The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

September 24, 2013

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

2 Timothy 4:14-18
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

How many of us have been living life on a pretty even keel. We are getting along pretty well in our social relationships with people, living, what we feel, is a relatively good Christian life and testimony and then it happens. Some one comes into your life that train wrecks you emotionally and possibly in many other ways as well. Quite possibly they have come to you under the guise of another Christian Brother or Sister who loves the Lord. Maybe, initially you have sat and had great fellowship with them. They have won your friendship, trust and confidence and then it happens. At first some things start not adding up, there are seeming misunderstandings or miscommunications. Eventually it becomes evident that they are lying to you. They have been manipulating and using you as long as they could for their own gain or cause. Perhaps they are slandering you, spreading vicious rumors and trying to destroy your reputation. This is especially true if you are trying to expose them for who they are. What is worse is that they are still below the radar of most of their other associations, so most still perceive them as this wonderful spiritual person. Whether they are still perceived as spiritual or not you find yourself duped and taken advantage of. When you confront them they are always full of false promises of restitution and reconciliation or in total denial, turning it back on you as having the problem. What do you do with someone like that?
These types of people are probably much like those Paul describes in 1Timothy 3, when he talks about those who come having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was (1 Timothy 3:1-9).” What is disturbing is the emotional and spiritual destruction they leave in their wake. They often come defrauding honest people, deceiving, manipulating and betraying those who have embraced them in Christian love and fellowship. They often bring division and strife, as they turn brother against brother and sow the seeds of discord. Sometimes you would wonder if even they realize that they are the instrument of satan rather than the instrument of God.
The Word tells us that there will be those wolves in sheep’s clothing that will come among and try and destroy and undermine the work of God. We must guard our hearts, for their greatest strength is gained when they get us into the flesh, operating out of emotion and feelings, rather than out of the spirit. If we are able to rather stand in the Lord, entering into the fortress of prayer and lifting up a spiritual standard against this spirit, in time it will be broken. When we become frustrated, angry and discouraged, we tend to want to fall back upon the arm of the flesh to fight our battles. What did Moses do when Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses? Jannes and Jambres were thought to be the Pharaoh’s Egyptian sorcerers and magicians. It is interesting that Jambres name means, poverty, bitter and a rebel. What Moses did was let the Lord be His authority and vindicate his position. God will vindicate the righteous, but it may not be before there is great persecution. Again our lesson is to be discerning of men, stand our ground based on the Word of God and through prayer and confidence in God allow God to go before us in battle, so that we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Blessings,
kent

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Joy Unspeakable

November 19, 2012

1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Joy Unspeakable

Isn’t it amazingly awesome that this Truth, Jesus, that we possess, through faith, can bring such continual and inexpressible joy in your hearts, in spite of your circumstances? You know what protects and shelters that inexpressible joy? Our faith.
What God has promised and has given us is shielded through faith until it is fully revealed and made manifest. That is not dependent upon our lifetime or life lived upon the earth. We are eternally secure through faith and all that we are promised is secure as well.
This is why we can rejoice, even in the midst of all of our trials and tribulations upon the earth. These only come to enhance and intensify the flavor and aroma of our faith. While the enemy would use them to destroy us, as we trust in Jesus, we wax stronger. Our faith is strengthened as in our weakness we find His strength. In our losses, He is our greater provision. In our suffering He remains our hope and comfort.
Jesus is our joy unspeakable. Though we haven’t seen Him, yet, we so intensely and fervently love Him, because we know Him after the Spirit and not after the flesh. That faith fans the flames of our relationship and bond with Him. Our faith brings us through the fires of our trials and tribulations. It is proved genuine and refined by the fires it has passed through. Instead of discouragement and defeat we continue to stand, abounding in the joy of the Lord. Because we believe and because we can experience the power of the inner relationship we have, we are comforted and find our assurance.
Circumstances do not dictate our relationship with God. God is still the Lord of our circumstances, no matter how grim they may be. We don’t look at the doom and gloom of the world around us and get caught up in its terror, because we know the One who has written history and the future. He is the same One that is the author and the finisher of our faith. So today we will be encouraged! We will be exceedingly joyful, because our God reigns in the heavens, in the earth and most importantly to us, in our hearts!
If we are enduring trials and tribulations today, may those pains and pressures only drive us to worship and praise God more intensely. May they drive us deeper and more intimately into Him, who is that hiding place of our safety and our victory. The trials and tribulation of this life should only embed us deeper into our Papa. There that shield of faith and confidence in Him shields us from the enemies’ darts and arrows. Papa covers us with the shadow of His wing, for He is our refuge and our fortress.
Let not doubt and fear overtake you. Remember your God, all of His mighty works and all of His unspeakable benefits. We are His children. What can man do to us, but drive us deeper into His presence? Let us remember and praise Him with unspeakable and resounding joy. Our God is the salvation of our souls and the Redeemer of all who call upon His name. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!

Blessings,
kent

Fear of Man

July 25, 2012

Fear of Man


Psalms 56:1-6,9-13
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? 5 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life…
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise- 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Fear is a powerful force.  Most all of us have been influenced and moved by it.  But ironically it is the fear of God that will move us to faith, while the negative fears that we harbor and allow touching and influencing our lives will move us away from faith.  If we think about it most anything we fail to trust God for is either an act of disobedience through rebellion or it is disobedience out of fear.  Faith is a confidence in God and His Word, fear is the doubt and apprehension that God will fail us.  Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”  One of our greatest fears is what others think about us, how they will accept us and what they can do to hurt us.   Fear is one of the strongest instruments at the enemy’s disposal.  It undermines our faith and gets our eyes and our confidence off of Christ and back on to us.  It causes us to see after the natural rather than the supernatural.
There are different levels at which fear can touch us from the most surface levels of fear to the deepest levels of psychological trauma.  On the surface levels we all deal with fear of social acceptance, failure and insecurity.  Think about a baby in the mother’s womb.  It knows no fear there.  It is safe, it is warm, provided for, accepted and secure.  It has all of the things that we loose the guarantee of as we come into this world and are forced into self- responsibility.  When these basic needs or wants are threatened it causes us to fear.  We fear when we are not in a safe environment.  We fear for our health, our daily provisions and needs as well as the needs of those we are responsible for.  We fear when we feel insecure and threatened, physically, emotionally or even spiritually.  Thus fear becomes a very powerful motivator and influence in our lives.  Jesus addresses this fear that stems out of worry in Matthew 6:25-34, “”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Is all fear bad?  No, we can’t say that all fear is bad, because it is often fear that can motivate us to right actions or even protect us from things that could harm us.  The fear of God is a good fear because it moves us into Him and the more that we move into God the more we learn to trust Him.  He can bring us again to that place of peace we had as infant only it won’t be without conflict.  It won’t be without many things, people and circumstancse coming against us, as they attempt to rob our peace and confidence in the God that we’ve come to know, love and serve.
Many of the challenges to our faith come through the fear of man.  We fear that others will not accept us so we focus on what will be pleasing to the world.  Many of us get our self worth and esteem from what others think.  We often fear man so much that we let society and our circle of influence shape our values, our opinions and form the standard for how to act, what to wear, what we can and can not talk about.  In Jesus’ day people were fearful to talk about Jesus.  John 7:13 says, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.”  Many of us fear to speak openly of Jesus today for fear that others will be offended or not accept us.  We want to have the heart that David had when he said in Psalm 56:4, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”  Our flesh avoids pain and seeks pleasure.  We fear not living up the standards others have for us for fear of rejection.  Many of us live in a constant state of worry and anxiety, which is fear.  Yet the word teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7,  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Fear will always focus us on the natural and take our eyes off of our faith in God.  Deuteronomy 31:6 exhorts God’s people, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”  God speaks His Word into us to disperse our fears.  Isaiah 41:10-14 says, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
It is our faith in God that gives us boldness in place of timidity, that gives us eyes and a heart to see beyond our fears as we embrace the realities of God’s promises and His Word.  As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:18 he says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. “  The fear of the Lord will bring us into faith for it will cause us to exalt God’s ways above man’s ways and it will embrace His Word as truth even in the face of opposing natural evidence.  Our hope, our confidence and our faith are in the Lord.  When we embrace who we are in Him, then the fear of this world looses its power over us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. (1 John 5:4)”

Blessings,
kent

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