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Open Arms Podcast
openarmsbradford.org
Category: Spirituality
Location: Bradford, PA
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December 11, 2017 12:57 PM PST

Fake News Part 2 - The Family & Angels

Luke 1:1-4 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke 1 continues to tell the story of two SEPARATE angelic encounters, prophetic declarations, and miraculous conceptions.

1. The parents of JOHN the Baptist.

Zechariah the priest is told he will have a son in his old age and the child will be the forerunner of the Messiah (SAVIOR of the world).

Zechariah is made SILENT by an angel until time to name the baby, at which point a crowd witnessed his healing and prophecy of John’s role.

Elizabeth stays SECLUDED up to her 6th month of pregnancy.

2. The parents of JESUS.

Mary, a betrothed virgin, is chosen to be the bearer of the incarnate GOD.

Mary is told about her cousins, NOT yet public pregnancy.

Elizabeth prophetically recognized Mary was pregnant with the LORD before Mary told her.

Joseph (Mary’s fiance) also had an ANGELIC encounter after Mary was found to be pregnant.

Matthew 1:18-25 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Things to make note of:

1. Zechariah’s disability was PUBLICLY verified from his angelic encounter in the temple to the day he named John.

2. The pregnancy of John was MIRACULOUS as both parents were “very old”.

3. Mary did NOT initially tell Joseph of her pregnancy and angelic encounter, but instead went to her cousin’s house for about 3 months.

4. John’s birth was celebrated by a CROWD of people who recognized and spread the news throughout the region regarding the miraculous birth and healing of Zechariah.

5. Zechariah PUBLICLY prophecies regarding his son and the Messiah to come.

6. Mary’s pregnancy while UNWED, became inconcealable and she was found out.

7. When Joseph found out about Mary’s pregnancy, he planned to DIVORCE her.

8. Due to an angelic encounter Joseph took Mary to be his wife, but did not have intercourse with her until AFTER Jesus’ birth.

9. JOSEPH named Jesus, demonstrating his faith and ownership in God’s plan in spite of public opinion about his unfaithful wife and bastard son.

10. Zechariah, indirectly, and directly Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph all IDENTIFIED the unborn Jesus as the Lord, Messiah, God in the flesh.

The Question: Why would any of these people make this up and put themselves through the public humiliation and personal PAIN?

December 04, 2017 10:38 AM PST

Fake News Part 1 - What Is Truth?

Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.

1. How do we identify and establish something as a TRUTH?

Facts/realities are true, but not TRUTH.

The DANGER of isolating facts/realities is that it can cause us to think something is a truth, when it really is just one small piece in the much larger picture of God and life.

Truth is not RELATIVE, facts/realities are relative. Facts/realities are contextual; PARTIAL realities of truth, but not the Truth as a whole.

Truth is superior and SUPREME over facts/realities.

The rule of LAW is two or more witnesses verifies something as true.

EYEWITNESSES carry greater weight than hearsay or physical evidence.

MASS events are far more compelling than isolated events.

REASON/Logic factor into the establishing of truth and reality.

2. FAITH is more than a fact or principle, it is a truth/law.

Our world operates with and CANNOT operate without the law of faith.

Our finite understanding will ALWAYS have unanswered questions regarding the infinite.

Life in this world REQUIRES faith, a placement of trust and confidence in something or someone based on our best reasoning.

Our inability to humble ourselves to the inescapable reality that mankind is LIMITED in what they know and how much they can discover is what robs us of the realities of God and all he has done and wants to do in our lives.

What causes us to feel justified in saying there are contradictions, irrationalities, and illogical aspects of Christian faith are: A) the missing pieces of the puzzle, B) our ignorant isolation and arrogant dogmatic grip on isolated facts, and C) our proud defiance demanding that all truth must fit within the box of human reasoning.

Trying to understand the infinite God with our finite mind is like trying to drink the oceans with a THIMBLE.

3. Once a truth is established, we will either humble ourselves in SUBMISSION to it or hardheartedly, irrationally, and hypocritically RESIST it.

4. The BIBLE is our MAIN and the authoritative source.

God's Word (the Bible) is not written as a book of instructions, but a NARRATIVE.

It's the story of real, messy people engaging a very REAL and PERFECT God.

It’s the story of Love, Grace, and Mercy UNAFRAID and UNHINDERED by our distorted, broken, messy lives. God WANTS you!

It’s the story of God transforming (GOD-CONFORMING) imperfect lives.

It's the revealing of God and His will in a way that was VERIFIABLE and irrefutable.

It wasn't done in secret, but publicly with WITNESSES from believers and nonbelievers alike.

It’s a collection of CONFIRMED testimonies from people of every social, political, religious, and economic background.

The story brings CONTEXT and EXAMPLES to the principles and truths taught.

Luke 1:1-4 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

There is a CERTAINTY to the Christian Faith.

November 27, 2017 01:02 PM PST

Body Building Part 4 - Rest

Our vision is to produce transformed (GOD-CONFORMED) lives addressing spiritual needs, relationships, health, finances, education, and leadership. (Isaiah 61:1-4)

Ephesians 4:11-16 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Review:
1. I am uniquely S.H.A.P.E.d to SERVE and contribute to the collective work of God.

My goal is to be the best version of ME, not someone else.

2. I am responsible to do the WORK of getting in S.H.A.P.E.

No one can bear my responsibility for ME.

3. I cannot reach my fullest potential ALONE.

I work out with OTHERS (Team mates, partners, coaches/trainers).

4. REST is a part of workouts and life.

Body Building requires both WORK and REST.

In life it is known as the “STRESS and RELEASE” Principle.

Exodus 20:8-11 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The 4th Commandment is to honor the SABBATH (rest).

Rest is to cease my normal work (cease carrying my load) to 1) REFLECT, 2) rejoice, 3)reconnect, and 4) refresh/repair.

There is a Sabbath rest we are to OBSERVE weekly and LIVE in daily.

We are commanded to take one DAY a week to Sabbath and to walk in God’s Rest (Peace) DAILY.

Matthew 11:28-30 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

We are called to SERVE and do the work/yoke of the Lord with all our heart and strength.

We are also called to rest, be STILL, and WAIT upon the Lord.

Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…”

Isaiah 40:28-31 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Wait - (ACTIVE tense)] to prepare and watch in hopeful, eager expectation.

The Growth Process:

Building/Developing requires BREAKING and HEALING.

1) Breaking down/ tearing happens in the hard WORKS.

It’s the HARD stuff (the challenges/difficult things) that causes growth.

2) Healing (rebuilding/ GROWTH/ maturity) happens in the Rest.

November 21, 2017 05:24 AM PST

Body Building Part 3 - The Community

Our vision is to produce transformed (GOD-CONFORMED) lives addressing spiritual needs, relationships, health, finances, education, and leadership. (Isaiah 61:1-4)

Ephesians 4:11-16 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Fact: No one else can bear the weight of your RESPONSIBILITY in becoming who you were created to be.

There are certain things ONLY you can do.

Fact: You can NOT reach your fullest potential ALONE.

There are certain things you CAN’T or SHOULDN’T do alone.

We were made for interdependent COMMUNITY, to share and do life together.

We are INTERDEPENDENT not independent.

We NEED one another to SHARE life together.

We are not a PASTOR centered church, we’re a CHRIST centered church.

We do not DO church we ARE the church.

TOGETHER we are smarter, stronger, happier and can go farther and do more than we ever could alone.

God blesses us with a community of coaches, trainers, workout partners, and friends as well as other RESOURCES for instruction and aid.

Don’t AVOID or NEGLECT community.

Resources never REPLACE community.

Everyone needs a church family to BELONG to and CONTRIBUTE to.

While we each have a unique S.H.A.P.E. to do a special work, each of our parts work with and for the collective WHOLE.

Collectively they teach, challenge, correct, rebuke, encourage, call out (accountability), share our joys and sorrows, and HELP us in reaching our fullest potential.

Community is MESSY.

Romans 12:4-5, 9-18 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another.Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

My daily CHOICE to obey Jesus and my VALUE of people will determine my commitment and contribution to community.

Community isn’t a good idea it’s a COMMAND of God; it’s a SPIRITUAL issue.

November 13, 2017 10:50 AM PST

Body Building Part 2 - The Workout

Our vision is to produce transformed (GOD-CONFORMED) lives addressing spiritual needs, relationships, health, finances, education, and leadership. (Isaiah 61:1-4)

Ephesians 4:11-16 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

We were made for WORK, specifically contributing to the transcendent cause of eternity.

God made man and gave him a JOB; the work of tending the Garden.

To be in our best and most healthy S.H.A.P.E., we must understand and apply three truths:

1. Our beings were designed to MOVE, do HARD things, make stuff happen, and CONTRIBUTE.

No one else can bear the weight of your RESPONSIBILITY in becoming who you were created to be.

There are certain things ONLY you can do.

2. Our beings were designed to CONSUME.

3. Our beings were designed to ENJOY.

Two ENEMIES of Health (being the best version of you):

1. Passivity (aka. Inactivity) KILLS (laziness, ease, complacency, status quo).

PASSIVITY is not doing or saying what needs done or said.

2. Debauchery and EXCESS (unrestrained LUST/DESIRE).

These two enemies produce an UNHEALTHY spirit, mind, and body.

Work (aka MEANINGFUL activity and contribution) brings HEALTH (spirit, soul, and body).

4 Things to know about doing ANYTHING:

A. Doing it when you’re tired and don’t feel like it is called DISCIPLINE.

B. Doing it when it’s hard, hurts, and you want to quit is called PERSEVERANCE.

There is a growth/maturing pain Vs INJURY pain and we deal with each differently.

C. Doing it when you are afraid is called COURAGE.

D. Doing it when you don’t know all the answers is called FAITH.

We are all uniquely S.H.A.P.E.d to CONTRIBUTE in building up, growing, and maturing the body of Christ (the CHURCH).

Romans 12:3-8 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

1Peter 4:10-11 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

All that we are and have is God’s GIFT to us, what we do with it is our gift to Him.

We all have a “SPECIAL work” to do in God’s Eternal Kingdom.

November 07, 2017 05:00 AM PST

Body Building Part 1 - Discovering My Shape

Our vision is to produce transformed (GOD-CONFORMED) lives addressing spiritual needs, relationships, health, finances, education, and leadership. (Isaiah 61:1-4)

We are NOT all the SAME, we all have a different S.H.A.P.E.

1Corinthians 12:27, 12 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 12Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

Romans 12:4-6 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

You are uniquely designed by God ON purpose FOR a purpose.

You’ve been given a unique S.H.A.P.E.

S - SPIRITUAL GIFTS
H - HEART (passions, interests)
A - ABILITIES (general, specialized [aka: talents])
P - PERSONALITY
E - EXPERIENCES (good, bad, success, failure; what are the lessons?)

Your S.H.A.P.E. can get in BETTER or WORSE shape.

You must be INTENTIONAL about being in your best S.H.A.P.E.

Don’t COMPARE yourself to others.

Don’t let OTHERS compare you.

God wants you to be the best version of YOU, not your best version of someone else.

Ephesians 4:11-16 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

We ALL have a part to play in building up, growing, and maturing the body of Christ (the CHURCH).

By SERVING others, as we each do our part, we all BENEFIT; personally and corporately.

October 31, 2017 05:30 AM PDT

Insidious Part 4 - Weapons For War

Insidious - proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with HARMFUL effects. || treacherous; crafty.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 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.

2Corinthians 10:3-4 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

The WEAPONS of our warfare:

1. Our Free WILL. (Ephesians 6:17; 1Thessalonians 5:8; 1Peter 5:8)

We NEVER have to say, “yes” or cooperate with the devil. However, saying “NO” to God is saying “YES” to the devil.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

You are VICTOR not a VICTIM! Start living like one! (Luke 10:19; Romans 8:37; 1John 5:4)

Submission starts in the spirit, then the MIND (thought life), then the body (behavior).

We cannot overemphasize the importance of RENEWING your mind (Romans 12:2).

2Corinthians 10:3-5 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2. The authority of the WORD of God. (John 6:63; Ephesians 6:17; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; 1John 2:14)

Word (rhema) - utterance, a thing said; a SPECIFIC word for specific moment; a revelatory spoken word.

Hosea 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

Jesus is the living WORD; they are one. (John 1:1-3, 14; 1Peter 1:23; 1John 1:1; Revelation 19:13)

3. The authority of the NAME of Jesus. (Matthew 28:18; Philippians 2:9-11)

Jesus delegated the AUTHORITY of His name to us for spiritual warfare.

Jesus empowers the 12 to cast out demons (Luke 9:1-2; Matthew 10:1)

Jesus empowers the 72 to cast out demons (Luke 10:1-7, 17-20)

Jesus empowers ALL Christians to cast out demons (Mark 16:17-18; Acts 1:8)

We are powerful because HE is powerful. (Ephesians 6:10)

Even NON-Christians can use the name of Jesus to cast out demons (Luke 9:49)

Word of warning, this can be DANGEROUS (Acts 19:13-16)

4. PRAYER (Ephesians 6:; 1Corinthians 14:2; Romans 8:26-27; 1Thessalonians 5:17; Colossians 4:2)

James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

RIGHTEOUS - the state of being in right standing, of being all one ought to be.

5. The CHARACTER / NATURE of God.

Delegated authority is only effective/powerful inasmuch as the individual is in alignment/ PROPERLY represents the authority.

1Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

Faith (confidence) comes when one is in RIGHT standing with the one they are approaching and/or representing.

7. The COMMUNITY of faith.

We are stronger and smarter TOGETHER. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

We are to pray FOR God’s people WITH God’s people. (Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 6:18; 1Timothy 2:1-4, 8; James 5:13-16)

We are to ENCOURAGE, strengthen, support, CORRECT, rebuke, and cover one another. (Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:13, 16; 1Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25; 1Peter 4:9, 5:5; 1John 1:7; 4:11)

Community helps MATURE us in godliness.

The strategy of the armor is this, that every area is protected except the BACK.

1) You NEVER turn your back on your enemy.

2) Soldiers were trained to fight BACK TO BACK.

8. COMPASSION - Love moving through us.

Through sin, satan wants to jade (HARDEN our heart) toward God and our fellow man and steal the source of our power, LOVE. (Hebrews 3:12-15; Matthew 24:12)

October 23, 2017 12:41 PM PDT

Insidious Part 3 - Manifestations

Insidious - proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with HARMFUL effects. || treacherous; crafty.

Ephesians 6:10-12 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.

There are SPIRITUAL forces that are EVIL at work against us.

4 levels of satanic/demonic activity:

1. INFESTATION - Hauntings; inhabiting certain geographies and objects. (Hosea 4:12; Matthew 12:43; 1Corinthians 10:18-22; Revelation 18:2)

2. OPPRESSION - External attacks; buffeting, tormenting. (2Corinthians 11:23-12:7)

3. OBSESSION - Strongholds (mentally or physically); fear, anxiety, depression, addictions, etc. (1Corinthians 10:5; 2Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15; Mark 5:2-5; Luke 13:10-17)

Ultimately we don’t have a food, drug, drink, sex, language, thought, or attitude issue; we have a LORDSHIP issue.

4. POSSESSION - taking control of a body (animal or human). (Mark 5:2-5; Matthew 12:22; Acts 19:11-20)

The Bible describes this demonic activity manifesting in BOTH natural and supernatural circumstances and events.

FALSE Spirituality/Religion - (Hosea 4:12; Acts 16:16-21; 1Corinthians 10:19-22; 1Timothy 4:1-5; Revelation 2:9, 24; 9:20)

TEMPTATION (Genesis 3:1-7; Luke 4:1-13; Acts 5:3; 1Corinthians 7:5)

Natural DISASTERS - (Job 1:12-19)

PERSECUTION - (2Corinthians 12:7-10 ; 1Thessalonians 2:18; 1Peter 5:8-11; Revelations 2:9-10, 13; 11:7)

PHYSICAL Attacks - including acts of violence, persecution, and killing. (1Samuel 19:9-10; Job 1:12-19; 2Corinthians 12:7-10; Acts 19:11-20; Revelation 2:9-10, 13; 9:1-11; 11:7)

WAR (Job 1:12-19; Revelation 12:17; 13:1-7; 17:12-14; 19:19)

Physical ILLNESS (Job 2:7 ; Matthew 9:32; 12:22; Luke 13:10-17; Mark 9:17-27)

MENTAL illness (Mark 5:2-5; 1Samuel 16:14; 2Timothy 1:7)

Supernatural STRENGTH (Mark 5:2-5; Acts 19:11-20)

Supernatural KNOWLEDGE (Acts 16:16-21; Revelation 2:24)

Resistance against God’s people and ANGELS. (Daniel 10:12-13; 1Thessalonians 2:18)

Miraculous SIGNS and WONDERS (Acts 16:16-21; 2Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 16:14)

Satan will work through good, even CHRISTIAN people. (1Chronicles 21:1-8; Matthew 16:22-23; Acts 5:3; 2Timothy 2:23-26)

Christians are warned not to give satan LEGAL place in their life through intentional or unintentional sin. (John 8:34; Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 4:27)

Neither ignorance nor unbelief are bliss, pardon, or PROTECTION from satan’s strategies. (Hosea 4:6; Leviticus 4:1-5:6; Job 1:5; 3:25; Matthew 12:43-45)

While all of these are examples of demonic activity, scripture is clear that NOT every circumstance is of demonic origin.

This will require prayerful and SCRIPTURAL discernment, knowing satan’s strategies and also contrasting the attitude and results of a situation with the nature of God. (Galatians 5:22-23; 1Corinthians 13:4-8; Mark 12:30-31; John 14:15; Romans 12:1; Matthew 28:18-20)

Other sources: consequences of free WILL, circumstances of DEPRAVITY, and God’s JUDGMENT. (Proverbs 5:21-23; 19:3; Ephesians 5:6)

Satan is an EXPLOITER of everything; strengths, weaknesses, good, ease, success, trial, failure, and tragedy.

Satan’s STRATEGY: deceive, disappoint, disrupt (diversion), distract, disorient, divide, doubt, depress, deter (discourage), divert (not a detor, but he will settle with that if he can’t divert you), debilitate, dominate (enslave), despair (no confidence, not even hope), destroy.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 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.

October 16, 2017 01:56 PM PDT

Insidious Part 2 - Demons

Insidious - proceeding in a gradual, SUBTLE way, but with harmful effects. || treacherous; crafty.

Ephesians 6:10-12 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.

There are SPIRITUAL forces that are EVIL at work against us.

When satan rebelled against God, the Bible describes a large number of ANGELS joining in the rebellion (about ⅓) and they were all cast down to earth. (Revelation 12:1-9)

These FALLEN angels are referred to by various names and titles.

1. DEMONS (older translations “devils”) - to rip, split, or tear apart; one who devours. (Matthew 4:24; 7:22; 8:16, 31)

In mythology THEOS was reserved for the central deity, while “daimon” was reserved for the minor, lesser deities.

Demon also carries the sense of supernatural and SUPERHUMAN.

2. UNCLEAN/IMPURE Spirits - morally lewd, dirty (Matthew 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:23)

3. EVIL Spirits (1Samuel 16:14)

4. SPIRITS - lit. breath, wind; celestial creatures/beings. (Luke 10:20)

5. Messengers/ ANGELS of satan (2Corinthians 12:7)

6. They are referred to symbolically as SNAKES and SCORPIONS. (Luke 10:19-20)

7. They are identified as those who manifest as the spirits of the DEAD or ascended masters/guides. (1Samuel 28:13; Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

8. They are identified as the celestial beings behind the worship of IDOLS/false gods. (1Corinthians 10:20; Revelation 9:20-21)

9. They are referred to by RANKS (ie. legion, principalities, rulers, authorities, etc.) seeming to indicate there is hierarchy. (Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 2:15)

10. Apollyon/Abaddon is mentioned as being a KING over the demons imprisoned in the Abyss. (Revelation 9:11)

Some fallen angels are IMPRISONED in dungeons in the lower depths of Hell (AKA: Tartarus). (2Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6)

Demons have many FORMS; locust-like, frog-like, unearthly creatures (beautiful and frightening). (Revelation 9:7-10; 16:13-14; 2Corinthians 11:14)

Like the devil, demons are LIMITED creatures that will face final judgment and eternal damnation. (Matthew 8:29; 25:41)

Satan and demons operate in the SPIRIT realm that though unseen directly effects and engages our world. (Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 2:13)

They are the RULING authorities and influences in nations and peoples that are not submitted to rule of Jesus. (Ephesians 2:2; 3:10)

They are the SOURCE of evil enticement, suffering, and persecution. (1Chronicles 21:1; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 2:13; 9:1-11; 12:17)

They are FREQUENTLY the source of mental and physical illness. (Luke 13:16; Mark 5:2-5; 9:17-23)

Mark 16:17-18 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

October 09, 2017 10:44 AM PDT

Insidious Part 1

INSIDIOUS - proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects. || treacherous; crafty.

Ephesians 6:10-12 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.

There are SPIRITUAL forces that are EVIL at work against us.

SCHEME - a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect. || a secret or underhanded plan; a plot. (2Corinthains 2:11)

The spiritual forces of evil are LED by the devil.

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” - C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Jesus acknowledges the being of the devil as REAL and as an ENEMY. (Mark 4:15; Luke 13:16)

Luke 10:18 He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Revelation 12:4, 7-9)

The devil is known by different NAMES and tactics.

1. LUCIFER - Light Bearer (Isaiah 14:12)

2. Satan - ADVERSARY, enemy (Luke 10:18)

3. PRINCE of this world - (John 12:38; 14:30; 16:11)

Prince - RULER, commander, chief, leader

World - (cosmos) ORDER, arrangement, system, government

4. Prince of the POWER of the air (Ephesians 2:2)

5. Prince of DEMONS (Matthew 12:24)

Beelzebul - master of the house; Chaldee = DUNG-god

6. Devil - SLANDERER, accuser (1John 3:8)

7. ACCUSER (Zechariah 3:1; Revelation 12:10)

8. Father of LIES (John 8:44)

9. DECEIVER (Revelation 12:9; 20:8,10)

10. TEMPTER (Matthew 4:3)

11. THIEF (John 10:10)

12. DRAGON / Serpent (Revelation 12:1-17; 20:2)

13. CUNNING - crafty, clever, skillful (2Corinthians 11:3)

14. MASQUERADER - pretender, faker (2Corinthians 11:14)

Satan is a LIMITED being and is not omniscient, omnipotent, nor omnipresent. (Revelation 2:13; Job 1:6-7; Ezekiel 28:11-17)

Satan is NEVER called an archangel, but is referred to as having been a guardian cherub in the garden of Eden. (Ezekiel 28:11-17)

Satan was declared perfect in appearance and full of wisdom, but his beauty and intelligence became the source of his FALL. (Isaiah 14:12-15)

There is no COMPARISON between the Uncreated Creator God and the created fallen angel satan. (Revelation 20:7-10)

Christians are equipped and empowered to DEFEAT the devil by the power of God.

2Corinthians 10:3-4 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Luke 10:19-20 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

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