Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Strange Fruit

Good vs Evil
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

The Enemies Plan
In the beginning, the enemy hashed out a diabolical plan to destroy what God had created and saw was good.The enemy always had an agenda, right from the giddy-up, and that hasn't changed. His hellish m.o was to steal, kill and destroy via lies, of which he is the father of. Satan slithered his way up to Eve and seduced her with lies and  promises of  infinite knowledge, even though he knew that exposure to this was strictly forbidden by God, he still sold her dream after dream, and she bought it. It's easy for many now to call her names and say it was all her fault, but how many people alive today, if they were able to switch places with Eve, would have done differently? If anything, many now walk according to the flesh and their carnal minds, and probably would have tried to contend with God, saying  things along the lines of, "Why can't we eat from that tree God? What's the big idea? Why can't we just have a little taste? What's up with that God?" Some would probably even try to see if they can be clever and say, "Okay, if I did eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, you being God, if I got messed up wouldn't you be able to make a way to set me right again?" How many these days hasten towards what God warns us to stay away from, yet have the nerve to call Eve stupid or foolish, as though they are any better? In the Garden, the devil asked Eve if it was true that God said they shouldn't eat of every tree of the garden. Eve told him that God said they may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden, but they were prohibited from eating of the fruit, or even touching the tree in the midst of the garden, or they would surely die. That vile little  liar told Eve, basically, that God just didn't want them to be like Him, knowing all things, as if to say God had some kind of superiority complex or something. Satan pretty much called God a liar, when he said that they wouldn't die if they ate from the tree. From this point you can see how crafty and wicked satan is. The enemies actions are sordid, and  the way he plays the game is not so much for him to win, but for you to lose. You might think, well, that doesn't make any sense, how can there be a loser but no winner. Here is how. The devil cannot usurp God's power or  sovereignty as the Ruler over  the heavens and the earth. So, even if one was to lose somehow, more than likely as a result of disobedience, the enemy doesn't necessarily win anything at all, because his end has already been established, there is no reward in heaven for him. It is for many to meet the very same ending  purposed solely for him and his angels, that satan tries to play us all. The devil had the gumption to call God a liar. From this point you could see this dude was trouble, but Eve did not see this. Even though he told Eve something contrary to what she had already known God said they weren't to do, there was no suspicion in her mind that what he said was evil, because she was still unaware of what evil even was. Adam and Eve once being ignorant of good and evil in the garden, even though they were initially good, albeit completely unaware, they didn't do any wrong they just obeyed God without question. They were basically very naive, but it was a good thing, because they had a pure innocence, one we would be hard-pressed to find these days. Because of  their naivete they could do no wrong, up to that point evil was non-existent in their minds and hearts. Eyes now open, upon eating the forbidden fruit, they were made aware of many things, things they would have been better off not knowing. They always had free will in the Garden, that didn't just spring up after they left. Of course, because of  Adam and Eve's pureness, their innocence, their lack of knowledge of anything evil, they just used their freewill to obey God. That is really how we are suppose to be now, although we have free will, we are to take that and obey God. It may sound strange or even contradictory to some who believe they have a clear gasp on how freewill ought to work, but it all makes perfect sense. Many say, if given something freely shouldn't we be aloud to do whatever we want and not be forced to do otherwise? But I ask this, isn't that what God has aloud, for each to do as freely as they please? Because He has laws, has that obstructed you from doing whatever you very well pleased? Most, if honest, would rightly say no, because mankind follows the dictates of their own heart as suppose to following the laws of God in any event. Someone might say, then why would God give free will and then create rules for us to follow and if we don't then we are punished, wouldn't that be unfair and really a contradiction? On the contrary, the rules were given so order can be maintained, for our benefit. Imagine a society with no rules, would you want to live there? Also, the fact that God had laws put in place to be followed, and still gave free will, was not to confuse us, it was not to play games with us or to trip us up, it was so we would freely choose to love Him.
I imagine nobody truly wants someone to love them by force, but from a sincere heart. Knowing they could freely choose anyone else yet they still choose you, is a wonderful feeling and it's indicative to sincere love, God only wants the same. Is that too much for our Creator and Protector and Provider and Savior to have in return? Does He not deserve it? Does He deserve to be called unfair because of that? He could have had us like robots if He wanted, He certainly has the unlimited power to make us that way, and who would tell Him not to? He is God, but He didn't have it that way, even more of an example of how merciful and loving and fair He is. Though many will say He is not, it is quite evident that He is a fair and just God that loves us. What you consider unfair punishment is simply the consequences brought about as a result of the choices you made freely, with that same freewill you got. Had you chosen differently, you would have had different results. For you to lament, "Oh, if I do whatever I please and God punishes me for it, that's unfair.", is the same as touching a piece of  hot coal, and upon getting burnt you get upset at the hot coal because it burnt you, when your the one who picked it up not the other way around. I have heard this question more times than I can remember, shucks, I've even thought about it myself once ago before I had come to know God. "Why didn't God just make Adam and Eve obey Him?" I would have to ask a person who asked that question this, why didn't He just make the sky purple and pink?  Why not make the cows say meow and the cats say moo? Why, Why, Why? What concern is it of ours why He has aloud any of what it is He has aloud, and how He decides to do things? Would knowledge of that make you believe in Him? Would it make you repentant if you knew each and every one of the reasons God does any of the things He does? Ask yourself that.
There is a story in the book of Luke Chapter 16 verses 19-31. There was a rich man, a very snazzy dresser and he fared sumptuously everyday. There was also beggar named Lazarus who was filled with unsightly sores that laid at the rich guy's gate everyday. Lazarus was so hungry that he wanted, if only, to be able to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich guy's table. Dogs even came and licked Lazarus' sores. One day, the beggar died and was taken by angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. Being tormented in Hades, the rich man lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham, and Lazarus in his bosom. The man who was once of a very ostentatious affluent reputation in his life, but now in torment in Hades, cried out to Abraham,  for Lazarus to dip his finger in water, to cool his tongue. But Abraham reminded the rich man of how in his life he received many good things, but Lazarus life was filled torment. Besides all of that, there was no way Lazarus would be able get to him now because of the great distance between them. Seeing how horrible conditions were where he was, the rich man begged Abraham to have Lazarus go back into the world, to his father's house, and testify to his five brothers so they would not meet the same end he did. Abraham said, "they have people like Moses and the prophets there, let your brothers listen to them." The rich guy was like "no, if you send someone from the dead to warn them, they will repent". Abraham told him, "If they don't even listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't be persuaded by somebody who came from the dead". The story about Lazarus and the rich man is a cautionary tale, and even after many have heard this story they still do not repent. Even after many have been given the sign of Jonah, of preaching and teaching , they reject admonishment, they reject the Good News, they find no place in their hearts for the Gospel of peace and truth. So, really ask yourself if all these questions you have about how God runs things, if they were answered, would it make you repent? You have heard of the love God has for you, but does it make you genuinely sorrowful and repentant, or do you carry on living your life according to your will, which has rewards that are not favorable in the grand scheme of things? God really and truly not only provided a way to have us reconciled to Him, but He supplies each of us with help, in the form of His Holy Spirit. Isn't that loving? Ask yourself, why after leaving the club or the bar completely wasted, you made it home safely? Certainly it wasn't because you got the skills of a formula one race care driver. Many when they make it home safely after a night of carousing and drunkeness, they boast about how they got home safely because they're a  great driver. Not even acknowledging God's grace and mercy. Why when you were robbed the thief didn't murder you, certainly it wasn't because of his moral code, even though it is strange how some lawless people would commit an crime and not do another equally lawless act because they think that's crossing the line. Sometimes I wonder by what scales do they measure these things. Perhaps, you were shot at some point or injured in a car accident or injured some other way, Why didn't you die?  Because your lucky? Because you're a Harry Houdini? No, because God is sovereign! Why don't people ask the right questions? God is merciful and loving and filled with grace. God's mercy endures forever. God is longsuffering with us. It is not His will that any should perish, but how many are even concerned with His will? His good, acceptable and perfect will. How many? God doesn't force anyone to bend against their free will, because of that many hearts that constantly planning evil, the free will given has resulted in many horrible things happening. Their are rewards for whatever you decide to do with your free will. If you decide to pursue righteousness and to obey God, you receive good rewards but if you take your free will and do evil, what d you think your reward shall be. Do you think you should receive the reward of the righteous? Wouldn't that make God unjust? But He is not unjust, He is fair, and he fairly has given all free will and you can choose whatever to do with that, but it would be in your best interest to follow along the laws God has placed because those have more favorable rewards, than evil deeds. "For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap everlasting life."  Galatians 6:8 nkjv. Why not take what you have been given freely by a loving God and use it to to please Him who loves you so much, so in return for His love you love Him, without being forced to but by your own will, not because God wants you to repay Him or needs you to repay Him for His free love, but because He is worthy of our obedience, He is worthy of our praise. Upon eating from the tree they were forbidden to eat of, their eyes were opened, once that happened you could pretty much they say it all went downhill from there. That devil, being the deceiver that he is, came along and whispered lies into Eve the minute her eyes were opened. Adam also, eating of the same fruit, now was aware of things that he would have been better off not knowing. You know what's so amazing, even though God had seen all of this He still went looking for Adam, He still was calling his name, but Adam hid. Before, they were nor ashamed of their nakedness, Genesis 2:25, but now after tasting of the forbidden fruit, they were "in the know" and were ashamed at their nakedness and hid themselves. The moment  Eve then Adam took that bite mankind died, Genesis 2:17. Adam's death was not a physical death like some assume it was and would have you blindly believe, his death was a spiritual death which is far worse. Until the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross for our sins, the death Adam experienced and passed down to us was irrevocable. How interesting is it that the enemy was so pressed to have Adam know knowledge then, but now he is using every deceitful bit of trickery he can to keep mankind from obtaining knowledge of the Truth. The truth of life, the truth of reconciliation to God brought about through Jesus Christ. Does anybody want to know why? You must want to know, at least you should want to know. The enemy is pulling out all the stop's, using all of his resources to keep all in the dark. What is he trying to keep us away from? Why is it so critical that he work around the clock, sending out his wicked ones to lead us astray? Why does he make evil look so appealing? Why is it that he makes us think we can't stop being sinful? Why? Why? Why? You must want to know the answers. Truth is, most people aren't asking these questions, the devil would have it that way. The devil wants us to think nothing is wrong in our lives, that all we do, although it goes against God's commands,  it's all perfectly fine. Well it's not. The pains satan is taking in keeping the proverbial wool pulled over the eyes of mankind. The devil already knows the Truth, he's just trying to keep it away from us. Isn't he selfish! If you are unaware of the enemies devices and not so hidden agenda, here's a newsflash, he doesn't care about you or me or anyone. The devil tempts us, then after we have succumb to temptation he accuses us before God, now if that isn't rotten I don't know what is. This devil is really not looking out for our best interest in anyway, his repertoire is filled with crafty ways to draw us out and drag us down, he drew the blueprint on deception, his arsenal is packed to capacity with weapons constructed solely to destroy our minds and lives simultaneously. He will make us believe he has our best interest in mind, that he really wants us to experience joy and happiness by supplying us with material things. But check this, the enemy is fully aware that the things of this world cannot supply a person with true everlasting joy, only temporary satisfaction. The enemy is fully aware that true lasting pure joy comes from the Lord, but he would have you believe the other way around, that true joy comes from the things you acquire in this life and if you don't obtain these things, you're a loser living a sad existence and must find someway to keep up with the Jones', so to speak. The enemy wants each of us to sail into eternal damnation right along with him, loaded down with sin just as the day we came into the world. This is why satan makes it all so appealing to do what God opposes. The truly sad part is that even though God has supplied us with a way to be reconciled to Him, many are still walking down  that broadway to destruction. Earlier, when I mentioned if anybody had the opportunity to switch places with Eve and was able to face God, and perhaps was to get a little cheeky with Him and say, "Okay, if I did eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, you being God, if I got messed up wouldn't you be able to make a way to set me right again?" Guess what? God did just that. He created a way to set everything straight after the fall that day in the Garden. Of course, God being omniscient, foreknew all of what was going to go down and already had His own plan, a resolution which was already prepared for such a time like the fall of man. As the devil came up with his plan to destroy the world, God had another plan much greater than the enemies. Gods plan was a plan to restore life, peace and unity between Him and man. How did He plan on doing this? By using His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savoir!  God had always prepared a way  out for his people in spite of all the snares the enemy placed in mankind's path. As the enemy lies in wait, as many blindly go through life, God made a way for us to be redeemed, by sending the Great Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who showed us the biggest display of Love that the world has ever seen, He sacrificed His life For us. God has supplied us with the opportunity to obtain the life we lost in the Garden of Eden via Adam. As it is written, " Therefore, as through one man's offense judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gifts came  to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous." Romans 5: 18-19. "...Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." 1 Peter 18:20. The enemies number one plan is to keep us from coming to the knowledge of truth and the liberation that comes along with it. Where can you find this truth? Through Jesus Christ, "The Way, The Truth, and The Life"! John 14:6. The way to what you may ask, the way to eternal joy and peace and happiness. Jesus is the only mediator between us and God, He was the propitiation for our sins. Through Him we have a direct line to God by prayer. Sadly, for many the desire to please oneself supersedes the desire to please God. We should pray for the many that are still blinded, so their eyes may be opened so that they can see the eer of their ways and repent. So that many can be given new hearts and renewed minds in Jesus who is the Christ. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12 We ought to be well versed on the enemies methods of  trying to cause us to rebel against God. "Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices" 2 Corinthians 2:11. But what are some of Satan's devices? Satan is still setting the same snares, using the same lies, that he had from back in the Garden of Eden. He's still got the same old tricks up his sleeves. This dude even tried to tempt the Lord God, so you know he's out for the kill, he doesn't care who you are. That's why the time to wise up is now. "Gird up the loins of your mind!" 1 Peter 1:13. Be sober! "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." John 8:44. What sticks out to me in that verse is where it says, "he speaks from his own resources", God doesn't deal lies. The enemy on his own creates lies and then teaches them, creating his own  wicked philosophy. It's really no surprise that the tactics the enemy now uses to lure us in are as old as the hills, this is why she be able to beat him everytime. For many believers, when the enemy attacks, he will try to make you doubt every and anything you have come to learn, things like the authenticity of the Bible and the faithfulness of God, among many other things. The enemy wants you to become desirous to search other doctrines, but he will have you think, "Oh, I'm only seeking truth." but in reality he really just wants you to walk further and further away from what is already established as the living Truth found in the Holy Bible. He will have you raise questions about genealogies, even being led into disputes over things that can neither edify you or anyone. He will try to make you zealous for things that aren't good, practically making you a full on radical for iniquity. Making you so drunk on lies, you become violent all in the name of your new found belief , which is based on something that is contrary to the word of God. "Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness." Romans 6:13. The devil wants you exploring certain things that you really shouldn't be meddling with, being well aware of how weak the human flesh is, he knows that once he has cast even the slightest bit of doubt into your mind you may stumble. We must remember not to give place to the devil, Ephesians 4:26, or he will run wild. He will lead you into any direction, as long as it doesn't lead to God. Once you become so confused to the point where you, "exchange the truth of God for a lie" Romans 1:25, satan is glad. He will cause you to become doubtful about whether you are truly free from the bondage of sin. He will attempt to make you believe the old man has not passed away, but has simply been lying dormant until the right moment comes for you to be consumed with him again, and you be heavy burdened with that albatross of past sins once more. But it is written, "Who the Son sets free is truly free indeed" John 8:36. You are indeed free. Because you are tempted about a certain thing it doesn't mean you're still that old person. You are not your temptation. It is when you succumb to the wiles of the enemy, that problem begins. The Lord is faithful and will be present to catch you when you're faced with temptation. It is written that He provides a way out of temptation. "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 niv. God can and will deliver you out of temptation. Do not cast away your faith and confidence, on account of some familiar, unnerving, unwanted, intrusive bit of feelings. Because you start feeling urges to practice certain things you have left behind, do not fret and begin to doubt thinking you were not changed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, just know it is the devil at work. The devil will no doubt have under the notion that all those desires are natural,  and it's all you and you should stop suppressing those feelings and live your truth. One thing I have come to learn over time is that the enemy has no interest in truths of any kind, his sole interest is to destroy you. One of the tricky things he loves to do, and it has happened to me, is bring people from your past that meant you no good back into your life, and they start having an even stronger desire than before to be a part of your life. Sometimes it happens gradually and sometimes you start bumping into them everywhere or all of a sudden they start emailing you or calling you, strange thing is, they really have  nothing much to say. You must never believe any of the lies the enemy will whispers to you. The Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  must be with you always, within. The enemy will say, pick that phone up and call so and so, and if you don't call then they won't talk to you anymore in life and you wont be happy, you need them, you won't be able to live without them. You may find yourself building your entire world around someone, to the point where you can imagine your life without them and when it doesn't work out, and reality hits, that you will indeed have to live your life without them, you start slipping into depression, and start having suicidal thoughts. Maybe it isn't even a person, maybe it's something else, drugs or something. The enemy will have you think you can't go on without whatever it is that's destroying you. There is only one thing a person cannot live without and that is God. I know the times I thought about ending my life were very dark moments. I would slip in and out of depression and just wanted the feeling of sadness to end, and the only thing that came to mind that I felt would put an end to my  misery was taking my own life,  fortunately, those feelings of killing myself subsided. I know it only could have been the Lord helping me there. We make the mistake in our lives of making gods out of people, some even turn their job into a god. We got to be very careful and constantly examine our lives and see if we have gathered any idols hidden in our hearts. Suicide is a very sad thing. To know that a person was so broken that they took their own life. That they did not believe anything, not even God, could pull them out of whatever it was that had them burdened, is a very very sad thing. I find myself commiserating with persons whoa are suicidal, being suicidal a few times in my life. When I think of what suicide is ultimately, choosing death over life, it could be fair to call not following Jesus, who is life, very suicidal, and if you look at it that way, in which I do, the amount of people out their that are suicidal are too many to be numbered. It's safe to say people who commit suicide, the ones that were believers, have cast away their confidence, and the ones who never believed, rejected the truth and gave up.There are those cases where people are led by the enemy to take their lives after something horrible that they feel has happened that have brought shame to themselves and caused irreparable damage, permanently tarnishing their image and is to much to bear, so they cast themselves onto their sword like Saul. The desire to end your life will never come form the Lord, always from the enemy, the Lord wants you to endure to the end so you may receive your just reward, the enemy wants you dead. The enemy will try to get you to twist scripture to justify the wrong things that you are doing, and that is evil. He will have you believe purity and obedience to God is some antiquated idea. He mostly wants us to think that God's commandments are burdensome,  but God has said that His commandments are not burdensome, that His yoke is not heavy, 1 John 5:3. The devil wants us to fold, he wan't us to think that the world and all that it has to offer right now is whats real, and there will be nothing after, no reward as promised by the Lord, so why suffer. The Lord cannot lie. The enemy wants us to count God's promises as slack but they are not, 2 Peter 3:9. He's making many believe that it is impossible for one to live righteously, but God has said what is impossible for man is possible for Him. Many will be led down the path of destruction because they trusted in satan and not Jesus. A constant theme that has been going on from century to century in movies, plays, books, games, etc, is good versus evil. One thing we can all attest to, is that Good prevails more often. In this spiritual battle that is going on right now, one thing is certain, in the fullness of time when all is revealed, God will prevail! "And I say unto you, that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18 kjv. The other day as I was reading the book of Jeremiah, and there was a verse that really had me thinking about God grace and mercy and how He truly only wants us to seek Him with all our hearts, how much He loves us. "'Return, backsliding Israel,' say's the Lord, 'I will not cause my anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,' says the Lord, 'I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice,' say's the Lord." Jeremiah 3:11-13. God wants us to confess of our wrong doing and to return to Him, to trust in Him. He is waiting with opened arms, with mercy and not judgement for those who flee from iniquity. The devil, however, wants us to do our own thing and he wants us to believe that his way is the correct way and not the Lord's. satan wants us to be fearful, but he does not teach the fear of the Lord which produces great things like wisdom and knowledge, no, satan wants us to be fearful of everything else. He wants to lead us through fearing him and thing's of this world, to a life of eternal damnation. Satan will try to corrupt anything he can get his hands on, he wants to mislead us not help us. He will have you believe that since the majority of the world is doing something it must be alright with God. Satan teaches that God won't punish everyone who particiaptes in acts He has already declared are fruits of the flesh. There is eveidence in the Bible that shows how God has destroyed entire nations for those things, yet people still want to deny God's righteousness and His justice, denying the power. Still, many call God unfair, simply because they want to do as they wish and recieve the reward of the righteous, when the righteous has suffered under the wicked and is deserving of the promise. This verse in the book of Ezekiel 18:25-29 is an awesome verse and one of my faves, it is a verse that can help many to understand God's righteous judgements, "Yet you say, 'the way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, Oh house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your way which is not fair? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity that he has done that he dies. Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he has commited, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himslef alive. Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he commited, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel say's, 'The way of the Lord is not fair'. O house of Israel, is it not my way which is fair, and your way which is not fair?". The trouble is, many lean on their own understanding, which we are warned against. Truthfully, not everyone is walking in unrighteousness, but the ones who are will be judged for it. The other evening when I was in young adults group, the topic was fornication, and a young man said, "well everyone is doing it" I guess that means it's alright because everyone's "doing it", we should all jump on that hell-bound bandwagon. There is a reason, the Lord said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14. This scripture shares why you should not be deceived when you see the masses drawn to something that the Lord clearly spoke against. The path of least resistance is the path many take. Not many wanna bother with denying themselves, the enemy have made many believed they are entitled to certain things no matter how bad it may be. The enemy teaches, do whatever you please, the Lord teaches deny yourselves, take up your cross and follow Him. We must trust in the Lord, he wants and knows what's best for us. Choose on this very day whom you will serve. The time has come when it truly matters who's side you're on. Choose the side with one true God, the loving merciful faithful Savior. Repent of your sins. Open your Bibles and allow the Holy Spirit to write the Truth onto your hearts. "He who testifies of these things says, 'Surely I am coming quickly!" Revelation 22: 12-20 nkjv.