Jealousy!–How to Handle It!

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg

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Everybody has problems with jealousy over somebody or something at SOME time in their life. Jealousy is a universal problem, and to be jealous is a natural part of Man’s sinful nature. Of course, it’s usually not until we feel threatened or afraid of losing a loved one’s attention or love that we begin to feel jealous.

Let’s face it, as much as we say we’re jealous over someone “because we love them”, we’re usually only jealous for SELFISH reasons. Jealousy really boils down to selfishness, pride and possessiveness. Though we may not often put our jealousy so bluntly into words, the feeling is that, “They are MINE!–Nobody else’s! I deserve them and nobody else can have them! I’M the ONLY one that has a right to them!”

While it may be true that God has put you together with someone, and you have a very special relationship of love together, it is certainly not right–nor loving–to insist that they find total satisfaction of heart, soul and emotional needs in YOU ALONE! The truth is that the one you love needs other people in their life also, and as a Christian, has a debt of love to pay to their fellow man, not just to you alone. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this, thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14). Others need a certain amount of their time, their attention, their thoughts and their love. And this is ESPECIALLY true in the LORD’S Work!

In society today, jealousy is often considered a virtue. Though we realise that there must be something wrong with SEVERE cases of jealousy where lovers kill one another in a fit of jealous rage, on the whole, we have been brought up to think that jealousy is a natural and acceptable part of love for someone. That if we love someone and they love us, they belong EXCLUSIVELY to US and we then have a RIGHT to be jealous over them should they show any kind of consideration or interest or–in our opinion–too much love to someone else.

Jealousy and possessiveness, many people think, are simply an awkward manifestation of “the wonderful love that binds people together”. This attitude is very WRONG. Jealousy in the sense that we want to selfishly possess and keep our loved ones completely and exclusively to ourselves is NOT a virtue, according to the Word of God! It is a SIN!

The Bible says, “Let us NOT be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, ENVYING (being JEALOUS of) one another.” (Galatians 5:6). “A peaceful heart is the life of the flesh: But ENVY (jealousy) is the ROTTENNESS of the bones!” (Proverbs 14:30). Jealousy is ROTTENNESS and is bad for not only our MENTAL and EMOTIONAL state, but, as science has proven, strong negative emotions are even bad for our PHYSICAL state of health!

Jealousy and envy also make life hell on Earth for OTHERS! “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before ENVY (jealousy)?” (Proverbs 27:4). Jealousy invariably hurts people around us, especially those we say we love the most. “Jealousy is CRUEL as the GRAVE: The coals thereof are coals of FIRE, which hath a most VEHEMENT flame.” (Song of Solomon 8:6). Jealousy can also drive people into an insane rage, so that they MERCILESSLY seek REVENGE: “Jealousy is the RAGE of a man: therefore he will NOT SPARE in the day of VENGEANCE!” (Proverbs 6:34).

Finally, the Bible gives this warning about jealousy and envy, saying: “For where ENVYING and strife is, there is confusion and EVERY EVIL WORK.” (James 3:16). This is a point worth remembering: That a spirit of “envy” (a word which the Bible uses interchangeably with “jealousy”) opens up your heart, your mind and your life to the confusion of the Devil and “EVERY evil work”!

The Devil is “the ACCUSER of the BRETHREN” (Revelation 12:10), and when you’re in a jealous spirit, the Devil whispers his lies against others in your ears and plays upon your selfishness and fears. If you give heed to such lies, soon every little thing done by the one you’re jealous of will take on a meaning which was never intended at all! You’re likely to find yourself getting insanely jealous even over small, imaginary things to the point that your loved one can hardly do ANYTHING to suit you! Most of the time, jealousy EXAGGERATES things so much that they seem much worse than they really are, to the point where insanely jealous people get jealous if someone even LOOKS at their partner!

That’s the Devil’s tactic, to blow things up as big as a mountain! And if you listen to him long enough, it will get you totally discouraged, confused and feeling sorry for yourself! Or, worse yet, cause you to explode in a volcano of selfish, hateful, spiteful emotions against the one or ones you feel are “hurting” you!

We get jealous when we feel that we’re not being shown the love and consideration and attention that we think we DESERVE! When we’re selfishly thinking of only our own personal happiness and frustrated desires, it causes us to complain. We feel like, “I deserve to be treated better. I’m being mistreated. I’m being abused.” So jealousy is really a spirit of complaint which is the result of a selfish attitude.

The selfish believe they deserve more than others, therefore they’re unwilling to share. They feel like they’ve got a right to it ALL. “Nobody else deserves to have ANY of their time and love. I should have it ALL!” This is a very real problem, because it is the inborn, sinful nature of Man to be selfish and try to keep what we think is ours strictly to ourselves, when REALLY, as a Christian, all we have belongs to JESUS.

Remember, our loved ones are NOT just “ours”. They belong to the LORD first and foremost! All true Christians, the Bible says, are married to JESUS (Romans 7:4), therefore we and our loved ones owe our FIRST loyalty, love and devotion to HIM. Our relationship with the Lord must take precedence over any human relationship or marital bonds. When you are CHRISTIANS, and you both are supposed to be serving the Lord and trying to win others to Jesus, it’s pretty selfish to begrudge, complain about or be jealous of time that your mate spends showing love and attention to others! After all, that’s what WITNESSING and winning SOULS is all about!

As mentioned in a previous paragraph, a lot of times jealousy can be absolutely unfounded. You may be totally misinterpreting your mate’s actions or motives, and as a result, you begin worrying and fearing that they are seeking love elsewhere, and that they therefore don’t love you as much anymore. But the whole thing may be just in your imagination! If you YIELD to this type of jealousy and fear, the Devil will play up your fears, tell you all kinds of lies and get you totally obsessed and make every tiny matter a major incident.

Some wives, for example, constantly worry that their husband is having an affair with his secretary, and go into an emotional tailspin if he even shows his secretary common courtesy, kindness, or appreciation for all of her hard work. This kind of unreasonable jealousy is a result of a LACK of TRUST in the one you love. As well as a lack of trust and resting in the LORD.

The SOLUTION is to pray desperately and to ask the Lord to DELIVER you from such a negative, fearful spirit. Don’t give in to it! REBUKE it in Jesus’ name every time you are tempted to fall prey to it! If you are not strong enough to resist it on your OWN, then confess your trial and spiritual battle to OTHERS and ask them to pray WITH you to set you free from its grip! “Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another. RESIST the Devil and he will FLEE from you!” (James 5:16; 4:7).

Of course, HONEST COMMUNICATION with the one you love is essential. Be honest and humble enough to tell them if you are fighting feelings of jealousy. When you openly discuss it, you give them the opportunity to dispel your fears and the Enemy’s lies and to explain whatever it was that made you suspicious in the first place.

If you find out that your MATE is having problems with jealousy over YOU, try to be as loving and considerate as you can. You should try to make it as easy for them as possible. Imagine what it would be like if YOU were in their position, then “do to them as you would want them to do to you.” (Matthew 7:12). Show them as much love as you can, constantly reassuring them that you love them. Keep loving and praying for them and being considerate and sympathetic.

The next question is, what are you to do if what you fear does come to pass, and you find out that your husband, wife or lover actually HAS gotten involved or fallen in love with someone else? What should you do if you find yourself in such a position? Of course, every situation is different, and a lot depends on the individuals involved, but here is some basic advice:

If you love your husband or wife enough to permit them to have another person in their life besides yourself, then the problem is greatly diminished; but if not, jealousy can literally tear your HEART–as well as your HOME–apart! Because most people do NOT have that much unselfish love, jealousy has broken up more marriages than can be numbered! Usually people in such circumstances either divorce and tear the home and family apart, or else they keep their marriage together in name only, as a matter of social convenience or necessity, but wind up bitter, cold and unfeeling towards one another.

It’s really TRAGIC how so many people allow jealousy, envy and pride to absolutely ruin their relationships and even their lives! On the other hand, genuine love, mercy, forgiveness, openness and understanding have salvaged many a relationship that would have otherwise been destroyed by jealousy and pride once a mate discovered that their partner has gotten intimately involved with someone else. The Bible says, “LOVE BEARS all things, love BELIEVES all things, love HOPES all things, love ENDURES all things. Love NEVER fails!” (1Corinthians 13:8). If people who find themselves in such a situation would just look to the LORD and cry out to HIM for His help and guidance, He could give them the faith, strength, love and understanding they need in order to resolve their marital problems.

The Bible tells us, “Love covers a MULTITUDE of sins” (1Peter 4:8), and a large measure of love and understanding is definitely the KEY to solve any problems regarding our personal relationships. But for the mate who feels betrayed or offended to say that they cannot FORGIVE or understand is to say that they don’t have real love, the LOVE of GOD! Because the divine, supernatural, miraculous, infinite, marvellous LOVE of GOD is love enough to FORGIVE! In fact, forgiveness IS Love! Jesus Himself said following the Lord’s Prayer: “If you cannot forgive men THEIR trespasses, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you YOUR trespasses!” (Matthew 6:15).

So for GOD’S sake, your LOVED ONE’S sake, and even your OWN sake, count the cost before throwing your entire relationship away in an angry moment of pride or jealousy! Jesus said, “I prefer MERCY and NOT SACRIFICE!” (Matthew 9:13). How much better to mercifully FORGIVE and try to UNDERSTAND your “erring” mate, than to dutifully divorce and self-righteously condemn them! “He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone!” (John 8:7).

But sad to say, most people today do not seem to be able to wisely and lovingly deal with such problems when confronted with them. Which is why the only GENUINE SOLUTION is to take the situation to the LORD in PRAYER! If you are saved, then you are the LORD’S child, and you know that He LOVES you. He CARES for you more than any one else will ever be able to!

No matter HOW much something may hurt you, no matter HOW difficult you feel your situation is, if you pour out your heart in prayer to Jesus about it, He can give you PEACE in place of confusion, anger or turmoil! (See Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 119:165.) If you truly trust and love the LORD, then you can have the faith that, in His infinite wisdom, He has ALLOWED it to happen for some reason. The Lord often lets things like this happen to draw us closer to Him. Everything that comes into your life is part of His plan, difficult though some things may seem at times. He says, “ALL things work together for GOOD to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28).–Even THIS!

Here are some beautiful promises from the Word of God which you can claim: “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and DELIVERED me from ALL my FEARS.” (Psalm 34:4). “Cast your CARES and BURDENS upon the LORD, and HE shall sustain you; He shall never allow the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22). “Cast ALL your cares on Him, for HE CARES for YOU.” (1Peter 5:7).

In some cases it might be beneficial if you were to ask yourself if YOU could possibly be partially responsible for the situation, because you were not sweet, considerate or loving enough to your mate, and they felt they had to look elsewhere to find the genuine love, tenderness and emotional–as well as physical–fulfilment that they needed. If so, the Lord could be allowing this situation to happen to teach you more sacrificial love and consideration, and even to draw you closer to your mate in GENUINE love and appreciation.

On the other hand, if you have done your best in your relationship, but your mate still feels the need for other intimate involvements, you should still try to adopt an UNDERSTANDING attitude. Let’s face it, it’s not infrequent that people who work together or see each other often are attracted to one another. But WHATEVER the reason for your mate’s getting involved with someone else, your being jealous and demanding and possessive is not going to help the situation. Because if you try to selfishly control your mate and angrily accuse them, you will usually only drive them further AWAY from you.

That’s why you HAVE to be able to take it to the LORD in PRAYER, because only HE has the solution! You have to turn to Him and His Word to give you the strength and faith and trust needed in this situation! His Word is a tremendous comfort in times of deepest trial! If you need more faith, read, cling to and memorise His Word, and He will give you more faith! (Romans 10:17).

If you try to just bear it yourself, it could drive you CRAZY or cause you to become HATEFUL and BITTER toward your mate. And if you let BITTERNESS fill your heart, it can wreck your life, your marriage, your children’s lives, your future and even your relationship with God Himself! The Bible warns us, “BEWARE lest any root of BITTERNESS spring up and trouble you, and thereby DEFILE MANY!” (Hebrews 12:15).

Instead of hastily destroying your relationship in a fit of bitter rage and jealousy, cry out to the LORD in DESPERATE PRAYER, and ask Him to give you the LOVE, FORGIVENESS and UNDERSTANDING to overcome this situation. None of us have that kind of love on our own, nor do we have that kind of forgiveness or understanding. But JESUS does, and He will give it to you if you will sincerely seek Him and call upon Him for help with ALL of your heart. He has promised, “PEACE I leave with you; MY peace I give unto you; I do not give to you as the World gives to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27). “The PEACE of GOD, which passes all understanding, shall GUARD your HEARTS and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7).

Remember, you belong to JESUS. And your MATE, if they are saved, belongs to Him also. So WHATEVER the situation, both of your lives are in HIS hands, and He is allowing this test to somehow draw you closer to Him. When you realise that your mate does not belong exclusively to YOU, but belongs to the LORD first of all, then it becomes easier to trust that the LORD is going to work things out and have His perfect way in both your lives! What it boils down to is that you’ve simply got to love and trust the LORD!

A fitting illustration of the difference between genuine unselfish love and jealous possessiveness is brought out in the following Bible story:

Two women appeared before wise King Solomon one day, each claiming and insisting that a newborn child was hers. King Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, put them to the test by ordering the child to be cut in two and half given to each woman. When the woman who was the REAL mother of the child heard this, her heart burst with love for her baby, and totally abandoning her own happiness and claim to the child, cried out, “Please, my lord! Do not kill him! Give HER the baby! Only please let it LIVE!”

The OTHER woman who was NOT really the mother of the child, when she heard the King’s order, said, “Yes! Cut him in two! If I can’t have him, then NEITHER of us shall have him!” Hearing these two women, Solomon turned to the soldier standing there with his sword upraised and commanded: “Do not kill the baby! Give him to the FIRST woman, for SHE is the mother!” (1Kings 3:16-28).

Which of those two women are YOU like? Are you so concerned with your own selfish happiness and fulfilment that you’d rather KILL the one you say you love rather than let them share their time, their love and their attention with others? Or are you TRULY in love with them? Do you have so much love for THEM that you are more concerned about THEIR happiness than your OWN, and would be willing to give them up–at least temporarily–if that is what would make them happiest and most fulfilled?

That’s the way Solomon found out who really DESERVED the baby! The one who really deserved it was the one who LOVED it so much that she was willing to give it up to preserve its life so that at least the BABY could be happy and live! But the one that DIDN’T really love the baby and WASN’T the true mother didn’t really care about him, only herself, and would rather kill the baby than let anybody else have it! And as a result, she LOST the child!

Proud, selfish and jealous people would rather kill or hurt their loved one than let anybody else have them–which shows and proves they DON’T have REAL love, Christian love, the Love of JESUS! They really love only THEMSELVES! Now YOU might not outright physically kill the one you’re jealous of, but “envy is the rottenness of the bones” just the same, and will slowly but surely poison and eat away at your relationship. Every little hurtful remark or comment, every bit of pouting, complaining or accusing, or just outright coldness and rejection or withholding of your affections, will work toward destroying and killing your relationship, as will all the other little things that jealous people feeling sorry for themselves do to attract attention and sympathy.

Almost invariably, jealous people try to do something in RETALIATION to HURT the one they say they love: If their loved one won’t do what they want them to, and if they cannot coerce or dominate and control them, they usually resort to deliberately and defiantly doing something that they know will hurt them or make them suffer just to “get even” and make them feel bad!

That’s what you are doing when you complain that the one you love is showing too much love or attention to others, and murmur that they don’t love you any more. In the long run, you’ll kill the one you say you love! At least you’ll kill their love for you, their faith in you, and maybe even their faith in themselves!

But whether you have a problem with extreme jealousy or just “mild” jealousy, if you allow it to continue unchecked, it could become a very, very serious problem. When people are constantly jealous–especially when it develops into an uncontrollable rage–it’s no longer just selfishness and temper; it’s SPIRITUAL, and is caused by an evil spirit! Did you know that there are DEMONS of jealousy? There ARE! And they have driven people absolutely stark raving mad with jealousy! Demons of jealousy have inspired people to actually MURDER those they claim to “love”!

But everybody has SOME jealousy. So just because you’re a little jealous doesn’t mean you have a DEMON of jealousy. But when it gets to a certain point where you just allow jealousy to completely take you over, then a demon can get control and you can lose control and even become violent and hurtful to the one you’re jealous of! So “give NO place to the Devil”! (Ephesians 4:27). Remember, even if you’re naturally inclined to be jealous, you CAN CONTROL it! Especially if you’re a CHRISTIAN! “You can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens you!” (Philippians 4:13).

Sometimes jealousy can be a real SPIRITUAL force, and can have a strong hold on people, binding them in its chains, and they can’t seem to get freed from it. If you’ve been in the habit of yielding to jealousy for a long time, you may not be able to get rid of it by praying by yourself, so you may need OTHERS to pray FOR you and WITH you to help you get freed from its grip. If you can’t get the victory over it by just asking the Lord for help and by quoting Scriptures and talking to others about it, then it may require a Scriptural “laying on of hands” and desperate united prayer, as the Bible instructs us in James 5:14-16.

Once you realise that jealousy is not of God, and you turn to the Lord for strength and help to fight and resist it, then it’s within your power to REFUSE to have the problem, and to say, “I REBUKE you, Satan, get OUT of here! I’m NOT going to yield to you and your evil thoughts!” It’s a matter of whether you sincerely WANT the victory or not, and are willing to FIGHT the Enemy and his lies and fears and exaggerations!

God can deliver you from the demonic iron grip and bondage of jealousy. That is not to say that after prayer for deliverance you won’t have occasional battles with it, since jealousy is a common weakness which often will try to rear its ugly head again. But you will of your own free will, be able to refuse to yield to it. It will no longer CONTROL you. YOU can control IT! With PRAYER and the WORD! “If the Son (Jesus) shall set you FREE, you shall be free INDEED!” (John 8:36).

Someone once asked the wife of the famous evangelist, Billy Graham, if she wasn’t jealous of her husband’s time and attention, considering how he was away so often, and often gone for long periods of time, showing God’s Love to others. She very wisely answered, “I’d rather have a LITTLE bit of BILLY than a whole LOT of someone ELSE!”

Do YOU have that much love, that you’re willing to share your mate with God and His service? So, like Mrs. Graham, you can say, “I’d rather have even a LITTLE bit of him than a whole lot of someone else”? If so, God will bless you! Because that’s REAL Christian love!

May God bless and strengthen you with His wonderful Love! And FREE you from jealousy! In Jesus’ name, amen!

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

His Daily Benefits

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchor“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”
—Psalm 68:19

God’s benefits are neither few nor light; they are copious. They aren’t intermittent or dispensed to his favorite children. He doesn’t have favorites. He imposes benefits upon his children daily simply because he loves us. The Father carries us day by day as a father his child, or a shepherd his lambs; and so he does from the womb even to the sunset of life.

Let us consider what God has done for man. He has given man a world in which to live. He has provided life to enjoy, air to breathe, an earth to tread upon, fire to warm and water to cool and cleanse. He has provided clothes to cover the body, food to nourish, sleep to refresh the body, homes for shelter, and a variety of creatures to serve and delight man.

Now let us consider what he has done for the believer. He has made the believer an ambassador of his cause and granted dominion over all of the earth. He blessed the believer with all spiritual blessings, with an abundance of grace and brand-new mercy every morning. He has enlivened the believer with His Spirit, righteousness for clothing and redemption by the blood of Jesus.

Jesus became vile to make us glorious, a curse to invest blessings in us, and stripes on his back that we might experience spiritual, emotional and physical healing. He gave his live that we might have eternal life.

As you journey on this Christian pilgrimage you’ll encounter situations that warrant murmuring and complaining. But just before you bring credence to that discomforting situation, consider the fact that God has loaded you daily with benefits.

He has given you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. He has given you peace in exchange for confusion, a guiding light in the midst of darkness, and strength for weakness. He has given you living water for a thirsty soul, and the bread of life for a hungry soul and intimacy in exchange for isolation. He has provided provision for your visions. He also blessed you to reap a harvest from a field you didn’t sow into.

Give him thanks. We serve the only wise, true and living God who loads his children daily with benefits.

—Craig A. Brown

 
Forget not His benefits

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
—Psalm 103:2–5

A recurring difficulty on our journey of life is becoming so focused on what we need at the moment that we forget what we already have. I was reminded of that when our church choir sang a beautiful anthem based on Psalm 103. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” (Psalm 103:2 NKJV) The Lord is our forgiver, healer, redeemer, provider, satisfier, and renewer. (See Psalm 103:3–5) How could we forget that? And yet we often do when the events of daily life shift our attention to pressing needs, recurring failures, and circumstances that seem out of control.

The writer of this Psalm calls us to remember, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious . . . He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:8, 10–11)

In our walk of faith, we come to Jesus Christ humbled by our unworthiness. There is no sense of entitlement as we receive His grace and are overwhelmed by the lavishness of His love. They remind us of all His benefits. “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (Psalm 103:1)

—Our Daily Bread Ministries

 
Abundance

“What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
—Psalm 116:12–15

It is always encouraging to me to see how the Lord works differently in each of our lives, carefully and lovingly giving us what we need to help us learn, grow, and mature. He has a plan that will make each of us into the vessels of His love that we need to be.

So if you’re struggling about anything in your life, remember that it’s well worth it to hold on and to keep fighting! Keep your eyes on the goal, so that even though things around you may be in turmoil, you will be able to have the confidence that it won’t last forever, but there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. If you keep the faith and hold tight to the abundant promises in His Word, you will eventually see the fulfillment of His promises.

Remind yourself daily of all the gifts of love that He freely dispenses because He loves you—just you! He loved you enough to give His life for you. He still loves you enough to give His life for you, and He daily shares His life, His joy, His compassion, His anointing, His strength, His help, His blessings, and His Word—priceless treasures above all that we can ask or think!

He loves you above life itself, for He gave His life for you! His presence is with you, He watches over you every moment. He knows your every thought, your every desire, and He always answers in the way that will be in your best interests. He is always there for you, always present and never absent.

In Him we experience the greatest love that we have ever known, from the lover of all lovers, the friend of all friends, the one who is always with us, the one who will never fail us, the one in whose loving arms we can always rest without worry, without fear of failure, without condemnation. How richly blessed we are, above all people on the face of the earth! How very much we have to be thankful for!

He daily loads us with His abundant blessings so that we have so much we can’t contain it all! Now we have to do all we can to share our faith with others so they can also partake of these never-ending riches. And the more we share it, the more He’ll pour it on! The more we praise Him for what He has already given us, the more He will give!

So keep giving. Keep loving. Keep praising, and you’ll continue to be amazed at all that the Lord will do!

—Maria Fontaine

 
Blessed

“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.”
—Deuteronomy 28:6

The promise, “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out,” refers to being blessed in the affairs of one’s daily life, whether in or outside one’s home.

So here, God is saying that you are blessed in your everyday life. … Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!” And because God’s Word says so, believe that every day of your life is loaded with benefits. Every morning, when you get up, believe that it is a day that the Lord has made, and rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) Start the day expecting it to be loaded with the benefits that God has prepared just for you.

At night, when it is time to sleep, know that you will be blessed when you get up in the morning because there will be another load of benefits from your heavenly Father, who so loves you unconditionally, waiting for you!

You can’t make your blessings happen. But if you will just believe what God has said in His Word and act like it is so, the blessings will manifest in your life. In fact, God wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed! His Word declares it … Beloved, believe God’s Word. Believe Him for the blessings, and you will find yourself loaded with His daily benefits!

—Joseph Prince

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Investigation of the Apostle Paul!

free-bible-studies-online-investigation-of-the-apostle-paul

 
ST. PAUL was without doubt the GREATEST MISSIONARY in the Early Church, a man who won more eternal souls to the Lord than almost anyone who has ever lived! How did he do it? By TOTALLY DEDICATING his life to God and giving his ALL to preach the Gospel! And GREAT is his reward in HEAVEN!

You can read the EXCITING LIFE STORY of St. Paul in the “BOOK OF ACTS,” written by LUKE, the same Apostle who also wrote “The GOSPEL of St. Luke”! And as you read Paul’s adventures, you will notice that he suffered a GREAT deal of PERSECUTION during his many missionary travels. In almost every city he went to preach the Good News about Jesus, there were bitter, jealous ENEMIES who opposed and persecuted him!

YOU and I realise, of course, that Paul was obeying GOD and doing GOOD in preaching the Gospel, and that it was his ENEMIES who were in the wrong. Yet, what if St. Paul were still alive TODAY and applied for MEMBERSHIP in certain MODERN-day churches, and the church leaders decided to make a careful investigation of his life before they accepted him! Imagine this investigator talking to Paul’s ENEMIES and reading their reports and getting THEIR opinions first! And THEN, with a totally BIASED and PREJUDICED frame of mind, reading over St. Paul’s MISSIONARY ADVENTURES in the BIBLE!

How DIFFERENT these familiar and well-loved Bible stories would look if viewed from the CRITICAL and DISTORTED VIEWPOINT of Paul’s bitter enemies! What kind of a report would that investigator WRITE?! Well, it could very well look something like THIS …

 

To: Fredrick B. Goodie
Denominational Supervisor
Church of the Immaculate Reputation

Dear Sir,

You recently informed me that a certain “Apostle” Paul of Tarsus, had applied to become a missionary in our denomination. However, as you had a few RESERVATIONS about him, you asked me to make a FORMAL INVESTIGATION into his background.

I am sorry to say this, Sir, but what I have uncovered seems to entirely CONFIRM the suspicions that you had about him. To be frank, I am surprised that he has been able to “pass” as a bona fide missionary THIS far, as not only does he not meet ANY of OUR qualifications, but the information I have come across is an absolute PUBLIC SCANDAL!

It is true that I spent most of my time talking to his ENEMIES and getting THEIR side of the story, but I want to make it clear, Sir, that my investigation was entirely fair and unbiased. In fact, the most DAMAGING and SCANDALOUS information about Paul comes from one of his closest FRIENDS! I managed to get ahold of a personal letter that his associate LUKE had written, called the “Acts of the Apostles,” and I’d like to draw your attention to selected portions of this very revealing document:

First of all:

(1) Right after his conversion, he immediately began preaching in the Jewish synagogues! WITHOUT having FIRST gone through the required YEARS of theological training! Imagine! “AND HE WENT AT ONCE TO THE SYNAGOGUE TO TELL EVERYONE THERE THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS, THAT HE IS INDEED THE SON OF GOD!” (Acts 9:20)

(2) Because of this silly mistake, he nearly got himself KILLED in Damascus, and had to flee for his life like a common CRIMINAL in the most RIDICULOUS way you can possibly imagine: “THE JEWISH LEADERS DETERMINED TO KILL HIM, AND WATCHING THE GATES OF THE CITY DAY AND NIGHT, PREPARED TO MURDER HIM. SO DURING THE NIGHT SOME OF HIS CONVERTS LET HIM DOWN IN A BASKET OVER THE CITY WALL!” (Acts 9:23-25)

(3) Bent on causing MORE trouble for the church, Paul went to church HEADQUARTERS in Jerusalem where he got into an argument, stir red the crowds into a frenzy, nearly got himself killed and had to be sent back in disgrace to his hometown. Only then was there peace and calm again. “HE PREACHED BOLDLY (IN JERUSALEM) IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. BUT THEN SOME GREEK-SPEAKING JEWS WITH WHOM HE HAD ARGUED, PLOTTED TO MURDER HIM. WHEN THE OTHER BELIEVERS HEARD ABOUT HIS DANGER, THEY SENT HIM TO HIS HOMETOWN OF TARSUS. THEN THE CHURCH HAD PEACE THROUGHOUT ALL JUDEA AND SAMARIA.” (Acts 9:28-31)

(4) Paul was kicked out of–or had to flee from–one city after another! To give you just one such shocking example: “WHEN PAUL AND BARNABUS LEARNED OF A PLOT TO INCITE A MOB TO ATTACK AND STONE THEM, THEY FLED FOR THEIR LIVES, GOING TO THE CITIES OF LYCAONIA: LYSTRA AND DERBE.” (Acts 14:5,6) Now I ask you: WHY would Paul have fled unless he had done something WRONG? Of course Jesus did say, “When they persecute you in THIS city, flee to ANOTHER!” (Matthew 10:23) But that certainly makes you look GUILTY!

(5) To show you that Paul surely was doing something wrong, consider who Luke says his OPPONENTS were: “BUT THE JEWS STIRRED UP THE DEVOUT AND HONOURABLE WOMEN, AND THE CIVIC LEADERS OF THE CITY, AND INCITED A MOB AGAINST PAUL AND BARNABAS, AND RAN THEM OUT OF TOWN!” (Acts 13:50) So think about it: Could “DEVOUT and HONOURABLE women” and respected “civic leaders” be wrong?

(6) Time and again, Paul would enter a peaceful city and create such an UPROAR that the whole population would be DIVIDED and take sides either for or against Christ. “BUT THE POPULATION OF THE CITY WAS DIVIDED IN THEIR OPINION ABOUT THEM. SOME AGREED WITH THE JEWISH LEADERS, AND SOME BACKED THE APOSTLES.” (Acts 14:4)

(7) After being dragged out of one city, brutally STONED and left for DEAD, Paul miraculously got right up and went right back into the city to continue preaching! “A MOB STONED PAUL AND DRAGGED HIM OUT OF THE CITY, APPARENTLY DEAD. BUT AS THE BELIEVERS STOOD AROUND HIM, HE GOT UP AND WENT BACK INTO THE CITY!” (Acts 14:19,20) What a show-off! I’m sure he only did this as some kind of a publicity stunt! I’m also SHOCKED by his obvious lack of diplomacy. It is simply NOT in good taste for ministers and missionaries to allow themselves to be dragged out of city gates to be stoned or attacked by mobs!

(8) ANOTHER very bad habit that Paul has is that he is a constant DRIFTER with no permanent address, a VAGRANT who just goes from city to city and country to country. To give just ONE example of this: “THE NEXT DAY HE LEFT WITH BARNABAS FOR DERBE. AFTER PREACHING THE GOSPEL THERE AND MAKING MANY DISCIPLES, THEY RETURNED AGAIN TO LYSTRA, ICONIUM AND ANTIOCH, WHERE THEY HELPED THE BELIEVERS TO GROW IN LOVE FOR GOD. THEN THEY TRAVELLED BACK THROUGH PISIDIA TO PAMPHYLIA, PREACHED AGAIN IN PERGA, AND WENT ON TO ATTALIA. FINALLY THEY RETURNED BY SHIP TO ANTIOCH.” (Acts 14:20-24) How such an irresponsible bum can call himself a missionary, I don’t know!

(9) He was IMPRISONED and bound with CHAINS in three different countries: Israel, Greece and Italy. On one occasion, after being whipped and then chained in prison, he and his partners began SINGING HYMNS at MIDNIGHT! Imagine disturbing the peace at such a late hour! “AROUND MIDNIGHT, AS PAUL AND SILAS WERE PRAYING AND SINGING HYMNS TO THE LORD, AND THE OTHER PRISONERS HEARD THEM.” (Acts 16:25-26) There is NO record of him apologising for his singing, and disturbing the peace.

(10) He and his group were also accused of causing SOCIAL and POLITICAL UPHEAVALS in Thessalonica, and the Jews had to inform the city rulers that “PAUL AND SILAS WHO HAVE TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN ARE HERE DISTURBING OUR CITY ALSO!” (Acts 17:6b) What a reputation! But apparently Paul just glories in this kind of sensationalism and rowdy behaviour! You’ve got to admit that people certainly HEAR about him and his message!

(11) He’s also very FANATICAL! In Ephesus he convinced his new converts to BURN their expensive STUDY BOOKS! “MANY OF THE BELIEVERS WHO HAD BEEN PRACTICING BLACK MAGIC CONFESSED THEIR DEEDS AND BROUGHT THEIR INCANTATION BOOKS AND BURNED THEM AT A PUBLIC BONFIRE. SOMEONE ESTIMATED THE VALUE OF THE BOOKS AT 50,000 PIECES OF SILVER!” (Acts 19:19) Do you realise how much MONEY that is? Well over $10,000 worth of books! It’s true they were disgusting, horrible, perverted books on black magic and witchcraft, but still, I think that burning them was going a little too far!

(12) Paul also carries the reputation of being a revolutionist and a rabble-rouser. His accusers said, “FOR WE HAVE FOUND HIM TO BE A TROUBLEMAKER, A MAN WHO IS CONSTANTLY INCITING THE JEWS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD TO RIOTS AND REBELLIONS AGAINST THE ROMAN GOVERNMENT! HE IS A RINGLEADER OF THE SECT OF THE NAZARENES!” (Acts 24:5) You will notice that according to his enemies’ accusations, Paul belongs to some very unpopular weird “sect”, and is obviously not part of one of OUR well- established and recognised churches. Of COURSE his sect is “SPOKEN AGAINST EVERYWHERE”! (Acts 28:22) What else could he EXPECT considering the way he carries on!?

(13) He finally did come back to church headquarters in Jerusalem, where some of the more sensible brethren tried to get him to straighten up so that “EVERYONE WILL KNOW THAT THOSE RUMOURS THAT THEY HEARD ABOUT YOU ARE NOTHING; BUT THAT YOU ALSO OBEY OUR CUSTOMS AND KEEP THE MOSAIC LAW.” (Acts 21:24) As far as I can see, that was really his last chance to conform to normality, but he blew it this one last time and started such a RIOT and UPROAR in the city that the military had to be called in to stop it!

(14) His enemies there accused him, saying, “THIS IS THE MAN THAT TEACHES ALL MEN EVERYWHERE AGAINST OUR PEOPLE AND OUR RELIGIOUS LAWS! HE EVEN TALKS AGAINST OUR TEMPLE!” (Acts 21:28) Paul began to deny these charges, but fortunately he was thrown into PRISON before he could cause any more trouble! (See Acts 21:26-33)

(15) Later, while on TRIAL, standing in CHAINS, he had the audacity to try to convert King Agrippa who was judging him. “PAUL SAID, ‘I PRAY TO GOD THAT BOTH YOU AND EVERYONE HERE IN THIS AUDIENCE MIGHT BECOME THE SAME AS I AM, EXCEPT FOR THESE CHAINS.'” (Acts 26:27-28) The OTHER King, King Festus, who was sitting there listening, realised that Paul was obviously mentally UNSTABLE! “AND AS HE SPOKE, FESTUS SHOUTED, ‘PAUL, YOU ARE CRAZY! YOUR LONG STUDYING HAS DRIVEN YOU INSANE!'” (Acts 26:24) A very accurate judgement, I would say, from OUR traditional viewpoint! Too bad for that to happen to such an intelligent and educated man!

So much for these lurid facts from LUKE’S letter! Even MORE revealing are personal letters that Paul has written HIMSELF! Here are but a few examples:

(16) Listen to this personal confession he makes: “ON FIVE SEPARATE OCCASIONS, THE JEWS GAVE ME A BEATING OF 39 LASHES!” (2Corinthians 11:24) In other words, altogether he was WHIPPED on the back 195 times! Now let’s be honest, why would God have ALLOWED him to be beaten so BADLY and so OFTEN if he was really a good Christian? Well, it should be obvious to anyone who holds OUR views that he could NOT be!

(17) His confession continues: “THREE TIMES I WAS BEATEN WITH RODS, ONCE WAS I STONED, THREE TIMES I WAS SHIPWRECKED.” (2Corinthians 11:25) As you know, Sir, all of OUR preachers and missionaries are quiet, settled- down members of society, and have NEVER exposed themselves to any foolish danger of this sort! Jesus PROMISED that Christians would suffer persecution for His Name’s sake (Matthew 5:10-12), but just between you and me, Mr. Goodie, that is ONE time when I think our Lord was WRONG. But… er…don’t tell anyone I said that.

(18) I understand that Paul is given to FANTASIES and DREAMS. First, he said a “BRIGHT LIGHT FROM HEAVEN” caused him to fall to the earth, then he heard “A VOICE CALLING HIS NAME”. And at Troas, he “SAW A MAN OF MACEDONIA” in a dream, and at another time he was “TAKEN UP TO THE THIRD HEAVEN”, and even claimed “THE LORD STOOD BESIDE HIM”! In MY opinion, more REALISTIC and PRACTICAL minds are needed in the task of World evangelisation. (See Acts 22:6-10; 16:9-10; 2Corinthians 12:1-7)

(19) And why, might I ask, did he find it necessary to CHANGE his NAME and take on an ALIAS? It may shock you to know that his REAL name is NOT “PAUL” at all, but actually “SAUL”! (See Acts 13:2,9,13.)

(20) Finally, here is the most SHOCKING discovery that I made while investigating Paul. Did you know that Paul’s personal letters and teachings have been gathered together and published in a BOOK, and that this book is on sale in bookstores ALL OVER THE WORLD?! I almost became sick when I realised that MILLIONS of fine church-goers, believing them to be good Christian teachings, have COPIES of this book in their very HOMES! No doubt you have heard of it; it’s called the “NEW TESTAMENT”!

Fortunately, almost NONE of the members of OUR fine church ever READ this book, so I doubt if they have been perverted by his erroneous teachings. I certainly haven’t! And now that I am aware of the worthless kind of ruffians that have written it, I am thankful that I never bothered to take the time to read it! I certainly would not want MY Christianity to be guided by the teachings of such madmen and charlatans!

It hurts me to tell you this, Mr. Goodie, but in all of my 25 years of investigating missionary applicants, I have NEVER come across a man so directly OPPOSITE of what WE require of OUR foreign missionaries! If we accepted Paul, we would break every rule that we have followed for years!

In closing, I would like to recommend that

(A) Paul be rejected from being a missionary (It’s too bad we can’t use him! He HAS won more people to his cause than anyone I’ve ever heard of!), and FURTHER, that

(B) we immediately publish a church bulletin or a paper warning all good Christians to have nothing whatsoever to do with him! I feel it is our duty before God to expose such corruption and to spare our people the embarrassment of having any connection with such a disreputable character! I am sure that when his true nature is known, none of our noble congregation would dare risk their reputation by being seen in his company!

Sincerely,

The Right Reverend Pious Platitudes
Orthodox Investigations Dept.
The Church of Empty Blab

 
 
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

In SUMMARY, the main charges that St. Paul’s ENEMIES and CRITICS levelled against him were:

That he continually created riots, disturbed church services, undermined society, that he was constantly engaged in illegal activities which resulted in repeated imprisonment, and was some kind of a criminal always on the run from the legal authorities.–All LIES!

St. Paul, along with St. Peter, were the two greatest Apostles and founding fathers of the Christian Church! Could it be wrong then to follow their examples? NO! In fact, Paul even SAID, “Be ye followers of ME, even as I also am of CHRIST!” (1Corinthians 11:1)  Jesus said, “BLESSED are you when you are REVILED and PERSECUTED and LIED about for My sake! Remember, the PROPHETS were persecuted TOO!” (Matthew 5:11)–Are YOU persecuted for Jesus’ sake?

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

The I-ness of Shyness!

And How to Overcome It!

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg

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Once upon a time there was a little girl who spent her days sitting beside a pond watching a frog on a lily pad. Now the little girl knew that the frog was probably a prince. And the frog, who was indeed a prince, knew that the little girl could kiss his nose and break the magic spell that had been cast upon him by the wicked Witch. But the little girl on the bank of the pond was too shy to begin a conversation with a frog, and the frog could simply not bring himself to tell her how badly he wanted her to kiss his nose. So the little girl went on sitting there watching the frog, and that is the end of the story!

And the worst part of this story is that it happens every day! Think of all the beautiful romantic love affairs that never blossomed, the Romeos that never met their Juliets, because both of them were too SHY to make the FIRST move! Also, think of all the Carusos, Mozarts and Rembrandts that never were, because they were too shy to show their work to others, so they never developed their talents!

And saddest of all, think of all the millions of SOULS that we will NOT see in Heaven, because some Christian was too shy to tell them about Jesus! Aren’t YOU very thankful that somebody was not too shy to speak to YOU about the Lord?

You say, “Well, I’m just naturally shy. It’s just my personality, that’s the way I am!” Well, this may be true. While some people tend to naturally be very open, extroverted, and able to talk a blue streak, others tend to be more introverted, withdrawn, reticent and shy. But most people don’t really WANT to be shy. Most people who are quiet and withdrawn would LIKE to be freer and would LIKE to be able to talk, communicate and share their hearts with others more, but need help to break out from behind the walls that have them bound!

In almost all cases, shyness is primarily a combination of FEAR and SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. When we are shy it’s often because we are WORRIED about people’s opinions of us, we’re AFRAID of what people might say or think about us!

Of course, there are times when we’re shy for seemingly good reasons, because we don’t want to hurt others. For instance, maybe we’re afraid to mention to our loved one that he or she has bad breath, for fear of offending them. But unless we TELL them, how are they ever going to KNOW? Of course, we should try to be tactful and considerate of a loved one’s feelings. But if we KNOW we are right and speaking in love, then we shouldn’t worry about what others think or say about us! The Bible says we’re NOT to fear the opinions of men, that we are to serve and obey the LORD, “NOT with eye-service as menpleasers; but as the servants of CHRIST, doing the will of God from the heart!” (Ephesians 6:6).

It’s been said that, “SHY” is just an “I” with a “SH” before it! SHYNESS is really “I-NESS”! The shy person is usually so busy thinking about HIMSELF that he says “sh” to any other subject and won’t talk about it! A lot of shyness is simply SELF-consciousness–to be overly conscious of one’s self. Maybe we think we’re too thin, ugly or whatever! That was the famous singer and comedienne Cass Daley’s problem: She longed to be a singer, but she was very self-conscious of the fact that she had a large mouth and protruding buck teeth! When she first sang in public in a New Jersey nightclub, she tried to act “glamorous” and keep her upper lip down to cover her teeth. The result was that she made herself look ridiculous!

However, there was a man in the nightclub who heard Cass sing and thought that she had talent and wasn’t too shy to tell her the truth. “See here,” he said to her bluntly, “I’ve been watching your performance and I know what it is you’re trying to hide. You’re ashamed of your teeth!” Cass was embarrassed, but the man continued, “What of it? Is there any crime in having buck teeth? Don’t try to hide them! FLAUNT them! Open your mouth and the audience will LOVE you when they see that you’re not ashamed! Besides, those teeth you’re trying to hide may make your fortune!”

Cass Daley took his advice and forgot about being so shy and self-conscious about her TEETH! From that time on, she thought only about her AUDIENCE! She opened her mouth wide and sang with such gusto and enjoyment that she became a top star in movies and radio!

So how can we overcome shyness and timidity? One way, like Cass Daley, is to FORGET about OURSELVES and think of OTHERS! Stop worrying about yourself! Quit struggling! It’s like the story of an ex-socialite whose friend asked her one day, “How come you’re always so peaceful and happy now, when before you were always upset and nervous and worried?” She smiled and re plied, “I’ve QUIT STRUGGLING!” She’d just quit worrying about trying to impress people and draw attention! She’d quit feverishly trying to be all the things she wasn’t, and decided to just be herself! The secret of her new-found happiness was that she “quit struggling”! When we stop worrying about all the things that we think OTHERS would like us to be–and that we’re not–and instead be content to be the way GOD made us to be, then we stop being so SHY and SELF-conscious and worried about the opinions of others!

Another reason for shyness is that people often think that what THEY have to say cannot possibly be as interesting to others as what everybody ELSE in the World is saying. If this is your problem, next time you’re out, try listening to what others are saying to each other and match it against your own conversation! You’ll probably find that the kind of subjects that most people are discussing are themes about which you yourself could speak accurately, intelligently and with the same degree of wit or humour as they do! If you only WOULD!

Also, the reason why many people are too shy to start a conversation is simply that no one wants to be met by a cold stare and be rejected! This is a very serious concern of many people! But think about it: If you spend your life avoiding rejections, you will never meet or get close to anyone! So make an effort to reach out to others! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

In fact, it’s true that MOST of us suffer from an inferiority complex to SOME degree. At least in some area we feel “not as good as others”! But if we read the Bible we find out that everybody ELSE is bad too, and you’re no worse than anybody else! God says, “There is NONE righteous”–nobody’s good–“no not one!” (Romans 3:10,23). In fact, Jesus said that even the lofty, self-righteous, perfectionist religious leaders of His day were sinners, and that the whores and tax-collecters were going to get into Heaven before they! (Matthew 21:31). So don’t be intimidated and cowed by those who act like they’re loftier and superior to “little old you”! And remember, no one can make you feel shy and inferior without YOUR consent!

The famous author and dramatist, George Bernard Shaw, is another outstanding example of someone who overcame shyness and timidity to become one of the wittiest, most outspoken public speakers of all time! When asked how he did it, he replied, “I did it the same way I learned to skate–by persistently making a fool of myself until I got used to it!” As a young man, Shaw was one of the most timid men in London. He often walked up and down a street for 20 minutes before he dared to knock on a door of a household with whom he was not well acquainted! “Few men,” he confessed, “have suffered more from shyness and simple cowardice than I have, or have been more horribly ashamed of it!”

Finally he hit upon a way in which to conquer his shyness and fear! He became determined to make his weakest point his strongest asset. He joined a debating society! He attended every meeting in London in which there was to be a public discussion, and would force himself to arise and take part in the debate! With practice, his public speaking improved, until George Bernard Shaw became one of the most confident and brilliant speakers of the early 20th Century!

As CHRISTIANS, we have even SURER ways of overcoming shyness and timidity, because we have Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word!

How can these help us? Well, as we’ve seen, shyness, timidity and bashfulness are basically FEAR mixed with PRIDE. Fear is the OPPOSITE of faith. So to overcome FEAR you must have more FAITH! How do you get more faith? Through reading the BIBLE and God’s Words! “Faith COMES by hearing the Word of God!” (Romans 10:17). The more FAITH in God you have, the more LOVE OF GOD you’ll have and the more love you will have for OTHERS! You become more concerned about other people than yourself, and this makes you less SELF-conscious and more CHRIST-conscious!

Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou shalt keep him in PERFECT PEACE whose mind is stayed on THEE.” So keep your mind on JESUS! Immerse yourself in Jesus and He will help you forget yourself. Throw your whole heart into pleasing the LORD and sharing Him with others, and the Lord will help you lose that self-consciousness so that you will only be conscious of JESUS, and HIS MESSAGE, and HIS LOVE, and your LOVE FOR OTHERS!

Also, it must be said that there is a great difference between SHYNESS and MEEKNESS. Anyone who has read the story of Moses in the Bible, or has seen the movie, “The Ten Commandments”, knows that Moses was anything but shy or bashful! But the Bible says that he “was very MEEK (humble), more than all men.” (Numbers 12:3). The Bible tells us that we are to have “the ornament of a meek (humble) and quiet spirit, which is of great price in the sight of God.” (1Peter 3:4).

So when we say that you should not be shy, we are not implying that you should be loud and brash and smart-alecky and a showoff! We’re simply saying that you should not be so SELF-conscious that it hinders you from speaking, witnessing and being honest and open with others! A man who is humble and meek is well aware of his own faults, weaknesses and shortcomings. But he is even MORE aware of the LORD’S grace, strength and power, and therefore draws his strength and courage not from his OWN personality, but from a QUIET FAITH and TRUST in God! Meekness is not weakness, it is STRENGTH under control!

Finally, I’d like to give a little of my own testimony of how the Lord helped me to overcome shyness, because I, too, was very shy when I was young. I was one of those little children who runs and hides behind mother and holds on to her skirt when a stranger comes to the door! I remember, when I was 9 years old, my friends gave me a surprise birthday party. I walked in the front door, and all of a sudden all the lights blazed on and 50 kids jumped up and shouted, “SURPRISE! Happy Birthday!” I whirled around and shot out the door like a scared rabbit, and they never saw me for the rest of the day! That’s what shyness can do to you! I missed a wonderful party and all my friends missed the guest of honour! How sad!

For me, school was Hell! I was a shy little awkward “ugly duckling”, and the big “tough” kids sensed it, and they picked on me! I was constantly the brunt of jokes made by the coarse, thoughtless and rude bullies. I liked people and I WANTED to be sociable, but I was afraid to be with them because I was so self-conscious–conscious of myself and worried about what they thought about me. And, oh, I was afraid of girls! I thought they were wonderful, beautiful, and I loved them, but I was afraid to even be near one!

I’m telling you all this for your encouragement, because I’m sure that few people are as shy as I was! I was shy almost to the point of it being a phobia or a psychosis or something!

I was extremely shy all the way up until I was around 19 years of age! All those years I was saved and was trying to tell others about Jesus, but it was VERY hard for me! Sometimes I had to give a speech before my youth group at church. I’d work for days on that speech and write everything down in advance, and then I’d get up and have stage fright and be almost speechless!

So I KNOW what it is like to be shy! But I’ll never forget when I lost my shyness! It was a miraculous, almost overnight change, and if it can happen to ME, then it can also happen to YOU!

Although all my life I had been a born-again Christian, I never actually received the full anointing or “baptism” of the HOLY SPIRIT until a dear little missionary lady came to our Church’s youth club, where I–reluctantly–was the song leader. She explained to us about the Holy Spirit and that to receive it all we had to do was ASK for it! Luke 11:13 says, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the HOLY SPIRIT to those that ASK Him!”

It was kind of humbling for me to admit that there was something I still lacked as a Christian, but I went forward and earnestly prayed with her and asked the Lord to fill me with His Holy Spirit. Immediately after this experience, to my complete surprise, I found I had a new BOLDNESS and FEARLESSNESS and greater courage that I knew was entirely GOD-GIVEN! I’ll never forget how at the next young people’s meeting I was absolutely amazed at my own complete abandonment and freedom! Instead of burying my nose in the song book and trying not to look at the crowd, I just laid the book down and threw my heart into the songs, waved my hands, and was practically jumping and shouting for joy, I was so full of the Spirit!

It didn’t matter to me whether other people thought I was good or bad anymore, as long as I knew that I was saying what GOD wanted me to say and doing what GOD wanted me to do! As long as I was in the Will of God, then the Spirit of God gave me courage, and almost overnight I became as bold as a lion!

Since that day, many, many years ago, I didn’t care about MYSELF any more, it just didn’t matter! I was no longer SELF-conscious, but CHRIST-conscious! I found a new POWER, and I began to witness and boldly speak the Word of God to others! So I’m very thankful to the Lord for my own personal deliverance from shyness and timidity by the power of God’s Holy Spirit! If He can change ME–as shy and as very, very reticent as I was–then He can certainly change YOU!

You too can be filled with the Holy Spirit just like the disciples were on the the day of Pentecost when they stood up boldly and preached to the people, and Peter won 3,000 souls to the Lord! (Acts 2). This was same Peter who had been so timid and afraid when Jesus was under arrest, that he DENIED Him THREE times! (John 18:25-27). But as soon as he was filled with the Spirit of God, Peter suddenly became a very courageous and bold man who preached fearlessly to the MULTITUDES! Acts 1:8 says, “You shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My WITNESSES!”

And THIS is the main reason for the baptism of the Holy Spirit! To help us overcome our natural feelings of shyness and to give us the POWER, the BOLDNESS and the COURAGE to WITNESS and share God’s Love with others!

If the baptism of the Holy Spirit is anything, it is a baptism of LOVE! And once you have that outgoing CONCERN and LOVE in your heart, you will just naturally want to reach out to others in Love and compassion, and will do so boldly! You may not be transformed into a flaming public orator like Saint Peter, but at least, by the power and transforming magic of the Spirit of God, you will be able to break out of the bonds of fear, pride and shyness, and freely reach out to others with the Love of the Lord! It’s such a beautiful, liberating experience to forget yourself, forget the opinions of others, and to feel Jesus loving others through you! TRY it!

Has Jesus freed YOU from the pride and self-consciousness of shyness and timidity? If not, receive the Baptism of the Power of His Spirit NOW! And you WILL be! Simply PRAY and ASK Jesus to fill you with His Spirit and give you an overflowing love for others, and He WILL! And you’ll be freer and bolder than you ever were before! Praise the Lord! God bless you! RECEIVE HIS SPIRIT NOW!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

How to Fight the Devil!

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg

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Once we are “born again” (John 3:3), we not only find a wonderful new life of love, peace and happiness, we also find ourselves in a WAR! A war of the Worlds between the World of evil and the Kingdom of God!

In the old World War I trench warfare, it wasn’t until you came out of your trench and started attacking the enemy’s territory, that he would really open up and let you have it with all of his big guns! Now that you’re saved, as far as the Devil is concerned, YOU have “gone over the top”, & he will do all he can to oppose and stop you! You are now a Christian soldier in GOD’S Army, and a potential threat to hundreds or thousands of others of the Devil’s captives! He knows that you now belong to JESUS forever and that he can never get you back, so since he can’t STOP you from being a CHRISTIAN, the next best thing he tries to do is to try to stop you from being an ACTIVE Christian. He’ll try to make you a DEAD Christian, instead of a real LIVE one! He’ll fight and try to stop you from SERVING the Lord, and defeat you from being a good sample to win OTHERS, because he’s afraid that he might lose others from his clutches because of YOU!

 
GOD’S IN CONTROL!

God’s Word says, “We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices” (2Corinthians 2:11). We should BEWARE of the Devil’s devices and be ON GUARD against the “fiery darts” (Ephesians 6:16) of discouragement, pride, fear, jealousy, selfishness, doubts, negative thoughts etc. which he hurls at us to try to hinder us! But the Enemy can’t lay a finger on us unless the Lord ALLOWS him to! And if the Lord does allow him to, it’s only for our GOOD, to make us stronger fighters, to teach us lessons or to drive us closer to Jesus!

Always remember, that as a Christian, you have nothing to fear from the Devil or his forces because JESUS is WITH you! In fact, YOU have POWER over all the devils of Hell, including Satan himself! God’s Word tells us, “Greater is He (JESUS) that is in YOU, than he (the Devil) that is in the World!” (1John 4:4). Jesus also said, “ALL POWER is given unto ME in Heaven and in Earth!” (Matthew 28:18) And YOU have JESUS and all of HIS power! He says, “Behold, I give unto you POWER over ALL the power of the Devil!” (Luke 10:19). So through the power of prayer in JESUS’ NAME you can rebuke the Enemy & order him to “go jump in the lake and get the Hell out of here!” when he tries to oppress or distress you by speaking to your mind and tempting you with negative or discouraging thoughts! And he HAS to obey you and FLEE! (James 4:7).

 
DON’T LET THE DEVIL GET YOU DOWN!

One of the Devil’s favourite tools with Christians is DISCOURAGEMENT! He tries to get you looking at your own mistakes, sins, weaknesses and failures! He just picks and picks at all your little flaws and shortcomings and exaggerates and blows them up out of all proportion! This is one of the Devil’s favourite tactics. He knows that it’s impossible for him to defeat you as long as you keep on fighting, so he tries to persuade you that you’re a hopeless case, so you might as well surrender and give up.

What is discouragement? It is a loss of courage resulting from a lack of FAITH. “Faith comes from hearing the WORD of God” (Romans 10:17), so when you feel discouraged, the quickest remedy is to start PRAYING and QUOTING SCRIPTURES and reading the Word and telling the Devil he’s a LIAR! (John 8:44). You have to FIGHT discouragement with PRAYER and the WORD! Then your faith will grow, the doubts will flee, and you’ll be on the road to victory!

 
HOW TO RESIST TEMPTATIONS!

A temptation is the thought or desire to do wrong. Nobody can keep temptations from coming, but you DON’T have to YIELD to them! As the wise old saying goes, “You CAN’T keep the birds from flying over your head, but you CAN keep them from building a NEST in your hair!” In other words, you can’t keep the Devil from saying things to you and TEMPTING you with his bad thoughts, but you CAN keep from YIELDING to him!

A lot of people condemn themselves & feel bad and wicked because they’ve thought or been tempted with sinful thoughts, but even JESUS was tempted in all points the same as we are! (Hebrews 4:15; Matthew 4:1-10). It’s NO sin when the Devil tempts you to do something, it’s ONLY a sin if you yield to temptation & DO it! The way to resist and get rid of temptations and negative thoughts is to read your BIBLE, PRAY and think about the LORD & good, faith-building, encouraging thoughts instead! “Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and good, think on THESE things!” (Philippians 4:8). Isaiah says, “Thou wilt keep him in PERFECT PEACE whose mind is stayed on THEE, because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3). If you keep your mind on JESUS you won’t have time to think about the distracting lies of the Enemy!

 
PRAISE POWER!

The best defense is an OFFENSE, & if you really want to get the Devil on the run, just start PRAISING the Lord! Count your blessings and THANK and PRAISE Jesus for all that He has done for you! The POWER of POSITIVE PRAISE is just terrific and really puts the Devil on the run! Chase the Devil and his darkness away by simply letting the Light in! The Enemy hates songs of prayer and praise to Jesus, and he ESPECIALLY hates our positive, active SERVICE for the Lord! So don’t just sit there, do something POSITIVE! Resist, defy & attack the Enemy by taking positive action & doing something good! Go on the attack and THINK positively, TALK positively, SING positively, PRAY positively, ACT positively!

 
SOCK IT TO HIM WITH THE WORD!

When you’re being attacked by the Enemy, don’t just stand there & take it, hit him back! Quote Scriptures & sock it to him with the WORD! That’s the way JESUS fought back when the Devil tempted and lied to Him! He just quoted Scriptures: “It is WRITTEN!” He fought him with the WORD! (Matthew 4:1-11).

When it comes to fighting the Devil, God’s Words are almost like spiritual bullets or death rays, and they just BLAST him! Every word absolutely ZAPS him! In the Bible’s description of a Christian soldier’s armour, the one OFFENSIVE weapon described is “the SWORD of the Spirit, which is the WORD of God”! (Ephesians 6:17). In fact, it is “QUICK (alive) & powerful, and sharper than ANY two-edged sword!” (Hebrews 4:12). The Word is the most powerful thing you can use! The Enemy can’t take the Word! He’ll turn tail & RUN! So the next time he raises his ugly head & tries to tempt, hinder or slow you down, pull out the white-hot sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and cut the Devil to the heart!

 
MEMORISE SCRIPTURES TO RESIST THE DEVIL!

Often the only weapons you have immediately on hand to fight the Enemy with are the Scriptures that you’ve MEMORISED. This is why it’s so important to memorise and fill your mind and heart with positive, encouraging, strengthening and faith-building thoughts from God’s Word, Scriptures that you can continually quote to yourself and even to the Enemy when he attacks you! Fill your mind with the Light of God’s Word, and the darkness will flee! Quote Scriptures and really REBUKE the Devil and declare your faith and trust in the Lord & His Word by even quoting it OUT LOUD! Drown his lies out! Just shout! Don’t doubt! Kick him out!

 
ASK FOR PRAYER!

Sometimes we really need HELP from our brothers and sisters to fight the battle TOGETHER against the Enemy! “One can chase a thousand, but TWO can put TEN thousand to flight!” (Deuteronomy 32:30), and it is often a great help to have someone else pray WITH you when you feel oppressed, distressed or attacked by the Enemy! Jesus said, “Where TWO or three of you are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them!” (Matthew 18:20). There is great power in UNITED PRAYER!

 
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!

The best way to stop an attack is to COUNTER-attack! The best defense is an OFFENSE! Fight the Devil positively! Attack, attack, attack! The Bible says to “RESIST the Enemy and he will FLEE from you”! (James 4:7). We can’t just be passive and expect GOD to do it all! We have to be good fighters and RESIST the Enemy! We have to wage a MILITANT warfare against him!

The only way the Devil can possibly defeat you is if you surrender! So KEEP FIGHTING and you CAN’T lose! Keep wielding the weapon of the WORD and you’ll WIN! Keep on holding on to God’s promises! Don’t let go! Keep on going for Jesus! Don’t stop! Keep on keeping on!

May God help us to be FIGHTERS who like to fight for the Lord with the weapon of his WORD, who enjoy defeating the Devil!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Hope for the Future!

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-hope-for-the-future

Is there hope for the future? Are things going to get better? It sure doesn’t seem like it, does it? Economic, political and social conditions appear to be rapidly DETERIORATING and getting WORSE day by day, and it is becoming more and more apparent that we face VERY difficult and trying days ahead! Time is running OUT, not just for SOME nations, but for the entire WORLD!

But as bad as the present global situation is, with wars, famines, pollution, social upheavals, crime, the collapse of moral standards in countless formerly-Christian nations, and the threat of thermonuclear war hanging over our heads, it is reassuring to know that all these things were PREDICTED in detail in the BIBLE thousands of years ago! (See Matthew 24:1-11; Revelation 1718) Even the present great apostasy and loss of faith amongst Christians in recent years was predicted in God’s Word! (See Matthew 24:12; 1Timothy 4:1; 2Timothy 3:13; 2Thes.2:2,3.)

Before God finally sets things straight, the Bible predicts that things are going to get even WORSE!–Very soon! In these last days of Man’s history on Earth before Jesus returns, a Devil-possessed dictator known as the ANTICHRIST will arise and set up an anti-God one-World government! He will make WAR on God’s people, and his oppression and persecution of Christians will be the worst that this World has ever known! (Daniel 8:24; Revelation 13:7; Matthew 24:21,22)

But even though the immediate future of the World is growing darker and blacker, and in fact is getting worse all the time, there IS hope! The NEAR future is NOT so hopeful, but the future just BEYOND is GLORIOUS! For after the Antichrist & his forces have ruled for only a few SHORT years, the Bible promises that Jesus Christ will return and completely CRUSH them in the catastrophic Battle of Armageddon! He will then set up HIS Kingdom of HEAVEN ON EARTH, and rule as King of kings and Lord of lords! The famous Millennium!

So no matter how bad these coming days may seem to be, for those of us who love Jesus, even BAD news is GOOD news! Because we know that the sooner things get WORSE, the sooner they’re going to get BETTER AFTERWARDS and the sooner JESUS is going to return and put a STOP to this present madness! Luke 21:28 says, “And when these things begin to happen, lift up your heads, for your Salvation draws near!” When the Antichrist’s forces really start taking over, look UP, because Jesus is coming soon! So look UP! Be ENCOURAGED! “This generation shall not pass away till all these things shall be fulfilled!” (Matthew 24:34)

No matter how much the Antichrist forces try to suppress and wipe out God’s children, they will never completely defeat us! There are going to be MILLIONS of true Christians who will live right through these terrible times and be here to greet the Lord when He returns at the END of this time of Great Tribulation! (1Thes.4:16,17; Mat.24:29-31)

In spite of ALL the Enemy will try to do to stop us, no matter WHAT lies ahead in the dark days to come, NOTHING can conquer Christ’s righteous cause, and everything is going to work out right in the End! The darkest hour is just before dawn! The glorious dawn when “the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings!” (Malachi 4:2) and Jesus shall return to rule the Earth! So keep “looking up”, “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ”! (Titus 2:13)

Jesus promised, “In the World you SHALL have tribulation.” He promised that without a doubt we WOULD have troubles, problems and trials, and even suffer persecution for His name! But what did He tell us to do? Moan and complain and retreat in despair? NO! He said, “REJOICE and be EXCEEDING GLAD! In the World you shall have tribulation, but be of GOOD CHEER, for I have OVERCOME the World! And lo, I am with YOU always, even unto the end of the World! I will never leave you nor forsake you!” (Matthew 5:10-12; 28:20; John 16:33; Hebrews 13:5)

JESUS overcame the World, and because His Spirit lives in OUR hearts, WE can overcome the World too! He promises in 1John 4:4, “You are of GOD, little children, and have OVERCOME them, for GREATER is HE (Jesus) that is in YOU than he (the Devil and his anti-Christ forces) that are in the World!” “And THIS is the victory that overcometh the World, even our FAITH!” (1John 5:4) If you believe in Jesus and just keep trusting in Him and His Word through all your troubles, you’ll emerge triumphant, despite all the trials and tribulations that come your way! (See Revelation 12:12,11)

Despite all the oppressive might of the Antichrist, despite the coming economic collapse, the plagues and famines, the wars and persecution that we are soon to face, we shall OVERCOME! “Neither tribulation nor distress nor persecution nor famine nor nakedness nor peril nor sword…shall separate us from the love of Christ! In ALL these things we are MORE than conquerors through Him that loves us!” (Romans 8:35-37)

WHY will GOD allow HIS OWN CHILDREN, whom He LOVES, to go through such trials and tests? Well, first of all we know that “ALL things work together for GOOD to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28) He allows us to “go through the fire” so that we may be PURIFIED and PURGED and come forth BETTER vessels, and be WORTHY to rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven on Earth! He promises us, “If we SUFFER with Him, we shall also REIGN with Him!” “And to him that OVERCOMETH will I grant to sit with Me in My THRONE, and I will give him POWER over the nations.” (2Timothy 2:12; Revelation 3:21; 2:26) (See also 1Peter 1:6,7; Revelation 7:9,13-15; 2O:4; Daniel 11:35.)

Will YOU be faithful and true to Jesus NOW and in the coming days so that you will be WORTHY to govern the World with Him TOMORROW? That bright and glorious tomorrow of Heaven on Earth when He rules in a Thousand-Year Reign of Love, justice and peace! How small our trials and problems will seem then! “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are NOTHING compared to the GLORY that shall be REVEALED in us!” (Romans 8:18) “For eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” (1Corinthians 2:9) “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Thessalonians 4:18)

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

God Loves a Mystery

By David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-anchorGod loves a mystery. He lays down a mystifying puzzle before us, then He gives us cues and clues as to what the solution is and how to solve it, little by little sometimes. We get so proud of ourselves—and He gets proud of us too—when the little pile of findings and solutions begins to grow, the jigsaw puzzle picture begins to fill out, and we begin to understand it and solve it.

The Lord loves a mystery, and I bet you love a mystery too! Mystery stories are some of the most popular stories in the world. Even the Bible is full of mysteries and conundrums.

I think God likes to almost tease us with these mysteries, because it makes us pray to find the solution, to find the answer to the puzzles and conundrums that He sets before us. He sometimes allows that when we are trying to find His will, as we contemplate many options and have a lot of opinions.

My mother used to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle when she was trying to decide on something. Column one would be “for” and column two would be “against,” and she’d list all the things in favor of doing that option and all the things against it, all the good and bad aspects of that choice.

God sets choices like that before us all the time. This whole game of life is choices, constant choices. We have to make thousands of them every day, decisions about almost every aspect of the day. We get into making the same kind of decisions so much that they become a habit. We can get in sort of a rut, to where we eventually don’t have to make so many decisions each day.

My father-in-law used to get exasperated by how we never knew what we were going to do next; we seemed to have a rather disorderly schedule as far as he was concerned. He would say, “You have to make so many decisions every day about what you’re going to do. All these years I’ve done the same thing every day. I got dressed, ate breakfast at the same time, and went off to work at the same job for nearly 50 years.” Personally, I really like the variety, even the mystery and uncertainty and excitement!

People love suspense, and they go to see suspense movies and thrillers. They’ve got movies classified as suspense, thrillers, and mysteries, and it seems to me that variety is the spice of life! That means having a variety of choices, answers, and alternatives as to what you want to do or what God wants you to do, or what God even suggests that you do.

He doesn’t demand that you do a certain specific thing. He usually gives you a range of choices between certain options, similar to how you have a range of choices of frequencies on a radio in which you can choose what station you want to listen to. You can’t go any lower than a certain spot and you can’t go any higher, but within this range He gives you a variety of choices.

People like mysteries, and we’re excited by guessing games and puzzles, riddles, conundrums. Nearly all games have a certain element of that, or of unexpected chance.

Gambling games are mysteries; they’re guessing games. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. You don’t know how the dice are going to fall. You don’t know where the little ball is going to land on the roulette wheel. You don’t know where that Wheel of Fortune is going to stop. You let the wheel roll, and you wonder where it’s going to stop; and if it stops on the right number, you get a prize.

The Lord likes seeking games, guessing games, mysteries! I can even give you a scripture for it: “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; ask, and ye shall receive.” (Matthew 7:7) He likes you to have to hunt for it before you find out which door is going to open; and when one opens, He likes for you to have to ask for it. This is all exercising your faith in Him and His Word and His divine guidance and magnanimity, His parental love. It shows you trust Him when you seek Him and follow His lead, even if you don’t know what’s at the end of the road.

God has filled life with puzzles and problems and mysteries and excitement and suspense to challenge our intellect, spirituality, faith, and trust in the Lord, to challenge our spiritual fiber and muscle.

When we play games with our children, we have fun with them, and they have fun with us! God has fun with us, and we have fun with Him in playing this great Game of Life with all of its mysteries and challenges and clues and cues and different cards and rolls of the dice. There’s one thing you’re not doing—you’re not gambling or taking any chances if you trust the Lord, if you’re following Him.

He’ll give you clues and cues to lead you step by step, but just like on those pathway board games, you don’t know what’s going to happen next till you land on the next stop. He’s not going to tell you all the hops and jumps you’re going to make and the spots you’re going to land on ahead of time. He leads you step by step to find His will.

He likes you to exercise your faith. He likes you to go ahead in what some people call “blind” faith—actually it’s seeing faith, in a sense, because you’re seeing God! You may not see the answer, you may not know the solution, and you may not even know the place He’s leading you to or what you’re going to find, but what did Moses do? Like Abraham, he went out not knowing whither he went, but trusting God to fulfill His promises.

Moses went out not knowing where he went. It says that he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of seeing—pleasures of the season—because he had respect unto the recompense of the reward, as seeing Him that is invisible. (Hebrews 11:25–27)

We have to trust God even though we can’t see Him. We have to go ahead and follow Him even though we can’t see Him or exactly where He’s leading. We just have to follow His little mysteries and His little hints, cues and clues that He drops along the trail and that He leaves behind.

God loves a mystery. Do you?

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.