Many of you may not agree with this one and I understand that. For me, I did not know for years that I was in an impotent church because I had never been in one that wasn’t. Less this offend you, I am not suggesting that every church or ministry should look or sound the same or that we should compare them to each other because the scripture says that is not wise (see 2 Cor. 10:12).

But God’s word, especially the book of Acts and the writings of the apostle Paul give us plenty to go on as to what a Holy Spirit power-filled church should look like and what kind of fruit it should be bearing.

A true New Testament blood-bought church should be preaching salvation, heaven hell, deliverance from demons, and healing of the body, soul and the restoration of the entire person. If it’s not then it’s not a true full-gospel church.

Remember, we can always trust God’s word because it is unchangeable, unshakable and incorruptible. So let’s see what it has to say about the New Testament church and what the teachings should produce. Again, the apostle Paul said this in Romans 15:18-19. “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient— 19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

This is “full-gospel” preaching and it should always be accompanied by signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God. In Mark 16:20 it says the Lord worked with the disciples confirming the word they preached through the accompanying signs. Hebrews 2:4 says that God bears witness “both” with signs, wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will (NKJV).

When you’ve been in an impotent church for years as I had and then have an opportunity to visit one that is full of life and freedom, you can feel God’s tangible manifest presence. It’s very hard to go back to something that has no life in it. If you do and you stay there and don’t follow the Lord’s prompting to leave, you will die on the vine and become bitter and hard and possibly drift away from the Lord.

 Distractions of The Age

 Another thing that causes us to “fall out of love” with Jesus is the distractions of the world that we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. As Jesus was teaching the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 and Mark 4, He mentioned this very thing. He was teaching a practical agricultural lesson about sowing and reaping since which was one of the primary means of supporting a family in those days. He started this teaching by comparing God’s written word to seed. He said, “the sower sows the Word.”

He mentioned four types of soil, soil by the roadside or wayside, then there was the stony ground, next was ground covered with thorns in Mark 4:18-19. Verse 19 in The Voice translations says, “But the things of this life—the worries, the drive for more and more, the desire for other things—those things cluster around close and choke the life of God out of them until they cannot produce. Doesn’t that sound very indicative of the times we’re living in today?

Every direction we turn the enemy is dangling lust, greed, gluttony, sex, money, wealth, power, drugs, alcohol and pleasure in front of our eyes. The list is literally endless. And with today’s technology we can indulge 24/7 with as little effort as a tap on the screen of our smart phones or a few taps on a computer keyboard.

Now before you think I’m trying to establish a belief system or doctrine that God doesn’t want us to have anything, that couldn’t be more wrong. 1Tim. 6:17 in the NKJV says that God gives us all things richly to enjoy. Third John 2 says that God desires that we prosper in all things and be in health even as our soul prospers or matures. Mark 10:29-31 promises big blessings from the Lord in this life for serving Him and in the age to come. And if that’s still not enough, Psalms 35:27 says…let the Lord be magnified who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. And there’s still more!

God has no problems with us being blessed and having things. But He doesn’t want “the things” to have us. When they do, we ignorantly have become idol worshippers and we will have a dreadful end. Materialism is not the desire for material things. It is the desire to try and meet spiritual needs with material things.

God is never trying to keep us from enjoying anything good. But He is against “anything” that interferes with His love for us and His desire to be intimately involved with us on a daily basis.

Whatever the cost, please do not become a spiritual casualty of war? Make no mistake about it; we are currently in a war for the soul of our nation, our churches, our families and our personal lives. But we can win it a day at time. The Holy Spirit came as our Comforter to comfort us because He knew what these last days would be like and He has the power ready and available on tap for us but we have to receive it, He will not force it on us.

Serving You Truth,

Dennis

 

 

 

 

 

Watch the Yeast!

As many of you have already witnessed, the upcoming elections and all that surrounds it has really begun to create a cultural and spiritual divide in this nation like I’ve never seen in my adult years. Of course I’m aware that major issues concerning many very important things have always existed, but this is different.

It seems obvious to me that a level of hatred and evil has manifested itself concerning the outcome of these elections, the candidates, and what is or is not the truth. I’m starting to feel it when I read some people’s comments, even Christians.

I’m especially amazed at some of the comments made on social media sites and as well as YouTube comments. Not just about the candidates, but individuals who are expressing themselves. One person said about another person who made a comment that, “they wanted to hang them and set them on fire.” This is barbaric and nothing short of demonic.

Good Leadership Promotes Blessing

I am a Christian and I desire to see goodness, righteousness and justice prevail because all people will benefit. As such, I’ve felt consistently prompted by the Holy Spirit the last few days to stop making any further comments or sharing my opinions regarding any candidate or the outcome of the election or hopes of how it will go; I’ve said enough! Instead, I’m keeping my opinions to myself and praying even more than I have.

The Lord keeps bringing something to my heart about this whole political process so I’m going to share it and then bow out.

In Mark 8 in the Bible, Jesus has just finished performing the miracle of the feeding of the four-thousand in which the disciples got to be involved. They actually got to “see” the bread multiplying in their own hands (8:6) while Jesus multiplied the fish (8:7) and then they got into the boat to go to the other side of the lake.

The disciples had evidently forgotten to bring more than one loaf of bread with them and they were growing concerned about their next meal so Jesus turned it into another opportunity to teach them something. In verse 15 Jesus said, …beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.

 As you may know, the modern day word for leaven is yeast. It’s what makes bread dough rise.

 Wrong Leadership is Destructive

The leaven of the Pharisees was the ungodly, religious influence of the day that was powerless to bring change in people’s lives and deliver them out of trouble. It was great at exacting rules and making you feel worthless and intolerable, but it did and still does nothing to remedy your situation.

The leaven of Herod was the equally ungodly atheistic, politically correct society that made Caesar and other Roman rulers gods in their realm or sphere of influence. And they were even more harsh and cruel than the Pharisees.

Doesn’t this sound just a little bit familiar? We are witnessing an “almost” full-blown demonic manifestation of the spirit of “anti-christ” being released through our political and governmental leaders today…RIGHT NOW! They HATE Christianity!

We currently have the leaven of Herod operating totally unchecked in our White House. It is the present-day, politically correct, “don’t you dare offend me” society governed by arrogant, pompous and godless individuals who are trying to play God but have absolutely no regard whatsoever for anything righteous, moral or pure.

This is why we MUST pray like never before and then get out there and vote like JESUS would want us to. If you really don’t know what that means, get a bible and read it!…and then believe it and don’t analyze what you read. You know! Like thou shall not kill (murder-abortion), one man, one woman and they shall leave their father and mother and become one. You get the idea?

Pray for Holy Spirit Power

We are also being influenced “as a whole” by the leaven of the Pharisees (not all churches, but many) which is cold, dead, harsh, restrictive, and manipulative religion which has a “form of Godliness” but is impotent and denies the power thereof.

 There is little to no true, authentic, unashamed Holy Ghost power like was available on the day the church was born in the book of Acts during Pentecost. It’s increasing thankfully, but we need it to move across this land like a “spiritual tsunami.” The days of Acts were pre-denominational days in every sense of the word…and they literally turned the world upside down in their day.

They actually honored the Holy Spirit they “did have” more than the Holy Bible that they “didn’t have.” Maybe that’s why.

These are the days in which the prophet Isaiah was describing in 5:20. He said, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter (NLT).”

 Without righteousness, justice, truth, Godly leadership, and uncorrupted accountability this nation will not last much longer. I beg and plead with you to pray, read your bible, listen to the Holy Spirit and then go vote! It absolutely does make a difference.

 If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

 Please?! Let’s give God something He can work with?

 

Serving You Truth,

Dennis