Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Audacity of Satan

Matthew 4:8-11, "Again, the devil took him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All this will I give you,' he said, 'if you wil bow down and worship me.'"

"Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him."

The audacity of Satan! The first two temptations were on one level; "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread," and "If you are the Son of God...throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" It reminds me of how Satan also dealt with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, "Did God really say...?"

The first two temptations were audacious enough that he should try to coerce the Son of God to display his authority and power. However the third temptation blows my mind and should really make us think of the boldness of the enemy. He actually dared, DARED to suggest that the Son of God - God incarnate, the one who CREATED the world, would envy Satan's "kingdom" and "splendor" and suggest that God bow down and worship him!!!

Take heed of the crafty, cunning enemy we fight. If he tried to tempt the Son of God, who are we? The great news is that, he's already defeated. Praise the Lord! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. We know how the war ends. Hallelujah! But it doesn't exempt us from the skirmishes of the battles inbetween. Sharpen your sword - study the Word. Be alert, be prayerful, the time is at hand. Don't be caught sleeping. Our enemy is not asleep. He's slick and slippery like a serpent though. Always looking to strike. Think it not strange the tests and trials that you may go through. Rejoice to be counted worthy, to be counted a threat to the kingdom of darkness and to partake in the sufferings of Christ.

We have an audacious enemy. But take comfort in knowing, he's already defeated. Take comfort in knowing that our King, our High Priest, our Lord has already triumphed over the devil and given us authority in his name to destroy the works of darkness. The devil knows his time is short and is elevating his game. We must elevate ours as well.

Be bold. Remember who you are and whose you are. Know the Word and brandish it. Remain prayerful and walk in righteousness so that you may walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember...we win!

Peace and Blessings!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Sabbath: 7th Day, 1st Day, Every Day or a Future Time of Rest?

In the last month and a half I've encountered the discussion about the Sabbath and the laws of the Torah four times. I hadn't really thought about it until this morning and realized that either God was trying to say something to me about it or perhaps he wanted to communicate something through me or both.

February 5th, 2011 I received a text message from an old friend asking,
-"Y don't Christians believe in the law of Moses or the Torah which are the same?"
- My answer was that we do.
- His response was then, "Y do Christians violate the dietary, circumcision and burial laws?"
- Still texting, I said, "1) That's specifically for the Jew under the Old Covenant or Testament. 2) Jesus is the fulfillment of the law or Old Testament. When he shed his blood and became the atonement for our sins."
- He asked, "What does fulfillment mean?"
- My response: "Atonement for our sins, there was no other sacrifices needed. His death n resurrection instituted the New Testament. Everything in the Old Testament was prophesying and leading up to the Messiah and the new covenant."
-His response: "Who said? Did Jesus teach that? Didn't Jesus say the law  shall not pass away or change?" Did Jesus establish the kingdom of god (God) on earth the way he was supposed to?"
- Yes, I replied. "Jesus himself taught this. I recommend you spend some time studying the teachings of Christ more than the OT. You'll get a full understanding faster."

The questioning continued and conversation continued but because it was all by text I recommended either we discuss it by phone or by email where we could address it better in more length. I recommended he start with Matthew chapter 5 and specifically 5:17. He read the scripture text I recommended and persisted via text to question and prod.
-"It doesn't mean stop following the law. That means all 610 laws such as dietary laws and the sabbath starting on Friday. So y don't Christians follow the law?" he said.

Due to time and location, I wasn't able to respond right away. So I emailed him the following day. I realize that it was going to take some time in discussion and study, however he wanted instant responses which I was not prepared to do without proper review of the Scriptures with references for him to look up.

A couple weeks later I entered a comment on some one's blog in reference to the importance of honoring the day Christians do hold as a Sabbath - Sunday. I shared that though we honor Sunday as the day of rest, many of us are failing to do just that, honor it as a day of rest. I fight to refrain from work and doing my own thing on Sunday and make it a day of rest and reflection on the Lord. Such was the tone of the comment.

Again, last week I met with an old acquaintance I hadn't seen in about 20 years. His conversation centered around keeping the 10 commandments with an emphasis on keeping the 7th day, the Sabbath Day Holy instead of the 1st day, being Sunday. I listened and inquired about how that conflicted with Colossians 2:16-17 and Romans 14. I don't really remember his answer except to give me his testimony of what God had said to him about keeping the Sabbath and that as my other friend said, "Jesus didn't come to abolish the law but to fulfill it." That Jesus himself kept the Sabbath and that the law was not abolished and should be followed even as a Christian. He also pointed out that out of the 10 commandments given that the law of the Sabbath was the longest and therefore the most important, or so I gathered by his emphasis. I didn't argue but I wanted to remain open. I was rusty, it had been a long time since I'd done a study on the Sabbath, law versus grace and what Jesus meant in Matt. 5:17. So I made a mental note to pray and study on it so that I would have an answer the next time the subject was broached. I had not gotten back with my friend that I'd had the text conversation with about it yet either.

Then last evening we had a former Jewish Rabbi, who was now a Messianic Christian Rabbi, well versed in both the Torah, Talmud and the New Testament come to our church to teach for the next three Bible studies and guess where he started? He started with the "Shabbat" or the Sabbath. It was fascinating and I look forward to the next few weeks. He prefaced the teaching by saying, before you can fully understand who you are, you need to know your history and where you came from. It is important for you to understand that God is a God of rituals and order and that the rituals prepare us for the reality or the realization of the leading of the rituals. This is the key.

In the next post I hope to explore further how that revelation of the Old Testament or Covenant laws and rituals were a preface or pointed to the Messiah and the New Testament and how it translates to some of our doctrine and rituals today. I welcome your comments and Scripture references supporting your stand even moreso than only your opinion if you don't mind. If you are fairly new to the study of the subject, below are some passages of scripture you can study/review for a good base on the subject:

Old Covenant: Exodus 20;  Exodus 31: 12-13;   Leviticus 23:3
New Covenant: Matt. 5:17-20;   Mark 2:27-28;   Colossians 2:16-17;   Matt. 22:34-40;   Mark 12:28-31,   Romans 2:12-3:31 (Chp. 4 is good to read too);   Romans 5:13-21.

Peace and Blessings.

Monday, March 21, 2011


"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury... Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.'" Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)

I'm a little disturbed by the trend in churches today where the leaders talk about how much they gave to a particular church project and the sum they want individual members to give for the same or various projects. Maybe you can help me, but I don't see this in the bible. I'm not speaking of tithes and regular offerings; I believe that is widely supported in the scripture. However, the trend of asking church members/leaders to give a certain amount of money whether as seed offering or for anniversaries or building fund offerings, I find to be more of a man or carnal way to meet a need than a Spirit led practice. Let me clarify; it's not that I don't believe that the Spirit can and may have led in this way in various congregations under specific circumstances, however, our (man's) tendency is to take something the Spirit did once or twice and make it practice or tradition. This is what I find troublesome and a turn off to myself and many others.

I love to give. I love to see needs met and the body of Christ flourishing. I want to be able to give more and believe I will be able to give in abundance in the near future. However, is the church now a business moreso than a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led organism? In the world of business and finance we ask for specific amounts for loans, for seed money/investments and the like. We are taught to be specific and ask for what you want. Even in prayer, to be specific and ask for what you want, all of which I am in agreement with. However, in reference to giving in excess of tithes and regular offerings, how does this current practice line up with the spirit of Matt. 6:1-18 or Mark 12:41-44? Even though in Matt. 6:1-18 it specifically speaks of giving to the needy and not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing, or praying and fasting in secret, the overall message is that we don't do our acts of righteousness to be seen of men as the Pharisees were in the habit of doing and which, I believe, the current practice lends itself to.

In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus compares the giving of the wealthy with that of the poor widow who gave her all. Why was he pointing that out at the time? I believe it's because Jesus was revealing the heart of giving; that God loves a cheerful giver; one who gives from the heart and not one who gives out of compulsion. Isn't that what the scripture also says in 2 Corinthians 9:7? "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheeful giver." So then, where does this trend of telling people what to give comes from?

I wonder what Jesus is thinking as he looks down at our giving practices today.

Just musing and praying about what I find to be a contradictory practice that is becoming ingrained in many churches today. If you have some heartfelt and prayerful comments on the matter, I'd love to hear from you.

God bless.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Same Sex Marriages

"Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17- NKJV)

"The only thing it takes for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing." (Unknown)

"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 will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, '...what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?' Jesus answered: 'Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, "I am the Christ," and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen but the end is still to come... There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." (Matt. 24:3-8)

"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door." (Matt. 24:32-33)

Body of Christ:
I hope you are at least as disturbed as I am about this abomination that is occuring in our own back yard, on US soil. One week prior to Japan being hit by the earthquake and tsunami, my 18 year old nephew and I had a conversation in which we were discussing the signs of the times. He spoke of the unusual snow storms and weather patterns affecting not only the US but different parts of the world. One week later, Japan is hit with a shattering earthquake and tsunami. The night of the earth quake in Japan, my nephew in deep concern about the state of affairs occuring around the world asked God to take him out of here. When I asked him what was on his mind he said, Auntie, don't you see the times we're in? We are next. When I probed further he said, "Where have these 'natural' disasters been hitting, Auntie? What countries or areas are known for major demonic activity and anti-Godly activity?" After we named a few areas that had experienced some 'natural' disasters, he then said, New England is next. With the passing of the same sex marriage law in Massachusettes and NY and other states hot on their trail, it's inevitable. God's judgement will come.

I've been pondering these conversations we've been having in my heart  in addition to the marked spiritual stirring (alertness) occuring and warnings being raised in the last few months of 2010 and increased sensitivity since the beginning of 2011 that this is not to be a year of business as usual. I've written in previous blogs about it and have seen others blogging the same alertness to something important about to happen and how God is fanning a sense of urgency of spirit in many of us to fast and pray; even as Satan, too, has stepped up his activity.

Yesterday, I read two articles that reinforced this urgency but left me with a new question. Is there something more than prayer that I should be doing Lord?  Yesterday, I read the news article, "Hollywood A-Listers Urge Obama to Support Gay Marriages." Then upon opening my email I read an article sent to me by a friend titled, "Prophetic Insight: What Is This Revival We're Looking For?" in Charisma written by Barbara J. Yoder. The writer had a dream in which I agree with her that God was speaking to her. Here is a pivitol paragraph that underscores what I really want to address in this blog today:

In her dream, "...the city and the church were indistinguishable. They were not evil in the dream but neither were they filled with God’s glory. They were empty and neutral, just stone structures, one blending into the other. I believe there is a way that we have come into such a cohabitation with the culture that we are blind to the distinctions, not recognizing how acculturated we have become, as well as being blind to the territorial strongholds. We are bereft of a level of discernment that will destroy us in the days ahead. We cannot distinguish the church from culture and vice versa. We are blind to the power behind the structure. We don’t see it."
God has been training and raising up warriors across the nation for a fight that's coming. Several of us have been talking about it over the last few months. This woman's dream and the events that have occured just the last three months alone, are all in alignment. Many churches are calling for round the clock prayer and fasting. Yesterday however, I felt a strong desire to do something more. 2 Chronicles 7:14 not only talks about prayer and seeking God, but also about "turning from their wicked ways." As I meditated on the passages of scriptures I've listed above and the messages in both of those articles, I kept asking the Lord, what can I do?

If the gay rights activists can speak out boldly about their agenda, why can't and don't we? We are greater in numbers than they are. If we don't speak out and let the politicians and president Obama know how we feel and uplift him in prayers, then we are failing to do our part and this abomination of same sex marriages can gain momentum and before we know it, just like the momentum Madeline Ohara gained and used to succeed to remove prayer out of our public schools we can be looking at a country parallel to Sodom and Gomorrah. We should not need a 9/11 disaster, a Katrina hurricane or a presidential election to push us to prayer, fasting and movement.

If I were to ask how many of you are praying daily for your president and politicians, how many of you could say yes? If not daily, weekly?, Monthly? At all? Yet I'm sure we pray about our personal needs and family needs. Well these are all connected to the decisions that are being made on a higher level in our governments which are directly being influence by principalities and powers in the spiritual realm.

Paul says, "I urge, then, first of all that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior." (1 Tim. 2:1-3)

I propose that through our blogs, conversations, with much prayer and fasting that we seek God as to what we can do as the body of Christ to fight this devastating, ungodly, sinful virus that is attacking our land. Forget what party you belong to. We are in this world but not of this world. Our identity is in Christ, not defined by a political party! Whatever state you live in, whatever your political beliefs, we need to rally, stand, write letters to the authorities that be, including the president letting them know how we feel about same sex marriages. Our voices must be heard. Talk to the bretheren at your churches, book clubs, whatever Christ-centered organizations you belong to about mobilizing against same-sex marriages. Blog about it so that we can stay in tune and maybe help each other get ideas on what can be done and is being done.

Let us not allow evil to prevail because we, godly men and women, did nothing!

God be with us and guide us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Shout of Praise

It's 11:30pm. I was getting ready for bed when I thought to myself, "I am sick and tired of the enemy badgering me." I feel like I've been under a cloud for the last two days; and I've been waiting for over a year for a break through in a particular area. But you know what, God is good. He is faithful anyhow! In the same period of time, he's answered numerous other prayers. I've seen my God work wonders through the lives of several of my friends that I've been praying for. I've seen him answer prayers in reference to my church leadership. I've seen him answer prayers for healing in my body and for others I've been praying for. I've seen him save souls. I've written not one but two books over the last year. I've seen God answer  a prayer of mine just yesterday over a service that I was dreading and he turned it all around. Today I got a call from a friend that I referred to another friend so that they can help each other in their businesses and I am trusting God to provide for both of them. I am just so grateful. I have so much to be thankful for. So I want to give a shout out of praise to the most high God, the only true God - Jehovah. I feel like dancing. I know my break through is also on the way and so is yours.

So if you're sick and tired of the enemy blocking your blessing, praise God anyway. Lift up a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. MTJ, you are victorious! It makes me angry when the enemy messes with my friends. We are MORE than conquerors. We are children of the most high. Let us praise God together. If you don't have a job, let's praise God. If business hasn't been profitable as we want and need it to be, let's praise God anyway. If relationships aren't going well. Let's praise God anyway. God is in control. He is sovereign. If money is funny and we feel weighted down under the burden of debt. Praise the Lord, we serve a God who owns the cattle on a a thousand hills and gives us wisdom on how to get out of debt. He is even cancelling some of our debt right now in Jesus' name. Satan is a liar!

I am sick and tired of being on the defensive; aren't you? I declare, I am healed. I declare, a break through in my finances. I walk by faith not by sight. I will speak to the mountains in my life and they are moved and cast into the sea - because I serve God Almighty. So rejoice with me. He said, "In ALL things give thanks." I will make my boast in the Lord. I will draw nigh unto him and he will draw nigh unto me. I am resisting the devil and he is fleeing. Praise the Lord for his Word. I stand on his Word and shall not be moved. Blessed be the name of the Lord our God.

Come and praise the Lord with me. Let us exalt his name together and be glad. Praise looks good on you and me.

I just wanted to take a moment and give God a shout of public praise for who he is, what he's done, what he's doing and what he's about to do. I thank God for you and look forward to hearing your praise reports too.

Glory be to God Most High! Thank you Lord for answering our prayers in Jesus' name. Amen.