Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sacrificing Our Children

Can you imagine people in the Old Testament sacrificing their babies and children to the gods of Baal and Molech?  They did.  It's not a pretty thing to talk about, but God has given us these examples to learn from.

Jeremiah 19:4-6 says this, "Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; therefore, behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter."

In the New Testament, hell is often referred to as Gehenna.  Gehenna is a reference to the valley of Hinnom--which was an actual place--a valley where there was a perpetual fire and where children were sacrificed.  It was a horrible thing which came because of a progression of sin.  It all began when people turned away from God to follow their own lusts....and it eventually led to child sacrifice.  And that became "normal."  Even Solomon--the wisest man who ever lived and the king who built the temple--got caught up in it and he finished badly.

We may not serve an actual idol of Baal or Molech, but the signs are all there.  We're a nation who has turned from God to follow our own lusts.  And our children are paying the price.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Chief Priests

I can't quit thinking about the Chief Priests who accused Jesus.  After I did my study on the Spirit of Religion, I went back to re-read the story of Jesus' death in Matthew.  Most of the time when I read this story, I think of the Chief Priests as the "bad guys" and overlook the truth.  THEY WERE CHIEF PRIESTS!  These men were the religious leaders---the top guys, head honchos, the commander-in-chiefs.  They had great authority but were also to remind the people of the laws of God.  I mean...we're talking bigger than Billy Graham here.  (No slam to Billy Graham!)

And these were the guys who wouldn't, couldn't, didn't receive Jesus.  They were so caught up in their own laws (because they added to the Law), they couldn't see the Truth right in front of their own eyes.  They didn't just reject and kill Jesus, but when Judas came back and tried to give them back the 30 pieces of silver and tell them he'd lied about Jesus, they said, "We're through with you, friend.  The state of your soul is really none of our affair."  (*Matthew 27:4)  REALLY?  Can you imagine a preacher saying that to someone who came to confess sin??  These were the Chief Priests---and a man's soul was none of their affair??

You might think they didn't recognize Jesus because they were looking for a different kind of Messiah, or that He would come a different way, or that He would be a political leader.  But the Bible is clear why they didn't receive Him:  "Pilate knew the chief priests and elders hated Jesus and had delivered Him up because they envied Him." (*Matthew 27:18)  They envied Him.  Period.

Oh, God!  Keep us from envy.  Deliver us from a religious spirit which kills.  Fill our hearts with love for You and for others.  That's why You told us those were the two greatest commandments.  You knew that if we did this on our own, our hearts would murder one another.  Holy Spirit, take control.  Fill us with Yourself.  Heal us, heal the Church, heal our land.  We can't do this without You!!  We desperately need You.  And the Chief Priests are proof of what we'll do if we do it in the flesh or have a religious spirit.  Please lead us day by day.  Thank You for loving us, Jesus!  Amen.

*The Voice

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Spirit of Religion Check-Up

Zach told me about The Voice--a new version of the Bible.  I was needing a new Bible to study from so that I could see everything with fresh eyes.  I'm really liking it.  As I began reading in Matthew, I wanted to really concentrate on Jesus' teachings.  But what began catching my attention was the attitude of the Scribes, Pharisees, and Saducees.  These people all ascribed to the Law and were trying to hold Jesus and his disciples to the letter of the law.  They had the spirit of religion.  So as I began going through Matthew, I began noting how the spirit of religion acts.  Because this has been a battle of mine, I was very interested to see the manifestation and progression of this spirit. (Some might call it an attitude.  But behind it is a spirit-being, or demon, driving it.  Which is why we're told to take every thought captive--not all thoughts are our own.)  So since I did the study, I thought someone else might be interested.  At the very least, it's a good check-up for all of us.  I hope you note the progression of the spirit of religion from one point to the next in the life of Jesus as we go through Matthew.  I'm certain this is not a conclusive list...but it's enough, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


The other side of the resisting coin is control.  You can't control everything in your life (and those around you) and operate in the Spirit.  They are diametrically opposed.  If you have to have control, you need to know you're going to have to let go in order for the Spirit to have control of your life.

But what about self-control mentioned in the fruit of the Spirit, you ask?  Galatians 5:22-23.  It took me forever to get this---but all of the fruit mentioned here are a result of the Holy Spirit controlling our lives!!   We can't have self-control unless we give up our own control to the Spirit of God.  And then it's a beautiful result by which we are able to control our souls--our mind, will, and emotions.  We are then able to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ which controls what we think, do, act on, emote, and become.

I realized that I was controlling to protect my own heart. At least that's what I was subconsciously telling myself.  And that's a lie straight from the pit of hell.  I don't protect myself when I control.  My control becomes a weapon to bash the hearts of others!!

So what about having our children "under control?"  Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train our children. That word is the same word used to dedicate the temple--which is actually a great word picture.  They are or will become the temple of God.  We are to dedicate them and point them towards God.  Of course, that involves discipline---but not control.  God never intended for one human being to control another.  Have you ever seen a parent who's never given up their control of a child--even though the child is an adult?  It's not a pretty thing.  It makes you cringe for that "child."

As soon as we give up control, the Holy Spirit can flow through us.  I encourage you to do what I'm doing...allow the Holy Spirit to examine your life and loosen those fingers of control.  It's all about seeking His kingdom and His righteousness...because I want all these things added to me.  Matthew 6:33-34.  I don't know about you...but I want to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and His full flow in my life!!

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Recently, at the retreat I've been on, we did an exercise to show us how we may be resisting God.  It was an eye-opener.  Incredibly, God had just shown me in the weeks leading up to that retreat that I had been resisting Him in the area of my finances through the years.  Because of stealing pennies from my Daddy when I was a child, I felt like I had the heart of a thief. (Crazy, huh?)  And because of that, I resisted money when it came to me--I didn't trust myself with money.  So I would give it away or spend it as fast as it came to me.  I was resisting God's provision.  But just knowing that truth completely set me free!  So when our retreat leaders did this exercise, I knew they were showing us some truth--truth I needed to examine even further.

So...I began a study on resisting.  Everyone resists--people, God, and Satan.   And the opposite of resisting is submission.  Submission is so important--and yet we resist submission!!  God has told us to submit to Him and resist the devil and he will flee from us.  James 4:7.  It starts with submission to God.  But then we have to push back on Satan. Ephesians 6:13.   Interestingly, I didn't find where God is resisting Satan on earth right now.  He has in the past, Jesus did while he was on earth (also for our example), and He will again.  But God has told US to resist Satan and has given us the authority to do so!

God has also told us to submit to one another.  Ephesians 5:21.  So if we're resisting one another, we're not submitting to God.  Let me say that another way....IF WE'RE NOT SUBMITTING TO ONE ANOTHER, WE'RE RESISTING GOD!  I don't know about you, but as I examined my heart, I didn't have to go far to find where I was resisting God by not submitting to others.  We're also told not to resist the authorities or judgment will come down on us.  Romans 13:2.

Satan opposes us.  His very name is Accuser.  I found in the Greek that "resist" is synonymous to "oppose and accuse."  He comes before God in heaven and accuses us.  Revelation 12:10.  And he accuses us in our thoughts, our minds--which is why we have to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.   II Corinthians 10:5.

God will resist us if we're proud.  James 4:6.  Many times, we think we're fighting Satan when it's God we're fighting.  He will oppose us and resist us to bring us back into submission to Him.  Pride is one of the things God hates most.  He loves humility and a heart which is willing to serve.  He loves submission.  I love what our retreat leaders said, "There's no such thing as saying, 'No, Lord.'"  It's an oxymoron.  The very name Lord suggests Master, King....someone we must serve.  So we're not making Him Lord of our lives if we tell Him "no."

It's an interesting study...Resisting.  God doesn't like it.  And things will flow much better in our lives and in our churches if we don't do it.

gerund or present participle: resisting
  1. withstand the action or effect of.
    "antibodies help us to resist infection"
    synonyms:withstand, be proof against, combatweatherendure, be resistant to,keep out
    "built to resist cold winters"
    • try to prevent by action or argument.
      "we will continue to resist changes to the treaty"
      synonyms:oppose, fight against, refuse to accept, object to, defy, set one's face against, kick against;

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dax Hears a Who

"DON'T TOUCH THE SPECK!!"  And he was dead serious.  We were all in the front yard and Dax asked me about the "speck" on this flower.  I reached over to pull the flower towards us to see what he was talking about when he yelled at me.  I looked at his mother quizzically and she asked him, "Can you hear Horton, Dax?"  Ahhhh...Horton.  I was now clued in. 

So this adorable, serious-about-his-movies guy moved in close to see if he could hear Horton.  And, of course, I had to squeak some noises without moving my lips to oblige the pretense.  He looked up with awe in his eyes because he'd heard something.  So then he convinced his younger brother, Gus, to listen.  I think he needed confirmation.

Gus took a listen and exclaimed, "I HEAR HORTON!"  It was a sealed deal.  Horton lived on the speck of my flower.  We talked and listened to Horton for quite some time and Dax would vacillate between belief and doubt.  Gus just went with it and and pressed in close to hear and was filled with a sense of awe and wonder.

These boys are so much fun and their innocence and play delight me.  They also teach me.  After they left, I realized that they were a picture of how I need to press in to God and listen with belief.  I want to be filled with awe and wonder when I hear His voice.  I want to delight my Father with my interaction with Him.  I want to bring as much pleasure to Him as Dax & Gus bring to me.  

Who knew that "Horton Hears a Who" could teach us so much?