Archive for August, 2015

Don’t open the gate

Posted: August 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Pumped

The heart is a vital organ, pumping blood throughout the body; keeping our other organs alive. Humans can actually live without a brain. According to women, men have been doing it for centuries, but without a heart, we are doomed.

Okay bad joke, but on a more serious note, our physical heart health is vital to our existence. And just as equally important is our spiritual heart health, as we discussed this week. Our spiritual heart pumps the blood of Christ through our bodies and enables us to live according to the Will of God.

Our heart determines what we do for others. It enables us to hear from the Holy Spirit. It opens our minds to accept God’s rebuke. It allows us to hear the voice of God and obey. Every action and reaction flows from our heart. These can either be good or bad experiences and the outcome is dependent upon the condition of our heart.

Satan is the enemy of our heart. He is in a constant state of destruction. He throws everything in his arsenal at us to trip us up.

If you were going to be in battle against a real army, you would build a fortress to protect yourself. Look at the medieval knights. They built monstrous walls around their castles and stationed armed guards around the top of the walls .They constructed lookout towers with alarm bells to warn of impending danger. Their castles were for the most part, impenetrable.

A little subterfuge

We can learn a lesson from the mythological story of the Trojan Horse.

The Greeks had spent a fruitless 10 years trying to conquer the city of Troy. The city was well fortified and any attempts to break in had proven futile, so they devised a plan to have the people of Troy simply invite them in. Sounds crazy but it worked.

The Greeks constructed a huge hollow wooden horse and hid their soldiers inside of it. They then pretended to sail away, giving the people of Troy a false sense of security. The people opened their gates pulled the horse inside, claiming victory.

That night, the Greek soldiers crept out of the horse and opened the gate for the rest of the army, which had returned after dark. The Greeks walked right in and destroyed the city of Troy, ending the war. The people of Troy brought about their own destruction.

Hacked

Modern day hackers use hidden malicious code, (viruses), using the Trojan horse concept, to wreak havoc on millions of unsuspecting computer owners. These modern day Trojans come in the form of useful, or interesting articles, victims install on their computers. I’m sure you’ve been victimized at least once or twice in this manner. A tweet comes in, informing me the sender just saw a compromising video of me online. Just click this link… Ah, no thanks.

The frustrating thing about being hacked, is realizing we invited it in. All our passwords and firewalls don’t do a bit of good when we download the virus ourselves. We feel invincible with our Norton anti-virus program and our 16 digit password made up of upper and lowercase letters and numbers but in reality, are we safe from ourselves?

Satan’s Trojan Horse

You pray. You go to church. You don’t murder or rob people. You feel strong against the devil. But he is not going to attack you where you expect it. Like hackers that post an interesting article wrapped around a virus, Satan uses people to create shows and movies that you find interesting and entertaining. Satan doesn’t break down your walls, you invite him in. We go to the store and see the 60 inch flat screen Trojan horse, bring it home and watch movies filled with all the things God detests. Fun, action packed entertainment. It does not feel like sin. We install the virus right into our hearts and minds, and the enemy destroys us from the inside.

Like the soldiers that opened the gates for the rest of their army, Satan uses Hollywood to open the gate for other sins to manifest in our lives. Watching sexual scenes in movies can open the door to porn or watching profanity laced movies can lead to cursing.

                                                                                    Spoiler Alert:

The horse is a trap

Don’t open the gate.

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Out of Sight, Out of Heart

Posted: August 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

The best argument I can make for staying plugged in to Jesus and God’s word on a daily basis is one man…Peter.

When Peter was with Jesus everyday he was willing to die for Jesus if it came to that.

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

(Matthew 26:35)

Fast forward a few hours later…

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard and a servant girl came to him.

“You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

(Matthew 26:69)

Peter stood up and pounded his chest and said valiantly, “Yes I was. Take me to him so that I may suffer the same fate he must suffer.”….Ah No! His will to die with Christ vanished when he was not with Jesus.

But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

(Matthew 26:70)

Strike One

    Ok so he made a mistake, I mean seriously, he was under pressure. The little girl caught him off guard. He just needed a moment to clear his mind and remember his vow to Jesus. He just needed to take a little walk.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

(Matthew 26:71)

Peter sheepishly raised his hand, “Yep that’s me. Guilty as charged. Bring on the pain.”

WRONG

He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know this man!”

(Matthew 26:72)

Strike Two

Well that escalated quickly. First he said he was not with Jesus, now he claimed he didn’t even know Jesus. He was not just distancing himself from Jesus, he was completely cutting him out of his life.

There is no way I’m going to die for this man. Jesus made his choice, let him suffer the consequences…alone. I didn’t sign up for any of this stuff. The healing and feeding people was cool, but this? This is crazy. Peter out.( Maybe that’s where the phrase “Don’t Peter out on me” came from.)

Peter could not get away fast enough and the accusations from the girls began to draw a crowd. They began to recognize Peter from when he was passing out some loaves and fishes on the hillside.

After a while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, your accent gives you away.”

(Matthew 26:73)

Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”

(Matthew 26:74)

Strike Three

   

Peter did not even hesitate this time. He was not going down with this…this Jesus. This was his fault. All of this. He made Peter put down the sword. He could have fought their way out of the garden, but no. What did Jesus expect was going to happen? And now Jesus expected him to die too? Forget that!

Satan smiled

Peter is separated from Jesus for maybe an hour or two and he starts denying him. What happened to “I’ll follow you anywhere,” “I will die with you,” and “You are the Christ, where else would I go?”

That’s what Satan does. He looks for a tiny crack in your armor and he picks at it until he exposes enough to get inside. He will stop at nothing to drive a wedge between you and the very one who gave his life in exchange for yours.

This warning should be heeded;

And do not give the devil a foothold.

(Ephesians 4:27)

Webster defines “foothold” as this:

A secure position from which further progress may be made.

That, my friends, is exactly how Satan snares you. But remember, he must first gain a foothold, that secure position, before he can progress further.

Stay close

    When I was little and wanted to feel protected, especially if I thought something was going to get me, I would cling to my parents. I remember going through the Haunted Mansion ride in Disney World and being so scared that I hung onto my Father’s pant leg. I followed so closely to him. I became part of his leg. Nothing was going to get between him and me. Nothing was going to pry me from him.

That’s how close you need to stick with Jesus. So close that you two become one. So close that nothing will come between you and pry you away.

Lurking about

    The enemy of your soul is lurking about looking for that foothold. He waits until you skip a day of scripture reading, then he pounces. He will send distractions so one day becomes two. Then he really turns up the heat to make it a week, then he has you…

Stay close

Don’t Peter Out

Expect the worst

Posted: August 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

If you were walking alone in a seedy back alley at midnight, your ‘spidey’ senses would be heightened. In fact, you’d expect danger.

If you could visually see the spiritual realm, 2 o’ clock on a sunny Sunday afternoon would hold just as much danger as that dark alley.

Satan’s minions, masters in the art of deception and destruction, are lurking, setting traps, waiting to snare you. It’s their 24/7 job. Your best chance at avoiding these snares they have set for you is knowledge.

If you recognize the trap, you stand a better chance of avoiding it.

If It Looks Too Good…

it probably is. No matter how good a situation looks, you need to question everything. Does this situation lead me closer to God or will it take me further away. Will this situation, though good, keep me from experiencing great. This is important because good is the enemy of great.

Good is the method Satan employs the most. When you settle for good, you never realize all you have compromised.

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible even the elect.

(Matthew 24:24)

The Art Of War

Knowing your enemy is the key to victory.

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” (Sun Tzu, The Art Of War)

Game Advantage

I love the Call of Duty game franchise and I stand in line with my boys at every midnight release. The first time I play the game on campaign mode, I make it a few minutes and get killed by unexpected hidden enemies or sudden ambushes. I get to try this level again, but this time I know what to expect, and I make it a little further. I repeat this until I beat the game.

The second time I play the game I know where the enemy is and I expect the attacks, so I am prepared. I know what to avoid and when to fight. I beat the game quickly and almost effortlessly.

Now when one of my sons plays the game, I can coach them and tell them where the danger is. They don’t make the same mistakes I made and they don’t suffer as many casualties. This is why sales of Game strategy guides exist and sell so well.

Strategy Guide to Life

Your life experiences and the Bible are your strategy guide to successfully help you navigate the enemies territory and beat him at his own game.

Cheat Codes:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. (Psalm 119:9)

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

(Isaiah 30:21)

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (spiritually)

(Joshua 1:8)

All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Download your cheat codes into your memory today.

Defeat the enemy and win the game.

Dim your light

Posted: August 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Dim your light? You are probably asking yourself how that lines up with what Jesus commanded:

In the same way, let your light shine before others,

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Matthew 5:16)

Sounds contradictory right? But hang with me for a minute and the fog will lift and all will seem right in the world again…okay maybe not, but at least you will understand what I mean when I tell you to dim your light.

I am fascinated with astronomy and I love it when we are expecting a meteor shower. I always stay up late, throw a blanket out on the lawn, and wait for the show. The problem that always plagued my view of these spectacular events was light pollution.

You see, I lived in the city most of my life and all the lights from the city made it difficult to see the stars, let alone meteors.

It was frustrating but there was nothing I could do about it…or was there?

Darker the sky, brighter the stars

Sometimes I would drive out into the country away from all the city lights and the sky would look darker. The stars radiated like diamonds. I would see many meteors, sometimes 60 an hour.

Once I went on a mission trip to Belize. We traveled deep into the jungle to teach children at a missionary camp about Jesus. The first night, I was absolutely amazed at the brilliance of the stars against the ink black sky. I could even see the Milky Way. I saw meteor after meteor streaking across the sky. They were so bright that they left tracers.

I asked the locals if this was a scheduled meteor shower and they told me it was not. They informed me this happens every night, even where I lived in the States. They said we just can’t see it because of the light pollution from our cities.

When a jeweller wants his diamonds to sparkle he spreads them out over a black fabric. The darker the fabric, the brighter the diamonds.

Dim your Light

    The more we try to promote ourselves and our abilities, we ultimately drown out the Light of Christ. The brighter we shine the harder it is for others to see the Star of our light, Jesus. It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus.

Don’t allow light pollution from your life to impair other people’s view of Christ. His light needs to shine above all others.

You don’t have to pretend to have it all together. You don’t have to wear a happy mask to hide your pain. You don’t have to hide behind the facade of a perfect, trouble-free life.

It’s okay to let others know you struggle, we all do. Let them know that Christ is your strength in those times of weakness. The darker the situation in your life, the brighter Christ will shine. Remember: the darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

Let the light be a reflection of Christ