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

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The Ultimate Parade of Victory!

images-47As far as you could see there was a sea of blue clothed fans packed in the streets. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and resounding shouts of victory as the crowds pressed in to see the oncoming parade. It was the fall of 2015 and the Kansas City Royals had just clinched the World Series pennant. The city couldn’t have been more committed in the celebration parade; schools were closed as well as some businesses and many took the day off to make a family day of it. The parade was filled with local marching bands, ticker tape and most important, the bigger than life team players.

After being involved in this city-shaking event it makes Paul’s words to the Colossians come alive more vividly. He says in Col. 2:14-15 concerning Jesus work on the cross, “…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the


At the End of the Age we will be shocked at the devils weakly appearance!


cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it”. The word “triumphing” Paul uses here and also in 2 Cor. 2:14 is a figure of speech drawn from the ceremony that greeted a Roman general who had won a decisive victory over a enemy. This “Via Triumphalis” parade usually featured a display much like our “parade of champions” in our sports enthused societies.

The parade would wind through the most occupied places of the city. At the front would be musicians, dancers and maidens carrying perfumes and incense, throwing flower petals along the way, much like the flower girl at a wedding. The air and atmosphere would be filled with the smell and sounds of victory! Then in a chariot pulled by white horses, came with the conquering general wearing a crown on his head given by Caesar, and in his right hand a palm leaf symbolizing victory. Behind him came his son’s and officers sharing in the victory.

Yet there was one more group following and it was those captured. They were being displayed before the citizens of the city, stripped of weapons, armor, clothing, bound in chains and tied to the conquerors chariots. These defeated foes would be revealed as humiliated and powerless opponents in front of the cheering crowds.

The apostle Paul used this triumphal procession as an analogy of Christ’s victory at the cross. He was painting a picture for us so we could see that the enemy


 If the devil was defeated at the cross and we are victorious through Jesus why don’t we live like It!  


was totally defeated through Jesus’ work. Therefore, as a Christian we need to see the enemy of our souls as just that, a defeated foe! To often we still imagine the devil as a big bad threat in our lives instead of the humiliated spectacle beheld on the parade route!

Peter describes in his letter the devil as someone that roams around acting like a roaring lion. (1 Pet. 5:8) And if we look further at some other passages in scripture we can even paint a broader picture of satan being nothing more than a toothless fake lion on a leash with a bashed in head eating dirt! (Gen 3:14-15, Ps 3:7, Job 1:12) He is nothing that we should be intimidated by as sons and daughters of God. (Gal. 3:26) In Isa 14:12-17 it tells us concerning the devil at the “End of the Age” that we will “gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms”. We will be shocked at his weakly appearance! So let’s not wait until then to get a right perspective. He is defeated and we are victorious through Jesus our Lord! So live like It!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. Have you been one of those that have imagined wrongly the devil as a big bad scary enemy?   Why do you think you have believed that?
  2.  If the enemy of our souls is already defeated why do you think many people are in bondage by him?
  3. What must a person do to be included in the triumphant parade behind Jesus? In other words how do we become a son and daughter of God?

 

Quotes to Tweet:

At the End of the Age we will be shocked at the devils weakly appearance! www.billvirgin.com

If the devil was defeated at the cross and we are victorious through Jesus why don’t we live like It!    www.billvirgin.com

 

#TheDevilIsNothingButADeafeatedFoe        #WhyShouldIBeAfriadOfTheDevil

 

 

What In Hell Do You Want?

Fire1The old comic character “Casper the friendly ghost” and the later show “Casper” as well as many other comical movies about the paranormal have subtly crepe into our society and helped form a false belief system of hell. We have made hell glamorous and light hearted. We have kept a mindset of hell as nothing more than a friendly club in the hereafter. White sheets draped over children with holes cute out for eyes and mouths running from door to door looking for candy just adds to the sweetening of a bitter deception. But the reality spoken of in the scripture is anything but light and fluffy.

            The Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study has recorded that 58% of U.S. adults believe in hell as a place “where people who have led bad lives and


We have made hell glamorous and light hearted nothing more than a friendly club in the hereafter.     (tweet)


die without being sorry are eternally punished.” Yet, the reality of a devil’s hell is far from most peoples thinking and understanding. Even the church has avoided or at most has softened the message of hell.

There’s a story of a president of a seminary who once heard two students out side his office flippantly joking about hell. He put his arms around them and took them to a window over looking the city and said softly “don’t joke about hell, people are going there… people are going there!

We read about the end of the age in Rev 20:10 where it says, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the


Let’s not glamorize Hell but warn people of a Devil’s Hell!    (tweet)


false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. “ We read a couple of verse later in Rev 20:15 where it says, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Jesus says a lot about a place many would say is a myth or just a scarecrow for religion. In Matt. 18:2 Jesus describes Hell as outer darkness and a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In numerous places Jesus himself refers to hell Continue reading

The Devil Might have a Buzz but he can’t Sting

Growing up it seemed that adventure would find us even if we weren’t looking for it. I remember on several occasions we would come across a hornet or wasps nest that demanded our challenge. One of us would draw the task of proving our courage and see if we could knock it down without getting stung. As we ran away and looked over our shoulder we could see a mass of angry wasps that would swarm looking to sting whatever stirred them.

It was the mercy of God that kept my brother and I from getting seriously hurt through our teen years. I believe if we had not been so clueless of the possible outcomes we would have never done some of our adventures.

Yet on the other hand there are so many people in the adult season of their life that have heard of the possible repercussion or consequences from the enemy of our soul, to the point of living in fear and becoming muzzled from doing great things for God. Many have been intimidated and disillusioned thinking the devil is mightier than he really is. Hollywood has glorified the demonic realm and has made the defeated foe of heaven to be something it’s not.

Scripture says that the spirit of God that is in us is greater then the spirit that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) We have been given victory and authority over the devil through Christ. (Lk 10:19) It’s only when the believer is ignorant of the devil’s devices and the work that Jesus has accomplished on the cross that they are acceptable to being deceived and defeated.


The devil might make a lot of buzz but he can’t sting you anymore. God pulled his stinger out at the cross disarming and triumphing over him.   (tweet)  


There’s a story that I heard of a family on a drive through town one summer day. The day was so beautiful that the windows were down so to catch the refreshing breeze. Coming to a stop at the city light a buzzing bee flew in and around the young girl in the back seat. Being allergic to bee stings she became paranoid crying out for her father to protect her. The father quickly caught the bee against the window with the cup of his hand. With calming words he assured his daughter that she was going to be fine.

Moments later he let the bee go as it once again buzzed around in the car. The daughter screamed, daddy why? But before her words could get all the way out he opened the palm of his hand and said, “he can’t sting you anymore for I took the sting for you. There in the middle of his palm was the stinger from the bee.

I think that is exactly why Jesus said we must come to Him as a child. We need that childlike faith and confidence in the Lord and what He has done. The devil might make a lot of buzz but he can’t sting you anymore. God pulled his stinger out at the cross disarming and triumphing over him.

That is why the scriptures exhort us to not be ignorant of the devil’s devices as well as knowing what Christ has done for us. (Eph 3:15-18) When we receive Jesus as the scripture says (Jn 7:38) we become His ambassador commissioned with God’s authority in the earth. (1 Cor. 5:20) There’s no need getting pulled into all the distorted hype of fearing the devil. All he can do now is make a loud buzz for he is defeat!

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.    

Does the Devil Really Wear Red?

red devil 1How many times do we come across different co-workers or associates that say they are Christians yet live a lifestyle below the bar of God’s plan. They seemed to be caught in a red devil theology, blinding them from seeing or fulfilling God’s plan in the earth. Let me explain with a fun but true story.

Some years ago several ministers and I were doing a pastor’s conference in Tampico, Mexico. We would daily drive from the hotel to the location of the conference. On one morning in the midst of the rush hour traffic we came across a man dressed in a red devil costume in the center medium blowing fire out of his mouth. It was quite amusing to say the least. All of us being preachers thought it would be a fun photo opt so we stopped and proceeded to walk over to him.

When the man in the red costume saw us coming and before we could reach him he grabbed his belongings and bolted across traffic and flagged down an oncoming bus heading out of town. We stood in amazement as everything unfolded before us so quickly. Back in the van we chuckled about the way this humorous event had played out saying “we had chased the devil out of town”. Yet, he might have gotten the last laugh due to the fact that he had distracted and hindered us from fulfilling God’s purpose. We were late getting to the conference that we were speaking at.


Some people seem to be caught in a red devil theology, blinding them from seeing or fulfilling God’s plan in the earth       (tweet)


As humorous as this story is, many people if they were honest would say they basically go through their day-to-day journey thinking the devil is nothing more than a sideshow of a circus. I might be stretching it a little but I still believe many people view the devil in a far from accurate way. The fact is the devil is real, even though he doesn’t wear a red suit, carry a pitchfork and stand in plain view making a show for drive by traffic. But on the contrary in Matt 10:10 it says, he wants to steal, kill and destroy individuals.

Paul exhorts believers to not be ignorant and blinded of the devils devices in 2 Cor.2:11. The scriptures reveal he is self-seeking and will do anything to exalt himself. Which includes ravishing your life and stealing your inheritance as a child of God. In 1 Pet 5:8-9 we’re exhorted, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…”.

God is unfolding His plan in the earth and desires us to be co-laborers with Him. Yet because of a lack of understanding many have made light of the schemes of the devil disqualifying or derailing them from fulfilling God’s purpose. They have swallowed the lie that the enemy of their soul is only a harmless figure dressed in a red devil’s costume blowing fire for entertainment, which has opened the door for deception.


Jesus has covered us in red through His blood calling us sons and daughters.   (tweet)


When we are aware of his tactics and grounded in who we are in Christ then we are able to oppose him. Jesus has covered us in red through His blood calling us sons and daughters. Therefore as the scripture says “greater is Christ in us then the deceptive devil. We must be rooted and solid in our understanding of who God is and who the devil is not!