Scare the Hell Out

Forgive the bluntness of the title, but we live in a time where we cannot mince words…

Matthew 12

43“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”


I’ve been thinking about these verses lately.  Thinking about the prospect of demonic house guests.  Thinking about the fact that Jesus spoke these words to the “Pharisees and teachers of the law.”  In other words to the very religious and pious of the day, the elite members of the church so to speak.  We might today claim to follow the law “religiously” but of course that is not humanly possible.  We might take pride in our religious fervor where none is founded.  We might, like the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign, dictating terms to Him as if we were in any position to do so.

And then Jesus gives this very vivid example of spiritual warfare.  Although we may be lax in our discipline, demonic spirits will never be.  Although cast out of a particular soul, the spirit keeps looking for a new victim, even returning to its old host to see if the way is guarded.  And imagine his glee when he sees the door left completely open, wide enough for him and seven other hobo spirits he picked up along the way.

Only Christ will be sufficient.  Only the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and filling.  Only this will scare the Hell out.  And his seven demonic brothers with him.


Amen.

Finding Favor

A/N:  This will be more or less a combination of opinion, rant [with decorum], and perhaps a dash of sense…It is not my intent to impugn anyone’s beliefs, character, motives, or anything of the like.  Follow this rule:  if anything hereafter strikes a chord, makes you think, or just appears to be right and true – then give glory to Almighty God.  If, on the other hand it all falls flat, seems bizarre, way out in deep left field – then the blame rests solely on me.  Actually that rule probably applies to anything on my blog.  Thanks as always for reading.

I tend to see a lot of posts on social media with what I might describe as prosperity-leaning Christian messages. With messages indicating that the Lord’s blessings are right around the corner, that today [or very soon] is the day of favor.  Not to mention the ones that tell me I’m only a friend if I share or copy, that I must type Amen or I am a heartless wretch.  That if I share a message and it goes around the world 80 times then I’ll receive a king’s ransom.


Okay, in case you were wondering that was the rant part.  Lord forgive me for exaggerating some of that.  I love all my friends on Social media, and I know they have good hearts.  I just don’t have time to do all that stuff, and whether or not I do those things – doesn’t impact who I am, now or in eternity.


But I want to get back to the “favor” messages.  Most of them don’t explicitly state what kind of “favor” will be involved, but I get a sense that the emphasis is on material or monetary favor.  I could be dead wrong about all of this, and if so forgive me and accept my apology.  Maybe I’m too cynical; hardened by the culture we live in.


But consider this.  I know that the Lord desires to bless His children.  But the Lord’s favor in my case or your case might be struggle, pain, and hardship.  It might be a time of testing or a time of spiritual desolation.  It might be a time of financial difficulty, rather than a time of financial prosperity.  It might be anything that the Lord can use to bring us to where He wants us to be.


Remember – anything beyond the promise and assurance of eternal life when we had earned Hell is “just gravy” to use a term.  And God makes the best gravy.  God bless.

Deceptive Coffee Cups

I admit it.  I drink too much coffee.

Now, I might justify it a bit by stating that I don’t navigate into the exotic side of caffeine.  No mocha lattes, no cappuccinos, and heaven forbid I ever partake of something called “iced coffee.”  To me, that’s an oxymoron.

But nevertheless, way too much (even with the occasional decaf).

So, as you might imagine – I have assembled a decent collection of coffee mugs.  Gifts from family and co-workers, trips to the beach and other places, etc…

I find that most of the mugs I have are either black (or very dark navy) or white. Anyone who drinks coffee day in and day out knows that the white cups quickly become enstained (I just made that word up) with coffee [or tea – I sometimes switch to tea later in the day] residue.  Especially if:

  • the daily washing of the cup is a quick 2-second rinse of water [“after all, next time I pour coffee in it, the hot water will kill any germs”]
  • the half-empty/half-full cup of coffee sits overnight on your desk and you get a nice ring in the middle of the mug
  • You go on vacation for 1-2 weeks and come back to a science project in your coffee mug [yuck]

I have no doubt been guilty of all of the above at one time or another, but at least I try to wash my cups with detergent, and keep the white cups as clean as possible.

Interesting enough, the dark cups are a different story.  With a black or dark blue interior, you can’t see the coffee residue!  Works well!  In fact, for practical reasons, I think all coffee mugs should be dark on the inside.

But that’s the rub…or lack thereof [lack of rubbing out the stains lol].  Forgive the bad pun.

I’m serious from here to the end, which you will be glad to know is soon.  Sin ~ especially “secret sins” [actually no such thing – see Hebrews 4:13], are like those hidden coffee stains in the black mug.  They are not visible to the human eye, but are there just the same – and God sees them with vivid clarity.  Chew on that for a while.

In the case of the mug, unless the coffee is cleaned thoroughly – the stain will persist.  Just as it is with us and sin.  Unless we are cleaned, thorough forgiveness of our sins made possible by the blood of Jesus, we can look very Christian on the outside but rotten where it counts.

Woe to you…you are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  [Mat 23:27]

Spoiled!!

Looking back at another Christmas season, one thing that concerns me a bit is how much in the way of material gifts our grandkids received.  Some of this is to be expected; the little munchkins received items from their parents, two sets of grandparents, a great grandparent, aunts and uncles, etc.  Most of these loving relatives are blessed to be fairly affluent, and want to shower the kids with presents.  It adds up quickly.  

I know a grandparent’s job it to spoil, but I do try to reign in our spending.  Yet it seems to eventually add up to a lot, in fact way too much.  I try to instill into my grandchildren the fact that many children in America, and especially elsewhere in the world, have little to nothing in the way of gifts – much less the basics of life.  But I’m afraid that teaching gets lost among the stacks of gifts, piles of torn wrapping paper, and toys that require scissors, screwdrivers, pocket knives, and lots of effort to extricate from their package.

My grandchildren are spoiled.  They just are.  Even before considering the excess of gifts.  I truly pray that they will not grow up to be ungrateful spoiled brats.  And I will do my part to that end!

But in fact, many of us are spoiled by the necessities we take for granted.  Safe housing, clean water, electricity, heat, adequate and accessible food, and down the line.  I know I am saying the obvious.  But it’s also obvious that I take most of these things for granted.

Lord, I just want to thank You for providing me a job in order to take care of my family, and to pay for necessities.  Thank You for the roof over my head.  Thank You for all of the everyday blessings that I usually overlook.  In Your Name, Amen.

But it goes beyond physical blessings.  Way beyond…

We are unbelievably spoiled spiritually.  First, Almighty God provides an offer of eternal life through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Sin problem/Hell problem? Simply repent and accept His forgiveness.

And if all that God did in respect to us was provide the sacrifice on our behalf to ensure that we had access to Heaven…that would be a gift in itself beyond comprehension or calculation.

But of course, our Heavenly Father’s spoiling of us goes way beyond forgiving our sin and taking away our sin penalty.  His blessings are more than the grains of sand on the beach.  His protection and provision are daily and diverse.  His love, grace, and mercy – especially when we stumble and fail – are incredible.  

Our Abba Father loves to spoil His children.  Of course we see it when we are blessed materially, or with good health, or with the inexpressible joy of grandchildren.  But the spoiling is also manifested even when we cannot understand His will and purposes.  Even when we would choose something different in our limited knowledge and understanding.  Even perhaps in pain, suffering, struggles.  One day we may look back and say, “Yes Lord, You were using this hurt in preparing me to be a blessing to others” or “You were protecting me from something I was sure was a blessing but turned out to be a curse.”  Or simply, “You had my back all the way, even though I turned my back on you.”

I just know that my Lord has forgiven me much more than this:

 21Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. [Mat 18 NASB]

Even if I had no material gifts to give to my grandchildren, I would still love them with an unquenchable love.  I want to spoil them with love.  So much that they anticipate it, and know that the love will be there.  I would gladly die to save them.  In this way, I desire to model the Father’s love for us.

May I be a blessing to others, passing on the indulging, extravagant love of Jesus.  Happy 2017!