Tag Archive: Holy Spirit


Above It All

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This Mother’s Day…

As believers, let us never forget we can rejoice and praise the Lord in both the good times and in the bad.

We all have so many hopes and dreams, especially for our lives and our children’s lives, yet often this world sends storms beyond our control and we can do nothing but simply watch as our course and the courses of those we deeply love are altered. Sometimes these changes are, in part, due to decisions we have made. Other times, they are just the result of living in a broken and fallen world.

Special days like Mother’s Day can be so exciting, a time to thank our mothers and be thanked as mothers, yet it’s also a time when sorrow can quickly invade. There are many circumstances, some of which I understand first hand, that have affected families, ones that cause days like today to be quite difficult. Regardless of time, wounds are often still present. But dare we never forget that even in the worst of storms, the sun still shines above it all.

Praise Jesus, because for the born again believer, there’s eternal hope beyond the temporal storms and successes, above the peaks and valleys of this world. Regardless of the tragedies, trials, broken hearts and even beyond the earthly successes, there’s a wonderful kingdom above it all. This heavenly kingdom is eternal and available for any and all who choose to receive the full and free forgiveness of Jesus Christ. “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46.

Despite what we’ve been told, true life is not the sum total of all our expectations, experiences, hopes, and desires. Life is so much more than us. True life is Jesus Christ and no matter what storms come across our course, as Christians, we can still know victory because our God is outside and above it all. Jesus endured it all and laid down it all. He became sin for us, so we could finally be brought above it all to know what life’s really all about.

He became the lowest of all and then raised up to highest of all to provide the only way for mankind to receive Him as our All in All! Only because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection can we have true life, ETERNAL life! In John 17, Jesus reminds us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”  John 17:3. The Christian life is not easy. In fact, it’s frankly impossible. Only Jesus lived it perfectly and only Jesus can live His life in us. True life is only discovered when we once and for all give Jesus the reins, letting Him lead us Home to our Heavenly Father.

But the old life I chose to mortify still knocks on the door of my heart and mind. It still wants to be appreciated, noticed, and coddled. It becomes jealous when anyone else gets the attention, most of all Jesus.The world, the flesh, and the devil will often remind us of the tragedies and fleshly triumphs, desiring nothing less than for us to lose sight of the Son above, all together forgetting about our risen Lord and Savior.  And days like today can sometimes become grand opportunities for the flesh to come knocking.

Instead of opening the door, may I embrace the true Comforter, the Savior and sanctifier of my soul. May I take my eyes off myself and instead look intently at the only One I truly cannot live without. May I learn to embrace the difficulties this planet offers as opportunities to steadfastly grow closer to my Rock and Refuge.

The Lord has called us to so much more than we can ever comprehend this side of Heaven. May we take time to love Jesus today, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. And then let us simply continue serving Him, letting Him take care of every outcome. There are perhaps many tragedies filling your heart today. May the Lord bring us above them all, empowering us to continue running the heavenly race He has set before us with joy and grace in our hearts!

May we simply abide in Christ, continually feasting on His wonderful Word. Then let us continue faithfully planting and watering His Word in all those He puts in our path. We cannot truly change the course of anyone, but we can point them to the only One who can. His light will shine, even piercing through the darkest of storms, and with it comes true life. What an absolute privilege and blessing to wholeheartedly love and follow Jesus, knowing He truly is above it all!

“Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

“Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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Whether in a novel, a crime show, or while at work, we have all heard this phrase borrowed by the world time and time again. However, as they understandably do so often, those who  use it strip the phrase from of its actual and powerful meaning. Sadly, many in the church have heard it said so often, they too have perhaps forgotten what Jesus is really teaching His disciples.

Early on in my Christian walk, John 8:31-32 were two verses that had a tremendous and even life changing impact on me. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32. It occurred to me that Christianity, although filled with an amazing testimony regarding the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ wasn’t simply a story that changed my life. It wasn’t one religion among many which just happened to be the one that worked for me. No, Christianity was and is and always will be built upon the bedrock of the truth.

So often people get saved and are then brought into a local church body. They are quickly put to work, staying busy with activity after activity. Soon Christianity is solely defined by the activities and friendships and the Word is marginalized in place of the work. Although there is an important place for the work, unless the Word of God is put first, the work we are doing might very well end up being the work of men, not the Lord.

Once a born again believer realizes, truly realizes that Christianity isn’t merely about a changed life or the work one does; once the Christian really begins to see that Jesus is the one and only way to the Father of Life because He is the truth, then that believer has finally begun standing upon the solid ground.

Undeniably, our firm foundation is Jesus, yet as He reveals in John 8:31-32, our faith becomes solid when it is exercised with the understanding that God’s Word is uniquely and unequivocally true. We need not run to the popular preacher nor to the pop-psychologist, but to the Word of God to know the truth. There is no college, no institution, no religion on the planet that can offer what the Bible can.

Jesus didn’t say that facts will set men free. He said the truth found in God’s Word alone would bring real and eternal freedom to the souls of men. Christianity is one hundred percent based on the truth and nothing but the truth, period.

Unfortunately we tend to wander from the Word, leaning instead upon the words of men. The natural man loves the “all natural” flavors produced and peddled by other men. Yet, there are those who long for something more, something better. There are those who, perhaps for years, have done the “church” thing, yet now realize men and their activities can never truly satisfy. Only the truth will do!

In these two amazing verses, Jesus tells us many things. First, He declares that He is God. He does not say, “If you remain in God’s Word.” He says, “If you remain in My Word.” He is saying the Word spoken to the faithful followers of the LORD from the beginning of time has always been His Word. Jesus truly is God.

He also teaches us that His Word is not simply true, but that it is sufficiently so. Jesus does not say, “If you stay in My Word, you will know part of the truth.” We are promised to know ALL of the truth pertaining to everlasting freedom. God’s Word is truly sufficient. One of Satan’s greatest strategies among believers is not to deny the truth of God’s Word, but instead to deny its sole sufficiency. Once people buy into this horrific lie, they will then be willing to drink from all sorts of muddied streams, all in hopes of discovering some drop of pure water.

As strange as this sounds, this one strategy has literally and repeatedly crippled the body of Christ from walking in the true power and victory God has intended for her. May we not be ensnared any longer!

True freedom comes exclusively from God’s Word. Despite their many claims, absolutely nothing this world offers can produce eternal freedom, nothing. Neither psychology nor religion, neither education nor entertainment will do. The ways of man will always fall short of eternity and often lead to temporal destruction as well.

Those reading these two verses should also inquire about the freedom offered by Jesus. Freedom yes, but freedom from what? Jesus is not providing freedom to go live our own lives independent of divine authority. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Simply put, God’s Word promises to sufficiently bring freedom from sin, from self, and from the power of our first father, Satan.

God’s promise also ensures freedom to finally love and serve the One we were made to worship; the Living and True God, the Creator and Savior of the world. This is the freedom found exclusively in the Word of God, the Word not based on the sinking sands of man’s opinions or Satan’s devices, but rather the Word which is the truth and nothing but the truth.

On this Lord’s day, may we praise and thank Him for His wonderful reminder to stop feeding the flesh. May we cease from fearing and following the words and ways of men. Instead let us wholeheartedly love the truth of God revealed to us by His Holy Spirit as we remain in the glorious, eternal, and sufficient Word of Truth!

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

Campfire 1Originally from Comfort in Christ Cancer Devotional: Encouraging a Closer Walk with Jesus       

by Cherrie Huseby

What to bring??? The Bible (of course) – check; my favorite drinking cup filled with plenty of ice cold water – check; a lunch bag with sandwich, crackers, fruit, and maybe soup if there’s access to a microwave – check. I also brought my laptop during the first 8 months of treatments when I was still “working from home” for my former employer. I sure got a lot done those days sitting there for 6 hours at the Arizona Cancer Center while the Carboplatin and Paclitaxel slowly entered by body.

Wow! How very different this kind of checklist is from the typical “what to bring to camp” checklist I got when I was a kid: Bedding, tent, sleeping bag, ground cloth, blankets, extra stakes, pillow, shade tarp, air mattress, axe, air pump, dust pan/brush, large bags for storage, water jug and/or water bucket, potholders, and not to mention bathing suit, sunscreen, and lots of bug spray.

Though “Camp Chemo” is set up to be meaningful, purposeful, and determined to rid the ‘campers’ of cancer, it can be more “light” hearted than anticipated in view of the golden opportunities there to catch fish for Jesus. The battle worn camper who knows Jesus can be an enormous light and encouragement to someone just learning how to remain strong in the fight of his life.

In the book of Exodus, Moses was just such a man. He learned to trust God and not his flesh when called to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land at over 80 years old. Israel was fighting the Amalekites and it wasn’t going in their favor. Moses went to the top of the hill with the priests Aaron and Hur. When Moses held up his hands Israel prevailed and when he let down his hands the battle swung Amalek’s way.

As Moses tired, Aaron and Hur then began to hold up his hands for him and Israel once again took control. You could certainly say a man’s hands lifted heavenward are always an encouraging sign to others entrenched in the battle. (Exodus 17:10-13).

Hands reaching up for help to the Lord signify humility, the realization that the battle can’t be won first without the Lord, but also without the encouragement of others. Moses had help from his friends, but ultimately he relied on the Lord, and we must do likewise during our earthly times of trial.

Ephesians 6:6-16 offers another kind of checklist for each of us to be prepared to meet each day. The full armor of God is needed now more than ever: the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit.

My recent cancer “camping experiences” have taught me more than just being prepared with outward supplies. Most importantly they have revealed to me that “though the outward man in perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16). So until the time I go to be with my Lord and Savior, there is a whole world of people out there, camping in this world, that need to know Jesus. Lord, how do you want to use cancer to reach them and teach them just how great You really are?

Comfort in Christ Cancer Devotional: Encouraging a Closer Walk with Jesus, Devotional #10. Cherrie Huseby (Unity in Truth blogger- Flynn Huseby’s wife of almost 18 years)

Comfort in Christ Cancer Devotional is a 50 devotional e-book meant to encourage the body of Christ to draw closer to Jesus, understanding the trials of this world are often the means by which the Good Shepherd refines our souls. Cherrie’s e-book devotional is available @ Amazon. Click “HERE” to see more about it.

JESUS REALLY IS THE REASON!

bigstock-Christmas-Cross-bright-Christ-25582868 JESUS REALLY IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

He is also the reason we can rejoice in every season! To think that God, the Father would be pleased to send His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world is truly unfathomable. But then to think that God the Son willingly and joyfully offered not only to come, but make His soul THE sacrifice for sin is gloriously amazing and humbling indeed! Isaiah 53:10.

The reality is that Jesus, willing to lovingly obey His Father’s will and wanting to rescue men from a horrible, Christless eternity, chose to not only allow the wrath of God to be poured down from Heaven upon Himself, but also to be separated from the Father He had been one with for eternity. Psalm 22:1. He also chose to literally change His appearance, now bearing the scars of Calvary for eternity! John 20:27-28. (I’m not sure I’d be willing to even change what I’m wearing for someone else, let alone my very appearance.)

Coming to grips with who Jesus really is and what He has done should cause us to respond to Him with such resounding thanks and heartfelt praise! This knowledge is too wonderful for us, yet the glimmers we receive this side of eternity ought to produce rejoicing which cannot be contained in these temporal bodies, neither constrained by the god of this world!

God’s ways and thoughts are so far above our own, yet He desires to reveal Himself to all who would come to Him by faith (Hebrews 11:6), teaching us of His heart and mind through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 55:6-9. He demonstrated and continues to demonstrate His love day in and day out, showing Himself faithful and true from generation to generation (Psalm 100:5) and nothing this world throws at Jesus will ever change Him! Hebrews 13:8.

May this day in which we remember the ultimate gift- the One who is the Living Word, yet became flesh and dwelt among us; the One full of grace and truth (John 1:14); the One who became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21); may this day in which we remember the wonders of His love propel our hearts and minds to rejoice unto Him with joy unspeakable and full of glory, declaring His truth and His love to all those we meet now and for eternity!

TRULY, JESUS IS THE REASON!  

“For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

God's Word FirstIn many parts of the world, people are taught to carefully create and diligently decide what jobs and training to attain in order to build a powerful and successful resume. After all, earthly speaking, our resume is often the key to opening certain doors in the business world otherwise unattainable. If I want to move in a certain direction in this life, often I must first attain, labor, and strive for the credentials and proper experience. Then I must carefully and creatively record each accomplishment to build my portfolio and resume, all in hopes of moving forward in my desired direction. But what should be the Christian’s most desired and sought after destination?

While there is definite merit in getting a good education, degree, and experience in the job world, I would argue there is a much better resume we should seek to be building, one that does not point to our intelligence, wealth, and experience, but one that instead displays our weakness and utter dependence upon the True and Living God.

Instead of dropping names in hopes of making us look competent and qualified, we should repeatedly record the fact that we are quite dependent on the Lord for everything we say, do, and think.  Our spiritual resume should minimize us and maximize the Lord Jesus Christ.  Arguably, John the Baptist may have summed it up the best when he said, “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

One such example of a godly resume is found in Philippians 2. Here Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes about Epaphroditus. Most of us, myself included, might say, “Epaphro who?”  Philippians 2:25 says, “Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.” Although he is only mentioned twice by name in Scripture, here in Philippians 2 and also in Philippians 4:18, he definitely serves as an awesome testimony of what occurs in one heart yielded to the Lord.

What a wonderful, godly resume Epaphoditus has! This is not to point to him, but rather to the Lord, who wants to work mightily in and through all of His adopted sons and daughters.  So what were the notable and biblical attributes applied to this believer’s spiritual resume?

BROTHER: First, he is called a brother. We all, as believers, are born again by the power of God, adopted into the kingdom of God.  We are not above one another, but simply brothers and sisters in the Lord, seeking to obey our Heavenly Father from the heart. Epaphoditus was called a brother.

COMPANION in LABOR: He was also called a companion in labor.  What a blessed title!  He was good company to Paul, encouraging and serving with him in this labor of love called Christianity. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 says, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father…” May we always be good company to our brothers and sisters in the Lord, encouraging and reminding one another that our labor is never in vain and always in love!

FELLOW SOLDIER: Paul also referred to him as a fellow soldier.  We truly are in a battle and it’s a blessed thing to serve alongside fellow soldiers. This world is not our home. We are simply passing through. It’s been correctly said that we’re not on campaign to reform this world, but rather on a rescue mission, calling out as many as will come. The “mighty” Paul did not call Epaphorditus a private serving under “General” Paul, but rather a fellow soldier, comrades who desired to faithfully follow the commands of the Lord.

We are all equal at the foot of the cross; sinners saved by His grace. The work our Heavenly Commander calls us to on this planet is often difficult, dare I say impossible, without the Lord Himself doing the work in and though us! Praise God, although in a very real battle, we do not fight for victory, but from victory. 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 remind us, “But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 

MESSENGER: Epaphroditus is also called a messenger. A messenger is usually not the one writing the message, but the one making sure the correct message gets to the right people at the right time. In both World Wars 1 and 2, carrier pigeons were successfully utilized to transport messages back and forth through very dangerous territory. Arguably, the pigeon played a crucial role in both World Wars.

A messenger has everyone other than himself in mind.  He must first make the author of the message his top priority. He then must desire those the message is intended for above his own comfort and importance.  Often the messenger receives the direct consequences of the message, yet he loves the message and the author more than his very own life. This constitutes a good and faithful messenger.

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 we are reminded of the message we bring to those around us. “Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

MINISTER: Lastly, he’s described as one who ministered to Paul, his fellow soldier and brother in the Lord. Ministering simply means to serve, preferring the needs of others above our own desires, pleasures, and needs. In 1 Corinthians 16, it says, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, [be brave], be strong. Let all your things be done with charity [selfless, Christ-centered love]. I beseech you, brethren, (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that you submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helps with us, and labors.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-16   We are all called to be addicted to the ministry of the saints, seeking to be filled to overflowing with the love of Jesus, who loved not His life even unto death. (Hebrews 12:1-4)

May the Lord truly help us to earnestly and diligently add to our eternal resumes daily, first and foremost seeking those things which are above. After all, our home is in Heaven where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.  What could be better than making the Mighty and Everlasting God our greatest pursuit and prize?!

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Eternity is Not a Movie

kids-watching-tvAs a child, I remember watching movies with my parents, often waiting for the moment my dad would call out some part that made no sense to him.  “Why would that person really do that?” or “There’s no way that person could still be alive after falling that far!” and other like phrases were regularly interjected into the storyline courtesy of my dad’s critical mind.  His comments were not very helpful and definitely became a distraction throughout our family film nights.  A loving, but slightly irritated “Shhh…” was a common addition at the end of each remark.

When viewing a movie, it’s hopefully obvious to most that the scenes in the script often times don’t happen in real life. That, of course, is the point of many storylines. But to my dad, it was almost like a game to see if he could catch things that didn’t make sense.  In reality, does it really matter in a fictional story if a person makes an unrealistic choice to further the plot line?  To my dad it sure did, however to most people, probably not.  And although movies can be very powerful vehicles for teaching false beliefs, for a writer to have a character make a few illogical decisions that add a little extra drama or to move the storyline along is nothing more than what happens in a make believe story written by men.

I can’t help but wonder if there are those within the church who view those willing to point out the error running rampant throughout today’s professing Christianity the same way.  I wonder if many see those moved to lovingly warn and teach the truth of God’s Word as distractions from the unfolding story of today’s ecumenical enigma calling itself Christianity? Too often, I believe those willing to thoughtfully and biblically point out the dangers coming into the church are thought of somewhat like the peanut gallery, like movie critics talking about things that don’t quite matter. But is that really the case? There’s literally a plotline penned by the enemy for this dark and dying world and sadly many Christians are playing a part in the story.

The enemy of our souls desires to see the entire world reject the True and Living God, however those who are born again are kept by the power of God and are sealed by the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing their entrance into the Kingdom of God.  (2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:141 Peter 1:5) So what is an enemy to do with those who he cannot keep from eternal life?  The answer is simple- make them as ineffective as possible. Confusion and subterfuge are both starring roles in his script.

One of Satan’s many seductive strategies in keeping saints sedentary is promoting a plotline of Scripture synthesized with his own diabolical doctrines. The title might be something like “New and Improved Christianity-Joining Hands with the World”. Thankfully, some within the body of Christ do see the last days plan for an integrated and seductive move to ecumenism and are greatly saddened to watch some who are even part of the true body of Christ seeking after the enemy’s goals. For those who have become seduced by Satan’s synthesized storyline, it’s as if those warning the saints are simply viewed as antagonists interrupting their comfortable entertainment. May we instead return to the old paths, to the Word of God alone! May we diligently seek to understand the true direction of this world and the post-modern church.

When a person has been truly born again by the Spirit of God, passing from death to life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a new “story” is brought to light, one revealing a very real contrast between the True and Living God and the god of this world. In the script revealed in Scripture, one role that repeatedly enters the scene is the watchman always willing to warn when danger approaches. (Psalm 127:1, Isaiah 21:6, Ezekiel 3:17, Ezekiel 33:2,6,7)  The watchman should not be “cast” by only a select few. In fact, the heart of a watchman should, at some degree, be within every believer. After all, same Spirit of the Lord that came upon the watchmen of the Old Testament is the same Holy Spirit indwelling all New Testament saints. The Spirit Himself is the Spirit of Truth, and Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit without measure, often warned those around Him, especially those claiming to be the religious rulers.

Rather than being viewed as an annoying critic, always pointing out incidentals and nitpicking at gnats, the role of warning the flock is one that is central throughout Scripture. To love the truth of God’s Word means we are going to hate evil, lovingly exposing the doctrines and practices that have the potential to cause the body to remain anemic, unable to grow and be strong in the Lord.  In Ephesians 5, the Holy Spirit through Paul writes, “[H]ave no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph. 5:11. Again in Colossians 1 it says, “[Jesus] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:28.IMG_12017981708482 May we never allow the spirit of the age, the prince of the power of the air, to dissuade us from the high calling we have in Christ Jesus!

Although we all have different roles within the body of Christ, we are all called to grow in every area. Sure, some may have the gift of helps, but we are all called to be helpful. Some are given the gift of evangelism, however we are all called to share the good news of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Do we not even train our children to recognize the signs of danger?  Why? So we can teach them to be nitpicky and critical of everything around them?  No. We teach them to understand the signs so they remain safe and healthy and can continue growing with a mind that can think critically, as well as carefully and discerningly navigate the world around them. We should always desire to allow the Holy Spirit to teach them how to utilize God’s Word, the Bible, as their compass, no matter where they go.  To do otherwise is really to hate a child, and so it is within the body of Christ.

Sometimes a script’s blunders and illogical actions may very well detract from a movie’s overall enjoyment level, however in the end the actions and characters are simply penned by writers. And although we must be on guard against many of today’s movie messages, regardless of what happens to the characters themselves, they are simply that, characters in a movie.  Even if someone pretends to get shot and die, that actor is not really dead.  At the end of the day, he will go home and live his life.  Here lies the difference between simply critiquing a movie and being a loving watchman in the Spirit!  In real life, men have eternal souls. We will all live forever! Eternity is not a fictional story written by some man, rather the truth revealed to every heart and written by the God who created the universe in six short days some 6,000 years ago.  How important is it that we be sure to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth both to those within and without the body of Christ? I would argue it is vitally important!  It’s not a matter of whether or not mankind will remain forever, but where we will spend eternity that is at stake.

There is nothing critical or nitpicky in lovingly warning and teaching those around us according to the whole counsel of God. Having a watchman’s heart is a crucial role to play, especially in the confusing times in which we live. May we all be willing to speak the truth in love, knowing our redemption draws near, knowing that this life is much more than a movie. May we never forget that eternity is the destiny of all who step onto this world’s stage. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

Soaring Eagle“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

This is such a blessed promise of God, but it also serves as a very real reminder of how easy it is to run in our own timing and serve in our own strength. Often times, we tend to read this verse and get focused on us as the eagle, but may we never forgot that without the air, everything else is meaningless. 

Eagles have a God-given instinct to utilize the warm updrafts to propel them upward and onward, expelling little of their own energy to travel. Interestingly, the currents are what dictate the timing and direction for the eagles. They must simply wait for the wind and have no authority over it whatsoever. Just as it is with an eagle, when running, it is the air that proves most necessary in going the distance.

The same air that propels eagles into an almost effortless flight also provides the oxygen necessary for the runner’s body to continue the race. The runner does not make the air, nor does he make the air work throughout his body. He simply must breathe. I’m sure many of us have experienced that dizzying sensation that occurs when our bodies just don’t have enough air.  Left for too long, a lack of oxygen will not only bring about dizziness, but also effect the very thoughts and actions of the air-deprived individual.

Instead of enjoying the direction already provided for by the Holy Spirit, we so often desire to dictate our own timing and direction for the life we live. We not only want to control the effects, but also the causes and then wonder why we receive so little joy and peace from our Heavenly Father.  

Let us remember the Holy Spirit is the breath, the air of every born again believer. He desires to daily and diligently direct our steps, supplying our every need! Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.  Jesus is our breath and life.  It is in Him alone that we should live and move and have our being!

“The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4

ImageToo often worldly ideas get circulated by popular preachers from the pulpits of many of today’s churches.  Sadly, once these ideas are shared enough times, they soon become accepted teachings and few people stop to check them out from God’s Word. One such teaching today is a popular psychological philosophy many call “Idols of the Heart”.

Over the last several years “Idols of the Heart” has grown to become a mainstream psychological idea within many Christian communities and is claimed by its adherents to be biblical in approach and doctrine.  Unfortunately it is at best humanistic, centering itself on the flesh, not the Spirit. In general, the philosophy teaches that the sinful human heart desires to worship self, constructing idols from early on in life. Once becoming a Christian, the teaching goes, we must explore our hearts to examine, expose, and eradicate any and all idols.

Four general problems with this psychology:

  • First, in order to locate them, we are told that we must sit down with “professionals” to talk about all the things that have gone on in our lives in hopes of exposing these idols. This “talking” often times falls under gossip and tends to be self-focused and problem-centered, not Christ-centered.
  • Secondly, even if idols are discovered, the question will always remain, when do we know if all our idols have been exposed?  We could spend a lifetime examining our old hearts and still not be sure we’ve gotten rid of them all.
  • Next, if there are idols in our hearts, they would have been constructed by the old, unregenerate man.  So in order to find them, we are forced to peruse the old man, not the new man, born again by the Spirit of God.  Instead of digging through the old flesh, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ…[putting] on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” Colossians 2:11; 3:10. (Emphasis mine.)
  • Finally, perhaps the most deceptive part is while attempting to grow in the Spirit, one is actually only able to prop up the fleshly, old man and all if its self-focused desires.  In this process we very well may believe we are overcoming sin by the power of the Spirit, when in actuality we are simply bringing attention and satisfaction to the old man.  In doing so, this often leads to confusion and even deception for the one practicing such methods.

Below are several exerpts from a recent article written by Martin and Deidre Bobgan which serve as a further biblical response.

THE IDOLATROUS HEART

“The self focus of introspection that comes with counseling that stresses insight into one’s idolatrous heart can actually strengthen the flesh as it becomes self-centered rather than Christ-centered.  An emphasis on the idolatrous heart also poses a danger of too much self-centered introspection, which can lead to despair on the one hand and prideful self-righteousness on the other.

One may become stuck in trying to fix the flesh, which must be put off.  Therefore the idolatrous heart should not be the primary emphasis in the spiritual ministry of soul care.  Any attention given to the idolatrous heart is only useful as a means of teaching the doctrine of human depravity and identifying when one is living according to the old nature. But one can come to the same conclusion by reading the Word and then paying attention to one’s thoughts and behavior in relation to what God has said.  When the Bible calls for self-examination, the purpose is to discover whether one is in the faith and walking according to the new life in Christ (1 Cor. 11:28; 2 Cor. 13:5).  Spiritual growth comes by focusing on Christ, His very Person, His life, and all He has accomplished for the believer and continues to accomplish at the right hand of the Father.

While many in the Biblical Counseling Movement may indeed intend to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28), because of their problem-centeredness, they grievously fall into another form of idolatry: sinful conversations as a means to a better marriage, a better life, and a more satisfied self.

Why Christians who have been born again by the Holy Spirit, given new life in Christ, and have the very Word of God at their finger tips subject themselves to such sin-centered activities escapes reason.  However, one possible reason is that they are walking according to the flesh and attempting to have their lives fixed by someone else instead of through following the Lord Jesus Himself.

One does not need to seek the specific motivation for every sin, but recognize that whenever one sins one is walking according to the flesh with its deceitful heart.  This involves recognition of sin (not analysis), repentance (1 John 1:9) , and walking again according to the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16), which involves trusting and obeying Christ.  Throughout the ages the Holy Spirit used the Word of God directly and through sound preaching and teaching to convict the sinner and the sinning saint, to show the way of life, and to enable the believer to live by that new life. The Christian life is one of grace and hope because all is given by God, including the [power] to trust and obey.”

See: http://psychoheresy-aware.org/powlison_cure_3.html for the full article.

God's Word is True

“Where is the office of counselor in the New Testament? Is there a specific calling of counselor as there is for evangelist, pastor and teacher?  Are there specific offices for a counselor as there are for elders and deacons?”

“There is no one-up/one-down relationship of counselor and “counselee.” Instead there is the mutual care, encouragement, and edification of all members of the Body of Christ.  Counsel may be given and received, but the real position of counselor is reserved for the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer, who sees into the inner man, who applied the Word and  makes it effectual in the believer, and then who enables the believer to glorify God through the love and obedience, as most clearly taught in Romans 8:26-27: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”   

“It has been said by some, and we agree, that those who take the position of counselor in someone’s life may be usurping the role of the Holy Spirit.  Believers are called to comfort (1 Thessalonians 5:11), instruct (2 Timothy 2:24-26), edify (Romans 14:19), admonish (Romans 15:14), forgive (Ephesians 4:32), and restore (Galatians 6:1) one another.  However, the only one who can accurately see inside a person and therefore be the real counselor is the Lord Himself.”  Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Person to Person Ministry, Soul Care in the Body of Christ, pp. 45-47

“The only true humility which the world has ever seen is that of the meek and lowly Lamb of God: and no man can have the least degree of this humility, except from the redeeming life of Christ.  He only fights the good fight of faith whose strife is that the self-idolatrous nature which he received from Adam may be brought to death through the power of the cross, that Christ’s own supernatural humility may come to life within him.”  William Law, “The Power of the Spirit”, p.142 .

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