Fear’s Failing Excuses

The Bible says: “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]” (1 John 4:18 AMP).

Adam and Eve had not grown into love’s perfection or they would have simply confessed their sin and received forgiveness. Do you know what? I believe God would have forgiven their sin and cleansed them from all unrighteousness. But instead of admitting to God what happened and repenting, fear led them into another sin: blame.

Listen to how Adam responded when the Lord asked Adam and Even how they came to eat the forbidden fruit: “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12-13).

Adam and Eve lost their kingship, were expelled from the garden by the mercy of God, and failed to fulfill God’s master plan for their lives. What was that master plan? To be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28). In other words, to use that blessing to turn the whole earth into the Garden of Eden.


Avoiding Saul’s Fearful Fate

In our last post, we saw that Eve’s fear of God keeping something good from her caused her to disobey God. Let’s strip out the storytelling and say it this way: Fear leads you into disobedience.

Need another witness? Fear caused Saul to disobey God’s established priestly authority. King Saul’s fall occurred just before what looked to be a fierce battle between the Israelites and their archenemy, the Philistines. The Philistines gathered themselves to fight with Israel, with 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude (1 Samuel 13: 5). The Bible says the Israelites were distressed and even trembling with fear.

Saul had his orders. The Prophet Samuel had instructed him to wait there for seven days. Samuel was going to fulfill the priestly duty of sacrificing to God before the battle. Seven days came and went and Samuel didn’t show up at Gilgal. Saul’s army began to give into the fear and scatter. That’s when fear led Saul into disobedience. Instead of waiting for Samuel to show up, Saul took matters into his own hands and offered the burnt offering himself.


Is Fear Robbing Your Kingship?

In the last post, we looked at Saul’s fearful disobedience. That leads me to the next strategy of fear: irresponsibility. The same fear that tempted us to disobey will also try to convince us to blame the disobedience on another person or on circumstances. In that way, fear attempts to keep us from repenting so that we continue to walk in darkness instead of seeing the light. Fear, then, continues to have its way. And fear’s way is torment.

Let me show you this pattern in the Word. We see it with Adam, Eve and Saul. Let’s begin at the beginning with Adam. Shortly after eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve had new knowledge alright, but it wasn’t the pleasant experience they may have expected. The first revelation they had was that they were naked, and they were ashamed. They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves clothes. Suddenly, they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

Why did they hide? That’s what God wanted to know. “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10).


How to Defeat the Devil

How to defeat the devil. It’s something we’d all like to know how to do, right? Well, the truth is Jesus already defeated the devil for us. So the issue isn’t really defeating the devil, it’s resisting him and overcoming his temptations that lead us into sin where we are fair game for his attacks.

We can both resist and overcome the devil by employing the same strategy Jesus used to defeat that old serpent in the first place: dying.

When Jesus died on the cross, He died with the sin of the world upon Him. But to get that far Jesus had to humble Himself. The Bible says He became obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). Let me put it another way. Long before Jesus hung on the tree, and even while He was hanging there awaiting the ultimate pain of separation from His Father, He died to self.

Jesus was compelled to get off that cross by religious spirits and mockers. But He resisted and overcame because long before He died for the sin of the world, He died to His own will. His cry to the Father just hours before that fateful scene on Calvary echoes, “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

The Bible says if we resist the devil, he will flee. But right before that it says submit yourself to God (James 4:7). Submitting ourselves to God requires dying to self in whatever area the devil is tempting us. We can’t successfully resist and overcome until we put down our own will and seek to please the Father more than our flesh, another person or the kingdoms of this world.

 


Does the Devil Exist?

Satan’s existence is the provocative topic of ABC News “Nightline’s” third Face-Off airing tomorrow, Thursday, March 26th at 11:35pm ET/PT. The “Nightline Face Off” series, launched two years ago, brings hot topics to the table for discussion and debate among prominent voices in their field.

This face off features Dr. Deepak Chapra and Bishop Carlton Pearson debating Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church. In my opinion, this is a ridiculous display, one that is allowing the secular media to essentially poke fun at the Church. This may do nothing more than offer a platform to the devil to try to convince the world he doesn’t exist so he can continue to lead souls into hell.

Let us pray that Pastor Driscoll will offer some convincing insights about our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m sure he’s feeling the spiritual warfare. You can see a commercial for the segment here. Seems like he’s taken on the job of defending the name of Christ against two new agers. God bless him.


Unbelievable, Absurd, Inconceivable — Mysticism

I received a disturbing e-mail today from a duo in Europe. The authors described their e-mail as a diamond among the spam and hoped I was worthy of receiving it.

The authors also claimed to be bishops and apostles who by “personal intuition” have been studying the secrets of the mystical world for more than a decade. They invited me to a web site that would prove mysticism’s truths. I never visited the web site. It’s a waste of time. My time is better spent exposing this darkness.

I don’t know if you get these sort of e-mails. It’s grievous that those who dabble in this spiritual junk would take on the titles of bishop and apostle. These are not true bishops and apostles. Did the Apostle Paul push mysticism? A resounding no.

In case others of you are receiving this deceptive gobbledygook, I thought it expedient to offer a few Scriptures that will help you guard your hearts and minds from the claims.

1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Why do we have to test the spirits to see if they are from God? Because there are false prophets (and bishops and apostles) that have gone out into the world with spiritually perverted messages.

1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…”

These are the latter days, and this Scripture is being fulfilled. Some are leaving the church, building communities of seekers, mixing New Age with Bible, and other grievous acts. Let’s read a couple of more Scriptures.

Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”


The Spirit of Jezebel, Part IV

In this final part of our series on the spirit of Jezebel, we’ll look at Jezebel’s demise.

Jezebel is an enemy of the apostolic because she counterfeits true prophetic operations that lead hungry believers to empty their pocketbooks for false spiritual moves that work to discredit the true five-fold ministry gifts the Lord is restoring.

But just as mature prophets are rising up with a Jehu conquering spirit to rid their lives of this menacing spirit, mature apostles are combating the false spiritual moves that Jezebel is orchestrating by refusing to compromise the truth of the Gospel for the sake of unjust gain. Notice how Paul dealt with the damsel in Thyatira.


The Spirit of Jezebel, Part III

In Part III of this series, we’re looking at the damsel in Thyatira and how he handled this situation in the light of the Jezebel spirit and false apostles and false prophets. It was in Thyatira that Paul encountered a damsel possessed with a spirit of divination who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling (Acts 16:16).

The “masters” in this verse were governmental officers with natural authority in the jurisdiction just as the apostles were governmental officers with spiritual authority in the jurisdiction. But the thievery of these wicked masters lumps them in with the “sorry bunch” Paul described as pseudo-apostles and crooked workers.

So in Thyatira we see the damsel (false prophetess) making a way for the masters (false apostles) to gain unjust profit (merchandising) through a false ministry gift (divination).


The Spirit of Jezebel, Part II

We’re talking about the spirit of Jezebel, and false prophets. You’ll recall that the Apostle Paul spoke against false apostles who sought unjust gain, proclaiming: “I’d die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing ‘preachers,’ vaunting themselves as something special. They’re a sorry bunch – pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers – posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core” (2 Corinthians 11:12-13 MSG).

Apostle Paul was no stranger to the operations of false apostles or demonic governments. Jezebel is likely one of the principalities Paul wrestled against (Ephesians 6) as she attempted to exercise her influence in territories through which he traveled to preach the Gospel. Thyatira was such a territory. Jesus had one thing against the church in Thyatira: it tolerated Jezebel (Revelation 2:20).


The Spirit of Jezebel, Part I

Jezebel gained her reputation as an enemy to the prophets of God in the Old Testament era. While dogs devoured the wicked Queen Jezebel, her spirit is alive and well in New Testament times. And this depraved principality has earned another reputation in the last days: enemy of the apostolic.

Queen Jezebel is infamous for her antics in the Book of I Kings. Jezebel is charged with murdering many prophets and cutting off the voice of others that fearfully hid in caves (I Kings 18:4, 13). The Book of Revelation exposes this spirit’s operation in the New Testament age as one that calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce the Lord’s true prophets with lust and idolatry (Revelation 2:20).

Jezebel’s attack on prophets has a ripple effect on apostles because these two graces are foundational gifts that work together to build the Church (Ephesians 2:20). Prophets say and apostles do. Cutting off or perverting the prophetic voice, then, hinders the manifestation of the glorious church because apostles are most effective when prophets are in watchtowers instead of caves, in local churches instead of in lust, parking lots and street corners.