Saturday, December 28, 2013

Taking Inventory

Taking Inventory

My dad was a grocery store owner when I was a boy. This enterprise had many perks. During the years that followed WWII the nation was required to use rationing stamps to purchase certain food and clothing items. As a grocery owner my dad could only sell certain items to folks that had the proper rationing stamps. He was required to collect and deposit these stamps with a government agency. Some of the products as I recall, that required stamps were, butter, sugar, bacon, pork, ham and beef.  We were never lacking any of these. I enjoyed easy access to the ice cream freezer and candy counter, a boy's dream come true.

Some of the perks were not so perky to me. For instance I had several jobs that I just out-right detested.  (1) Every two weeks the grocery order had to be unpacked and shelved. (2) Every week I had to transferring 100 pounds of potatoes into bags of five-pounds. (3) Once a week my job was to rack-up the returned empty soda bottles according manufacturer. (4) The job that was the worst of the worsted was the annual inventory that told us our profit or loss. My dad was a great teacher. I learned from him how to make hoagies, butcher a side of beef, and arrange meat in the showcase, display fruits and vegetables. All in all he was a wonderful mentor and I was happy in the family enterprise.  

Just as my family had to take a business inventory to determine our profit or loss, so the believer needs to check-up on his state of bring.  Lets look at an inventory from the Old Testament.

King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. So they brought these gold cups and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him. Daniel was summoned by the king to interpret the wall writing.

Daniel 5:25-28 (NLT) 25 “This is the message that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. 26 This is what these words mean: Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end. 27 Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up. 28 Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”  As God had judged Nebuchadnezzar’s pride by removing him from the throne, so He would judge Belshazzar’s pride by taking the kingdom from him and giving it to another people. This judgment was written in the words that appeared on the plaster. (1) Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end. (2) Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up. (3) Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” 

2 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV) For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

The fact is our measuring devise must be God’s standard. That is the truth as revealed in scriptures. John 17:17 (NKJV) Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  James 1:22 (NKJV) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

The truth causes us to put off the old sinful self and put on the new man. Colossians 3:5-11 (NKJV) 5 Therefore put to death your members, which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.  Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

God’s standards are the reality of TRUE FAITH and RELIGION.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gabriel’s Visit To Nazareth

Gabriel’s Visit To Nazareth

When I was a young boy Christmas was a time of great excitement for my sister Lois and me. My parents were devoted to us and provided to the best of their ability. I remember one year when my mother made beautifully colored aprons and sold them to friends and neighbors. Her effort and sacrifice was so she could make a memorable Christmas for us. My gift was a small peddle-driven play automobile. Oh how I loved that car. It was a marvelous Christmas morning surprise, probably my most memorable as a child.

Luke 1:26-27 (NKJV) 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

The context sets the stage, Mary had not yet had sexual contact with a man, Luke called her a virgin and noted that she was pledged to be married to Joseph (cf. 2:5). In Jewish culture then a man and woman were betrothed or pledged to each other for a period of time before the actual consummation of their marriage. This betrothal was much stronger than an engagement period today, for the two were considered husband and wife except that they did not live together till after the wedding. Let’s look at what the Word of God says concerning this matter.

·      Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. This was a prophesized event announced years prior to the birth.

·      Matthew 1:18 (NKJV) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

·      Matthew 1:21 (NKJV) And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."

·      Luke 1:34-35 (NKJV) 34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" 35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

·      John 1:14 (NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Virgin Birth is a vital link in God’s Eternal Plan. It is a vital link because without the supernatural birth there could be no redemption for the lost race. The first Adam crashed and burned, i.e. failed, in the Garden. The second Adam, Jesus, came to earth and succeeded in His mission by living a sinless life.

The Old Testament informs us that the sacrifice for sin was to be a perfect lamb without blemish. The blood of that lamb was then spilled on behalf of the one offering that sacrifice. If Jesus would have been born as a result of natural intercourse, we would still be lost in our sin. Thus, the Virgin Birth is critical to the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan. 1 John 4:9,10 (NKJV) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  What is propitiation? The Son became an atoning Sacrifice for our sins. Romans 3:25 (NKJV) whom God set forth as a propitiation (sacrifice for our sins) by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

Hallelujah to our LAMB! Jesus willingly gave himself up so that the Father passed over or blotted out the sins that were previously committed. Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Have a Blessed Christmas

Thursday, December 19, 2013



J. Clayton Sheridan II
Light is energy, power and illumination. 1 John 1:5 (NKJV) This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  In the prologue John asserted that he was writing about things he had heard, seen, and touched. Here he began with something he had heard. This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you. By the words “from Him,” John no doubt meant from the Lord Jesus Christ. The content of this “message,” as John expressed it, is that God is Light; in Him there is no darkness at all. There is no reason to think that John did not mean just what he said. This is a truth he had learned from the Lord.

Light is knowledge, understanding and truth. John 8:12 (NKJV) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."  This discourse continues Jesus’ public teaching in the city of Jerusalem in the temple area. How fitting that during the Feast of Tabernacles, when the large lamps were burning, Jesus... said, I am the Light of the world (cf. 1:4, 9; 12:35, 46). The world is in darkness, a symbol of evil, sin, and ignorance (Isa. 9:2; Matt. 4:16; 27:45; John 3:19). “Light” in the Bible is a symbol of God and His holiness (Acts 9:3; 1 John 1:5). Jesus is “the Light,” not merely a light or another light among many lights. He is the only Light, “the true Light” (John 1:9), for the whole world. When Jesus said, Whoever follows Me, He meant whoever believes and obeys Him. Jesus was speaking of salvation. Coming to Christ for salvation results in a different kind of life. A believer will never walk in darkness, that is, he will not live in it. He does not remain in the realm of evil and ignorance (John 12:46) for he has Christ as his Light and salvation (cf. Ps. 36:9).[1]

John 3:19 (NKJV) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  Men love darkness not for its own sake but because of what it hides. They want to continue undisturbed in their evil wicked deeds. A believer is also a sinner (though a redeemed one), but he confesses his sin and responds to God (cf. 1 John 1:6-7). In the ultimate sense, man’s love of darkness rather than God the Light is his love for idols. He worships and serves “created things rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25).

Some things we know about light. (1) Light is unchangeable. (2) Light in free space travels approximately 186,282 miles per second. (3) Light travels in a straight line. (4) Generally, Electromagnetic Radiation EMR is classified by wavelength into radio, microwave, infrared, and the visible region that we perceive as light. Unseen with the natural eye is ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays.

Matthew 17:1-5 (NKJV) 1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" Jesus took... Peter, James, and John with Him up a high mountain by themselves. The high mountain may have been Mount Hermon, near Caesarea Philippi, for Jesus was in that region (Matt. 16:13).  Jesus pulls back the curtain of His humanity, so to speak, and was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. And then, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" – Jesus the LIGHT of the world. What does all this mean? Light is knowledge, understanding and truth. Jesus is the answer. He gives to those who put their trust in Him peace, hope, grace, joy and much more.

[1] The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dealing with Demons – Part 4

Angel of Light

Dealing with Demons – Part 4

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians says it so beautifully “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT). It could be that some folks may be disturbed by our recent survey of demons. Evil spirits and demons are real, alive and busily carrying out the agenda prescribed by their evil commander. Believers need not think that there is a demon behind every door or under every covering. Jesus is our example for living and ministry. Listen to his words in the following verses.

Jesus gave authority to his disciples to cast out evil spirits heal the sick.  Matthew 10:1 (NLT) 1 Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. 

Jesus declares to his disciples I give you ALL authority in heaven and on the earth. Think of it He gives a blank check, so to speak, to deal with all kinds of human problems. Matthew 28:18 (NLT) 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 

Jesus causes questions about His authority, they thought it might be a new doctrine, because He commanded unclean spirits and they had to obey Him.  Mark 1:27  Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." (see Luke 4:36). (NKJV)
Jesus sent His disciples with power and authority to proclaim the kingom of God. Luke 9:1-2  1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (NKJV)

The bottom line for the assigned mission is very understandable. Jesus explains the scope of His grant of authority to bring victory and ultimate triumph to dark world. Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  

Psalms 44:5 (NKJV) Through You we will push down our enemies; Through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. 

Malachi 4:3 (NKJV) You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the LORD of hosts.

The high note in which we may rejoice is found in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. As a believer I’m assured that my weapons are MIGHTY in God to pull own strongholds. Further ungodly arguments are cast down, any one who exalts itself against the knowledge of God. All thoughts are bought into captivity in obedience to Christ ready to punish disobedience  when our obedience is fulfilled.  2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV) 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Romans 8:35-37 (NKJV) 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dealing With Demons - Part 3

Dealing With Demons - Part 3

Satan - An Angel of Light
An honest look at the Scriptures one must come away and declare, "Demons are Real".
Mark 1:32-39 (NLT) 32 That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus….34 So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak….39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.

Mark 3:14-15 (NKJV) 14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:

Luke 4:33,35,41 (NKJV) 33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, …35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. …41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, "You are the Christ, the Son of God!" And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.

Check out these verses all dealing demons or evil spirits. Matthew 4:24; 7:22; 8:16, 28, 31, 33; 9:32, 33, 34; 10:8; 11:18; 12:22,24,27,28; 15:22; 17:18. Mark 3:22; 5:12,15, 16, 18; 6:13; 7:26, 29, 30; 9:38; 16:9, 17. Luke 7:33; 8:2, 27, 29, 30, 33, 35, 36, 38; 9:1, 42, 49; 10:17, 11:14, 15, 18, 19, 20; 13:32. John 7:20, 8:48, 49, 52; 10:20, 21. 1 Corinthians 10:20,21; 1 Timothy 4:1; James 2:19; 3:15; Revelation 9:20; 16:14; 18:2.

If all Scripture is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16) and Christ is our perfect example, why did the Holy Spirit move upon the authors of this sacred manuscript to allow such enormous coverage of this special ministry? The Apostle Paul gives the answer, "That the man of God may be perfect [complete], thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:17). These Scriptures are the sounding of an alarm that demons were active in the ministry of Jesus Christ and will be active in the latter days of the church.

Prophetic Evidence.  Is there additional Scriptural support that demons will be active in the last days? Jesus said to the Pharisees, " . . . Behold, I cast out devils [demons], and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected" (Luke 13:32). The time measurement of "a day" is used here. How long is that day? The Apostle Peter reflects the length of God's day by stating, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8). Therefore, the length of a day could be interpreted as a thousand years. With that in mind, what was Jesus really saying in Luke 13:32? He was emphatically declaring that "I cast out devils, . . . to day and to morrow" (or for the next two thousand years), and on the third day (the millennial reign) I shall be perfected. Jesus was saying that the church in the twentieth century would still find it necessary to cast out demons, a fact we have judiciously ignored. Could it be that the established church has erred, not knowing the Scripture (Mark 12:24)?[1]

[1] Adapted from Invasion of Demons by John Hagee

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dealing with Demons Part 2

Dealing with Demons Part 2

Spiritual Warfare in Prayer. We are in a spiritual conflict. It is imperative that we understand this, for to seek to wage battle against the enemy in the strength of the flesh is to court certain defeat. We do well to remember the words of our Lord to Peter: "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (Mark 14:38). "Body" (Gk. sarx) alludes to earthly life. Our battles are not fought on an earthly battleground, or with earthly instruments of war. They are waged with weapons of another sort-weapons made effective through God's might. Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive very thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT) 3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Even though the believer's weapons 'are numerous as listed in Ephesians 6:14-17 (NLT) 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Prayer is not named among them, it is at least the means whereby the weapons are employed as Paul states in Eph. 6: 18 (NLT) Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere..

Through the enablement of prayer arguments and pretensions are demolished, as well as every high and mighty opposition to the knowledge of God. Arguments against the gospel Involve imagination and purely human reasoning. Through prayer and study of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit gives wisdom to demolish them. "We take captive every thought" (10:5).

The believers' warfare involves bringing our entire thought life into conformity with Christ's will. The mind itself is a battleground. Some of our unholy thoughts originate with us; some are planted by Satan; and others are thrown at us by our environment.  We therefore wrestle against our own sinful nature and against active forces of evil. We must firmly resist evil and unwholesome thoughts, seeking rather that the mind of Christ might dwell in us Philippians 2:5 (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Philippians 4:8 (NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 1

[1] The Spirit Helps us Pray – R.L. Brandt and Zenas J. Bicket

Friday, November 29, 2013

"Dealing with Demons"

"Dealing with Demons"

Matthew 4:23-24 (NLT) 23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 24 News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon-possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all.

As an Assemblies of God ordained minister I have witnessed missionary films displaying the work of demonic influence in Africa, India, South America, Asia and the far-flung regions of the world. Not many of the American church had ever seen the likes of the missions’ films.

America is discovering an onslaught of demon power unparalleled in our history. This can best be understood and realized in the area of crime, most crime today is demonic in origin.­ How many times have heard that a grocery store operator was ­held up and without provocation was murdered. ­The perpetrator of the crime would say, “I don’t know what came over me.”­ John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. Jesus makes a very revealing statement. The thief, i.e. Satan, has a goal that is to kill, destroy and steal from the believing Christian.  The Apostle Paul tells us clearly in Ephesians 6:12 (NLT) For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

America is rushing down a wide highway to occultism, Satanism, demonism and destruction.  The force that stands in its way is the "Glorious Church" of the Lord Jesus Christ and we are a part of that church.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 (NLT) For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. The restraining force here mentioned is the Glorious Church empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus talked more about devils and evil spirits than anything other subject except for money. He spoke more about hell than He did about heaven. The reason and purpose of this game plan is to warn people and to give them the truth.

Matthew 7:22 (NLT) On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’

Matthew 8:16 (NLT)  That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick.

Matthew 8:28,31,33 (NLT) When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area…. 31 So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”… 33 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men.

Matthew 9:32-34 (NLT) 32 When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. 33 So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed. 34 But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.”
In addition to these verses there are 58 more references in the NT relating to evil spirits and devils. Demons and evil spirits are real and becoming more and more a spiritual problem in which the American church must acknowledge and challenge.