“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8)
This especially a reason why it is so important to constantly pray for, and impart God into, our children. The young years are some of the most impressionable, and the more awkward or socially uncomfortable they are, the easier it is for the wrong influence (anything that is contradictory to God’s Word) to make them feel accepted.
Teenagers (and many adults also) are typically looking for peer acceptance, love, and affection.
This is different from parental love (though parental guidance is helpful). “Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
But the young also have increased hormonal passions pumping through their veins and are looking for romantic love as well as social acceptance. If they are not already confident, popular, and bold, they are far more susceptible to being pulled in by the temptations of acceptance and passion by more outlier social groups that don’t align with the morality of the faith. And this is where the devil exploits their “weaknesses” of shyness and loneliness.
This is how a lion hunts. It seeks the weakest, least aggressive of the herd for prey. The devil, too, looks for those whose confidence isn’t the highest, nor their moral standards, as they are easiest to manipulate with the offering of acceptance and love, and the promise of giving it all, just as when the devil tempted Jesus on top of the mountain.
Knowing this, we MUST not only be aware of these tactics for ourselves, but also for our youth. Staying prayed up for them, teaching them these principles, and speaking the Word over them constantly is vital in keeping them, and helping them to return when they go prodigal.
Peace and Blessings
This point is a tough one, but it is something worth understanding. There is a mass shooting fairly often, and other many terrible events occur on a regular basis.
In reflection of these situations where many innocent people lose their lives, you hear words of comfort such as, “God needed him/her in Heaven more than on Earth.” You also hear that “God needed another angel.”
While the intent of this is to comfort the families of the victims, it is also misleading. Bad things happen because people do bad things. We are in a fallen world with fallen people, and sometimes people have accidents, and sometimes people willingly do terrible things and there is no “greater purpose” behind it other than wickedness.
God does not arrange tragedy to bring people to Heaven. God does not arrange hits on His people to bring them to Heaven because He needs them there. Christ’s crucifixion was His own “self-sacrifice,” for as Christ said, “the father and I are one,” and He did this self-sacrifice in order to save all of His children (humans) from having to suffer, as well as to fully unlock his divine nature and release the Holy Spirit (another sermon in itself).
But, tragedy, such as these mass shootings, happen because people want to be evil. Justice needs to be served to punish evil. Biblically, the wicked were always punished, and even wicked kings were conquuered in due time in order to rescue or defend God’s people. God often called for His people to fight against their oppressors.
Bad things happen because people want to do bad things and because people are careless and people make mistakes. It doesn’t have to be a divine reason…
But, our comfort comes in that DESPITE the bad things, Heaven provides relief and restoration. DESPITE the bad things, God will bring healing and justice in Earth and/or the afterlife. DESPITE the bad things, God will provide the silver lining to our dark clouds – He doesn’t have to create the darkness, but hmHe redeems it. God heals, restores, and brings about His glory DESPITE the darkness.
Bless you saints! We want to issue a petition and request a hand from co-laborers. The ministry and pastor is in need of a car/truck.
It doesn’t matter if it’s new as long as it is RELIABLE enough to drive people to work, visit homeless communities, and provide the pastor with a way to work as we don’t take a formal salary from the ministry. This vehicle should be able to drive 5+ hours daily without any issues.
Please pray about donating a used or new vehicle (tax receipt will be provided) or donating at http://www.ugfe.org (indicate a note for “car fund” when donating). If led, help us to continue to do the work of the kingdom with your generosity.
In the book of 1 Kings, chapter 11, King Solomon – the wisest man in the world – was able to be influenced to disobey God.
He had been given wisdom by God! He was world renowned! Royalty from all over would come to seek him for his wisdom bring him riches and resources! He had wealth, power, and hundreds of wives! He had been chosen to build God’s temple after King David lost that honor.
Yet, Solomon chose to take in new wives who worshipped false and wicked gods, despite God’s (YHWH) warnings. After continued warnings, God finally released an enemy to come at attack Solomon.
The lessons are:
1. If even the wisest man in the world can be influenced to go astray, then anyone can. Carefully choose those who you are connected to, as they influence your destiny.
2. God will give you repeated opportunities to get it right and change your ways (repent) before destruction comes. Take advantage of these opportunities to stop before you have to be forced to stop.
3. Just as the word says that we can humble ourselves, confess, and turn away from evil and God will hear us and restore us (heal our land), we can and should. Even when we hit the bottom and are defeated, we can still be restored.
Peace and blessings!
A scripture that “everyone” has heard is found in Matthew 7:7-8, and it reads:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Very often though, we find ourselves wondering why we aren’t getting the things we are asking for or seeking. While there can be a variety of reasons, if what we are seeking is evil, we can expect for that request to be denied. After all…
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3)
God does not bless us for the sake of us diving deeper into our sins. Even when He forgives us of our sins, it is not for the purpose of us continuing in our wrongdoings, but rather that we may have another chance to get it right and change for the better. We are forgiven so that we can keep striving for God’s will in our lives. We have to keep seeking Him first though. The Word actually tells us to
“…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added…” (Matthew 6:33)
So when we find that certain prayers aren’t being answered, we need to consider our priorities and the TRUE desires that we are trying to fulfill by that blessing. After all, if we are living for God, we can trust in the scriptures that teach us of God wanting to give us our hearts’ desires and those things we ask.
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22)
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
Beyond that, however, we also so often simply need more patience. Sometimes our blessing simply has to mature enough to the point that it is ready and worthy to be given. Think of it like stocks and bonds, or even seedtime and harvest. Sometimes it just takes longer for the harvest of our desires to be ready. Sometimes the seeds that we planted turn out to bare bad fruit so we have to wait on one of the better trees with good fruit to produce. The investment that we thought was the one flops at the last minute, but a better one is about to give us far better results in just a little while longer. Just keep sowing and growing because it is on the way.
Think about this, scripture did not indicate the number of knocks we’d have to make before the door would be opened. We, in our impatience, want it to open after the first knock. Sometimes it takes longer. Be patient, therefore, and KEEP KNOCKING on that door UNTIL it opens. Keep asking until you receive just like your kid asking for a treat, though you are withholding the treat until he/she finishes the chores. Keep seeking until you find it, because sometimes it’s only lost because you have to finish cleaning up and once you get everything in order, it will be right there in front of you.
Don’t miss the message in those examples. Overall though, keep going and asking/seeking/knocking. The race is not given to the swift or the strong, but the one who endures… It is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep seeking, and eventually, you will find your blessing.
James 1:14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
In other words, our sins don’t just come out of nowhere by surprise. It starts with wrongful desires so our first defense is to read, pray, and seek God to understand and embed His standards and will into our hearts. If it still is conceived, we must keep seeking God and do whatever we can (i.e. ask from people we know that will pray for us and correct us) to sabotage or abort it. Ultimately, we have to fight it – not hide or justify it. And in doing so, we learn to spare ourselves from it’s dangerous and deadly consequences.
Overall though, sin is a process. It takes time and EFFORT to commit. In that effort, we can overcome it, but that effort does often require a removal of pride/ego and having humility. It’s better to go overcome the fear of “I told you so” WITHOUT committing the sin than to go through the reality of it because you fell into the sin. We are our best defenses, and in the body of Christ, must support one another, and restore one another if needed. Don’t give the devil (our sinful desires and nature) any room wherefore if we do, it will only try to grow more.
One of the big mistakes that believers, and people in general, make is trying to hold on to things (people, places, events) that God has delivered them from. There is a time and a season for everything. When those seasons are over, they are meant to remain that way.
When God gets you out of a bad relationship or situation, it is not merited for you to reopen it or go back to you. The woman who looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah was turned into a pillar of salt for being disobedient and looking back.
That doesn’t mean that you must forget anything. It also doesn’t take anything away from the legacy. You only open the risk to tarnish your memories or the legacy of what was once great, when you try to keep using or returning to it after it is meant to be over.
Listen to the message below to hear the blessed Word of God concerning not looking back to situations, or reopening doors, that are already or should be closed.
Ephesians 6:12 – For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
While the vast majority see only physical conflicts, naming each other as enemies in the civil unrest, the deeper cause lies beneath the surface. Until the deeper issues, the deeper principalities that fuel hatred and selfishness rather than love and selflessness, are resolved, the fruit of violence and destruction will continue to bloom.
The seeds behind the manifestation are found in the mentalities and attitudes that lack love, empathy, and compassion. Of a nation of supposed Christians, the lack of tolerance and eagerness to engage in aggression are overwhelming. This does NOT represent the way of Yehsua, for if we shall be of Christ, let us be! The people are tired and fed up, and on all sides of the issues, frustration is at its peak, so let those of us who ARE in understanding of these deeper issues, these principalities and powers, stand in the spiritual gap to quell the chaos and war against the spiritual wickedness!
“The church” often comes under a lot of criticism for their large buildings and monetary spending. Yet, not all of it is justified. Let’s consider some things:
- A large amount of “rich” pastors don’t even take a salary from their churches, but make their money from the sell of books, audios/videos, private businesses, and workshops/speaking engagements that are held outside of church services. Criticizers will often be accepting of anyone other than pastors being rich via the same means, but not pastors.
- The sizes of the mega-churches are usually to accommodate the sizes of the congregations. Keep in mind that a large responsibility of the church is to be a spiritual TRAINING facility for the people in the congregation. It should be a comfortable place to worship and provide a comfortable experience. Truth is, if the same criticizers did visit and it was uncomfortable (too crowded, hot, muggy, poor sound, disorder, etc.), they’d be the first to complain about that.
- Outreach is VERY important, and any church that is not also taking care of the poor, needy, sick, widows, is definitely missing the mark. One thing a lot of criticizers don’t know, however, is that a good majority of them actually DO these things. Many of these churches actually have active clothing banks, food banks, prison ministries, and more, but it’s so easy to assume that people fail to actually take the time to know.
Overall though, I can understand the general criticism of the way things often appear from the outside looking in. You will see the huge buildings and think, what about all the poor people? But, there is often more than meets the eye. And just like with anything else, it’s easy to have opinions on what we do not know.
From the position of ministry, I’d only say to the criticizers the same that I’d say to those who criticize ANYTHING, “love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no one out there who hasn’t been criticized by others who don’t know their situation. Just the same as we ALL have faced criticism by those who don’t understand, we should take care not to do the same for this is where the lesson of being judged by the same measure we judge others truly comes in.
The church is an organization just like any other, and though there are some who DO misuse funds, there are also many who do the right thing. And in such, we must be slow to assume, and quick to learn. And if they do misuse their funds, God will rectify it. Either way, a majority of the churches are doing the right thing and are sincere in their pursuit of doing God’s will, but if we do feel like a church isn’t, then we should step up and do those thing that we think should be happening ourselves.