Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Devil's 'Game Plan.'

If it wasn’t for the Bible we would be clueless about why our world is disintegrating. It alone defines a corrupt spiritual being whose intention is to replace the Creator and Redeemer God. The Bible also details this creatures personality, game plan and

Destruction. Therefore, it should not surprise any of us that he wants to degrade, despoil and destroy the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.

His strategy hasn’t changed since trapping Eve in doubt and Adam through passion for Eve above obedience to God’s command. Since that time Humanity has been infested with a twisted nature that it sympathetic to the Devil’s tactics. This prince of darkness isn’t interest in those in his kingdom. He wants their devotion and alliance in undermining the moral relationships, spiritual principles and truth of God’s word.

Whilst all these have been under attack since Eden, and thwarted by God’s servants, the Devil never gives up. It would seem that in recent decades he senses his judgement is drawing closer. Therefore his game plan is being put into higher gears to try and prove the Lord Jesus false and His word untrue. How is he doing this in our day?

With determination the Devil has stuck to his game plan which is to corrupt then control. Look around. It is easy to see his foul touch through undermining the very ideals, nobility and preciousness of the Bible’s values. Evolution has attempted (without proof) to deny God’s existence and creative power. However, it is seized upon for it appeals to the dark-side of the human heart. As one T-shirt put it ‘No God – No judgement’. Chance therefore denies absolutes. Goodbye Truth. Farewell Ten Commandments! Evolution kills morality’s foundation and denies the need of a Saviour. As Psalm 11:3 ‘If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ Without absolutes undergirding society the quicksand of chaos envelopes it.

Jesus told two parables relevant to this discussion. One was of a woman adding to the flour some leaven (yeast) which slowly infiltrated and corrupted it. Leaven is a Biblical term for sin, false teaching and immoral behaviour. (Matthew 13:33) The other was the sowing of weed seeds (tares) amongst the good seeds. (Matthew 13:24-30) Both instances require time for their evil intent to surface. Think about the corrupting of the following.

The beautiful sign of the rainbow after the flood in Noah time has been perverted into the gay and lesbian flag. That which promised hope has been sullied by a lifestyle condemned by Scripture. Now, should anyone try and show such supporters and practitioners the way out of this lifestyle (read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and elsewhere) they are threatened and face jail.  The preciousness of a man and woman being one in marriage is being tortured and twisted by proponents of same sex marriage. The list of corrupting practices include abortion, euthanasia, blatant pornography on T.V accessible to children, (then they cry crocodile tears as children are abused). When you read Leviticus 18 every one of God’s prohibitions on sexual immorality and deviant behaviour is promoted on computer websites.

To close this article – which really is incomplete – I want to mention the Devil’s hatred of Israel. You cannot read the Bible and not see he wants what the Lord God gave to this Nation. The land and especially the Temple Mount. To get it, the Devil must destroy that Nation. This he has attempted to do numerous times. Wittingly or unwittingly the United Nations is aiding and abetting him in his plans. The members, and other, of that organisation should read Psalm 2 and realise the path of defeat and destruction they are on.

The Bible’s teaching are absolute! By them a person’s lifestyle and relationship will be judged. God’s word offers a better way; a better hope; better relationships and lifestyle. Within its pages is also the story of the Lord Jesus who transforms lives and makes them fit to walk the better way. (1 Timothy 1:13-17).

Next week: The Lord’s overthrow of the Devil’s game plan.

©Ray Hawkins 28 May 2017.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The God who is three in One.

The God we worship is beyond our comprehension. We defend and proclaim the doctrine of the Godhead, our God is one – yet three. Certain groups such as Jehovah Witnesses distort this mystery. The make Jesus a ‘lesser god’ which makes them polytheistic – something the Bible condemns. Islam cannot say Jesus is God the Son, and they have no concept of the Holy Spirit. However the Bible is not silent in teaching the mystery of God being one, yet three.

Genesis 1:26. Begins the mystery when it says ‘Let us make man in our image. He wasn’t talking to the angels, for they are created beings. One of the loveliest clues about God is the threefold expression used to in Numbers 6:24-26. ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Is the term, ‘Lord’ referring to one or to three?  The same can be said about Isaiah 6:3 where the threefold praise of the Seraphim is recorded. “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts!

Jesus solves the mystery – a little –in Matthew 28:19-20. There, Jesus instructs His apostles to baptize in ‘the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. This is why the Christian Faith has its own threefold benediction. 2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Now, go back to Numbers 6:24-26 and after each mention of ‘Lord’ insert Father, then Son, then Holy Spirit. And recall what Jesus said about ‘The Name!’ The Biblical teaching on ‘The Name’ is one of vital importance, often lost on the Gentile mind. Many see it as simply a name. The Bible sees it as representing the very essence of God. We cannot be baptized into the name of the Cedar tree for it cannot possess us. But when we are immersed into The Name we are placed in the very nature, the very essence, the very person of God.

There is much more to be said on this insight into the mystery of mystery, God Himself. On the tail of this article will be some references you might like to consider to grasp a deeper understanding.

In closing, let’s look at 1 Kings 18. There is the record of Elijah’s contest with the priests of Baal. This took place on Mount Carmel. The God who answered by fire was to be recognized as the true God. The priests failed. When it was Elijah’s time he rebuilt the altar of Yahweh. Slaughtered the animal then drenched it with four (4) large jars of water, three times. Four (4) is significant. It speaks of the earth, weakness and God’s power. Remember what God chooses from 1 Corinthians 1:27, the weak things of this earth to confound the mighty. The water was poured out three times over the offering. Then the fire fell. Again, the Triune God was involved, represented by the thrice applicant of the water.

Maybe this could help in the understanding of Christ’s cry from the cross “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me. For the first and last time in Eternity past and future the Godhead, the Three in One, had been sundered. This was the awful reality that confronted Jesus in Gethsemane.

Much, much more should be said, could be said on this awesome mystery. You can pursue it through a study of the Biblical verse below.

Psalm135:1. 136:1-3. Daniel 9:19. Revelation4:8. We talk about being indwelt by the Holy Spirit – He is our seal. Ephesians 1:13. We believe that Jesus abides in our Spirit Colossians 1:27. Do you understand that the Father’s presence is also within? 1 John 2:23. God isn’t divided.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

weeds which wither spirituality.

Jesus warned against weeds on a number of occasions in plain teaching and in parables. He spoke about their effect in Mark 4:18-19. In the parable of the four soils Jesus highlight the chocking qualities of unattended weeds. Weed seeds sown among those who hear the word are strangled in time by the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things. 

Weeds, the gardener’s curse, are symbolically a ‘death threat’ to the Word of God in the Christian’s life. There are books, conferences and media outlets stacked with ‘thorns and thistle’ seeds. Some are rather attractive to the undiscerning soul and are just waiting to be opened and planted. They are killers to righteousness, truth and relationships. Discerning Heaven's seeds in this World's vast array of alternatives requires the manual prepared by the Lord and Redeemer. In His parable of the four soils Jesus warned about the thorns that strangle His Word. Harbouring the ‘seeds of thorn or thistle’ because they promise much or are favoured by the community is deadly. Ultimately it renders the soul spiritually ineffective at best and strangled at worst.
Ungodly weeds grow so fast and can look so attractive. Their purpose however is to nullify the power, beauty and message of the Gospel. Our Lord listed three threats to the spiritual productiveness to the Christian's life . These thorns and thistles are designed to smother and kill the spiritual life. None are immune to them.  

Weed number one: Worry. It is the burden of existence. It is part of our nature. It becomes a menace when uncontrolled. The weed deterrent is in 1 Peter 5:7, ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’ Our personal responsibility is to ‘cast.’ It is the Lord’s promise to carry. Worry is sticky and hard to effectively cast. It requires prayer from  the heart and with ‘hand’ covered in faithfulness and righteousness. Life will always throw worry our way therefore, we must develop the art of casting, constantly. 

Weed number two: Wealth. Here is the driving force of society. Jesus warned about an attitude to wealth which was ideal for weed growth, covetousness and materialism  The end result of not uprooting such soul pleasing but spirit choking ‘weeds’ is unfruitfulness! Then condemnation! Money isn’t the issue when it is a tool. It is a strangling vine when it is the master of a life. To keep this weed under control is to be practise the principle 'more blessed to give than to receive.'  1Timothy 6:18–19:‘Command those who are rich…to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.’  

Weed number three: ‘desires for other things.’ Combating this wide ranging class of weeds requires constant discernment and specific attention to their influence. We may not be overly interested in wealth. Our nature may not be too dominated by worry. This weed seed collection however can find a lodging place. As I age I'm faced with these annoying yet appealing plants. 1 John 2:16–17 puts ‘the other things’ in three bundles clearly marked: ‘For everything in the world – the craving of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.’  

How can a follower of the Lord safeguard his or her heart and mind from being taken over by ‘thorns and thistles?’ The first place to start is by knowing the Heavenly Gardener's manual on plants and weeds! Scripture offers us the everyday terms for the plants that beautify a life and empower ministry. Also listed are the seeds of destruction. Read God's manual for a fruitful and challenging life.

This is followed by a self examination of what dominates our desires and enriches or steals from our relationship with the Lord, His Word, our intimate relationships and our walk of grace. To be a sluggard in this area is described in Proverbs 24:30–34. It’s an account of a sluggard who lacked judgement, was lazy and enjoyed his sleep. The outcome was visible to all. Poverty of his life and family and with his ground covered by thorns and thistles! May the Lord deliver us from being seen as such and dishonouring Him.

To be honest, I find actual gardening, pruning and mowing wearying at times. It has to be done. One thing about actual physical garden management is that when I'm too old or incapacitated to do it others will do it for me - sometimes for a price. But no-one can weed, prune or mow my spiritual garden, no matter my age. Therefore, I must be on guard against being weary in the things of my Lord. To drop my guard is to have the sower of weeds scatter and water them to my shame and the Lord's dishonour. There have been times when the Holy Spirit has drawn attention to my mind about my spiritual well-being. Eating the proverbial 'humble pie' isn't pleasant but essential. This must be followed by ruthlessly removing the offending growth which sometimes is hard spiritual, even relational work. 

Peter shares how to have the courage and strength to combat such an attack on the killer weeds. Keep applying to your inner and outer life, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. This results in a productive life. 2 Peter 1:8: ‘For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive (unfruitful in KJV) in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The U.N murders History

History is being ‘murdered’ at the U.N. UNESCO has just been quoted as saying Israel hasn’t any legitimate to Jerusalem. That’s on top of the announcements some weeks ago that the Nation had no prior claim to the land. This isn’t rewriting history, it is killing it, carving it up and trying to dispose of it to our minds.

I wonder what Nebuchadnezzar would say to those officials from the floor of UN headquarters. Did he spend years subjugating a non-existent nation holed up in a non-existent Jerusalem? Was Daniel a figment of Nebuchadnezzar’s paranoia? Of course it also means such kings as Sennacherib, Pharaoh Necho, and Antiochus Epiphany, to name a few, never existed also. Apparently the Maccabeus’ are a fairy story and Jesus birth in Bethlehem actually took place somewhere else (if they believe it happened at all). That then raises the matter of the Passover, Roman crucifixion, Christ on the cross and His resurrection.

This is the same assembly of people who have appointed Saudi Arabia to safeguard the rights of women. There must be something in the air at their Headquarters. They need to have someone check the ventilation system. Someone is contaminating the air conditioning and stealing the delegate’s brains.

I would imagine one or two representatives from Nations influenced by Christian ideals and history took a stand on this.

If ever some doubted the unseen but insidious force running rampant across the world surely, just surely, the UN must eradicate such uncertainty. In 1 John 5:19 the writer says it simply and plainly, this world is under the control of the Evil One. His intent is to deny Israel its Biblically and Historically stated existence. His aim is to eliminate it as a nation and to claim Jerusalem and Mt. Zion as His own. How sad it is for us to witness the wilful or witless collusion of the UN in this!

What is shaping up is a confrontation between Truth and the Lie. For those with any sense of Biblical information between their ears they must know the Lord won’t let this pass. The prophet Zechariah said things to his generation which we need to heed today, “he who touches Israel touches the apple of His (God’s) eye!” I am glad that the Lord has great patience towards we stupid mortals. However, there is just so many pokes in the eye even God can endure.

Though people may reject the Bible’s testimony on many issues History is lettered with accounts of its truthfulness, accuracy and judgements. That being the case (no matter how the UN tries to murder such history) learn what it says on Israel. Otherwise, it isn’t a pleasant thought to have a fight with the Everlasting Lord.

To close this blog I’ll simply quote some passages which highlight the Lord God of Host’s interest in, love of and identification with Israel – the land and the people.

The Land is ‘My Land’ says the Creator. Jeremiah 2:7  16:18   Joel 2:18.

He has allocated it to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 4:40, 11:21 etc.

The Nation of Israel is His Creation for His purposes (some fulfilled, some yet to be. Psalm 33:12.  Isaiah 43:21.  Psalm 147:19-20.

Jerusalem is His city. Psalm 48. Isaiah 60:14.  Zechariah 3:2. 8:3

It is to Mount of Olives that the Lord will one day set His feet Zechariah 14:3-4. (compare Acts 1:9-12).

Forces in high places are coercing Governments and the masses to believe a lie, actually, many lies. The only counter-offensive is to know the Truth – historically and Biblically – and perhaps your stand will help someone be saved from fighting against the Lord God of Hosts.

©Ray Hawkins 7 May 2017.