Category Archives: Thoughts

Activated

Yolo or Carpe Diem?

By Tina Kapp

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Most people have heard the acronym “YOLO” thrown around for the past couple of years. It stands for “you only live once.” Pop stars and celebrities have made it a catchphrase to promote doing crazy things or taking risks because, hey, “You only live once!”

It’s an attractive thought. Why worry about the future? Why subscribe to having to answer for decisions we make when we can pretend it all doesn’t matter anyway? Why can’t we only be concerned about what makes us happy right now?

Well, when you get older, you realize that life doesn’t work like that, and you start having to pay for the decisions you made earlier. In most cases, those who live life with that motto begin wishing they had thought about the long term a bit sooner.

I remember struggling with my weight as a teenager. I hated feeling overweight. I didn’t get chosen for local school dance teams and often felt insecure. I thought about it constantly. Did that stop me from overeating unhealthy food when I had the opportunity? Not a chance! At that moment, all I cared about was that it tasted good and I wanted it! When confronted with some delectable delight, all thoughts of being healthy magically disappeared … until later when I’d get depressed that I couldn’t lose weight. That was me living strictly in the moment with no thought for the long term.

Now that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy life. God doesn’t want us to be miserable. “Happy are the people who are in such a state;” the Bible says, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15) “Do not sorrow,” it tells us, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Jesus wants us to experience God’s love and the many blessings that He gives us every day.

Since we only have one life, what do we want to do with it? What do we want to be remembered for? What would be a life that we can look back at and be proud of? The well-known saying “Carpe Diem” (Latin for “seize the day”) has a positive feel to it. It’s the same rationale that you only live once, but rather than taking it as a reason to do crazy things, ignore consequences, and live for the now, it means to go further, to do more, and to not waste time.

Life is made up of lots of days. Some will be fun and chilled, while others will be hard work. Think of Olympic gold medalists. The day that they compete and win will go down in history, and I bet it will remain as one of the best days of their lives. But to get there, it takes years of training, hard work, and focus. Think of your favorite musician playing to a massive audience. Again, they only got there through countless days of faithful practice, rehearsals, and playing for anyone who would listen until they got their big break.

All our favorite Bible characters experienced something similar. Think of Noah building the ark or Joseph saving Egypt from starvation. The good days didn’t come from them sitting around only doing what they felt like and enjoying the YOLO days. It took hard work and planning so that when the time came, their single life would save many more and leave its mark on the world.

The prodigal son believed you only live once. (See Luke 15:11–32) He didn’t want to wait for his inheritance. He wanted to party and have fun now. He pestered his father for his share of his inheritance and then immediately “set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” (Luke 15:13 NIV) I’m sure he had a fabulous time … until the money ran out, and with it, all his so-called “friends.” They left him in rags, begging for food, when he had nothing left.

Ecclesiastes warns us, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.’” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

All of the choices we make have consequences—from little things like eating vegetables, to studying and working hard toward a goal, to living a godly life. Understanding that now can help you make wise decisions and have something wonderful to show for it at the end of your days.

Don’t let life pass you by. Make the most of it so that you can look back and be encouraged by what you’ve accomplished.

 
 

Copyright © Activated Magazine. All rights reserved.

Secrets of a Happy Marriage!

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Marriage is the most satisfying, most strengthening and most lasting human relationship on this Earth, an illustration of God’s relationship with Man! Marriage ought to be more than just sex or friendship and certainly more than a mere business partnership!–It is intended by the Lord to be the most intimate, humbling, loving and self-sacrificial relationship between human beings!

Marriages, it has been said, are made in Heaven, but the maintenance is done down here! More important than how much two people love each other or how happy they are BEFORE their wedding, is how well they talk and share and work out their problems AFTERWARDS!–And how much time and effort and self-sacrifice they’re prepared to put into their marriage to make it work!

Here we’d like to share some tried and proven tips, some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of marriage that we pray will help you and your mate avoid some of the common pitfalls, so you can grow together in love!

THE “DO’S” (of a Happy Marriage)!

  • INVEST TIME, attention and love in making your relationship work, or you may lose it!
  • Treat all disasters as incidents, and none of the incidents as disasters!
  • When you feel there’s something bothering your mate, lovingly probe and get them to talk it over with you.
  • Share your innermost feelings with each other, but temper your honesty with wisdom to avoid hurting each other’s feelings!
  • Be sensitive to each other’s needs and try to fulfill them if you can!
  • Say “I love you!” 100 times a day!
  • Spend time with your children TOGETHER!
  • Pray and discuss together about your children’s needs, and be united about their discipline!
  • Kiss each other hello and goodbye!
  • Always say “please” and “thank you” to each other!
  • Make yourself beautiful/handsome for each other!
  • Wear perfume/cologne or aftershave all the time!
  • Husbands, compliment her! Tell her she’s beautiful and she’ll BE beautiful! Tell her she’s wonderful and she’ll BE wonderful!
  • Husbands, don’t forget to say, “I love you!” Words can sometimes do more for a woman than anything else!–Especially when they’re spoken with love, tenderness, meaning and sincerity!
  • Start the day with a kiss and cuddle!
  • Make love regularly! If you need sex, ASK for it!–Sexily! Wives, dress up in something sexy for him before lovemaking! Dress excitingly for exciting times!
  • Be expressive in lovemaking! Set the scene with soft lights and music!
  • Massaging is marvellous, a touch of Heaven from your Heavenly touch!
  • Husbands, if you want her to be dynamite in bed, you’ll have to light the fuse!
  • Wives, dress in what HE likes, not only what YOU like!
  • Be affectionate in public and private!
  • Compliment each other. Constantly tell your mate how thankful you are for them and how wonderful they are!
  • Call each other sweet names!
  • Write each other little love notes of appreciation!
  • Surprise each other with little love gifts and treats, like flowers etc.!
  • Do little favours for each other to make one another’s life and work easier!
  • Husbands, tidy up after yourself and try to make her job easier!
  • Husbands, volunteer for odd jobs, don’t expect her to do everything in the house all the time!
  • Tell him/her that they’re beautiful/handsome often and what things you especially like about them!
  • Make a point to say nice things about your mate to others in front of your mate, and also when he or she is not present!
  • Listen to each other’s suggestions and advice!
  • Remind yourself of all the GOOD qualities of your mate and try not to think about the bad ones. Pray to see the good in each other!
  • Have faith that the Lord can change your mate’s faults and weaknesses. Commit them to the Lord!
  • Remember to avoid doing things you know annoy each other!
  • If you want to have the last word, apologise!
  • Make up quickly after arguments. Pray together for the victory, especially in the middle of a disagreement.
  • Say “I love you, you rascal”, when you’ve had a fight or argument. It helps break the ice!
  • During times of marriage problems, make it a point to be alone with just each other–no problems to tend to, no work and no kids. Have a special meal together at home, just the two of you!
  • Go out together sometimes for the extra romance and the time alone with each other and the Lord!
  • Show interest in one another’s projects and work!
  • Show love and affection even if you don’t feel like it!
  • Learn to be aware of his/her “signals”–insinuations, hints, needs!
  • ASK what your mate likes and dislikes or what bothers him/her!
  • Be sure to respond to and return affection!
  • Pray and read the Bible together.
  • Put God’s will and His work first!

THE “DON’TS” (of a Happy Marriage)!

  • Don’t judge your wife too harshly for her weaknesses! If she didn’t have them, chances are she wouldn’t have married YOU!
  • Don’t think about all the things your partner is or isn’t doing for the relationship. Focus on what YOU can do to make it better!
  • Don’t dwell on the past or any past failures or mistakes or offenses by your partner or in your relationship.
  • Never say, “You ALWAYS do this or that wrong” or “You’ll NEVER change!”
  • Don’t hold grudges!
  • Don’t hide your feelings or trials from each other.–For example, if you are offended or have misunderstood something the other one has said or done. Bringing things out in the open will help resolve them!
  • Don’t nag–watch your tone of voice. Write “reminder” love notes instead.
  • Don’t raise your voice unnecessarily!
  • Don’t answer back hastily!–Think and pray before you answer!
  • Don’t take out your frustrations on each other!
  • Don’t try to make your mate “conform” to your “image” of what he or she should be!
  • Don’t be persistent in asking questions when the other is busy or not in a good mood!
  • Don’t talk about problems right before going to sleep!
  • Don’t stop talking to each other!
  • Don’t take each other for granted!
  • Don’t let lovemaking become routine!
  • Don’t embarrass your mate in public about private matters!
  • Don’t correct each other in front of others!
  • Don’t make fun of or belittle each other, especially in front of others!
  • Don’t be too proud to listen to each other’s suggestions and try them, even if they’re not an expert in that subject.
  • Never argue, dispute or complain in the presence of children–the damaging effects can last forever!
  • Don’t show disunity or argue in front of others.
  • Don’t interrupt each other when talking!
  • Don’t be too proud to say, “I’m sorry!”
  • “Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath”–Ephesians 4:26. Always resolve your differences as soon as they occur, and especially before sleeping!
  • Don’t go to sleep without kissing good night, praying together, and saying, “I love you!”
  • FINALLY…Don’t forget that without good communication with JESUS, there cannot be much good communication between YOU! The most important thing in a marriage is for both of you to have faith in Jesus! With faith, everything is possible!–Including a HAPPY MARRIAGE! God bless you!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

The Unchangeable Nature of God

By Peter Amsterdam

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe immutability of God—or His unchangeableness or constancy—is part of His divine nature. It means that God doesn’t change in His being, His perfections, His purposes, and promises. He doesn’t change in His nature or character.

The universe and all that is in it changes. There is transition, movement from one state to the next. People, for example, age; and as they do, they change. They grow or diminish in size, as well as intellectually and emotionally. Someone can also change morally, going from being a bad person to being a good one, or vice versa. Someone can study and practice a skill, and in the course of doing so, learn and eventually become proficient in what they have studied. These are all examples of change, which is part of life within creation.

However, God transcends creation. He doesn’t change. If He did, He would become either better or worse. He’d either grow in His intelligence and knowledge or diminish in it. He’d become more loving or less loving, more holy or less holy. But as God, He is infinite in all of these things. He therefore doesn’t improve or deteriorate in them. If He did, He wouldn’t be God.

All of creation is “becoming”—it’s becoming something different than what it presently is. God, in contrast to this, is “being.” He is. Always. He doesn’t change. (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17)

God’s character, His attributes or perfections, don’t change. He is always good, loving, just, righteous, holy, all-knowing, all-powerful, etc. There is never any varying in these things. He is constant.

If God’s character varied, then we couldn’t be certain that the God we know to be good and loving would remain that way. If God was subject to change, then at some point He could start thinking that sin isn’t so bad after all; He could eventually degenerate to the point where He would begin to do evil things Himself, and even eventually become an all-powerful evil being. But His character and attributes do not and cannot change. They are constant; there is no variation.

God doesn’t change in His purpose, His will, and His plan. Once He has decided that He will bring something about, He does it. His plan of salvation is something that He determined before the foundations of the world, and He carried out His plan as promised. Prophecies, predictions, and judgments throughout the Old Testament were fulfilled. His purposes of saving people through Jesus, of Jesus’ return, of eternal life for believers, of judgment, of heaven, don’t change; they remain firm. (Ephesians 1:11 ESV)

God doesn’t change in regard to His Word and His promises. If He stopped honoring His promises, if He acted contrary to His Word, then He couldn’t be trusted. The promise of salvation, of eternal life, and His willingness to answer prayer, would all be in question. If God could change, then these bedrock foundations of our faith could change. But His promises and Word remain forever. “Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89 NIV)

 
Does God change His mind?

When God’s unchangeableness is presented, the question often arises about the times God seems to have changed His mind, such as when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to announce that in forty days the city would be destroyed. (See Jonah 3:3–10) Another example was when He gave the ailing king Hezekiah fifteen more years of life, after having told him he was going to die. (Isaiah 38:1–5)

When considering these examples where it looks as if God changed His mind, we must remember that God is a personal being who interacts with humanity. Within this interaction, God responds to man’s choices and decisions. When someone is doing evil, God is displeased with that person’s actions, but if the person repents and changes, then God’s relationship with that person changes. His overall love for the person never changes, but there is a response from God depending on the choices made by the person or people. In the case of Nineveh, because they were wicked, God’s response was that He rightly was going to destroy them. He told Jonah to tell them so. When Jonah did, the people repented, and God’s response to their repentance was mercy.

With Hezekiah, God declared he was going to die, yet when Hezekiah prayed and wept, God responded to his prayer and healed him.

In these cases, God was responding in mercy and love to changes made and prayers prayed by the people involved. In neither example did God change His character or nature, nor His overall purpose and plan. God didn’t change, but the people changed, and God responded in accordance with His divine nature.

Author and theologian Wayne Grudem explains it this way:

These instances should all be understood as true expressions of God’s present attitude or intention with respect to the situation as it exists at that moment. If the situation changes, then of course God’s attitude or expression of intention will also change. This is just saying that God responds differently to different situations. The example of Jonah preaching to Nineveh is helpful here. God sees the wickedness of Nineveh and sends Jonah to proclaim, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” The possibility that God would withhold judgment if the people repented is not explicitly mentioned in Jonah’s proclamation as recorded in Scripture, but it is of course implicit in that warning: the purpose for proclaiming a warning is to bring about repentance. Once the people repented, the situation was different, and God responded differently to that changed situation. (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 165)

Another factor to keep in mind regarding the scenarios above is that the Bible uses anthropomorphic descriptions of God, such as the mention of God having “relented” in the story of Jonah. These are best understood as descriptive language within human comprehension.

On this matter of anthropomorphic language, William Lane Craig says:

It’s vital that we understand the literary genre, or type, of most of these biblical stories. The Bible is in the form of narratives—they’re stories about God told from the human point of view. So a good storyteller will tell his story with all of the vivacity and color that he wants, to enhance his narratives. And so you’ll find stories in the Bible about God told from a human perspective, where God not only lacks knowledge of the future, but even lacks knowledge of what is going on presently. God comes down to Abraham and says, “I’ve heard the outcry in Sodom and Gomorrah. I’m going to go see if what I’ve heard is really happening there.” (Genesis 18:20–33) Well, that would deny not only God’s foreknowledge but His knowledge of the present. And there are other passages where God is spoken of in other anthropomorphic terms as having nostrils and eyes, arms and other sorts of bodily parts, wings, and if you take all these literally, God would be a fire-breathing monster. These are anthropomorphisms. They are literary devices that are part of the storyteller’s art and shouldn’t be read like a philosophy of religion or systematic theology textbook. (Video transcript excerpts from interview “Can God Change?” PBS “Closer to Truth” show)

In each of these situations, God didn’t change in His nature, character, purpose, or promises. In fact, He was constant in all of these by being just, loving, righteous, and personal, and acting within His overall purpose.

God’s immutability—His constancy and unchangeableness—is central to our faith in Him. If He was inconsistent, if His nature or character was regularly changing, if He improved or deteriorated, then we couldn’t trust Him. We couldn’t trust His Word or His promises.

But God doesn’t change in His Being, nature, character, purposes, promises or plan. He can be counted on, for He is faithful and true. He is the rock that we can build on, the one we can trust in this ever-changing world, because He is the unchangeable God.

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Anchor

Sharing Absolute Truths in a Changing World

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe popular world view today is that there is no absolute truth; there are only opinions. If there are only opinions, then one person’s opinion is no more valid than another person’s. Most discussions about Christ will simply be an exchange of opinions. The idea that there is truth has become alien to much of our thinking, with the criteria being if it seems to be good for me, then it must be true. And whether it is true or not, we then measure the benefit of a religion by the good it does its followers.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus Christ is superior to all that preceded Him, not because what He said was better or more complete, though it was, but because He is Himself the message and has absolute unmatched supremacy in God’s revelation.

… That is why the writer of Hebrews says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus,” (Hebrews 3:1) and “fix our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2) Truth is decapitated when we sever it from Christ, which is what the Pharisees did, and consequently, knew nothing of spiritual life.

We can know the Scriptures inside out, but detached from Christ, it becomes a dead book. It would be like having a manual on a new car we have bought. We do not read the manual for the sake of reading. Rather, we want to get to know the car and be able to use it to its full potential. We are given the Bible so that we can know Christ and all that is made available to us in Him. There is an old hymn, “Break Thou the Bread of Life,” which has the great line, “Beyond the sacred page, I seek thee, Lord.” From Genesis to Revelation, every verse ultimately leads to Christ, and it is knowing Him that matters.

—Charles Price

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There are absolute truths that you can know, contrary to modern teachings that there are no absolutes. The modern teachers of that kind of non-absolutism philosophy would say, “You think that’s a hand, but you don’t really know it’s a hand; you’ve just always been taught it’s a hand!” They’d try to prove to you that it’s not possible to know anything with certainty, trying to tear down accepted truths of human existence and learning and religion. But we know and we believe that’s a hand, and almost anybody with common sense, even a little child, knows that’s his or her hand. So why try to tell them differently? You could say, “It’s actually an accumulation of 75% water and a lot of calcium and bone, and various kinds of minerals and substances, etc.” But it’s still a hand!

There are some things which you must accept as absolutely accepted truth, proven facts! Don’t let the theorists of non-absolutism try to tell you differently. The greatest absolute of all is God, which is why this doctrine against absolutism is a philosophy of Satan. By teaching that there are no absolutes, then they can say, “There’s also no God, no Bible, no morality. You don’t have to obey anything or anybody or keep laws. You don’t have to let anybody tell you what’s right or wrong; you can just do as you please!” And you wind up with chaos, anarchy, and confusion.

We as Christians and children of the Lord have to accept that there are certain things which we can know with certainty, which are proven from the Bible and from human experience for thousands of years, both spiritual truths and the ordinary everyday things of normal human life and existence.

—David Brandt Berg

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Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
—C. S. Lewis

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Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
—Sir Winston Churchill

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It is a central heresy of our culture to say that all truth is relative; that one thing may be true for me and quite another may be true for you. This absurdity destroys the very notion of truth … and is the result of muddled thinking. No one can seriously believe that a belief which contradicts his or her own is just as true. The expression “It is true for me” is self-confuting. Either a thing is true or it is not. … Can we imagine saying, “Well, the earth is round to me; but it may be flat to you”? The earth is either round or flat; it cannot be both; and what you or I think about it is irrelevant. You may claim that religion and ethics is not a matter of truth at all. Very well, do not use the word “true”; but if you use it, do not render it unintelligible by adding that empty phrase, “for me.”
—Keith Ward

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Relativism is a revolt against the objective reality of God. The sheer existence of God creates the possibility of truth. God is the ultimate and final standard for all claims to truth—who he is, what he wills, what he says is the external, objective standard for measuring all things. When relativism says that there is no standard of truth and falsehood that is valid for everyone, it speaks like an atheist. It commits treason against God.
—John Piper

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Moral practice has always been difficult for fallen humanity, but at least there was always the lighthouse of moral principles, no matter how stormy the sea of moral practice got. But today, with the majority of our mind-molders, in formal education, or informal education—that is, media—the light is gone. Morality is a fog of feelings. That is why to them, as Chesterton said, “Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles.” Principles mean moral absolutes. Unchanging rocks beneath the changing waves of feelings and practices. … How important is this issue? After all, it’s just philosophy, and philosophy is just ideas. But ideas have consequences. Sometimes these consequences are as momentous as a holocaust, or a Hiroshima. Sometimes even more momentous. Philosophy is just thought, but sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. This is just as true for societies as it is for individuals.
—Peter Kreeft

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It has been said that truth, by definition, will always be exclusive. Jesus claimed to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Historically we know that Jesus claimed such exclusivity. Had He not made that statement, Jesus would have been unreasonably implying that truth is all-inclusive, which is an impossibility.
—Kim Triller

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Proof That Jesus Is the Messiah!

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Hundreds and even thousands of years BEFORE Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Old Testament Prophets predicted His coming. Their predictions were not just general ones that “a Messiah, a Saviour, will come” etc., but SPECIFIC prophecies about places, times and events that have been fulfilled in only ONE person who has ever lived–JESUS of Nazareth! In this brief lesson we have chronologically arranged several of the most outstanding Old Testament Messianic prophecies in the actual verbatim text of the Scriptures and followed them with their New Testament fulfilments.

 
HIS BIRTH

PROPHECY: Nearly 750 years before Christ’s birth, the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah prophesied: “The Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a VIRGIN shall CONCEIVE, and bear a SON, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14).

FULFILMENT: In exact fulfilment of this prophecy, Mary was a young VIRGIN engaged to be married to Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her saying that she would bear a child. “Then Mary said to the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I have not laid with a man?’ And the Angel answered, The HOLY GHOST shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you! Therefore that holy One which shall be born of you shall be called the SON of GOD.” (Luke 1:26-35). (Immanuel means “God with us”, and for those of us who have received Jesus into our hearts, that’s Who He IS: God is WITH us!)

PROPHECY: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: And the government shall be upon His shoulder: And His NAME shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the MIGHTY GOD, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!” (Isaiah 9:6). (Prophecy given 740 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: This shows that the ancient Jews, unlike most modern ones, believed that God had a SON–Who was to be born in the flesh and Whom the prophecy said was to be called “The Mighty GOD”.

PROPHECY: Micah, prophesying in the eighth century B.C., predicted the exact village where the Messiah would be born: “You, BETHLEHEM, though you are small among the clans of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth unto Me that is to be RULER over ISRAEL; Whose existence has been of old, from EVERLASTING.” (Micah 5:2). (Prophecy given 710 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: The Gospel says “Jesus was born in BETHLEHEM of JUDEA.” (Matthew 2:1). Although the Jews knew that their Messiah was to be born there (Matthew 2:4-6), they didn’t, as a nation, accept Jesus as their ruler. Nonetheless, the prophecy says that He “IS to BE ruler”. This takes place spiritually now for those who voluntarily accept His Messiahship, and will SOON take place LITERALLY by FORCE at His Second Coming!

Jesus’ existence, as the prophecy says, “has been of OLD, from EVERLASTING”. Jesus said, “Before Abraham was (around 2,000 B.C.), I AM.” (John 8:58). He was here referring to Himself as the eternal God Who revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush as: “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14), the eternal Son of God! (See also John 1:13,14.)

 
TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM

PROPHECY: The Prophet Zechariah commanded the people by the Spirit of the Lord to: “REJOICE GREATLY, O daughter of Zion! SHOUT, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your KING comes unto you: RIGHTEOUS, and having SALVATION; meek, and riding upon a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: Five days before His crucifixion, as Jesus neared Jerusalem, He told His disciples, “Go into the village ahead of you, and at once you shall find a donkey tied there, and her colt with her: Untie them, and bring them to Me. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the donkey and the colt…and Jesus sat on them…and the multitudes that went ahead, and those that followed, SHOUTED, saying, `Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!'” (Matthew 21:2-10).

Imagine!–The King of kings, God in the flesh, came riding into Jerusalem, meekly sitting on the lowly colt of a donkey, just as God’s Prophet, Zechariah, had predicted over 500 years earlier! And not only did JESUS fulfil this part of the prophecy, but the MULTITUDES of Jerusalem who “REJOICED GREATLY” and “SHOUTED” praises to Him as He entered the city were further proof that indeed, Jesus of Nazareth was “the KING” of whom Zechariah had prophesied!

 
HIS BETRAYAL

PROPHECY: Again Zechariah predicts: “And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my PRICE; and if not, keep it. So they paid me THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER.” (Zechariah 11:12). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said to them, ‘What will you give me, if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out for him THIRTY pieces of SILVER.” (Matthew 26:14, 15).

PROPHECY: “And the Lord said unto me, `Cast it unto the POTTER! The handsome price at which they priced Me!’ And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and CAST them to the POTTER in the HOUSE of the LORD.” (Zechariah 11:13). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: “Then Judas, which had betrayed Him (Jesus), when he saw that He was condemned, repented, and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders…And he CAST DOWN the pieces of silver in the TEMPLE, and went away and hanged himself. And the chief priests picked up the silver pieces, and said, It is against the law to put this into the treasury, because it is the price paid for blood. So they decided to use the money to buy the POTTER’S Field, to bury foreigners in.” (Matthew 27:3-6). The thirty pieces of silver WERE literally “CAST to the POTTER…IN the house of the Lord”!

 
HIS TRIAL

PROPHECY: “By arrest and judgement He was taken away: And who shall speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living: For the transgression of my people was He stricken.” (Isaiah 53:8). (Prophecy given 712 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: Jesus was ARRESTED by the soldiers of the High Priest. (Matthew 26:57). After judging Him in their religious court and condemning Him to death, they bound Him and handed Him over to Pilate, the Roman Governor. (Matthew 27:1-2). “While Pilate was sitting in judgement…the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd…to have Jesus executed.” (Matthew 27:19-20). “Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified.” (John 19:16).

Pilate himself knew that Jesus was INNOCENT and had done nothing worthy of death, and that the Jewish religious leaders only wanted Jesus executed because of their religious jealousy, yet the religious leaders used their political leverage to force Pilate to have Him crucified anyway. (John 18:28-40;19:1-16; Luke 23:13-25; Matthew 27:18).

 
HIS CRUCIFIXION

PROPHECY: Around 1,000 B.C., King David prophesied: “Dogs have surrounded Me: A band of wicked men have encircled Me: They PIERCED My HANDS and My FEET. I can count all My bones. People stare and gloat over Me. They DIVIDE MY GARMENTS among them, and CAST LOTS upon My CLOTHING.” (Psalm 22:16-18). (Prophecy given around 1,000 B.C.) (See also Zechariah 12:10;13:6.)

FULFILMENT: That was written by King David, who died a natural death (recorded in 1Kings Chapter 1), so he wasn’t talking about himself. But being a Prophet, he predicted the type of death that CHRIST would die! As it says in the New Testament, “then the soldiers, when they had CRUCIFIED Jesus (pierced hands AND feet), took His GARMENTS, and divided them into four parts, a part to every soldier; His undergarment remained. Now this garment was without seam, woven in one piece from top to bottom. They said therefore to one another, Let us not tear it, but let us cast LOTS for it, to see whose it shall be.” (John 19:23,24).

Crucifixion, incidentally, was not practiced by the Jews of David’s time. (They killed criminals by STONING!) But David PREDICTED this type of death for the MESSIAH–a method of execution that was to become one of the principal means of execution by the Roman Empire ten centuries later!

PROPHECY: Here is another prophecy by David regarding “The Righteous”, or the Messiah: “Many are the afflictions of The Righteous, but…He (God) keeps ALL His BONES: Not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:19-20). (Prophecy given about 1,000 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: MANY of God’s righteous servants have had their bones broken, especially in their martyrdom. But Jesus was “THE righteous”, “My righteous Servant”, as God called Him, Who through His death would “justify many” or make them righteous. (Isaiah 53:11-12). And to PROVE that He was “THE Righteous” Who would “justify many”, God didn’t let ANY of His bones be broken!

Jesus was crucified on the eve of the feastday of the Passover. To ensure that the bodies of the two thieves and Jesus wouldn’t be hanging there on the cross during the Jews’ holy day (death by crucifixion sometimes took days), they BROKE the LEGS of the thieves, causing their bodies to sag, cutting off their respiration and bringing a quick death. “But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they did NOT break His legs.” (John 19:31-33).

Jesus was “the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the World” (John 1:29), and was crucified at the time of the Jewish Passover, a religious festival when all the Jewish households killed a lamb as a sacrificial sin offering. Right at that SAME time, Jesus, “THE Lamb of God”, died for the sins of Mankind. The Lord had commanded that NONE of the Passover lamb’s BONES were to be BROKEN (Exodus 12:46), and Jesus’ death fulfilled this specific point also!

 
HIS BURIAL

PROPHECY: “And He was given a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death.” (Isaiah 53:9).

FULFILMENT: In the eyes of His bitter religious enemies, Jesus was a criminal, a WICKED man, and as He died, there were “two ROBBERS crucified WITH Him”. (Matthew 27:38). After His death, “a RICH man…named Joseph…went to Pilate and pleaded for the body of Jesus. And when Joseph had taken the body, he…laid it in his own new tomb”–A GRAVE with the RICH!!! (Matthew 27:57-60).

 
HIS RESURRECTION

PROPHECY: “For You will not leave My soul in hell (the grave, death); neither will You allow Your Holy One to see CORRUPTION (decay). (Psalm 16:10). (Prophecy given around 1,000 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: King David, who gave the prophecy, died and was buried in a grave and his flesh saw corruption and decay. But Jesus was RAISED from the grave and hell THREE days AFTER His death, and “His soul was not LEFT in hell (or in the grave), neither (did) His flesh see corruption (decay).” (Acts 2:27-31). As the Angel said to the mourners who came to Jesus’ tomb, “He is not here, but is RISEN! Why do you seek the LIVING among the DEAD?” (Luke 24:6,5).

Jesus is ALIVE! The Scriptures show that He walked the Earth for 40 days after His Resurrection and was seen by HUNDREDS of followers! (Acts 1:3; 1Corinthians 15:4-6). He then ascended up to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the throne of God. (Mark 16:19).

 
EXACT YEAR OF HIS CRUCIFIXION

PROPHECY: “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until the Messiah the Prince shall be seven sevens, and 62 sevens (or a TOTAL of 69): The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after 62 sevens shall the MESSIAH be CUT OFF, but not for Himself.” (Daniel 9:25,26). (Prophecy given 538 B.C.)

The city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the armies of Babylon when the Jews went into captivity and exile in 586 B.C. But 133 years later, in 453 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of the Persian Empire, gave the Jews the commandment to go forth (from captivity into the land of Israel), “to restore and to build Jerusalem”.

We know his decree was issued in 453 B.C., and that Jesus was “cut off” in 30 A.D. Therefore, if we add the 453 years B.C. to the 30 years A.D., it equals 483 YEARS. Let’s see now if Daniel’s specific time prophecy coincides with this:

The prophecy predicted that from the time of this decree until the death of the Messiah the Prince would be–HOW long?–“7 sevens plus 62 sevens”–or 69 SEVENS. 69 sevens would be 69 x 7, which equals 483. So Daniel predicted that 69 sevens of YEARS, or 483 YEARS, would pass between the issuing of the decree to build Jerusalem and the “cutting off” of the Messiah. And that’s EXACTLY how many years DID pass between 453 B.C. and Jesus’ death in 30 A.D.! What an amazing EXACT FULFILMENT of prophecy! And this astonishing prophecy was given in the year 538 B.C.–almost 600 years BEFORE Jesus the Messiah was crucified! It’s also interesting to note that this 483-year period was divided into two periods: First a period of 7 sevens (49 years), then a period of 62 sevens (434 years). History reveals that it did take the Jews 49 YEARS from the time the decree was issued to “rebuild the walls and streets of Jerusalem”. Once Jerusalem was rebuilt, it was exactly 434 years (62 sevens) later that Jesus the Messiah was crucified!

Daniel’s prophecy continues with undeniable PROOF that this MESSIAH had to be JESUS:

 
DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AFTER HIS COMING

PROPHECY: “At the end of 62 sevens shall the Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: AND the people of the RULER that SHALL COME shall DESTROY the CITY (of Jerusalem) and the SANCTUARY (the Jewish Temple).” (Daniel 9:26). In other words, according to this prophecy, AFTER the Messiah’s death, the city of Jerusalem AND the Jews’ Temple would be DESTROYED! Was it? YES! Only 40 years later!

FULFILMENT: After Jesus was cut off (or crucified in 30 A.D.), “not for Himself”, but for the sins of the WORLD, do you know what happened to Jerusalem and to the Jews’ Temple? In 70 A.D., the Roman legions of the Emperor Vespasian (“the people of the ruler”), under his son, General Titus, marched in and burnt Jerusalem to the ground and so utterly destroyed their Sanctuary that not one stone was left upon another!

Jesus Himself, in a set of amazingly detailed prophecies given 40 years before these catastrophic events, predicted EXACTLY what would happen! (See Matthew 24:1-2; Luke 19:42-44;21:20-24.)

 
SHUTTING OF EAST GATE AFTER HIS COMING

PROPHECY: “Then he brought me back to the outer GATE of the SANCTUARY, the one facing toward the EAST; and it was SHUT. Then the Lord said unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and NO MAN shall enter in by it; because THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, HAS ENTERED IN BY IT, therefore it shall be SHUT.” (Ezekiel 44:1,2). (Prophecy given 572 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: When Jesus (“the Lord, the God of Israel”) made His TRIUMPHAL ENTRY into Jerusalem on the back of the colt of an ass, He came from the Mt. of Olives and entered into Jerusalem’s EAST Gate (Matthew 21:9-12), the gate which led into the TEMPLE COURTS, as it says here, “the OUTER gate of the SANCTUARY which faces toward the EAST.”

In 70 A.D., the city of Jerusalem was utterly destroyed and it remained in ruins for centuries after. But in 542, the Moslem Sultan Sulieman rebuilt the walls of the city. Because the Jews who had rejected Jesus believed their Messiah was STILL to come and was YET to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Sulieman (who wanted to avoid the Jews rallying around a “Messiah” and rebelling) WALLED the “East Gate” completely SHUT, and thus unwittingly fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Ezekiel, “It shall be shut…because the Lord (Jesus), the God of Israel, HAS ENTERED in by it.” And the East Gate REMAINS sealed shut until this very day!

Most Jews believe that the Messiah has not yet come, but according to these two FULFILLED HISTORICAL FACTS: 1) The destruction of Jerusalem, and 2) The walling up of the East Gate, the Messiah has ALREADY come! And if it wasn’t JESUS of NAZARETH, who WAS it?

WHO ELSE was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, was called God, rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on an ass, was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, was proclaimed innocent yet condemned unjustly to be crucified while soldiers parted His garments, was associated with the wicked in his death, was buried in a rich man’s tomb and rose from the dead–all in FULFILMENT of Messianic PROPHECY! The answer, of course, is NO one else but JESUS CHRIST! And the prophecies that we have quoted here are only a FEW out of nearly 300 specific Old Testament prophecies which Jesus fulfilled!

 
WHY (did Jesus die on the cross)?

WHY did Jesus die on that cross? Because He LOVED you! He loved you enough to take your punishment, to die and be separated from His Father for a while so that He could bring YOU the LOVE of God and ETERNAL LIFE! As another prophecy says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; each of us have turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all. There was no deceit in His mouth, yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer. HIS soul (Jesus’) shall be made an offering for SIN, and by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant JUSTIFY (make righteous) many; and HE shall bear THEIR INIQUITIES!” (Isaiah 53:6,9-11). (Prophecy given 750 B.C.)

Jesus died for YOU! And God gave all these prophecies and had them written down and preserved down through the centuries and millenniums so that your faith might be strengthened by them enough to BELIEVE that “God so LOVED the World, that He gave His only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Do YOU?

God LOVES you and Jesus is just WAITING at your heart’s door for you to open to Him. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If ANY man hear My voice, and OPEN the door, I WILL come in to him and WILL sup with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20). Would YOU like to receive Jesus into your heart? If you would, sincerely pray from your heart this simple prayer:

Dear Jesus, I know that I’ve done wrong things and I’m sorry. I believe that You died for my sins and I ask You to please come into my heart and forgive me. And please help me to live for You and others by reading Your Word and telling others about Your Love! In Jesus’ name, amen.

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Overcoming Vices!

Based on the writings of David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-overcoming-vices

We all have habits, both good and bad. Anything you do automatically without consciously thinking about it, or without specifically deciding to do it, is a habit. Good habits or practices–such as tidiness, courtesy, good manners etc. are a real blessing. But when the habits you’ve picked up are BAD or DESTRUCTIVE, and you find them hard or almost impossible to change, they are known as VICES.

There’s a true story about a man who owned an eagle, and for many years had chained him to a stake. Over the years, the eagle had walked around and around that stake so much on the end of his chain that he’d worn an actual rut in the ground. Finally, he was getting old and his master felt sorry for him and thought, “These are his last days, so I’m going to set him free!” So he took the metal ring off the eagle’s foot, took him up in his hand and tossed him into the air. But what do you suppose happened? The old eagle had almost totally forgotten how to fly! He flip-flopped right back down to the ground, walked back over to the old rut and started walking around the rut like he had done for years! No chain or birdband held him! Just the habit!

It has been said that “The chains of bad habits are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken!” EXCEPT by the Lord! And “Habit is a cable; you weave a thread of it every day, and at last you cannot break it.” These are very true.

How many times have you tried to quit a bad habit, but found yourself almost powerless to get rid of it or stop doing it, no matter how much you tried to exert will power against it? The fact is that, in one area or another, we are all weak and very human and fallible, and subject to many different problems which can turn into bad habits and vices.

What most people do not realise is that a vice or a bad habit is often MORE than just an ingrained natural reaction. When you have a certain weakness, and you entertain and give in to it for a prolonged period of time, very often evil spirits–demons–are BEHIND these habits, playing them up and trying to keep you addicted to them, especially if they are bad habits which endanger you or your health, or your relationship with others.

According to God’s Word, there are definitely demons who play up certain sins and vices and try to destroy us through them. Such as demons of gluttony, demons of alcohol and drugs and cigarettes, demons of gambling, demons of sexual perversions, of homosexuality etc. These are some of the most OBVIOUS vices, but what many people do not realise is that things like hatred, guilt, bitterness, worry, pride, jealousy, self-righteousness, fear, lying and deception are also bad habits and vices, and the spiritual powers that bind people to them can be just as strong and destructive as the addiction that drives someone to compulsive gambling, drugs or alcohol abuse!

There are demons that will try to harm and destroy you in almost every phase of your life if you let them. This is especially true if you have a TENDENCY or a BESETTING SIN along some line, say, for example, a strong inclination to be jealous or to critically judge others. Or if you have a WEAKNESS towards alcohol or anything else. The Enemy can play on that and tempt you with it constantly.

ALCOHOLISM is a vice that has plagued mankind for millenniums, and though drinking wine in moderation was very common in Bible times, the Bible has much to say against the constant ABUSE of and OVER-indulgence in wine and other alcohol. (See Proverbs 20:1; 21:17; 23:29-35; 31:4, Ephesians 5:18; Titus 2:3) The Lord can not only set you free from the spirit behind alcoholism, but He can also give you the will power to continue to resist it once He’s delivered you.

We all know, of course, that the nicotine and tar in TOBACCO is very bad for our health and has been proven to be a major cause of cancer! Even most smokers recognise that smoking is a vice and a bad habit, but the point is, how can they STOP? As it can have such a grip and be so addicting! The solution to stopping is to desperately pray for the Lord to free you from the physical dependence on the nicotine, and to rebuke any bad spirits which could possibly be aggravating and adding to the addiction. Ask the LORD to DELIVER you, and He WILL!

DRUGS are also very addicting and very harmful. This includes not only the illegal drugs, but also the “legal” prescribed drugs that millions of people buy across the pharmacy counter. Many are addicting, and whatever “benefits” they give–whether escape from reality or relief from pain–almost all of them have bad side-effects, are harmful and expensive! But the good news is that the Lord has DELIVERED untold thousands of people from drug addiction of all kinds! MIRACULOUSLY! And often without any withdrawal symptoms!

GAMBLING is a vice as addicting as alcoholism or drugs, and is clearly a case of deceptive evil spirits compelling someone to gamble their hard-earned savings away at a toss of the dice, the turn or a wheel, the speed of a horse or a chance good hand of cards. The principle behind gambling is that you can make easy money without labour, just the opposite of the values of diligence, hard work and thrift that the Bible teaches. Also, the dependence on “luck” is nothing more than wishing for the blessing of the Devil, as the word “LUCK” comes from his name, “LUCifer”. It’s bad enough that some people are foolish enough to take RISKS or CHANCES in gambling, but those who are actually “good” at it or “lucky” are even MORE in need of deliverance!

HOMOSEXUALITY–or Sodomy, as it is known in the Bible–has been more fully covered in another article in this site, “The Doom of the Sodomites”. Please read this story and its “Food for Thought” if you have a problem with homosexuality.

Many Christians who self-righteously condemn others who are caught up in the obvious vices of alcoholism, drugs or sexual perversion think nothing of over-eating and obesity. Yet GLUTTONY, or COMPULSIVE EATING are often spiritually induced vices as well, and a compulsive bad habit that takes real prayer and determination to overcome. Gluttonly is often as strong and as bad a habit as drug addiction or alcoholism, and God’s Word gives ample warning against it. (See Proverbs 23:2,20-21; 1Peter 4:3.)

Speaking of SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and a condemning CRITICAL SPIRIT, these are definitely very serious spiritual problems and vices also. If you find yourself constantly judging and critical, looking down on others, thinking you are better than they are, then you should definitely seek for deliverance from the negative, divisive spirits which cause you to be that way.

Self-righteousness is very closely related to PRIDE, and stems directly from it. And though we all have the besetting sin of pride and a love and concern for ourselves, the Enemy of our soul can often play on that natural human weakness and blow it up into the worst of all problems! Pride is the root of ALL sin, and was the cause of SATAN’S downfall. (Isaiah 14:12-15) The Lord HATES pride! (Proverbs 6:16-17)

Two other common vices that countless millions of people are afflicted with are HATRED and BITTERNESS. Like other sins of the mind and of the heart, these are definitely weaknesses brought on by evil spirits. For what the Bible has to say about bitterness, read Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:19; Hebrews 12:15; James 3:14-15. For hatred, read Proverbs 10:12; 15:17; 26:26; Galatians 5:19-21. Not only are these bad habits detrimental and even dangerous to others, but medical science has proven that they cause all kinds of psychosomatic illnesses to the one who is bitter or hateful by releasing actual poisons into the bloodstream.

FEAR and WORRY are related negative emotions which cause no end of bad effects to the one who is plagued by them. Being deeply fearful or constantly worrying are usually more than just ingrained habits or the result of some bad childhood experience. Fear especially is a terrible bondage, and the Bible clearly states that “GOD has NOT given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind!” (2Timothy 1:7) (See also Proverbs 29:25; Luke 21:26; 2Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 2:15; 1John 4:18)

GUILT or a feeling of condemnation is also definitely spiritual, and brought on by the Devil, whom the Bible calls “the Accuser of the Saints”. (Revelation 12:10) People usually suffer from guilt because they are either disobedient and “have a certain fearful expectation of judgement” (Hebrews 10:27), or because “their conscience is weak” and therefore susceptible to the lies of the Enemy. (1Corinthians 8:7; Titus 1:15) The solution to breaking such an oppressive habit is to study the truth of GOD’S WORD to know what is WRONG and what is RIGHT, and then to OBEY and do the RIGHT THING! (Hebrews 10:22; John 15:3)

Some people have a compulsive bad habit of LYING or of practicing DECEPTION. The Bible makes it clear that this is also a serious vice. For Bible verses on lying, see Psalm 119:163; Proverbs 6:16-17; 10:18; 12:22, 13:5; 26:28; Ephesians 4:25. For deceitfulness, see Proverbs 12:5,17; 14:8,25; 26:24. There are many more bad habits and vices which we could list, but these are just a few examples of some of the most common ones. But remember, ANY bad or negative habit you have that hurts yourself or others is a VICE, and it is very possible that the Enemy of your soul is behind it, using it to try to defeat or hinder you.

It’s interesting also that a VICE is a workman’s TOOL that GRIPS something so it cannot move!

If you’re a Christian, evil spirits cannot permanently possess you, but they can try to put thoughts in your head to motivate you to do things which you shouldn’t. They try to INFLUENCE your mind and your spirit, and try to get you to yield to them. And if they can get you to yield to their influence or to decide to do their will, they get control and can almost bind you into vices or bad habits. If you get into a bad habit and do it continually, you can wind up in total defeat to where you’re obeying and listening to the Devil instead of the Lord.

Even born-again Christians who love the Lord are sometimes subject to evil spirits. Not permanently possessed, but OPPRESSED or under their influence. A Christian is the LORD’S property and possessed by the LORD and HIS Spirit. But of course, if you have some besetting sin, some dark corner of your life or bad habit that you’re not willing to yield to the Lord, the Enemy can bother you and plague you on that point. He can use that thing to weaken you or to cause defeat in that particular area of your life. This is why God’s Word says, “Neither give PLACE to the Devil!” (Ephesians 4:27) The Scripture calls them “BESETTING SINS” because they are SPIRITS that ATTACK you, “WEIGHTS” you must “lay aside”. (Hebrews 12:1)

When you “give place” to the Enemy in your life, it’s like having an evil boarder in your house: He’s not in control of the house, but he annoys you and causes you trouble and all kinds of damage. You tell him to leave several times but he won’t leave, so finally by the authority and the law–in this case the authority of the WORD and the Name of JESUS–you literally THROW him out! Otherwise he just won’t leave!

It’s sad that many Christians go so long without getting complete DELIVERANCE from deep-seated vices and bad habits! They just sort of harbour them and allow them to hang around without really getting RID of them. They don’t recognise that their problems are SPIRITUAL as well as physical, so they don’t take SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY over these spirits and REBUKE them and get RID of them.

You have to first of all be willing to RECOGNISE that there is a SPIRITUAL FORCE binding you into that vice, and you have to want to be FREE of it enough that you are not only willing to CONFESS it to the LORD and cry out to HIM for help, but you have to be willing to confess to OTHERS that you need help and prayer to overcome your weakness and bad habit. Because some vices have such a strong grip on people–even Christians–that they’re almost powerless to overcome them on their own.

If you have a real serious problem and you cannot seem to get deliverance through private prayer or trying to resist some vice on your own, then you need to contact other Spirit-filled Christians whom you know and trust and let them know you have a serious problem and ask for their united prayer! Never be ashamed to ask for help or prayer when you need it.

Remember, God’s Word says: “ONE can chase a THOUSAND, but TWO can put TEN THOUSAND to flight” (Deuteronomy 32:30), and it helps greatly to have someone else pray with you when you feel oppressed or distressed or attacked by the Enemy. “Where TWO or THREE are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” And, “If any TWO of you shall AGREE on Earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven.”(Matthew 18:19-20)

“If there is any SICK among you (SPIRITUALLY as well as physically), let him CALL for the ELDERS of the church and let them pray over him, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick. And if they have committed any sins, they shall be forgiven them. CONFESS your FAULTS one to another, and PRAY one for another, that ye may be HEALED.” (James 5:14-16) When you pray, quote and remind the Lord of the Promises that He has made in His Word. When you remind God of His Word, it shows you have faith in it. He has promised to keep His Word, so remind Him of it, cling to His Promises, memorise and quote them continually, and never doubt for a moment that God is going to answer–and He WILL! He HAS to! If you sincerely WANT deliverance and PRAY for a real victory over any bad habits, the LORD will help you! Jesus never fails! He always answers when we call upon Him with a WHOLE HEART.

“ALL power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth,” Jesus said (Matthew 28:18), and we have JESUS, so we have HIS power, so even the evil spirits and demons are subject unto us! (Matthew 10:1; Luke 9:1; 10:17-19, Acts 8:7). If there are demonic powers behind your bad habits, you can rebuke them in the name of Jesus, and they HAVE to DEPART!

To overcome a vice or bad habit, you first or all have to get delivered of the spiritual power that is behind the bad habit. Before you’re delivered, the binding spirit may pretty much have control, but after you are DELIVERED, it will be within your power to RESIST its re-entry!

But even after prayer and spiritual deliverance, it sometimes takes awhile to completely break free from the HABIT. Although you are delivered of the SPIRIT, you still have the ingrained HABIT, and the spirit may keep trying to come back to tempt you for awhile and play up on your weakness or tendencies along that line. Especially if a certain weakness or vice has been a big problem or habit for many years. It makes you much more SUSCEPTIBLE to attacks along that line. So for some time after prayer you may still have some battles with it. But don’t give up! It’s a real battle to overcome a strong bad habit you’ve had for years, but you need to resist even thinking about doing those things again. Rebuke the very THOUGHT of temptation, quote Scriptures and praise the Lord continually!

It’s not YOUR fault that you get TEMPTED. Nobody can keep temptation from coming, but you don’t have to YIELD to temptation! “You can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can CERTAINLY keep them from building a NEST in your hair!” Attack and hit the Devil back every time he tries his tactics on you! The Devil can only win if you SURRENDER! He can NEVER win as long as you keep FIGHTING. “RESIST the Devil and he will FLEE from you!” (James 4:7). As long as you keep resisting, he’ll keep fleeing. But if you stop resisting, he uses his lies and temptations and persuasion to win. When JESUS WAS TEMPTED by the Devil, He fought him with SCRIPTURES! (Luke 4:1-13). So quote the Word of God and rebuke the Enemy!

Some changes are instantaneous, overnight, and others take awhile. You can’t get over some habits in one day necessarily, because the Enemy doesn’t very willingly surrender territory which he has controlled so long. When people have had weaknesses and had channels open to the Enemy before, he tries to get back in if he can. But if you keep praying and asking the Lord to protect and deliver and give you the complete victory, and you claim and quote His Word, He WILL! “Whom the Son shall set free is FREE INDEED!” (John 8:36).

One of your best protections is to KEEP BUSY for God and others, doing what you know you SHOULD, as well as filling your mind and heart with positive, encouraging, strengthening and faith-building thoughts from His Word, remembering, memorising and continually quoting to yourself and even to the Enemy when he attacks you. And “pray without ceasing!” (1Thessalonians 5:17). As the poem says: “The Devil flees when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees!”

“Ye are of GOD, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is HE (JESUS) that is IN YOU, than HE (THE DEVIL) that is in the WORLD.” (1John 4:4). The power of the Lord is far greater, and is able to break all the chains that may bind you!

WHATEVER your bad habit is, JESUS can set you FREE! Are YOU free? Or do you need HELP? “ASK and ye SHALL RECEIVE!” Amen?

* * *

The following is a sample of a prayer for deliverance that you might find helpful, as it offers you an example, not only of how to call out to the Lord for His help to overcome vices, but also how to CLAIM and QUOTE Scriptures as you rebuke the Enemy:

(PRAY:) “Lord Jesus, I call out to YOU now with my whole heart and ask You, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, to FREE me from the terrible grip that this vice has on my life! YOU said in Your WORD, Jesus, ‘Greater is He that is in me (YOU in my heart, Lord!) than he that is in the World (the Devil)!’ So I KNOW that YOU are GREATER than the Enemy and CAN overcome this vice! You said, ‘ALL power is given unto Me in Heaven and on Earth’ and that `if ye shall ask ANYTHING in My Name, I WILL DO it’! So I ask You right now, Jesus, to BREAK every hold the Enemy has in my life and DESTROY the power of this bad habit! I REBUKE the Devil and ALL of his influence, right NOW, in Jesus’ name!

“Your Word says, ‘Give NO place to the Enemy’, and I don’t want ANYTHING that’s not of YOU, Jesus! Your disciples said, ‘Even the evil spirits are SUBJECT unto us!’, so I CLAIM that promise, I claim that SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY over the power of the Enemy–right NOW! And I REBUKE the Devil in the Name of JESUS CHRIST! I claim Your Promise, Lord: `RESIST the Devil and he will FLEE from you!’ I RESIST you, Satan, in the Name of JESUS CHRIST! I BIND and REBUKE any hold you might have on my life, any power you might have over me, in the Name of JESUS!

“JESUS, You PROMISED that “When ye shall call unto Me with a WHOLE HEART, I WILL answer thee!’ And Jesus, I AM crying out with ALL my heart for You to deliver me! And I EXPECT you to do it! You promised, ‘Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth SHALL be BOUND in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven’, so I BIND the power of the Enemy in YOUR NAME and I loose the grip he has on me and I ask You to cast him far away from me, NEVER to return! In JESUS’ name! I count it DONE, Lord! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You for setting me FREE! Help me now to take a stand of faith against the Enemy’s devices! Please give me the spiritual power to do what I can to resist temptation, and STAY free from the ingrained habits, Lord! In the Name of Jesus Christ! AMEN!”

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Open Up!

by Maria Fontaine

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“When I was in my first year of college, I started going out with a real sweet boy. We went many places and had a lot of good times together. He was very sweet and loved the Lord, but he was the silent type–very into himself, shy and untalkative. I liked him very much and I THINK he liked me a lot too! I have to say I THINK he was quite fond of me; I wasn’t really SURE because we never really communicated very much. We hardly ever spoke together about anything other than the time of day or what we were doing or where we were going or about college. We never had any really deep conversations or talked about matters of the heart at all!

“I didn’t realise that this was a problem until finally I began developing rather serious feelings about him! He had gotten to the final year of his studies without getting married or too involved with anybody, and I THINK he was really shy and scared of getting too serious. So he started to cool things off, and this broke my little heart! I then started thinking and praying about what went wrong, and it finally dawned on me that I didn’t really know what HE thought about our relationship, and HE didn’t know what I thought! That’s when I realised that during the entire time we had been together, we hadn’t had any kind of deep heart-to-heart communication at all!

“After we had broken up, I was still wondering why, and I thought, ‘Why didn’t I ASK him? Why didn’t we just honestly TALK about the things we felt and thought?’ If we HAD, it would have been so simple and prevented the whole problem of me not understanding and not knowing his feelings and him not knowing mine! It was just RIDICULOUS to be that close to someone and still know hardly a thing about what they felt and what they thought!

“So, I learned a good lesson! I learned to ASK! And I learned the importance of honest, open, humble communication. I learned the importance of ASKING when I don’t understand things, and trying to get the OTHER person to be honest and express what he feels and thinks, and that I need to be honest about MY feelings too!” So writes the author of “The Importance of Good Communications!”

 
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE KEEP THEMSELVES TO THEMSELVES?

Why is it that my friend found it so difficult to communicate? Why do some people keep a curtain over their mind and heart, so that others cannot even catch a glimpse of their innermost thoughts and feelings? There are a number of different reasons:

Some people are brought up from childhood to believe that it’s a sign of WEAKNESS to show your emotions, or to talk too much about your feelings. They are suffering from the classic British condition of “the stiff upper lip”! Consequently, they have never developed the ability to talk meaningfully with another person. They have never learned how to share openly with someone else and they have difficulty finding the words to say.

Others are fearful of exposing what they feel or think. They do not want to run the risk of being rejected or hurt if someone else disagrees with them.

Others have the attitude that talking won’t do any good, so why bother? They may have tried at some point to get through to another person, and it didn’t work, so they stopped trying altogether.

Some people do not believe that they, as a person, have anything to offer. They do not think that their ideas are worthwhile. They have a low opinion of themselves, and as a result, they withhold their comments and personal feelings.

Hangups and fears such as these keep us at a shallow level of communication. But if we can be freed from these negative and restrictive attitudes, then we can move to deeper, more meaningful levels. There are many different levels of communication between people, ranging from shallow cliches and chit-chat to deep personal honesty and baring of the soul.

 
LEVELS OF COMMUNICATION:

TALKING IN CLICHES is the most common type of communication between people. This type of talk is very safe! We exchange niceties such as, “How are you?”, “How is your family?”, “Where have you been?”, “I like your dress!” etc. In this type of conversation there is no personal sharing. Each person can remain safely hidden behind his screen.

Then there’s the type of conversation in which we simply REPORT FACTS. In this kind of conversation we share gossip and the news of the day, but we don’t commit ourselves as to how we FEEL about them.

“Did you hear about Joy? She’s pregnant again.”

“Really? That reminds me. I think the cat is about to have her kittens.”

But REAL communication begins when we’re willing to step out of our solitary confinement and risk telling others of our IDEAS AND DECISIONS and how we FEEL about them! If a person is to really SHARE himself with another individual, then he must get to the level of SHARING HIS PERSONAL FEELINGS. Sharing heart-to-heart, and not just superficially, helps draw people closer together, and makes us more honest and humble. All deep relationships, especially marriages, must be based on this kind of openness and honesty in order to succeed and grow.

“I really have something on my mind that I need to talk to you about, John!”

“Sure! Let’s go for a little walk together! I always appreciate these times when we can share heart-to-heart.”

 
HOW TO HELP OTHERS OPEN UP MORE!

Most people who are very quiet and withdrawn don’t really want to be that way. They know they NEED to be freer and they don’t really WANT to stay behind their walls, but they need SOMEBODY to be LOVING and UNDERSTANDING enough to help pull it OUT of them. If you’re INTERESTED in people and you LOVE them, then YOU need to learn how to get them to come OUT of themselves and try to respond and to communicate. (Proverbs 20:5; Isaiah 50:4a)

One way to do this is to gently probe and ask specific QUESTIONS. “Well, what do you mean by that? Could you explain that to me?” And if they were to say, “Well, I’d like to but I don’t want to get involved”, you could ask something like, “Well, WHY don’t you want to get involved?” With most people, if you really probe and question and really press them, then usually they’ll eventually come out of themselves and be more specific because they WANT to. They just NEED HELP!

 
THE “SILENT SUFFERERS”:

There are also the “silent sufferers”! Those who hold their feelings and emotions in and suffer in silence because they don’t expect that others would want to listen to all their problems and woes! To suffer in silence is, in a way, admirable, that they are able to take it and suffer on their own. But wouldn’t it be better if they would just honestly ASK for HELP and PRAYER? When you’re suffering in silence, it just makes everybody miserable, because they can usually sense that you’re suffering and that something is wrong, and they become worried about you. They don’t know if you’re upset or angry at them or sick or what! Granted, in some cases it is better to BEAR troubles rather than BARE them! (Galatians 6:5). But in MOST cases, it’s much more healthy just to let it all spill out and let others help you! (Galatians 6:2; James 5:16) It prevents a lot of misunderstandings and gets you some PRAYER and SYMPATHY and all the things that you need and would probably like to have when you’re feeling down! (Proverbs 12:25; 27:9)

In fact, lots of times it really helps to talk about the things you’re going through, even if the person you’re talking to DOESN’T have any solution! Often a person will say, “Oh, it just really helped to talk about it, just to get it sorted out in my mind”. Of course, for a Christian, one of the MAIN benefits of sharing your heart with others is that you can ask them to PRAY with you. You can ask for prayer, and that does a LOT of good! “One can chase a thousand, and two can put ten thousand to flight!” (Deuteronomy 32:30)

 
COMMUNICATION WITH GOD:

One thing that is sure to help our communication with others is if we have good communication with GOD. What kind of level do we communicate with JESUS on? Do we strip away all cover-ups and honestly lay our hearts bare before Him? Or are we like the native woman with the bundle of dirty washing? She had taken it to the riverside with the purpose of washing it, but was ashamed to open it for fear someone would see how dirty it was! So she just plunged the whole bundle into the water, joggled it up and down several times, and then took it home. Wet, but still dirty!

Are we ashamed to bare our hearts before the Lord and others, for fear that they will see what a mess we are? Jesus knows our hearts, He knows our faults and weaknesses and He loves us UNCONDITIONALLY the way we ARE, and not the way WE think we OUGHT to be. (Psalm 139:4) He’s just waiting for us to open our hearts to Him so that He can “forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9)

As we surrender and open up our lives to JESUS and tell Him everything on our hearts, we will find it easier to open up to OTHERS! When we KNOW that Jesus accepts and loves us in spite of OUR failures and defects, then this helps us to accept and love and have compassion on OTHERS. This then leads to a desire and a willingness to lend them a sympathetic ear and to want to share our hearts with them and give them the same answers that WE have found in JESUS!

So if you have problems and you have something on your heart, get it out in the open! Talk about it with someone you love and trust! You’ll never have any chance of dealing with the matter unless you get it OUT! There would be far fewer misunderstandings in the World if people would just honestly and openly communicate with one another and be more open about themselves! It may be a little difficult at first, but if you work at it, it becomes much easier! The Lord always seems to bless HONESTY and GOOD COMMUNICATION! And maybe He wants to bless YOU for it too! Why don’t you TRY it and see?

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International