The Empowered Christian Faith


February 7, 2016.

Praise him out of your life!

There is one thing you can be sure of, and that is, the devil will attack you once you give your life to God. Yes, bad things happen to non-believers also, but that's part of his strategy; keeping the lost, distracted with problems, rather than focusing on the Word and its Salvation message. Jesus stated that there will be trials and tribulations in the world - John 16:33, this is because the prince of this world still has a right to freely roam - Job 1:7. Now the obvious question is, why didn't Jesus get rid of satan, after the resurrection, by demonstrating His divinity and power - Col. 2:15 "making a public spectacle of them", and making everything perfect. The answer lies in Genesis, with the creation of the world, its creatures and man. God does not take detours from His plans. He ordained man to have dominion of the earth. This plan continues with us because of the redemptive work of Jesus.
Which is to kick satan's butt.

Consider this, scientists are continually confirming the Bible facts, in leaps and bounds, as technology advances; whether it has to do with the universe, biblical cities, peoples and miracles. The universe is boundless, and is expanding, and elements found on earth exist in space. Yet, they can't locate other planets that would support life as we know it. Sure, we can say, it's just a matter of time before a suitable planet will be found, but will we be able to get to it; given travel in space is measured in light years and not by our 24 hour day cycle. The Bible is way ahead of these scientists; demonstrating that time travel is possible, Acts 8:39 "the Lord caught Philip away";  placing him in another city miles from his original location.

To put things in perspective as to why praising is a must. Consider the earth before, as Adam knew it.  The earth was a void and formless place - Gen. 1:2; then we are told that Lucifer was cast down from Heaven to the earth like lightning - Luke 10:18. So when Adam arrived on the scene, there was good and evil on the earth. To be more definite, good was on the earth, and evil was in the atmosphere. (satan is known as the prince of the atmosphere) - Eph. 2:2. This would be like having a family picnic with crows circling above, looking for a quick meal to pick at, and harassing the family. He (satan) had a front row seat to God's creativity and His greatest creation; man. All this contributes to satan's hatred of God and man. Now, of course, neither satan or Adam could foresee what God already knew, that Jesus would come; setting the example, and reestablish the dominion that Adam failed to do; to triumph over satan and his influence on the earth. The word dominion means to control, direct, and have jurisdiction and supremacy over your domain. Well, think about it; besides plants and animals, what would challenge Adam and Eve's authority, and their natural sensibilities for peace, prosperity, and good will. The only challenge to them would come from a serpent; a fallen angel who knew, and saw what dominion and authority could do and control; being close to God when he (satan) was in Heaven as a music minister.

The fight continues and is escalating as Jesus waits for His enemies to be put under His feet - Heb 10:13. We are to continue, what was started, by using praise as one of the most effective weapon in driving out satan from today's Garden of Eden, which is  the individual, being the temple, where God desires to dwell, and just like in the Garden, to also fellowship - 1 Corth 3:16. When we become like God intended in the Garden of Eden, then we can also be at rest as He is - Heb. 4:10. If Adam and Eve did what God told them, satan would have been cast out, having no ability on the earth. When we are purposeful in our ignorance concerning the things of God, our stewardship becomes ineffective and opens us up to satan. This applies especially today as satan knows his time is short and Jesus may return any day now. No time in history has there been so many evidences of satan's offensives and that prophesies are being fulfilled. Remember, satan comes to steal, kill and destroy; especially God's precious creation, mankind. Praise holds him back.   

The Bible shows us how much praise defeats our enemies; the more joyful noise we make worshipping our God, the more the enemy has to flee, as God shows up to inhabit our praises -Ps. 22:3. It is very ironic that satan, once Heaven's music minister, finds it distasteful to be in the presence of Heavenly praise. This may be because it reminds him of all he lost, like when you parade your enemy's spoils in front of them; teasing them, until they become frustrated, and run away fuming. - Is. 14:11. When we make the decision to praise regardless of our dire circumstances and that of our family, we demonstrate fortitude in the face of adversity rendering fear ineffective, which brings God and His angels to bear for us - 2 Kings 6:7. It has been said, "for every adversity we face, there is a greater recompense we will receive". All the more reason to praise God, believing and knowing, He is a just God, - Joel 2:25-26.

Praising is used to get us in the place where God can move in our spirits; to strengthen our resolve and to direct us once we put away all the stress the enemy tries to put on us. It makes us physically well, and can energize us to face challenges, oppression, and depression. By acting on the promptings of praising Him, we release endorphins that elevate and heal the body, mind, and spirit. This renews our focus on God, and allows the Holy Spirit, and the Word to work for us. But probably, the strongest reason for praise, is to exercise and strengthen our bond of faith in our God, who can deliver us, regardless of overwhelming odds - Josh. 6, "God uses praises to destroy and defeat Jericho".

Just imagine, when the people shout and horns were blown, angels pushed down the wall of Jericho. God can be dramatic and overwhelming, when showing Himself strong for His people. This is why the Bible and Jesus remind us to have childlike dependence on God - Matt. 18:2-4. Ever notice immediately after a child has distress, they make a complete turn about; expressing full joy as if nothing happened previously. They have released all concerns and so must we to God - Ps. 55:22.

Just like all the weapons available, praise requires practice to make it efficient and effective. Shouting at the top of our lungs, making noise, has no use if it's not from the heart, and is sung without meaning. Also, praising with a depressed heart and weeping does not put us in the right frame of mind and body. It has been said, prayer engages our angels, but praise gets the attention of God; bringing Him into our presence. Angels are certainly appreciated, but Godly attention brings with it, more enforcement and power. Praise must never be used for selfish gains, but reserved for esteeming our God, His very being and power. Praise and Worship can go together, as both are forms of adoration, with the latter taking us on a deeper spiritual level. But whereas worship is more intimate, praise crosses more boundaries, being an open as well as personal exaltation of God.

God already knows some of us can't hold a note, and for many of us, we do our best singing in the shower. That's why it is more important to develop praise from our hearts, such as using a melody, an attitude of gratitude, thankfulness, and through joyous expressions. Nowhere in the Bible does it say praising Him requires perfection of lyrics or singing in tune. It does however say, praise Him frequently, loudly, on instruments, and joyfully, even giving the amount of time per day, - Ps. 119:164. We must have the sacrifice of praise abiding in us, rendering satan's attacks futile, and not revert to old testament laws of trying to trade blood, etc. for God's deliverance; Jesus is the blood sacrifice; our praises are what we bring to the altar of Grace - Heb. 13:15, Ps. 49:14-15 . When we look at the Word; God's people in praising to overcome their enemy are simple, to the point and repetitive, - 2 Chron 20:21-22. Whether in a group or as an individual, the power of praise lies in the intent, not in its context or its elaborations. Praise builds confidence, faith in our God, releasing His mighty power to work on our behalf. Consider this when praising God next time:

Flush it out! - The Joy of the Lord is my strength.!

January 28, 2016

 LOVE - The Weapon of Choice 

We are in a spiritual battle, and without realizing it, we are surrendering ground to our enemy because of our love walk, and I am not referring to a carnal love but rather a spiritual love. Many of us, when it comes to obeying God's commandment of love, can find it difficult to accept. It's easier and sounds more reasonable to accept the other commandments, as they are more straight forward. They make obvious sense, and can actually be against the laws of the land.

The New Testament - Matt. 22:36-40, " Love God and your Neighbor" - records that only two commandments are truly required, as these two also cover the others. If we are to be in the family of God and receive all its benefits, then we have to adhere to these two commandments.  Now, to me the first is clear as day and absolutely cannot be ignored. And after all, we are talking about the Almighty; He who holds our life in His hands, and through love, gives us a free pass into the Kingdom; with some conditions. Yep, conditions; we just cannot seem to get around some form of compliance where ever we are or what we are doing.

Here's the thing, the second commandment to love your fellow 'person' is not something that you comply  with, but we have to assimilate, to take in, to ingest, so that it becomes a part of us; eventually having no distinction.  Now, it's easy enough to love those we love and avoid those we don't love, so we aren't put into a position to love them. But it's not that simple once we come to the knowledge of why love has to be true, for all people, despite individual, cultural, religious, and political differences. We are even commanded to love our enemies - Matt. 5:44. To be clear, we are not to love angels, spirits, good or evil, and the things that fall under those categories; this would lead to worship - Col. 2:18. For those of us who like to be legalistic, the Bible commands us to love God, and not Jesus, but He being our savior, intercessor, and part of God; the Word, and as shown in John 14:9, "you know the Father (God) because you have seen Jesus" clearly lays a foundation that Jesus is to be loved equally as God.

Love has not only physical benefits, but more so, spiritual. When applied and received properly, it gives us peace, comfort, and vitality, knowing we have the love God can only give, and in turn our love is pure. On the flip side, when we love anything that preoccupies our time, efforts, and resources they can become idol worship, if not checked and controlled. We must not take the word, and the act of love trivially, because God took the time, through the Word, to clearly define it for the purpose of keeping the channels of His blessings open to us - 1 Corth. 13:2, "without love, we have nothing". We can even without knowing it, over-love our loved ones, turning it into worship, which is contrary to God's expectation of how we  are to love. Consider these concerns:

* Until we are all changed into the creature God has predestined us to be, we face emotional challenges in our love walk. As individuals, we must love self, so that we can love others without being weak, because of external influences. We must be comfortable in the 'skin' we have, so when we want to express love to others, there is no hindrances from our soul (mind) and spirit.

* The biggest challenge in this love walk is with those who really make our lives difficult, frustrating, and uncomfortable. They could be family, friends, acquaintances, and even church brothers and sisters. They test our patience and peace, and push us to reveal parts of us we have been working on to suppress and control. As the Bible reveals, iron sharpens iron (Prov. 27:17), and without these moments (testings), our love for others would stagnate; not grow, and most importantly mature us in God's ultimate type of love.

* For some of us, to love our enemy unconditionally makes us cringe at the thought, especially when we know that, that individual's sole pleasure in life is to see us fail, have no happiness, and even die. Yet, we are still to love them as ourselves, our family, brothers and sisters in Christ, without any inhibition; by this, we become the epitome of love.

* Learning, growing, and practicing the kind of love God has, is not far fetched as it sounds. And the Bible has several examples of this, even before Jesus came to earth. We find many stories in the Old Testament where God demonstrates His love by compassion and loving kindness (Exodus 34:6-7).

* No greater love than to give one's life for another is the ultimate show of this kind of love as Jesus did.

Besides obedience to God, there is only one other reason for these types and levels of love, and that is to defeat, and keep our enemy (satan) under our feet and thwart his strategies against us; enforcing God's covenant with us. God is love and satan, being the anti-christ, is hate clearly defined. Satan has no remorse or sorrow in him, and his boot from Heaven has turned his wrath into hatred for anything God loves, namely us. Hatred (strife) blinds and leads to confusion, and can be fatal if not stopped and converted into love. This is why, as Christians, we must fight to remain in love, despite how we feel, how things look, and how many others may innocently influence our hate for others.

Love must be the prime concern. I heard of a Christian from a media company who did a story on a false religion, and then received a death threat personally from a fanatic. The media person, would be in their right to demonstrate to the world that they were right about this false religion. Instead, they contacted the religious fanatic, and the love of Christ was applied. This is someone who knows the power and blessings that result from this type of love walk. This was, and is, the love walk that Jesus did, and God wants us to have. As Christians, we are to do righteous work, revealing God, and saving the lost in love.

The weapon of love has no weaknesses or limitations, except those that we impose. This is because we do not comprehend the full value it has, all its many attributes, and often we use it like a power tool without maintaining it. Just like a cordless tool, it must be cared for, and have regular charging, so that when used it gives full power. It must also be used in the proper manner and not abused. The Bible clearly shows us how our love must be -  1 Corth. 13:4.  It also lays a foundation of applying love for everyday use. We also must know what love is not, and how to use the proper, and effective application of love; so unintentionally, we don't make the act of love of no righteous effect.

* Love for others can never compromise any other commandments from God.

* Weak, compromised love is not to be used as a substitute for not dealing with and confronting critical issues that spring up in ourselves, families, and acquaintances; especially concerning media programs and social issues that are obviously unrighteous. The application of love must be from God's perspective and not our own, and it must not be from any other psycho babble that permeates our everyday life.

* Love must be applied genuinely, and be reserved, not used as a way of applying political correctness in social gatherings. There must be true emotional; as well as, spiritual power behind it.

* True love has no conditions, except that of Godly righteousness. It is consistent, steadfast, and overcomes obstacles; including physical and spiritual boundaries, and conditions.

* Love requires practice, and must not be applied in any unrighteous method. It must be fresh, sustainable, meaningful, and personal.

* Faith is the twin of love, and the two cannot be separated.

* To love others, and even our enemies, does not require you to be complicit in their actions.

* Love is tangible and has no boundaries in expression. It must transform.

* Love must be treated with respect, and not taken for granted, so as to uphold its righteous values and benefits.

Without Godly and righteous love, we cannot please God and be called sons, daughters, and heirs of His Throne, nor can we defeat satan.  Attaining this love, as God defines it, is easy once we have come to that place in our hearts where our wants, motives, and selfishness, no longer factor in any decision of our lives; other than the giving of ourselves. Then, our love becomes a seed that produces several harvests that we and many others benefit from.     

Flush it out! - When in doubt, Love.