Take a Stand, Resist Its Passage!

“You shall not pass!” are the famous words spoken by the character Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings series. It is a powerful visual representation of taking a stand against overwhelming odds.

Sometimes we too have to take a stand, all alone, in order to shine The Light of Christ and Truth on the approaching dark giant of Political Correctness, and to resist its passage and advancement in our society.

Jesus says:

“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to [physical] death. Everyone will hate you because of Me.

But not a hair of your head will perish [God will keep track of everything for you]. Stand firm, and you will win [eternal] life.”

‭‭~ Luke‬ ‭21:14-19‬ [for clarity in reading]

Take that stand, my friend! Heaven is watching, hell is watching, the world is watching… What will you do?

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#PastorsTip #Luke21 #TakeAStand #Resist #PoliticalCorrectness #LightOfChrist #Alone #YouShallNotPass #Gandalf #TLOTR

Overcoming Guilt-Induced Suicide

The human being was not designed to sin, much less carry their fully realized guilt of great sin. For example, when someone goes on a murderous rampage they quite often finish it by suicide. Their suicide is either by their own hand, or they force the authorities to shoot them (this is often called, “suicide by cop”).

The realization of the enormity of their guilt comes crashing down on them and in that moment they become absolutely guilt ridden and hopeless. This has been the most prominent final outcome in school massacres, in shopping mall murder sprees, and in family domestic conflicts that result in murder/suicides.

Sometimes the murderer comes close to suicide like O.J. Simpson in his infamous suicide-threatening ride in the back seat of a White Bronco after his “alleged” murder of Ron Goldman and Nichole Brown. He portrayed all of the symptoms of a human being that had just been crushed by the weight of realizing a great sin. If murderers survive their own drive to commit suicide, their only remaining options are to become hard-hearted and defensive, or to find genuine forgiveness. O.J. Simpson has not yet found forgiveness, so he remains hard-hearted and defensive to this day.

The Lord had two disciples that committed the enormous sins of denial and betrayal of their savior. Both of them, after their sin was committed, experienced the guilt induced motivation to commit suicide. One followed through and the other didn’t. One found forgiveness, the other didn’t. One found relief, the other didn’t.

Judas Iscariot was a chosen disciple of the Lord. He was the treasurer for the ministry, and he used to help himself to the funds for his own desires. Upon betraying Jesus for more money, he was hit with the enormous guilt of what he had done. His guilt induced him to commit suicide.

“When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver… Then he went away and hanged himself.”

~ Matthew 27:3-5

Peter (aka Simon) was another one of Jesus’ disciples, a fiery and speak-before-you-think kind of guy. Jesus even forewarned him that the enemy had sought permission to tempt him and to separate him out like a stone is sifted out of the wheat. Jesus then said something very significant to Peter, and it is very significant for us:

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

~ Luke 22:32

Why did Jesus pray for Peter’s faith to not fail, and yet Peter still denied knowing Christ three times later that night? It is because Peter’s faith was not built upon his own “sinless” and “righteous” activities; if it were, Peter’s faith would have been a complete failure very early in his walk with Christ. No, Peter’s faith was to be founded upon the forgiveness of Christ.

Jesus knew that Peter too would face the guilt-induced suicidal tendency, he would either commit physical suicide like Judas, or he would commit spiritual suicide by separating himself from Christ and his fellow brothers.

Have you recently sinned greatly? Are you feeling the weight of your guilt, seeing the depths of the darkness of your sin? Have you denied the Lord by actions and/or by words? Are you being driven to commit physical suicide or spiritual suicide?

The ONLY relief that is available to us is this: the forgiveness of Christ! And to receive His forgiveness we must, we MUST return to Him just as Peter did. When Peter overcame the guilt-induced suicidal drive (that which Jesus had prayed that he would overcome) he returned to Christ and once again took his place in God’s plan for him to be an outstanding Apostle of Christ and a historic pillar of the Church.

You may have failed Christ in so many ways, you may feel the dark loneliness and weight of your guilt, you may feel a fraction of the heart-sinking disappointment that God has felt because of you, and you may think that you cannot bear the torture of the hard-pressing and heart-pressing guilt.

But Jesus has prayed for you, that your faith will not fail. This is the moment for which He was praying, that now, in this very moment after you have sinned, you would not turn to a form of suicide, but turn back to Him! That your faith would be built upon His forgiveness!

Sure, you will need some healing (Peter seemed to require some time to warm back up to Jesus), but the healing process only begins at the moment of forgiveness… His forgiveness for you! Peter’s Day of Pentecost soon followed when he was filled, anointed, and empowered by the Holy Spirit and he received a renewed outlook on himself, on life, on ministry, and on eternity. Most of all, his vision of Jesus was changed from the natural to the glorified!

See you at the foot of the Cross of Christ, where we all can overcome the guilt-inducement to suicide.

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#PastorsTip #Luke22 #Matthew27 #Suicidal #Betrayal #Denial #Jesus #Christ #Forgiveness #Restoration #Overcoming #Guilt

What is the Enemy’s Current Strategy for Your Failure?

The enemy, the devil, Satan, is strategic in his driven efforts to “steal, kill, and destroy” our life in Christ. Though he utilizes temporal things in this life and in this world, his goal is to secure an eternal impact in our lives that will result in us separating from God.

He may use one massive event, or a swarm of smaller events; he may carry out his plans all in one day, or work them over a long period of time, either way he uses everything that is at his disposal. He is limited by God, but he is not yet totally locked up; that day is coming, but for now he runs amuck.

At this point some might say, “You are going to trigger fear in your readers, they are going to think they see the devil’s minions behind every tree!”

First of all, Jesus encourages us to not give way to fear. Second, fear is not avoided or conquered by remaining ignorant of truth and reality. Third, “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18) so the more we fall in love with God the more fear will be driven from our hearts. If we are overcome with fear, let us draw near to God with our whole heart, with all of our mind, and by utilizing all our strength in our pursuit of Him.

Discerning the devil’s current strategies should be done through praying in partnership with the Holy Spirit. He is our Counselor, our Peace, our Teacher, and the source of our discernment. While we can (and should) discern a lot of things through the use of our limited intellect and our incomplete knowledge of the scriptures, it is the Holy Spirit that will take our blurred vision and provide the final focusing of our spiritual eyes.

So, let me encourage us all to engage in prayer as we study the scriptures and as we evaluate our strengths and weaknesses.

One of the enemy’s strategies is to test our defenses with small tests; they are tests, not attacks. If we are having small incidences of temptation in our life, the enemy just might be clandestinely hidden nearby testing the perimeter of our life to see where a full-on attack with temptation would be most effective.

Has the enemy been discreetly testing one of your weaknesses lately? Has he been doing reconnaissance by using small things to test your resolve in your defenses?

If we are willing to fulfill a small temptation, we just might fall for a big version of the temptation which would be tantamount to a 2,000 pound bomb being detonated in our life. The destruction in our life (and perhaps the lives of our friends and family) would be enormous.

The following passage may be very familiar to us, but let’s be deliberate in slowly reading every word of it. After all, it is from the Word of God; the scriptures are always supernatural in truth and in their effect upon our lives… if we will receive them deep into our mind, our heart, and our soul.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

~ Ephesians 6:10-18

Let’s be faithful and discerning Watchmen on the security walls of our lives. The enemy has not left the battlefield, he has not quit the war. He is very much active in preparation, in reconnaissance, in testing our perimeters, in propaganda, in psychological warfare, and in full-on assaults. He does not sue for peace, and he does not take prisoners “alive” unless he thinks that they can be turned for his use or tortured for his pleasure.

“… in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

~ 2 Corinthians 2:11

Lest we give too much of our attention to the enemy, let us draw near to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let us worship Him, and let us give Him the honor and glory in our daily lives in all that we do and in all that we are. After all, He has a great strategy for our victory, if we will keep in step with Him at every moment!

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#PastorsTip #Ephesians6 #ArmorOfGod #Satan #Devil #Recon #Strategy #Schemes #Death #Steal #Destroy #Life #Liberty