How to Beat The Devil…

By The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV) The great statesman and historian Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Never give in⸺never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Notice the last phrase in this quote. “Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Hebrews 2:14-15 says of Jesus that “… by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death⸺that is, the devil⸺and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

beat_devil_stick-277x277The word “destroy” here comes from a Greek word that literally means to render impotent or powerless. The death and resurrection of our Lord broke the back the enemy. Christ rendered him powerless as far as the believer is concerned. In fact, the only power the devil has is what we give him. The Enemy must therefore rely on his finely tuned skills of deception in order to trick us into yielding authority to him. Jesus said in Mark 3:27 “… no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man.” Satan cannot overpower one who has the Lord of Glory residing in his house. He would first have to overpower Jesus and we know that just can’t be done. Therefore, he must deceive you into thinking that he is coming at you with overwhelming might. He cannot personally overpower you. So, he must try to intimidate you into conceding some sort of defeat. How do we withstand this kind of onslaught?

Here are two ways: First⸺James 4:7 says that we resist the devil by submitting to God. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Give God full control of your life. Commit yourself to prayer, fellowship and the Word.

Next⸺ (this is almost too simple to believe) Stand firm and wait him out. The Bible says that the dedicated followers of Christ have the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) One of these fruits is patience. Satan doesn’t have the Holy Spirit. Therefore, he doesn’t have patience! WE CAN OUTLAST HIM! In fact, the only way we can lose is to quit. We win by default if we don’t cave in to his cowardly wilds. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

Winston Churchill helped his people weather some of the darkest days in the long history of Britain with his incessant battle cry, “Never quit. Never give in!” He knew that Hitler was a coward and cowards don’t have the resilience needed to see it to the end. So it is with Satan. Never give up. Never give in. Never stop trusting God. Victory belongs to those who stand firm. You were called to it. Walk in it!

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death⸺that is, the devil⸺and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV)

 

God needs our help to save us?

Will-Work-Sign-medConsidering that “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) And considering that the Hebrew word translated “filthy rags” means a used sanitary napkin, which has several connotations in the Rabbinical Law, it is the height of arrogance for us to think that God needs our help to save us. Jesus blood was not enough. O’ how foolish we mortals are to think that we can impress Holy God with our good works. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) ⸺ The Mad Preacher

Keep your stinking “test of love” posts to yourself!

The Mad Preacher

By the Mad Preacher, Rod DavisImage

There’s a nasty epidemic raging in the cyber world. At first, it appears to be innocent. Yet when it’s unleashed it mercilessly attacks the Christian Internet community. This plague can be found on your computer. Its goal is to fill your email inbox with guilt and condemnation. Many Christians are deeply offending their brothers and sisters in Christ. They do so by using subtle intimidation to get them to forward their annoying, guilt-filled chain-emails. These correspondences basically declare that the test of one’s love for Jesus depends on whether or not one forwards their email to their email list. I get one almost weekly and they all say pretty much the same thing. Here’s an example of one. “If you aren’t ashamed to do this, please follow the directions. Jesus said, ‘If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before…

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Growing Up

manbaby-20150717141653_jpg~q75,dx720y432u1r1gg,c--By The Mad Preacher

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15)

Some time ago I was going to Tennessee Wesleyan College where I was working on a pre-seminary degree. One day I was talking to a good friend, who was also a pastor. As pastors often do, we were discussing the activities of the preceding Sunday, while waiting for class to begin.

“What did you preach about Sunday?” I asked.

“Well,” he said. “I started off by asking my congregation a question,” he responded.

“What was the question?” I inquired.

“I asked them, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’”

I nearly spit my teeth out when I heard that! I couldn’t believe his boldness (or rudeness, depending on your point of view) in saying such a thing. However, later that day, I began to ponder that question. I smiled to myself at the audacity of my friend, but soon my amusement turned to intrigue. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” he had asked. Then I took it a step further and considered, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” It was a provocative question, considering at the time, that I was a man in my late thirties. I had already grown up…or had I?

 “…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

That Hebrew word for “hope” or “wait”(KJV) means, “to wait or look eagerly for.” In other words it is to “wait in hopeful anticipation.” Among other things, the word for “renew” means to “grow up.” For most of us, waiting is not a pleasant thing to do. In this day of microwave ovens and instant coffee we’re not used to waiting. It takes patience and we don’t like to be patient. Nevertheless that’s part of the process. Hopeful anticipation involves time and, after all, who has time these days. However, we must learn to wait on God. This is if we want to become stronger—if we want to grow up.

One of the greatest revelations I can remember having is this, “God is good all the time.” So if God is good all the time, then it stands to reason that everything that He does or permits to happen in our lives is ultimately for our good. God is trying to teach us something. It’s what he has always tried to teach his people―to trust Him. He’s trying to bring us to a place where He has our absolute trust. Then, and only then, will He reveal himself to us.

Consider this, if you will? You’re not going to share your deepest secrets with someone who doesn’t trust you, are you? Of course not, and neither will God. Mutual trust is paramount to making a relationship work—to making it grow. Therefore, waiting leads to hope and hope leads to intimacy and intimacy leads to growth. And it all starts with waiting. Just remember this. The Sovereign Lord is on the throne, and he doesn’t let us down. Just trust Him to do what He wants to do in your life—to help you grow up.

don’t mean maybe. He sampled solid foods once or twice, But he says doctrine leaves

So… what do you want to be when

I know a man, maybe you know him, too.                                                                                  You never can tell; he might even be you.                                                                                    He knelt at the altar, and that was the end.                                                                                He’s saved, and that’s all that matters to him.

His spiritual tummy, it can’t take too much.                                                                                   One day a week, he gets a spiritual lunch.                                                                                   On Sunday, he puts on his spiritual best,                                                                                    And gives his language a spiritual rest.

He’s just a faaa… He’s just a fat little baby! Wa, wa, waaaaa…. He wants his bottle, and he him cold as ice. Ba, ba, ba, ba…ba, ba…ba, ba!

He’s been baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the blood,                                                          But his daily devotions are stuck in the mud. He knows the books of the Bible and John  3:16.  He’s got the biggest King James you’ve ever seen!

I’ve always wondered if he’ll grow up someday.                                                                     He’s momma’s boy, and he likes it that way.                                                                                 If you happen to see him, tell him I said,                                                                                  “He’ll never grow, if he never gets fed.”

He’s just a fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fa-at, fat… Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fa-at, Fat… FAT, FAT, FAT, FAT, FAT, FAT, FAAAAAT… little baby. [1]

[1] Fat Baby by Amy Grant from her album, Age to Age ©1982 WORD

Tall Tales and End-time Preachers

end-timeline_med_hr-mid_med_hrBy The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2Timothy 4:3-4 NIV)

I was standing in front of the church building one Sunday evening after the meeting. I listened as two of my fellow members were debating end-times. One was pre-millennial, the belief that the church will be raptured before a proposed seven years of tribulation taking place before Christ sets up his so-called thousand year reign on the earth. The other was post-millennial. He believed that the church will be raptured after said tribulation period. The debate was friendly but a bit fiery.

Suddenly, one of them turned to me. “What do you think, brother Rod?” Everyone within earshot turned their eyes toward me. I felt like E. F. Hutton from those old TV commercials. Two guys would be discussing the stock market. Then one would say, “Well, E. F. Hutton says…” Everyone around them would stop what they were doing and lean toward them to listen to what the man was about to say. I was one of the pastors and they wanted to know my thoughts on the matter. “No,” I said, “you don’t want to know my opinion on this subject.”

“Oh, yes I do.” he persisted.

“No, you don’t,” I said.

“Yes, I do.” they both answered.

I was trying to keep from being drawn into another fruitless, end-times debate. Because if I gave them my opinion, which differed from both of theirs, that’s exactly what would happen. So instead of answering, I issued them a simple challenge. “I will give you one thousand dollars cash money,” I said, “if you can show me anywhere in the New Testament that teaches that Jesus is coming back to the Earth, set up a kingdom in Jerusalem and rule there for a thousand years.” I paused and then continued, “It’s just not there!

I have issued that challenge many times over the years and have never had to give a penny to anyone. Nobody has met that challenge and I’m confident that no one ever will. It’s because God’s Word does not teach that Jesus is coming back to the Earth to set up a kingdom in Jerusalem and rule there for a thousand years. Yet many preach it, write books about it, hold Revelation seminars about it and make movies about it. There’s even a video game based on the popular Left Behind series [which the books have sold over 60 million books].

 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.                (Revelation 22:18 NIV)

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6 NIV)

Many have taken verses out of context and tried to spin them to fit their particular point of view on the subject. They’ve taken the Biblical apocalyptic writings of The Revelation of Jesus Christ and the book of Daniel and made absurd, unfounded assumptions to support their claims about the Lord’s return. I remember hearing one such preacher say from the pulpit, “Why… during the thousand year reign of Christ there are going to be grapes so big that you have to use a wheelbarrow to carry just one.” Talk about people who “turn aside to myths”.

However, nowhere in the Bible does it clearly teach that Jesus is coming back to set up a throne in Jerusalem and reign for a thousand years. Again, it’s not there! Then the obvious question is, if The Bible doesn’t teach it why preach it? Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is, or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”    (Luke 17:20-21 NIV)

Sadly many once-great Gospel preachers have become bogged down by their fixation on end-times. It shows in the things they teach and the books they write. Their focus seems only on events surrounding the Lord’s return and their particular slant on it. To them preaching the gospel has been relegated to second or third priority in their so-called “ministry”. They’re more interested in preaching and teaching about Jesus’ second coming than they are about his first.

“…many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” —Jesus (Matthew 24:11)

“The future is big business.” — Hal Lindsey[1] (Author of The Late Great Planet Earth in which he claimed that the world would end in 1988. Then in an “updated” version of the book he said that it will end in 2007. Woops! Wrong again, Hal. Isn’t that the definition of a false prophet, to predict something will happen and it doesn’t happen?????)

“No one knows about that day or hour [when Jesus returns], not even the angels            in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” ― Jesus (Mark 13:32 NIV)

“Naturally men were anxious to know when that day would come. Jesus himself had bluntly said that no man knew when that day or hour would be, that even he did not know and only God knew (Mark 13:32, Mathew 24:36, Acts 1:7). But that did not stop people from speculating about it, as indeed they still do, although it is surely almost blasphemous that men seek for knowledge which was denied even to Jesus.” ― William Barclay[2]

Why do people, like Hal Lindsey, and Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins [authors of the popular Left Behind books] persist on writing these books rather than offering practical books that discuss the Christian walk, such as how to win souls and how to live victoriously? I believe the answer is simple; Practical books don’t sale like books of tall-tales. As Hal said, “The future is big business.”

Apparently these end-times preachers have forgotten the words of one of the greatest preachers who ever graced this planet. Look as the Apostle Paul clearly gives us not only his secret to success in ministry but also his uncompromising message that led to that success.

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV)

“Whatever subject I preach, I do not stop until I reach the Savior, the Lord Jesus, for in him are all things.” — Charles Spurgeon[3]

These self-proclaimed experts, with their end-time charts and books of fables, thrive because of the Biblical ignorance of this vast following of end-time junkies. Most of these junkies have very little personal theology of their own. Their view of most things Christian is not based on individual Bible study and prayer. Their understanding of end-times comes only from what they hear and see from these conveyors of myths.

They suffer from a baby bird mentality—eyes closed, mouth open. They believe what they hear without question. They just open up their spirits and swallow whatever these spinners of yarns put in them. After all, it’s much more fascinating and entertaining then what they perceive as dull sermons or books about winning souls and how to be more affective as a Christian.

This fixation on end-times is a hugely successful ploy by the Enemy. Not only does it distract once-great Gospel preachers from preaching “Jesus Christ and him crucified”, it also stumps the growth of those Christians who join them in their obsession. Financial and human resources are wasted—resources that could be used to win souls and equip God’s people for service. So, I say to all you end-time preachers, “Shame on you!”

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”— Jesus (Revelation 2:4-5 NIV)

 Obey the Lord! Repent and do the things you did before. That is before you got carried away and turned “aside to myths”. Focus on the needs of the people today instead of trying to second-guess God about that which 1Thessalonians 5:1-2 says, “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (NIV)

 [1] Quoted in “Welcome to America’s wildest holy rollers,” Features Section, The Independent on Sunday (London, England) (November 6, 2005). “The Late, Great Planet Earth was published in 1970 by Zondervan. It became a bestseller. It has since been published in 54 languages, has reported sales of over 35 million copies, and is still in print. Many of Lindsey’s later writings are sequels or revisions [because he was wrong about nearly everything he wrote in the first addition and, consequently, had to change his predictions] and extensions of his first book.” There’s an excellent article pointing all the errors in Linsey’s book. It’s entitled The Late Great Planet Earth: Revisited, go to http://home.comcast.net/~webpages54/ap/ap.html and click Eschatology link in the left side of the Home Page.

[2] At the Last Trumpet, chapter 32, p. 63, Like a Thief in the Night by William Barclay, © Westminster John Knox Press

[3] Retrieved from ChristianQuotes.org on January 01, 2009

Do I have the right to be angry?

Giving up my rightBy The Mad Preacher

Listen as we hear two Christians having a discussion. One is upset about a wrong that was done to them:

“Don’t I have the right to be angry about what someone did to me?”

“No you don’t.”

“What do you mean? What they did offended me. I’m very hurt and angry! They deeply hurt me.  Don’t I have the right to be angry with them?”

“No you don’t.”

“Why do you keep saying that? It’s very clear that what they did was wrong and I have the right to express my anger at them.”

“No you don’t.”

Why?!

“Are you a follower of Jesus? Did you give him your life?

“Ah…yes. I did.”

“Then you have no rights. You gave up your personal rights when you surrendered your life to the Lordship of Christ. This is especially true when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Unlike the world we are followers of Jesus, servants of Christ and royal ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. Let me ask you a question.”

“Okay.”

“Didn’t Paul say in Galatians 2:20 , ‘I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.’?”

“Ah… yes. Where’s this going?”

“You’ll see in a moment. And did Paul also say in Romans 5:5-7 ‘For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin [the sinful nature] might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.’”?

“Yes…”

“Then, what rights does a dead person have? He’s dead! We don’t have the right to hold someone accountable for their sin against us or we may be accountable to God for our unforgiveness. Micah 7:19 says, ‘You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.’ You see, we’re not accountable for someone’s actions but we are accountable for our RE-actions.

“The Apostle Paul said in Colossians 3:13, ‘Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ So, this is our standard, ‘Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ When God forgives us he gives us a clean slate and that’s how we must treat anyone who have offended us.

“Paul went to say in Ephesians 4:32, ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’

“Are you following me? I’m being clear?”

“Yes, so far…”

“Good. Sometimes my tongue gets wrapped around my eye tooth and I can’t see what I saying. 😉 Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.’ This is one of the qualities that set Christians apart from this fallen, sick society that we live in.

“Please, read this passage to me here in Philippians 2”

“Okay…

5 “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset [attitude] as Christ Jesus:

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless [before others] and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.”

“You see, Jesus became a servant for us. He could have been anything he wanted to be but he chose a life of servitude. He said in Matthew 20:28, ‘…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many…’ You see, he threw away his rights as the Son of God. Should be not we willing, as servant of Jesus, to do the same.

Once again Colossians 3:13 says, ‘Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)