Was that a Speed Bump or Thanksgiving?

Exploring Santa Barbara's Santa Rita HillsIt was obvious that the young mother was being stretched beyond her limit. The crowded grocery store aisles, her long list of needed items and her child testing her the whole way, looked to be a melt down in the making. Then as if sent from heaven an elderly produce man knelt down and smiled as he gave the young child a beautiful orange. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it”! I know that wasn’t exactly what the mother was looking for but it does reveal an attitude that many in our society hold whether young or old. We are becoming an ungrateful people. We don’t stop to be thankful but want more.

Paul admonishes the believers in 1Thes 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” That really can’t be anymore clearer! God’s will for you and I as followers of Jesus is to be people of gratitude. I am not a Greek

I choose to not allow Thanksgiving to become nothing more than a speed bump between Halloween and Christmas!       (tweet)

scholar but that word “everything” pretty much means what it says, in all things. I don’t see much wiggle room there at all. So through the tough situations in your life, as well as, the good times we are encouraged to be thankful. Wow! Now that’s hard to swallow.

One man has said that our country’s national holiday has become nothing more than a speed bump between Halloween and Christmas. No sooner do the stores get done selling candy, costumes and carved pumpkins that they immediately start promoting the Christmas season. Many can’t even get through a family dinner before they are rushing out to get in line for “Black Friday”, a term that has become known

Stop the madness! Where there was once prayer, gratitude and family bonding, has now been taken over by shoving, selfishness and getting ahead of others.    (tweet)

for the big sales on Friday after Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, the beast of marketing and business has now crossed the line of a sacred day of thankfulness and family to start the sales when it’s time to eat. Where there was once prayer, gratitude Continue reading

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

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 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.