Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I am already dead:

Not the most positive title for this message. As I write this I am under demonic attack. Continuing physical problems, financial stress and I find myself really at a loss. It is at such a time in one’s life that the truth of Christ moves from just belief to actual experience.

Reading the scriptures of the life Paul some might say that he lived his life recklessly. I would say boldly myself. He was constantly under attack. He constantly followed the Lord no matter what the consequences.

In fact, we still feel as if we're under a death sentence. But we suffered so that we would stop trusting ourselves and learn to trust God, who brings the dead back to life. 2 Cor 1:9 (GW)

It is in the previous verse (v:8) we find Paul admitting to being crushed and overwhelmed beyond their ability. Thinking they would never live through it. The question I ask is if I am dead to this world and living for Christ then why allow doubt to attack me? The fact is that it is hard to hurt someone who is already dead. So I ask the question, “If I were to die today I would be with Jesus. If allowed to live I am still with Him and in His service.” Where is the downside in all of this?

For the past three or four weeks I have been involved in a study in what I would call Spiritual Combat. Ephesians 6:10-20 Paul tells us the details of this unseen war. Author Chip Ingram points out that we are fighting from victory and not for victory. It has taken me some time to realize what that all means. It is perhaps for that reason I have come under such demonic attack in the past few weeks. The fact is the war is over. Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago for your sins, my sins, and for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead. The devil was defeated. Then how do you explain the ongoing attack of Satan and his demons of hell? At the end of World War II Japan surrendered yet for months our troops continued to fight in the Pacific. Fighting island by island as Japanese troops continued to fight a guerrilla war. For our troops the War was over. Japan had surrendered right? Our troops were fighting from victory not for it because they already had it. Did that make the bullets and the bombs less deadly? No, of course not but you can see the difference in attitude and mission in life. Satan has lost the war and wants to take as many of us as he can down with him. He has nothing to loose and no mercy for you and I.

As I learn more and go deeper into God’s Word the attacks come more often. Learning and applying God’s instructions makes the devil very nervous. The best time to attack a soldier is before they have time to prepare for battle. When they are at peace. Paul warns us of this in verse 18. (Eph 6:18)

It is prayer that puts the whole armor of God to work. You may not know me but as a Christian brother I am asking you for your intercessory prayers for my family and I. Thank you and peace be with you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A lesson in the Gospel of John

When you are involved in witnessing you probably are given the opportunity in giving out a copy of the Gospel of John. Where we fail in witnessing is in discipleship. Continuing follow up and follow through so our new Christian brother or sister does not backslide into Satan’s grip once again.

The new Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Life Application Bible Studies Gospel of John is a tool worth using in discipleship. This is what I would call a true soup to nuts application. Contained within the book is the complete Life Application Study Bible of the Gospel of John. Now I own the 1996 edition of the New Living Translation Life Application Bible. This newest edition is a wonderful and major improvement in my opinion. Within this study book you receive it all. Included are the Life Application notes, maps, articles, cross-references and a guide in using all the tools of what makes a study bible truly a modern asset for today’s Christian. If you do not own such a study bible this is a great inexpensive way to get a hands on feel for it and decide for yourself if it is right for you.

The book contains 13 lessons. They are more than just read a passage of scripture and jot down an answer. The study takes a little different approach than most other bible studies I have been involved in. Since this is a Life Application study the first question always involves an open reflection on a personal life lesson. Though the book recommends a timeframe of 5 to 10 minutes for the opening question I have found it to take much longer depending on the group size. It is an important way to open things up. Many of the lesson questions deal with the Life Application Study notes. Opening the door in how to maximize the use of this study bible. Another key point in the study is the “Realize the Principle” question in each of the 13 lessons. This gets you thinking of how to apply to your life and to share with others what you have learned from the scriptures you are studying. It is a well thought out study program.

Before you hand this bible study to someone make sure you have gone through it yourself first. You personally will benefit from this well thought out and in-depth study of the Book of John.

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