I was knocking on doors to invite people to believe in Jesus here in the village of Limerick when a man came to the door with a BIG Boa Constrictor wrapped around his neck. He was holding the head of the snake out in front of himself as he approached me. I asked him what he would say to God if he were to die and stand before God and God said to him, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?” I stepped back as he explained his response to my question: “I worship snakes!” he said with great enthusiasm. I know that Boa Constrictors don’t have poison, but I still don’t like them. I tried to concentrate on presenting the good new of Jesus Christ to this annoying person while he continued to scare me with the snake. I guess we should realize that the serpent is always present in some way when we seek to rescue people from his grasp. But He who is in us is greater than Satan. Jesus is Lord over Satan, the demons and evil men who oppose the gospel. Think about it!!!
When I was in high school, I began to question my Christian faith. If I had been brought up in a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist home would I be a good Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist? How can I know I am right and they are wrong? I began going to the public school library during my lunch time and reading the Bible for answers. This is what I came up with: There is sufficient evidence to convince me that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. His followers, who were eyewitnesses, gave their lives rather than to deny the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. It was their hope because they had seen Him die and saw Him alive after His death. Since I am sure that Jesus rose from the dead, then He must be who He said He was. He must be the Son of God who fully reveals God the Father. He must be God in human flesh. He must be our Savior from our sins. He must be the one who takes us from earth to Heaven when we die. But what about the Bible? Can it be trusted? It was written by so many different people over such a long time. Could it all be true? I went back to Jesus. Since He rose from the dead, I can trust Him to tell me about God and everything else, because he is God. By definition, God knows everything. Jesus quoted from every part of the Old Testament and said that it was “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). That’s good enough for me. But what about the New Testament? How could the Apostles remember everything that Jesus said accurately? I found the answer in John 14:26,”But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” Jesus authenticated the Old Testament and pre-authenticated the New Testament. No one is to add to it or take from it because it is all God’s inspired word. It is all true. It is all trustworthy. It is all helpful to make us the people God created us and redeemed us to become. The first step is the read the book of the Bible called “John”. It will tell you the story of Jesus, what He said and did while He was on earth for 33 years. This book will produce saving faith in you as you read it with an open heart. When you are a believer in Jesus, He will open your spiritual eyes to understand what the Bible says about the origin of the earth and the events predicted for the future. It is all true because God knows everything! Think about it!!!
In Isaiah 11:2 God predicted that the Messiah (Jesus) would have the “Spirit of Counsel”. Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. In verse three it says, “He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears.” It is so easy to come to wrong conclusions by listening to and seeing the people who come to us for help. To give Wonderful Counsel we must access the wisdom of the Wonderful Counselor. How do we do this? My book, “SIXTEEN SESSIONS WITH THE WONDERFUL COUNSELOR” takes you into sixteen sessions that God Himself conducted with people who had problems like anger (Cain), abuse (Hagar), grief (Job), Inferiority (Gideon), Miriam (racism), David (lust), Elijah (exhaustion), Jonah (bitterness), Isaiah (guilt), Daniel (shame), the woman at the well (emptiness), the rich young ruler (materialism), the woman caught in adultery, Thomas (skepticism), Peter (depression) and Paul (affliction). God Himself used 23 counseling techniques in dealing with these individuals. Do you know what they are? Go to http://www.amazon.com/Counseling-Sessions-WONDERFUL-COUNSELOR-ebook/dp/B00F0X24FG to find out.
“And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” (Jeremiah 29:7) The people of Israel had been carried away into exile in Babylon. They were in a foreign country which was the center of idolatry and worldly lifestyles. How should they live in a culture that was so alien to their own? Could they live for God in a pagan city? We in America are waking up to the fact that we no longer live in a Christian culture. We live in a pagan, pornographic, perverted culture. What always existed in the back alleys of America is now openly praised in the schools, military, government and media. How should we who are disciples of Christ live in a world corrupted with sin, relativism and narcissism?
God told the people of Israel who were in Babylon to “seek the peace of the city”. They were to do this by praying for the city in which they dwelt. The reason given was that in the peace of Babylon they would find their peace. God’s people are called to be peacemakers in a violent, divided world. We begin the peace process by our goals. “Seek” tells us that our goal is to bring people into a peaceful relationship with each other by helping them to be at peace with their Creator. This is done today by lovingly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. When pagans get saved, they have the Holy Spirit in them. Through our union with Christ, the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit which is love and peace.
The perverted cultural atmosphere of America today is similar in many ways to the world into which the Apostles of Jesus Christ brought the gospel in the first century. The gospel is transformational today as it was then. God brings peace to the city, one person at a time through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Think about it!!
I like to be on time for things. So I usually leave time for unexpected interruptions. I figure if I’m early it will be easy to be on time even if something happens. But there are times when it is good to be late. In the story Jesus told about the “Good Samaritan” the priest and the Levite were probably on time for their responsibilities at the Jerusalem temple. In that case, they should have been late in order to help a wounded man to get the help he obviously needed. Jesus Himself was late to help his sick friend, Lazarus. In fact, He arrived four days too late to save him from death. But Jesus was right on time in the plan of God. That is the kind of punctuality I desire. To be on the Father’s time, not my own or someone else’s. Our “yes” should mean “yes”, unless providentially hindered, which is why we should say, “If the Lord wills, I will do this or that.” Think about it!!!
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
Demons are actively working today to produce counterfeit religious practices that bring temporary relief from guilty feelings but do not deal with real guilt before the Holy God. The Bible warns us of two areas that would be chosen by demons to deceive people in hypocritical Christianity. People whose consciences are already seared by sinful practices will accept these demonic doctrines. What are they? “forbidding to marry” and “commanding to abstain from foods”. Celibacy and diets will make you feel holy when you are not. It is amazing how much sex and eating produce guilt feelings. Demons teach that to deny sex, even in marriage, is a more holy state than a loving marriage. Demons teach that you will get closer to God if you stop eating cupcakes or ice cream. God says that the most important response to God’s gift of marriage and food is to thank Him for the goodness He has shown by creating marriage and food. He built pleasure into each. Both are made holy (sanctified) by the Word of God and prayer. We should meditate on verses of Scripture as often as we eat. We should share Scripture and pray along with the loving sexuality of a good marriage. What gifts a good marriage and good food are to us! Thank you God!!! When God Himself meets the deepest needs in our life for love, joy and peace through a faith relationship with Jesus, we are free to love, to enjoy and to share our food with the hungry. Demons want you to be bitter against God. Demons want you to be filled with unresolved guilt about sex and food. Jesus came to forgive us and show us how to experience fulfillment in the gifts He has provided. He shows us how to have self-control in our food and sex by putting others first.
Do you have demonic doctrines? Do you follow demonic directions on your quest for holiness? Jesus was the most holy of all but he enjoyed his food and was thankful for it. He is engaged to a beautiful bride and is preparing a home for her. He will enjoy the marriage supper with His bride and then delight her with a 1,000 year honeymoon. They will never be parted. They will enjoy twelve kinds of fruit in their new home by the river of life. Think about it!!!
Do you have elders? James 5:14-18 tells us that if we are sick, we should call for the elders of the church. What church? Your church. The church of which you are a member. If you are not a member, you should find a genuine, though imperfect, church and join it. The church was formed by Jesus Christ to manifest His presence on earth while He is preparing a place for us (John 14:1-6).
Elders who are doing their job will pray for you. They will care for your soul. They will teach you the Bible. They will provide an example of faith and following Christ. There is a place for the physician in the care of our bodies, but it is the prayer for faith that saves the sick. Think about it!!!