Our Offended World…

We offend God by our sin against Him, yet we fight as though we are righteous and are owed something. ~ N.D. The Pride of Man, America – June 2020

How are you responding? In reaction with raised blood pressure? Fear for what lay ahead? Or are you finding the peace of God that passes all understanding? (Philippians 4:7)

There are two Kingdoms…

Do you know that you can have peace in the midst of this storm? The possibility exists for those who place their trust in God. First, you have to surrender to Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to come and take up residence in your soul. Next, you’ll need to fill your heart (mind) with God’s Word so the Holy Spirit can rivet Truth to your soul (mind, will, emotions). Then allow the Kingdom of God to govern your life primarily, keeping the two kingdoms in their proper place. If you do not know your way through the Bible, or understand the two Kingdoms use a search app like OPEN BIBLE as a good way to search the scripture; you simply type in “peace” or whatever you’re looking for and you’ll find it there.

Let these days of offense be a new beginning in how you view life. God has the whole world in His Hands. Yet, He is looking for people who will respond to Him by interceding prayerfully and acting on His behalf in our world; every life is precious to Him. Will you? You can be a part of the solution, a hidden or visible part, a leavening part. Like the effects of yeast in making bread your life can be great in His Kingdom, by becoming a servant in it.

Remember, God uses marred vessels, none is righteous but God, yet we strive to live according to His standards. David in Israel, Dr. M. L. King and others, are examples of flawed people that lead righteous causes, attempting to bring civil justice to evils against ethnic groups. (Note: I use ethnic groups, because we are all One Race, One Blood –counter to Darwin’s theory of evolution.) Please do not be a casualty of this world’s Kingdom; in Caesar’s battles. Yes act, but only in accordance with God’s will. Read the Manual, the Rule Book, and see where you fit in and then respond.

God works through faith, fear comes from the enemy… and Satan is having tremendous victory in the souls of many through fear and anger. Don’t be one of his casualties, rather be a warrior for God’s Kingdom (Ephesians 6).

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165 (KJV). 

 Justice for the innocent…

Whatever case comes to you from your brethren who dwell in their cities, whether of bloodshed or offenses against law or commandment, against statutes or ordinances, you shall warn them, lest they trespass against the Lord and wrath come upon you and your brethren. Do this, and you will not be guilty. 2 Chronicles 19:10 (Note: it is helpful to read the entire chapter to see that the fear of God is where justice begins. Romans 13 tells us that God has given government to keep peace and punish evildoers. And it is God’s desire that men’s hearts are governed by Him so they, in turn, will attempt to govern honestly.)

Humility, repentance and prayer….

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

We offend God by our sin against Him, yet we fight as though we are righteous and are owed something.

Photo Credit: Google Images-scripture pic created by Nancy Demary.

There’s Room for You

Christmas AloneAs we consider Christmas, I’d like to remind you that there is room for you close to God’s heart. He desires a relationship with us and awaits your reciprocal desire for Him. His extension of love by giving Jesus Christ as our deliverer is the greatest expression of love He could show.

Christmas alone 2This time of year can feel cruel to many people. A time when love, laughter, and Christmas cheer is promoted, many feel lonely and isolated. There are so many stories that could be shared as to why, yet I’d rather focus on how to remedy this condition.

I received a Christmas card telling of someone dear to me who is facing consequences for their addiction to gambling. It is heartbreaking to see how families of those habituated to some life-dominating problem are drawn into the sad drama of someone else’s poor choices. We feel helpless, and if untaught, victimization can settle in. As a friend or family member, we may want to standby and spectate, or facilitate–further complicating the problem.

DENIAL

What can I do? Step 1 is to stop denying that there is a very real problem that may need some tough love and boundaries placed. You can make a choice for yourself.  These good choices can help you get out of God’s way so that the other person can see their need, and this “love” may bring them to the end of their trail. This may sound hurtful but it works similarly to the process of salvation with God. Until someone comes to the end of their human abilities and resources and states “I give up, help me!” they will not become a true believer. When denial ends, then salvation can begin. This soul-transaction only occurs for those who desire it and are desperate enough to humble themselves and cry out to God to save them.

A word of caution concerning boundaries. Boundaries can be misused and turn into a cruel form of punishment if not properly handled. Having a mentor/counselor who can objectively help prevent further complicating issues is a good idea. Boundaries are not to be used to alienate someone, rather they are designed to increase your ability to love one another. A great resource on understanding boundaries are the various boundary books by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.  “We do not set boundaries to anesthetize our life, we set them in order to build love, honesty and freedom in our relationships.” ~ Henry Cloud.

Desperation or InspirationDESPERATION

Often times the spouse, family member, or friend of someone struggling in relationships prolongs their own journey toward freedom by not understanding their part in the process. They hold on to offenses rendered and become bound in unforgiveness and possibly contempt. But no matter what offenses have come to you, it is not worth missing out on a relationship with your Heavenly Father, who loves you dearly.  I pray that at the apex of your heart’s expression of pain, you will break and fall at His feet and allow Him to help you. That is the entire reason for which Jesus came. Giving you, your family members, friends and all, the possibility of being set free from what is dominating the heart. Inspiration from God is a better choice than desperation.

My own sin keeps me separated from God and others. We are in constant warfare between heaven and earth in the spiritual realm (John 10:10). Can you identify? I truly can. Jesus, while sinless, faced battles with Satan and He told us this would be part of our journey too. Those who’ve been enlightened through God’s Word can recognize this truth. Those who live without knowledge or desire for God are bound and cannot discern why. The angry tumult of the soul affects all people at some point, yet many do not understand what they are experiencing. Receiving forgiveness is needed and then, in turn, forgiving others is necessary; the Holy Spirit will enable you to forgive as you grow in Him.

As a result of the miracle of Christmas, we can truly forgive—and what a powerful miracle that is! Christ’s coming and His subsequent death for our sin, His victorious resurrection back to life, and then giving us the Holy Spirit to live within us makes this all possible.

Christmas GiftAnytime we face a difficulty in life it is God’s opportunity to bring us to Himself. Have you found this to be true as well?

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” These words are recorded in John 16:33 and you may wonder what Jesus was really saying. To understand this relationship, we must have a proper perspective and see that we were not created to dwell here alone, but rather in relationship to our true Father now and for eternity. The Father’s desire is closeness and oneness with you; our gift from Him is comfort and peace. He provides everything needed for that to happen, yet so few choose this relationship. Why?

Our fallen nature works against submission to God. We, through self-will and our sin-nature, oppose God. It’s our choice to humble ourselves and walk with Him, and this is contrary to everything we understand from a humanistic perspective. We strive to do this on our terms, by self-effort. This results in someone or something other than God sitting on the throne of our heart and His rightful place is given to another.

DISCOVERY

Our human perspective is to live for ourselves and our own pleasure, naturally. When Christ comes to invade our world, many are offended by that, reject Him, and suffer the consequences; temporal and eternal. But those who will become like a little child and believe that He is who He claimed to be and are willing to humble themselves to receive Him, they gain true abundance in this life. This, in turn, provides freedom from sin, including addictions — which are a false source of comfort or relief.

Christmas Bible and CoffeeGod’s Word is the primary source from which understanding and oneness with God comes. Anyone struggling with loneliness will find themselves filled with peace once a relationship is developed and the power of God’s Word is applied. It works every time I am tempted toward dwelling in loneliness.

This Christmas, will you Make Room in your heart to receive Him? Are you willing to lay your life down, just as He did for you? The abiding joy He gives, the peace that passes all understanding, and God’s love will overtake the inner turmoil. Pray and ask Him for help you overcome the obstacles in your heart. There is room at the cross for you… will you come?

Photo Credit: Google Images

Music Link: Make Room (feat. Matt Maher) Casting Crowns

Are you Offended?

Offended 9Do you realize that Jesus spoke about offenses because He knew it would be a major obstacle for each one of us, and what we do with an offense will determine the strongholds we allow in our life? Someone experiencing turmoil in their soul will have a trail of crumbs leading to an offense.

Our Attitude, the posture of our heart, is so important when it comes to how we interact with others. Our thoughts, determine how we respond to what comes our way. On any given day we can become offended, it all depends on what’s happening in our soul.

Everyday Offenses
We all have the opportunity to react to people who rub us the wrong way or treat us disrespectfully. If we are not careful, we can develop an offended spirit; everything someone says offends us, we take it personally and allow it to turn over and over again in our minds. This is the playground of our enemy; Satan loves to bring suspicion, fear, and pride into our hearts. A freeing place to live is learning to recognize that you can control your thoughts, and what you will allow to control you. Jesus said, “offenses will come but woe unto those through whom they come.” (Matthew 18:7)

Contempt
Have you been dealt with contemptuously? Homes with addiction are breeding grounds for contempt. Lying is a given, abuse is common, scapegoats are necessary – they are created to handle the blame and feelings of shame. The large elephant consuming the space, time, and poor relational health is ignored with hopes that it will just leave; but it won’t.Offended 3

John and Julie Gottman have done extensive work over four decades on divorce prediction and marital stability, they list contempt as one of the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” in determining factors in marriage failure.

Contempt is not easily understood, and it comes forth in various ways. Disrespect, scoffing, sarcasm, an attitude of indifference or accusation, are traits of a contemptuous heart (Matthew 12:34).

 Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart gives a good understanding of what contempt is in Chapter 3. He points out: “… contempt serves a person entrapped there in four ways: It diminishes our shame, it deadens our longings, it makes us feel in control, and it distorts the real problem. Contempt is complex and often hard to see. It sometimes masquerades as conviction; other times is seems like righteous indignation.” 

Overcoming OffenseSOLUTIONS
STEP 1: Forgiveness – An important step in being successful in dealing with offense is to be able to forgive those who have offended you. It is a journey, and the power of God’s Word at work in your heart is crucial (Hebrews 4:12). His Word has the power to reveal what you need to see and it will retrain your brain to think rightly and help you to avoid remaining a victim of the circumstance.

Unless you can arrive in a steady place of forgiveness, letting go of the offense, and building good guardrails you will not be able to proceed to step 2 properly. “Forgiveness gives me boundaries because it unhooks me from the hurtful person, and then I can act responsibly and wisely. If I am not forgiving them, I am still in a destructive relationship with them…” – Dr. Henry Cloud

STEP 2: Truth in Love
People who treat others with contempt should be confronted about what they are doing. Share specifically what it is that you are seeing. In order for someone to work on themselves they need a clear picture of what you perceive the problem to be. This gives them the choice to take corrective action or not.

Offended 8When someone treats you with contempt it is your responsibility to set boundaries, and be prepared for the possible consequences. When someone has been accustomed to scapegoating or blaming another and you are no longer available for that, this new approach will likely anger them. Your willingness to confront an issue will be very difficult for them to receive.

If you plan to confront someone about their contempt toward you, it is wise to have a support group, Counselingaccessible pastor or counselor, and prayer team in place for emotional support before doing so. To go through the process of confrontation is very difficult and you can easily become overwhelmed and want to give up because of the anger, accusations and rejection you will suffer.

Along with the ensuing attack from those you confront, you will also face a tremendous battle from Hell. Satan does not want people freed from offense – that is his trap and deceptive way of holding them captive. This is why before confronting sin, you need to examine yourself so as to be free of these things yourself, walking in the Light (I John 1:7) and having your heart cleansed by Christ. Our attempt must be in a Christ-like manner even though we fall short of His precise actions, do not let that keep you from bringing clarity and potential healing into your situation. Be sure to pray also, as God may soften their heart and they could receive your words of truth in love and with grace change.

STEP 3: Reconciliation May Not Happen

fenceBy ridding offense from your heart, you place yourself in a position to relate in a healthy way. Family relationships are for a lifetime and worth the effort but it may take time to see change occur. These are the most difficult because of the history and pain involved, and some will choose not to let it go. Patience, caring and love with boundaries are necessary to endure with stability and strength in God, while each one works out their own heart issues (Philippians 2:12-13).

Is Someone offended at Christ in you?

In John chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17, Jesus has intimate discourse with his beloved disciples (place yourself there as you read). Among other things, Jesus tells His disciples that He is sharing these things so that they will not be offended when someone hates them because of Him.

Jesus went on to tell them they would face persecution and have trouble in this world because they chose to follow Him. Not only did the religious leaders of the day treat believers in Christ with contempt, but the Roman authorities wanted to kill them; their lives were under constant threat. Family members also betrayed them because of fear, some because they did not want to obey Christ’s teaching. Some were simply offended with God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:10 that many shall be offended and shall betray one another and shall hate one another.

For you, it may be that your family rejects you because of your walk with Christ. Your obedience and love for God will be tested and it will determine your ability to stand for Christ and His testimony of life within you. When our family becomes an idol over God, then God cannot be Supreme (Luke 14:26). Your family may want to control your level of commitment to God and despise you for choosing Him over them. Fear is a big motivator when it comes to our family members. At times, your godly zeal exposes them to their own hearts of indifference toward God. The reasons are not as important as your response to their behavior. Often times people get caught in between an offended person and another party. Someone can react to a concern you express in genuine care, and you may find yourself being falsely accused. Don’t cower with the fear of man and their spin on your situation, stand firm and remember Jesus said this would happen. Receive encouragement by reading these chapters in John; read them over and over for a week or two and see how differently you end up thinking.

person-731467__340[1]When you are experiencing a contemptuous attitude, withdrawing for a season until there is time for reflection, and the Holy Spirit to work, can be helpful. When I think wrongly or say something inappropriate to someone, the Holy Spirit is faithful to convict me and I attempt to make it right with them. Be discerning here as well, because you can over-apologize and diminish the work of the Holy Spirit. If you have spoken truth in love, then stand upon that. Do not waiver due to fear and false guilt but be firmly committed to a godly solution. This is why God’s Word and good counsel is so important for each of us.

What you give your mind to does affect your brain and your actions, or reactions. Do you need faith? Read God’s Word and get yourself into a position of faith and obedience to God. Psalm 119:165 says Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing shall offend them. Let this be your goal as you commend your soul (mind, will and emotions) to God.

Recommended Reading:
A great book on handling offense is, The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere. The book is loaded with biblical principles to help mature us in this area.

Photo Credit: Google Images, Pixabay

The Poison of Porn

Listen to the Program (Recorded)

October 10, 2019  The Poison of Porn

Pornography is shattering marriages, families and even churches.  To highlight this danger, Jim began by mentioning a story from LifesiteNews.com.  It mentions that in 2016, people watched more than an accumulated 500,000 years of pornography through a particular site.  That’s roughly 12 porn videos for every man, woman and child on planet earth. They also reported that the number one top viewed video on that site had 7 million views in one given week.

Joining Jim to discuss this topic was Nancy Demary.  Nancy is a certified lay biblical counselor involved in discipling, mentoring and counseling.  She is the former director of Citizens for Decency Through Law to help those impacted by pornography.

It used to be that porn was confined to the pages of magazines behind a store counter.  It’s not that way anymore. As Nancy pointed out, pornography has exploded, has become pandemic and is everywhere.

She also explained that Satan is looking to steal, kill and destroy human life.  On the other hand, Jesus came to pay an incredible debt to spare us from the expense of sin.  This means there’s always hope because God has provided the way of escape from such sin.

Nancy believes we need to present the beauty of sex to our children the way God created it.  It’s a gift to us within God’s boundaries. In that context there are the physical hormones that bind a man and woman like a mother is bound to her infant through the nursing experience.  In the same way, a husband and wife are bound together for life through the sexual relationship. Step outside of those boundaries and you are inviting in that which wasn’t intended and we thwart God’s beautiful gift.

How does Nancy feel pornography is impacting the church?  Is there a physical component that causes porn to become habit forming?  What help does the Bible provide on this issue to help people break free?  These questions and more, as well as comments from listeners, are part of this important discussion. (VCY America)

 

 

Disciples – Are you One?

spiderwebAre you a disciple? … one who is willing to be taught, learn and grow in your understanding of the Scripture and then live out what you are learning. The truth is you will recognize a disciple by the fruit of their life. What a person gives their time and energy to reveals their heart and soul. It determines their interests and makes clear who or what they are serving. Disciples KNOW where their IDENTITY lies (Col. 2:10).

SIN in our world — When we hear of a mass shooting or some other wickedness warperpetrated against human beings, are you left dumb-founded, finding it difficult to understand what is happening? Do you ask, “How can someone do something like that?” Scripture tells us we are seeing manifestations of evil, schemes devised by Satan to “steal, kill and destroy…” (John 10:10) through a person whose life is given over to sin.

I find it interesting that Christians will acknowledge SIN, yet often they try to find help for spiritual problems with a system that does not have this 3-letter word in their vocabulary. The DSMMD (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) cannot acknowledge this as a diagnosis, yet sin is the foundational cause of man’s problems. We live in a fallen sin-cursed world and wooden-heart-3077104__480need a victorious, hope-filled solution that is found in Christ. We are told in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart, for out of it flows all the issue of life“. True deliverance from oppression, including anxiety attacks, depression, overwhelming fear and mental anguish can have organic (physiological) involvement, yet many neglect the first and primary place of importance to investigate and that is the spiritual heart and soul. This is where sin has its effects. This is why being a disciple and offering yourself to the ministry of discipling (teaching, admonishing in obedience to God and His Word) others is so important.

I am thankful for men and women of God who have been surrendered to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and have been used by God as teachers and godly examples to us. Paul admonishes Timothy, the young pastor at Ephesus, as a son in the faith to teach to others the things that Paul had taught him. (2Timony 2:2) He went on to say that Timothy should find faithful men (and women) that he could teach and disciple and then, in turn, these would do the same for others. This is the pattern of the early church and one we need to carry on today.

Derek PrinceDerek Prince (2)
I want to briefly share with you the ministry of Derek Prince; an Englishman who together with his inspiring wives (Lydia and after her death, Ruth), served as godly examples as followers of Jesus Christ.

A brilliant man who began his studies in philosophy and while reading the Scripture, as a philosophical work, became a follower of God. He taught the scripture with profound clarity, under the anointing the Holy Spirit. Derek passed away in September of 2003 yet his godly legacy lives on in many nations of the world today.
Derek’s teaching has helped many of us who have walked through periods of struggle against the spiritual forces of wickedness in our world (Sermon: Spiritual Warfare on Earth). Educated as a scholar of Greek and Latin at Eton College and Cambridge University, England, he held a Fellowship in Ancient and Modern Philosophy at King’s College. He also studied several modern languages, including Hebrew and Aramaic, at Cambridge University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

For those who have not heard or read Derek Prince, I would urge you to take time and listen to the links here, or on my RESOURCE page. He was also gifted in teaching on the spiritual realm and understanding the present spiritual battle we are in with Satan, demons, and workers of iniquity. When you look at our world, yet do not understand or acknowledge spiritual forces you are left with only a partial view of what is taking place around you.

LINKS: Derek Prince Biographical Summary and 10-minute video documentary of his life. Lydia Prince taking in orphaned children in Ramalla, Israel, 30-minute video of two of their daughters testimony, the war-torn situation, Derek’s testimony of marrying Lydia and becoming father to her eight adopted children.

Tv Media junkieMay I admonish you to become a disciple if you are not one yet? This will not happen by default. Begin by reading the Word of God daily and asking the Holy Spirit to teach you from the Scripture. Become engaged in a fellowship of believer’s where Truth is not hindered. No church offers everything, so find one that has something solid you can embrace and carry on with the ministry of reconciliation to those around you (2Corinthians 5:18). Those called to ministry are there to equip you to DO the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).

My gifting and calling is teaching and discipling others; while doing that the Holy Spirit gives me discernment and insight based upon God’s Word into situations before me. We were created to be His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do His work (Ephesians 2:10) and He supplies what we need. God takes us, our personality and the gifts He bestows and is able to use our lives for His glory IF we set that as our goal.

TV WatcherWhere’s your focus today? Do you want to become fruitful in His Kingdom and make a difference in your world? It will require effort and focused determination to not be swayed by the allurements of this fallen world. A disciple is a disciplined one who follows their Master. Jesus is our Savior, Priest, and soon coming King. Will you be happy to see Him upon His return or ashamed that you squandered your earthly days with lesser things that amounted to little – having no eternal value? I pray you will decide to become the best disciple you can for God’s glory and for the benefit of those around you.

The most fulfilling life on earth is experienced by the one who understands who they are in Christ and follows the Holy Spirit’s leading into a deeper walk with Him.

Photo Credit: Derek Prince Ministries, Pixabay