Does A Spoonful of Sugar really help the Message go Down?

images-56I refuse to think that I was the only kid that would fake being sick for the sole purpose of getting a spoon full of sugar. It wasn’t until sometime later when I saw the popular Disney movie called “Mary Poppins” that I realized that my mother along with many probably adapted the same method of dowsing a little medicine with sugar just like the song in the movie. It was such a catchy jingle that most of us can sing it to this day, “A spoon full of sugar helps make the medicine go down”. My


Repackaging the Gospel so that it will not be offensive is a dangerous and slippery slope of deception


question is does the little bit of sweet really help or hurt in the long run? Have we sweetened the medicine so much that now society doesn’t want the medicine anymore just the sweets? What seemed like a good idea might have had some serious consequences.

I believe in a similar way we have done the same thing in the church today with the message of the cross. Repackaging the Gospel so that it will not be offensive is a dangerous and slippery slope of deception. When we take the power of God out of the message of the cross, it becomes empty and hollow. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18) I believe


The message that Sin destroys but the Savior restores when there is Serious repentance must be preached!


we have put so much sugar on the message of Christ that we have lost the power of the cross in the church today! Some of our worship services have become nothing more than a Disney production! It might look as if they are useful and productive, but are powerless and un-effective. Salt that has lost it’s usefulness is how Jesus described it. (Matt 5:13) He says we are the salt, but when the salt looses its flavor it’s useless and should be tossed out. The flavor is the message of the cross, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ! The message that Sin destroys but the Savior restores when there is Serious repentance must be preached!

Many have veered from scripture and jump on the bandwagon of “feel good tickle my ear messages”. It might line up people at the door of the church but does it really bring a lasting change in peoples lives? I believe it’s time for the church to wake up and line up with the Word of God. We are called to be reflections and ambassadors of Christ.

In His letters to the seven churches Jesus tells the church of Laodicea in Rev 3:16-17 “…because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth”. Jesus goes on to say that this church was basically coasting along with a mentality of satisfaction and contentment. They arrogantly thought they had everything they needed yet Jesus says in verse 17 that they “…are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. What they thought and what was reality was very opposite to the truth. Because of this self-sufficient attitude Jesus declares He will spew them out of His mouth, representing His disapproval as one does with bad flavored food. Have we produced congregations with that same type of attitude and ineffectiveness?

We need to have such a passion and love for God’s word that we will cry out saying, “give it to us straight with no additives”. Our message doesn’t need to be covered in sugar or ear tickling, but full of truth. In John 8:32 it says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

 

 

 

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The Identity Theft that Changed the World

images-55One of the most pointed and enlightening statements of Jesus in scripture is found in John 10:10, where he said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. In this small short statement Jesus gives us the agenda of the enemy and God the Son’s plan for our lives. The enemy wants to steal from us and ruin our lives, but Jesus says He Himself has come to give us life to the fullest. Yet, we must realize this abundant life Jesus is talking about is to be lived out in a real world filled with pain, rejection and failure. Jesus isn’t talking about


Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of life’s problems.


a perfect heaven but a “heaven on earth” reality in the midst of the storms of life. Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of these problems. Scripture warns us that we live within a warfare that can destroy our faith, devastate our self-worth and send us into depression. That’s been the plan of the enemy from our beginning.

I remember the feeling that came over me when I found our shed had been broken into and the power equipment had been stolen out of it. It was feelings of violation and confusion, let alone the anger that rose up, because someone had the nerve to trespass against me. In this world there are those that look and connive to steal from others!

One thing is for sure; to those that have never had identity theft happen to them it might seem a very small and distant thing. Yet the reality is that the rise of identity theft is running rampant through our society. Whether it is a headline news story or a person that we know, we have all been made aware of this evil scheme to steal from the innocent.

In Gen 3:5-7 we see the biblical story of Adam and Eve’s epic sin in the garden. We have heard the story many times over of the original sin that sent man headlong


Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God.


into a spiritual spiral through life. The enemy stole their identity through his deception. But, unless we examine the nature of their life before the fall we can’t comprehend the magnitude of the result of the enemy’s plot, which caused them to lose their significance.

Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God. They were living in intimate fellowship with God where they were secure and free. Created to reign over all the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Their purpose was to reflect God’s glory and demonstrate His holiness through humankind. (Ps. 99:3-5) To meet their spiritual needs God walked and talked with them personally. Through intellect, free will, and emotions, God showcased His glorious character through mankind.

Through the deception and plot of the enemy, Adam and Eve sinned and had their identity stolen from them. Through this sin all of mankind has lost his secure status with God and began to tumble down a miserable slope of distorted and warped feelings of inadequacy, rejection and shame. This tragic event has robbed man of his original identity and plunged him into a struggling journey of searching for significance.

Yet, that’s not the end! God has sent His son, Jesus to redeem us and restore us back to that original position with Him. We are His sons and daughters made in His image! Jesus has restored our true identity on the cross. (Jn1:12, Rom 5:8, Gal 4:6, Eph2:6) Will you receive the truth or are you still listening to the lie of the serpent?

 

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. Have you or anyone you know ever been stolen from or had their identity stolen? How did it make you or them feel? Explain?

 

  1. When you read the story of creation and Adam and Eve’s life in the garden how do you picture it? When it says that God walked and talked with them, how does that make you feel knowing that is exactly how God planned for you and Him?

 

  1. Do you realize the privilege we have in Jesus? When Paul calls us children of God in Rom 8:16   and heirs of the God in , what does that mean to you?

 

 

Quotes to Tweet: 

Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of life’s problems. – billvirgin.com

Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God.    – billvirgin.com

Through the deception and plot of the enemy, Adam and Eve sinned and had their identity stolen from them – billvirgin.com

 

#RejoiceWhenTheHeatIsBeingTurnedUpInYourLife

What has so easily Offended you making you go Astray?

images-24Have you notice the epidemic of people who are offended and living their lives entrenched in the bondage of offences. Maybe it is a friend that out of the blue won’t talk to you or a co-worker that becomes standoffish after your promotion. Maybe it’s even hit closer to your home with a family member who hasn’t communicated with you for sometime. Whatever the scenario might look like most of us have been defiled in someway by offended people.

We read in Matt 24:10-11 Jesus’ words concerning the end of the age, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many”. One of the many signs that He gives them in this dialog is that there will be a noticeable plague of people


Once a person is offended they are dragged down a demonic trail that will open their callused hearts to deception.   (tweet)


who are offended. The word “offended” in this passage means to entrap, to put a snare or stumbling block in the way. The word picture is the lever on a trap that ensnares whatever is enticed. In other words an offence will ensnare and hold in bondage the person that has been offended.

We set ourselves up for offense when we require certain behaviors from those with whom we have relationships. Offenses unchecked will lead to hurts and distortions. A person that chooses to be offended has allowed himself or herself to be entrapped and held captive. Limiting them from being about the fathers business.

We read in Matt 24 verse 10 that once people are offended that it leads to betrayal of each other. Meaning to cast off your commitment or bond that was there before the offence. It even implies to put in prison or bondage. When a person


The ironic thing about the person that succumbs to being offended is that they will become offenders themselves     (tweet)


becomes offended it breaks the bond or covenant one may have and actually imprisons a person in the enemies hold. To betray someone is the ultimate abandonment of covenant!

Unfortunately, we also read in verse 10 that the slippery slope of destruction progresses from just being offended to betrayal and then drops off the cliff of Continue reading

It might look good, but don’t drink the Kool-Aid

629461691Remember how you would tell your parents that all your friends are doing something so why can’t you do it? And your parents would sternly say as they looked at you, “If they were jumping off the cliff does that mean you should do it?” Even if you didn’t like when their answer was in the form of a question, it actually made sense. Didn’t it?

To many people just go along with the crowd uncontested, believing that numbers confirm a right moral action. When in fact, that can be a very dangerous way of choosing your course in life. God has given us His written word to follow so not to


The Bible instructs us to do what’s right even if it goes against the majority.  (tweet)


get distracted. In Prov. 14:12 it says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” NKJV When a man’s ways go outside God’s Word it will lead him down a path ending in destruction.

Our nation was shocked at the unfolding of the events in northwest Guyana on November 18, 1978, where 918 people died in the settlement of Jonestown under the leadership of Jim Jones. The outlandish deception of so many people, including children and adults alike sent a fear of mind control to everyone who heard the news. Soon after the murder of a United States Congressman and four others, who had came to investigate accusations from family members of individuals being held against


Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t make it right   (tweet)


their own will. These murders spawned what has been viewed as a mass suicide or as many voices say, including Jonestown survivors as a “mass murder”. This deceptive and murderous act was clothed in a religious tone thinking there was a better life awaiting them if they drank the kool-aid laced with cyanide poisoning.

The evidence is strong that not only were these people coerced, but also many were forced to drink the kool-aid, resulting in over 900 lives dying. This shocking incident of deception and control birthed the saying, “don’t drink the kool-aid” which means to not let anyone deceive you. Yet this phrase shouldn’t be tagged to any authentic move of God. The scripture in 1 Pet. 5:8-9, exhorts us to be alert and Continue reading

There’s a Horse in the Sanctuary

597302599There’s a scene in the movie, “The Patriot” that fascinates me and helps me makes a point. The colony people are in the community chapel when the enemy commander comes busting in on a horse. A young bride of a patriot is there in the sanctuary trembling in fear as the commander intimidates and threatens them for being sympathetic towards the patriots. Once the rider finishes his threats and leaves, he orders his soldiers to chain the doors and burn down the chapel with the bride and others inside.

The “Bride of Christ” the church, has taken in and allowed a “Trojan Horse” into its sanctuary. Many have been deceived into thinking it was a gift to the body of Christ, all the while quietly and unnoticed it has bound us and released an onslaught of damage and death to many.

The “Trojan Horse” that I am talking about is the thought pattern that we must compromise our Biblical doctrine and beliefs under the disguise of being relevant. We have watered down and taken out the power of God in the church. We have been more concerned in seeker sensitive methodology then we have been with Holy Spirit sensitivity.


We have been more concerned in seeker sensitive methodology then we have been with Holy Spirit sensitivity.    (tweet)


In Gal 3:1-2, Paul passionately speaks to the Galatians to not let any deceiving things come in and lead them away. In Matt 24:3-7 Jesus Himself tells the disciples, Continue reading

When Hell Hears Your Prayers

The anticipation was building as we looked forward to Easter Sunday. The church had been praying and fasting for a harvest of souls. It was the night before and dusk was upon the community as I was walking through my neighborhood and praying for the upcoming service. I followed the Spirit’s leading as a burden for the unsaved in our community came upon me. I therefore contended for the inheritance of the believers. Rounding the corner of my usual path, I noticed a couple of men talking as they leaned on their cars. Continuing to pray under my breath, I greeted them with a friendly smile and tried to pursue a conversation, but to no avail. Fueling my fire of passion for a breakthrough in our city, I continued walking and remained focused for a harvest of souls.


Our prayers should intimidate Hell   (tweet)


The evening air once again was still and darkness was upon me as I walked outside the streetlight’s reach. Coming to the end of my walk just a block from my house, I turn into a cul-de-sac to extend my prayer time. Before I knew what was going on, the quiet evening was pierced by screeching tires and red and blue flashing lights coming toward me. “Sit here! Put your hands on your head!” an officer barked at me. I obeyed as I squinted into their spot light. By this time, armed police surrounded me with curious neighbors looking on. The lead officer spoke directly saying, “We got a report you were mumbling to yourself, ‘I’m sorry I killed my family.’” If it hadn’t been so embarrassing it would have seemed funny. I told them again that I was truly praying for those in my neighborhood who were hurting and in need of God. They looked at me as if I was a religious fanatic. I knew they weren’t convinced. But, thankfully, the Lord delivered me from the two men’s accusations, who were drinking by their car earlier.

Wanting to take this divine opportunity and share God’s love with them, I invited them to be my guests at church the next day. But, still unconvinced they let me go with a stern warning, “We know where to find you if we need you.” After an embarrassing thirty minutes of interrogation, I realized this was the enemy’s attempt to shut down my prayers. It became clear that the officers were being used in this situation as his pawns. I understood he would stop at nothing to hinder our prayers for God’s agenda.


We rattle Hell’s foundations when we pray in accordance to God’s will and promises.   (tweet)


As Christians we need to be aware that the enemy’s mission statement is to steal, kill and destroy the purposes of God (Jn. 10:10). He will stop at nothing to try and distract us from walking in God’s promises.  

Our prayers intimidated Hell. We had hit a cord in the realm of darkness that sent demons scrambling to hinder us. The police drama, the accusation along with the embarrassment, was only a manifestation of the agitation in the enemies’ kingdom. When the enemy hears our prayers, he is quick to try to foil them. It was a direct strategy of the enemy to disrupt the focused and tenacious declaring of God’s will. Let me ask you, when the enemy hears your prayers is he outraged? Only when we pray in accordance to God’s will and God’s promises will it rattle Hell’s foundations. It’s time to intimidate Hell with your prayers.

The Devil doesn’t Play Fair

There’s an old saying, “If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen.” If we are going to engage the enemy on his territory and be vessels of deliverance to those that he holds in bondage, we must expect to have conflict from the kingdom of darkness. Even though the prince of darkness has been defeated, he is not going to roll over and play dead.

The curtains of the spirit realm are pulled back when Daniel burdened for the people of God, humbled himself in twenty-one days of prayer and fasting. God answered his enquiry in an angelic visitation—from the first day that he prayed the answer was dispatched. Yet, it was hindered by the Prince of Persia for twenty-one days until the angel Michael came to assist (Dan. 10:12-14).


Even though the prince of darkness has been defeated, he is not going to roll over and play dead.   (tweet) 


When Daniel began to intercede for his people and for their return to their land, the enemy resisted. Not knowing of the fight, Daniel continued to press in and pursue the welfare of his people. It wasn’t until the angel revealed a glimpse of the spiritual warfare that was going on did it bring hope and understanding to Daniel and all who read about it.

Though at times the fight might seem to be just in the temporal realm it is truly in the spiritual realm. The unseen is more real than the seen. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Our battle is spiritual, yet it manifests in the natural in many ways. When we press in to the things of God, we will come face-to-face with the enemy who will always try and hinder us. He has many strategies, such as intimidation, affliction, persecution or other troubles that steal our attention away from God’s heart. The enemy will try to stop prayers that are liberating the captives and setting people free. Prayers that cry out for justice in our land bring an irritating reminder of the blood of the cross to the enemy’s camp. Have you ever seen a dog chase his tail? They never seem to get tired of the adventure of almost catching it. That is like the devil, he seems to never tire of trying to catch you and disrupt God’s plans in your life. He uses the same old tricks, just different names, faces and scenarios.


Prayers that cry out for justice in our land bring an irritating reminder of the blood of the cross to the enemy’s camp.   (tweet)  


But, thanks be to God who gives us the victory through the blood of Jesus. The enemy will fall into the very pit that he has dug for you. We are on the winning side and scripture declares, we are the head and not the tail (Deut. 28:13). The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God…” (II Cor. 10:3- 4). Paul also communicated to the Ephesians, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” (Eph. 6:12). We are in a battle not with humankind but with demonic forces in the spirit realm. Therefore, we must remember our warfare must be in the spirit not in the flesh.