Tag Archives: The Bible

Preach till our tongues rot

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“The gospel is preached in the ears of all men; it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it could consists of the wisdom of men. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were mysterious power going with it – the Holy Ghost changing the will of man. O Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Ghost be with the word, to give it power to convert the soul.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

God’s Word

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“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Biblical Truth

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“Don’t believe something just because you want to, and don’t embrace an idea just because you’ve always believed it. Believe what is biblical. Test all your assumptions against the precious words God gave us in the Bible.”

Francis Chan, Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up

Bad Boys Of The Bible: Abimelech

Bad Boys of the Bible

Abimelech

Judges 9 The Voice

1 Abimelech, the son of Jerubbaal, went to Shechem to the clan of his mother.

Abimelech (to his mother’s family): 2 Go, and say this so that all the leaders of Shechem can hear you: “Is it better that 70 sons of Jerubbaal should be your rulers, or only one of them?” And remember that I share your own bone and flesh.

3 So Abimelech’s mother’s kinsmen went out and repeated these words to the leaders of Shechem, and they were favorably disposed toward him because they said, “He is our brother.” 4 They gave Abimelech 70 pieces of silver out of the treasury of Baal-berith, and he used the money to hire some reckless and worthless men who followed him and did his dirty work.

5 He went to his father’s house in Ophrah and killed all 70 of his half-brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. (Only Jotham, the youngest, was left alive, because he hid.) 6 Then all the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo came together and crowned Abimelech king by the great oak tree at the pillar in Shechem.

7 When Jotham was told what had happened, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim.

Jotham: Listen to me, all you who are the leaders in Shechem, so that God may listen to you.

8 The trees once decided to go out
and anoint a king to rule them all.
They said to the olive tree,
“Reign over us.”
9 But the olive tree refused, saying,
“Should I stop producing the rich oil used to honor both gods and mortals so I can stand and sway over the trees?”
10 Then the trees went to the fig tree, saying,
“You come and reign over us.”
11 But the fig tree refused, saying,
“Should I give up my sweetness and stop producing my delicious fruit so I can stand and sway over the trees?”
12 Then the trees said to the grapevine,
“You come and reign over us.”
13 But the vine refused, saying,
“Should I stop producing the wine that cheers both gods and mortals so I can stand and sway over the trees?”
14 At last the trees came to the worthless thornbush, saying,
“You come and reign over us.”
15 And the thornbush said to the trees,
“If in good faith you want to anoint me as your king,
then come and take refuge in my shade (of which there was precious little).
But if you haven’t come in good faith, then let fire come from my brambles
and burn down the cedars of Lebanon.”

16 Now if you have made this decision to crown Abimelech king in good faith, with sincerity, have acted honorably toward my father Jerubbaal and his family, and have treated him as his actions toward you deserve; 17 you know how my father fought for you, risked his life for you, rescued you from the hand of the Midianites. 18 But now here you are, rising up against my father’s house, killing all of his sons, 70 of them, on one stone; and you have made Abimelech, the son of my father’s slave woman, king over all the leaders of Shechem, simply because he is your kinsman. 19 Well, I say, if you have acted honorably toward Jerubbaal and his family, then now may you take joy in Abimelech, and may he take joy in you.

20 But if you have not acted honorably, then may fire come out of Abimelech and burn up the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo. May fire come from you and burn up Abimelech.

21 When he had said these words, Jotham fled for his life to Beer, where he stayed because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech.

22 Abimelech was king over Israel for three years. 23 Then the one True God sent an evil spirit to stir up dissension between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem. Consequently the leaders of Shechem acted with treachery against Abimelech; 24 and all of this happened so that the brutal murder of Jerubbaal’s 70 sons might be avenged and their bloodguilt laid upon their brother Abimelech, who had ordered their deaths, and on the leaders of Shechem who had lent their strength to his cause.

25 As a result of their new hatred for Abimelech, the leaders of Shechem began to ambush travelers along the mountain roads, robbing everyone who passed by, and these robberies were reported to Abimelech.

26 When Gaal, the son of Ebed, arrived in Shechem with his family, the leaders of Shechem trusted him. 27 After they had been in the fields, gathered the grapes, and trampled them for wine, they celebrated a festival in the temple of their god. While they ate and drank, they insulted Abimelech.

Gaal: 28 Who is this Abimelech, and who are we here in Shechem that we should serve him? Didn’t the son of Jerubbaal and his deputy, Zebul, serve the men of Hamor, Shechem’s father? Why then should we serve him? 29 I wish this people were under my command! I would get rid of Abimelech. I would tell him, “Go ahead. Call out your army!”

30 When Zebul, who governed the city, heard what Gaal, the son of Ebed, said, he was furious. 31 Secretly he sent messengers to Abimelech.

Zebul’s Message: Here’s what’s happening: Gaal, son of Ebed, and his family have come to Shechem, and they are igniting the city against you. 32 You should go by night with your troops and lie in wait in the fields. 33 Then in the morning, when the sun comes up, march on the city; and when Gaal and his forces come out to defend it, you can deal with them.

34 Abimelech and his troops prepared to do just as Zebul suggested. Four companies of men waited for morning. 35 When Gaal, the son of Ebed, went outside, stood in the gate of the city, and looked out, Abimelech and his troops rose from their hiding places to attack.

Gaal (seeing them): 36 Look, Zebul, people are coming down from the mountaintops!

Zebul: It’s just the shadows on the mountains. They must look like men to you.

Gaal: 37 No, look! One company is coming right down the center, and another company is coming from the direction of the fortune-teller’s tree!

Zebul: 38 Where are your big words now? Where is the loudmouth who said, “Who is this Abimelech, that we should serve him?” Aren’t these the men you insulted? Go on, fight them!

39 So Gaal gathered the leaders of Shechem, and they fought against Abimelech’s forces. 40 Abimelech overwhelmed Gaal and chased him and his men, many of whom were wounded and fell along the way as they retreated, all the way to the gate. 41 Abimelech remained in Arumah, and Zebul threw Gaal and his people out of Shechem.

42 The next day the people of Shechem went out to work the fields. After hearing this news, Abimelech 43 took his troops, divided them into three groups, and set an ambush in the fields.

When he saw the people emerge from Shechem, he ordered his troops to attack them. 44 Abimelech and his men captured a forward position at the city gate, cutting off any retreat. Then the other two companies of Abimelech’s men swept down on the people trapped in the fields and cut them down. 45 Abimelech continued his attack all day long, until he had captured Shechem and killed everyone in it. Then he demolished the city and scattered salt over the place where it had once stood.

Abimelech here carries out a devastating act in antiquity that ensures the death of an agricultural area, both food and water sources, for subsequent generations.

46 When those leaders inside the tower of Shechem heard this news, all of them entered into the stronghold of the temple of El-berith. 47 Abimelech learned that all the leaders were in the tower, and 48 he took his men up Mount Zalmon. There he took an ax, cut a bundle of firewood, and hoisted it atop his shoulders, ordering his men to quickly do the same. 49 When they had all cut and loaded their wood, they followed Abimelech back to the stronghold, where they piled the wood against the walls and set fire to it, killing about 1,000 men and women inside the tower of Shechem.

50 Next, Abimelech went on to Thebez. He laid siege to it, captured it, and 51 discovered that in the city was a strong tower where the leaders and men and women of the city had locked themselves in to escape and had climbed onto the roof. 52 So he stormed the tower, ready to burn this tower as he had the other. 53 But this time as he approached the entrance, a woman dropped an upper millstone upon him, crushing his skull.

Abimelech (to his armor-bearer): 54 Take your sword and kill me. I won’t have anyone say that I died like this—killed by a woman.

The young man killed Abimelech with the sword.

55 When the people of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went back home.

56 So God avenged the evil that Abimelech had committed against his father by murdering his 70 brothers, 57 and the evil of the leaders of Shechem God brought back on their heads; everything happened just as Jotham, son of Jerubbaal, had prophesied when he cursed them all.

More Bad Boys Of The Bible

Undead: How Faith & The Living Dead Intersect

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 Undead. Author Clay Morgan explores death and the supernatural, explaining how faith and the living dead intersect.

Zombies aren’t just around for Halloween anymore, with the genre finding huge success in Hollywood. AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead, is just one of the many Zombie-focused stories out there today.

Recently, Morgan shared with CBN.com about this phenomenon, what we can learn from these supernatural stories and how Jesus is the epitome of the “anti-zombie”.

What’s a Christian doing writing a book about zombies?

Clay Morgan: I wrote a book about zombies for much the same reason C.S. Lewis wrote a book like The Screwtape Letters about demons—to find light in the darkness. Tales of the supernatural are ready-made for Christianity. Zombies are ridiculously popular and culturally relevant, so zombies are a great way to get someone’s attention. From there we can have a marvelous discussion about spiritual life and spiritual death.

I’m also genuinely interested in the topic and pop culture in general. Millions of people never go to church or learn about biblical faith. For them, entertainment may be the sole medium informing their beliefs of the supernatural. If someone walks out of a movie about zombies or vampires asking questions about life beyond the grave then that’s a great opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about eternal things.

Have you received any criticism for examining themes like horror and zombies?

CM: Nothing major yet, but I certainly expected some. I’m sure some people don’t want anything to do with zombies, even as a starting point for discussing biblical miracles, but anyone who reads the book will see that it’s about much more. The stories are fun, so there’s not much of a horror/zombie vibe for most readers.

Why are we fascinated by the living dead?

CM: In part I think we’re compelled by the world in which they live, a post-apocalyptic environment where humanity as we know it is over. There are no more bills to pay or jobs to pursue or social circles to navigate. There’s equality in the face of death.

As for the monsters, it’s hard to look away from such an uncompromising threat. And on a deeper level we recognize the meaning of an existence with no hope for redemption. Their totality is so threatening. One misstep and it’s over. And the victims in these stories often don’t just die; they are turned into evil monsters which is more terrifying than anything.

Why is being scared entertaining?

CM: For most people it’s exciting, an adrenaline rush. The key is that we aren’t in any real danger, so we pay a lot of money for the illusion of such things. Maybe some of us are just thrill seekers. I suspect that part of it is a desire to find out what our thresholds are. What I do know is that if a horror movie plot like a zombie outbreak really happened it would not be fun! The real thing would be so truly terrifying, but entertainment is a different thing.

What’s your favorite zombie film, and why?

CM: I think the first zombie movie that truly captivated me was 28 Days Later in which a man wakes from a coma after London has already been devastated by plague. In addition to the quality of the filmmaking and suspense the story makes you think about fate and the meaningful relationships in our lives. Most of all, you have to consider what humanity becomes in the face of ultimate depravity. After all, zombies are a visible representation of cursed creation.

If I have a clear favorite, it’s probably Zombieland which balances humor with the fright of a world gone wrong. That one really allows you to see the empty stores and communities and consider what the world might look like during an apocalypse.

What spiritual lessons do zombie stories teach us?

CM: The biggest lesson might be that it’s possible to exist without truly being alive. A lot of us shamble through life, thoughtlessly going through the motions while feeling dead inside. That includes people in churches and youth groups. We may look like we’re alive to the people around us while masking the decay in our heart.

I used to punch in on Sundays and walk away largely unchanged. What are we living for? What is the meaning of our existence? Zombies aimlessly roam around looking for one more chance to gorge on an appetite of destruction, yet no matter how much they feed on what they desire they are always empty. If anybody has ever wondered what’s missing in life they can probably relate to that kind of emptiness. Fortunately, we don’t have to stay that way. God offers ultimate fulfillment, an abundant life.

A section of your book is titled, ‘Undead in the Bible’. Are you saying there are zombies in the Bible?

CM: That idea is really the heart of the book. Most of the chapters in Undead describe the six individuals in the New Testament who were raised from the dead by God. Jesus performed three of these jaw-dropping miracles and became the fourth. Peter and Paul were also used to bring someone back from the dead.

Of course, these individuals weren’t zombies in the Hollywood sense. Like Lazarus, those folks were restored to full life. But the wordplay makes sense since culture is so fascinated with dead people coming back to life. I thought it was pretty cool to show how many times that type of thing happened in the Bible. The same God who brought people back from physical death in the first century is still able to bring us back from spiritual death today.

In Undeadyou say we see ourselves in zombies. How’s that?

CM: The thing about zombies is that they look familiar in their t-shirts, jeans, curlers, and slippers. Other monsters—such as aliens, vampire, or werewolves for example—look so different. We see ourselves in zombies, the worst possible version of our neighbors and ourselves. They hit close to home.

Metaphorically, some of us see frightening reflections of ourselves when we look in the mirror because we know ugly, personal truths.

A major theme of a lot of zombie films and stories is when the living become more monstrous than the zombies in their quest for survival. What is it about zombie movies that help us to examine the dark side of human nature?

CM: You’ve nailed it. Zombie fiction is always about the survivors and how they’ll interact. The title of that show The Walking Dead isn’t a reference to the zombies but to the people attempting to go on. These stories reduce everything to its base. Money and social status don’t help anyone. In such dire circumstances the truth about human nature is revealed, and we know it isn’t pretty. The ancient prophet Jeremiah said that our hearts are deceitful above all else and even desperately wicked. Any good zombie story shows how wicked some people can be.

“Jesus is the anti-zombie”. Please, do explain.

CM: Zombies are the complete opposite to Jesus. They come back from the dead to take lives. Jesus came back from the dead to give life to all. Zombies are damaged, decaying, and terrifying. Jesus came back resurrected in perfection, a beautiful sight to all who believe. Zombies transform people from life to death. Jesus offers transformation from death to life. That’s why I call him the anti-zombie.

Undead also gets into vampires. How does that folklore play into this?

CM: Monster stories often subvert God’s story. For example, vampires receive immortality at the expense of their soul. They take blood to have life which is completely the opposite of Jesus who gave blood so that others might have life. Blood is a central theme throughout both scripture and vampire lore.

The other thing about vampires is that they are the ultimate in selfishness which is something I used to really struggle with. To use another metaphor, spiritual vampires are takers and they can be found anywhere, churches included. We need to make sure we’re not acting like vampires to the people around us by losing sight of what it means to be a servant like Jesus.

Beyond talk of zombies and vampires, this book speaks to deeper issues. What is the message?

CM: The ultimate message of Undead is that God is able to breathe life into each one of us. He wants to transform us, and it will be the most awesome miracle we’ve ever experienced. Spiritual death isn’t just about ignoring God. If we’re honest, some of us may be in churches every week but know that something big is missing from our lives. Like Lazarus, it’s possible to be a friend of Jesus for a while before experiencing a whole new level of his miraculous, life-giving power in a new way.

Who do you know that needs to hear about the transforming power of God? Maybe they’re not even interested in going to church but they just might find Undead engaging enough to discover the mind-blowing force of God’s love.


Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles and information, visit Hannah’s bio page.

Faith Comes By Hearing

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I prayed for faith and thought it would strike me like lightening. But faith did not come. One day I read, “Now faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now began to study my Bible and faith has been growing ever since.

Dwight L. Moody

Love Is A Commitment

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“Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.”

Ravi Zacharias

To All The Churches #5

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Revelation 3:1-6 The Voice

For centuries many Jews had been scattered throughout the known world, exiled to the lands east of the Jordan River from the promised land by powerful invading nations. After Jerusalem fell in a.d. 70, even more Jews left Judea, this time crossing the Mediterranean looking for some place far from Roman cruelty. That’s why, as John writes these letters to churches in Asia Minor, he recalls some of the most infamous characters from Israel’s past—Balaam, Balak, and Jezebel. The ordeals facing John’s churches are not all that different from those Israel faced hundreds of years before. Many of the same struggles plague churches in the West to this day. The names may change, but the problems confronting God’s faithful do not.

Letter to Sardis

The One: Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Sardis. “These are the words of the One who has the seven Spirits of God, the Perfect Spirit, and the One who holds the seven stars:

“I know the things you do—you’ve claimed a reputation of life, but you are actually dead. Wake up from your death-sleep, and strengthen what remains of the life you have been given that is in danger of death. I have judged your deeds as far from complete in the sight of My God. Therefore, remember what you have received and heard; it’s time to keep these instructions and turn back from your ways. If you do not wake up from this sleep, I will come in judgment. I will creep up on you like a thief—you will have no way of knowing when I will come. But there are a few in Sardis who don’t have the stain of evil works on their clothes. They will walk alongside Me in white, spotless garments because they have been proven worthy.

“The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will be clothed in white garments, and I will certainly not erase that person’s name from the book of life. I will acknowledge this person’s name before My Father and before His heavenly messengers.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

King James Version

His Compassions Fail Not

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Lamentations 3:21-25 King James Version

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Stop Us In Our Tracks

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Heavenly Father, We think we are ready for Christmas …Not because we have read the pages of the Bible, but because we have read our credit card statements, And they say that we have left no stone unturned, and no gift unbought, if still unpaid for. We stand ready to stagger under the weight of Christmas, To eat and drink far too much, To party with the best of them, And to worry all the time that we’ve forgotten something. And we’ll do it all, not always because we want to, but because everyone else is doing it, and we’ll go along for the ride.

Somewhere in all of this, Father, please feel free to stop us. Any place, any time, just stop us in our tracks. Stop us, grab our attention, and then place your gift in our hands where we can see it, And in our hearts where we can feel it. The gift of knowing that, a little over two thousand years ago, you stepped into the history of this world and placed yourself in a manger in a dirty backstreet stable, And called yourself a Christ-Child. It was then that we could see you and understand you as we had never been able to do before: As Creator, as Spirit, and as a man who would walk unerringly towards a Cross.

Everything else, all the food, the fun, the partying, none of it matters, and none of it has any point at all, unless we grasp this simple, beautiful gift and press it close to our hearts and keep it there…..….. that we live with you, that we are one with you, Our Lord Immanuel.

What else is there to say?

Except thank you, Amen.

My Thoughts 💭

Our fantastic minister Nik convicted us with this prayer earlier this evening at our evening service, and she kindly let me share it with my loving brothers & sisters on iChristian! 🙂

Have You Received This Gift?

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“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about? – Charlie Brown

“Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know… the birth of Santa!” – Bart Simpson

Are you aware of this simple fact, that God couldn’t possibly love you more than He does right now? That He loves you as much as a perfect God can? That He loves you perfectly, and there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you more? There’s nothing you can do to earn His approval; you have it. Are you aware of that? Do you realise how deeply God loves you?” 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Have you received this gift? 

Father, today and through this season, give me the ability and the willingness to realise how deeply and passionately You love me. Amen.

Your Words Reveal What’s Within Your Heart

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Luke 6:44-46 The Voice

You can know a tree by the fruit it bears. You don’t find figs on a thorn bush, and you can’t pick grapes from a briar bush. It’s the same with people. A person full of goodness in his heart produces good things; a person with an evil reservoir in his heart pours out evil things. The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart.

What good is it to mouth the words, “Lord! Lord!” if you don’t live by My teachings?

The Bible And The TV Guide

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On the table side by side,
The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is well worn and cherished with pride,
No, not the Bible, the TV Guide.

One is used daily to help folks decide,
No it isn’t the Bible it’s the TV Guide.
As the pages are turned what shall they see?
Oh, it doesn’t matter, just turn on the TV!

And so they open the book in which they confide,
Not the Bible the TV Guide!
The word of God is seldom read;
Well, maybe a verse e’er they fall into bed.
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be,
Not from reading the Bible but watching TV.

So back to the table side by side,
The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is cherished and well worn with pride,
Not the Bible, the TV Guide!

The plan of salvation is seldom heard,
(Nor the love of God, or encouraging words,)
Forgiveness of sin so full and free
Is found in the Bible not on TV!!

I heard Jarrod Cooper (Days of wonder) read this poem on UCB UK

Spiritual Family

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1 John 5:1-6 The Voice

It’s easy to say “I love God,” but genuine love reflects God’s love. If we belong to God, then we will love each other regardless of how hard love is.

Everyone who trusts Jesus as the long-awaited Anointed One is a child of God, and everyone who loves the Father cannot help but love the child fathered by Him. Then how do we know if we truly love God’s children? We love them if we love God and keep His commands. You see, to love God means that we keep His commands, and His commands don’t weigh us down. Everything that has been fathered by God overcomes the corrupt world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.

Who is the person conquering the world? It is the one who truly trusts that Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus the Anointed is the One who came by water and blood—not by the water only, but by the water and the blood.

Just as we do not get to choose our biological brothers and sisters, we do not get to choose our spiritual brothers and sisters either. But what comes along with loving the Father is loving all His other children—even the really annoying ones! While it might seem to be easier to go off and live in isolation rather than put up with those we are not naturally attracted to, there are responsibilities that come with living in a spiritual family. We reflect our worship of God by living in respect with our Christian brothers and sisters. How we treat the people around us on a daily basis is the real test of our love for God.

Dig Deeply

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Psalm 139:23-24 The Voice

Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am. Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain. Examine me to see if there is an evil bone in me, and guide me down Your path forever.

Do Not Trust Every Spirit

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1 John 4:1-6 (VOICE)

My loved ones, I warn you: do not trust every spirit. Instead, examine them carefully to determine if they come from God, because the corrupt world is filled with the voices of many false prophets. Here is how you know God’s Spirit: if a spirit affirms the truth that Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, has come in human flesh, then that spirit is from God. If a spirit does not affirm the true nature of Jesus the Anointed, then that spirit does not come from God and is, in fact, the spirit of the antiChrist.[a] You have heard about its coming; in fact it is already active in the world. My children, you have come from God and have conquered these spirits because the One who lives within you is greater than the one in this world. But they are of this world, and they articulate the views of the corrupt world, which the world understands. We come from God, and those who know God hear us. Whoever is not from God will not listen to us. This is the way we discern the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.

How can the words of prophets be tested to discover the truth? The most important question is whether they acknowledge that Jesus is fully God and fully human. In the first century, many people were so convinced that this material world was corrupt and evil that they couldn’t imagine how a perfect God could wrap Himself in imperfect skin. Many today still function as if the physical world is a bad thing; this understanding is demonstrated when they downplay the hope of bodily resurrection and emphasize the heavenly destination of souls. Implicitly, this belittles Jesus’ own incarnation and resurrection.

On the other hand, many people accept Jesus’ humanity but deny His divinity. He may have been a great teacher, they say, but certainly not the incarnation of God. However, Jesus made bold claims about who He was and what He came to do. These are not the things a great teacher would have said or done if they had not been true. It is fair to say that no other life has drawn so much scrutiny, and no other life has ever elicited such praise.

In Perfect Sync With God’s Spirit

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Galatians 5:13-26 (VOICE)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. For the whole law comes down to this one instruction: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” so why all this vicious gnawing on each other? If you are not careful, you will find you’ve eaten each other alive!

Here’s my instruction: walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings. For everything the flesh desires goes against the Spirit, and everything the Spirit desires goes against the flesh. There is a constant battle raging between them that prevents you from doing the good you want to do. But when you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

It’s clear that our flesh entices us into practicing some of its most heinous acts: participating in corrupt sexual relationships, impurity, unbridled lust, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, arguing, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, division, envy of others’ good fortune, drunkenness, drunken revelry, and other shameful vices that plague humankind. I told you this clearly before, and I only tell you again so there is no room for confusion: those who give in to these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul has been preaching about the call of God to freedom, and so he now spells it out: we are done with the demands of the law; now we are free to live in the Spirit and to be truly right with God. As free people, the Spirit gives us the characteristics of Jesus; we, too, can freely love in joy and peace. We can have patience along with kindness and faithfulness that can only come from the Father. We can reflect the goodness of God while being gentle in operating with self-control. For those who follow Him and live in the Spirit, these characteristics or fruits are a gift from God. As we grow in the faith, we find that we belong to God and can walk daily in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. Those of us who belong to the Anointed One have crucified our old lives and put to death the flesh and all the lusts and desires that plague us.

Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let’s keep each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit. This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride, and envy.


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