salvation

Read Luke 8:27 – 39

This is an extreme case of demon possession, but are there not many other people functioning normally  but under demon oppression ? the level of control that demons exert over a person’s life depends on various factors, but the scripture makes it plain that all the unsaved are doing the works of the devil  to some degree and are in need of God’s salvation and deliverance

There is much to learn from this passage:

1. The man who was delivered by Jesus was not even considered to be a man…. he had been “written off” by all the people of the area as an “animal”…. a hopeless case.

2. Many swine were destroyed for this person to be saved…. and that must have meant economic loss for other people….. they would not be pleased by that, in fact, they would prefer their swine over the “man”… and the RSPCA would not have approved either because “such cruelty to animals”….. but the demons killed the swine so they would be free to enter other humans… they must have found  many suitable persons in the town after Jesus left.

3. Jesus may have allowed the demons into the swine for several possible reasons:

a. To test the hearts of the town’s people….. a man is of more value than swine, even a despised “written off” man…. beware of the same problem occuring today where animal welfare takes priority over human welfare….. also the love of money, these swine existed to make their owners rich.

b. But they should not have been keeping swine anyway…..  who were the people raising these pigs and who was going to eat the swine meat ? … swine meat is forbidden to Jews, and this area was within the borders of Israel.

4. The people begged Jesus to leave them alone and He did so…. but what a sad day it was for that town, they refused the Lord of Glory and CHOSE DARKNESS instead of the Light of Life….. even though the manifestation of evil in the delivered man was extreme, it is quite clear from the passage that the rest of the town’s people were under the grip of the devil and in need of deliverance…  but they did not recognize this and deliberately chose to remain as they were.

4. But Jesus left a witness in that town…. by refusing to allow the saved man to join His disciples that town still heard the message of God from one of their own.

Can you see the great truths of this passage are still relevant to Christians TODAY ?

1. First of all, our warped sense of priorities…. even in Christian circles…  we “write off” certain people as “hopeless”…. neither praying for them nor making any attempt to help them.

2. We prefer animals…. money….. all sorts of things over the salvation of the “worst” people…. because these people are just not as important to us as they are to God.

3. Notice the radical change in the man…. nothing superficial about this man’s salvation… “unto whom much is forgiven, the same will love more” (Luke 7:40 – 48)….  the desire of the “saved” man to be with the Lord….. but it was not His will at that time…. when a person is saved today, the natural tendency is to want to serve the Lord in some great capacity BUT this may not be His will……  for many Christians their “mission field” may be their workplace, school or home and God may simply expect them to be faithful right were they are….. and indeed, somtimes, it may be harder to live for Him among your friends than going to some strange land with the Gospel.

How about you ?  is today your day to meet the Lord Jesus ?  do not send Him away as they did because the darkness will only get worse.

Have you been saved a long time already ?…… do not settle down contentedly (because we are not in heaven yet)….. we have been saved with a purpose to be a blessing to others… this is God’s desire for us because we are His messengers here on earth….. right where you are now God can use you… and you owe it to Him to make yourself available for His service.

Please write me if you need prayer or guidance…. I know what it is like to be lost in sin…. even after deliverance and salvation comes into a person’s life, it is not the end… it is only the beginning….. I had someone to pray for me in my hour of need and nobody lives or dies in isolation….  God uses us to help each other because that is part of His plan…… you can find me at smendes@smendes.com or call +12462304818

victory

Some of my posts are a bit gloomy…. and I have been there…. found myself asking God, WHY… I was so happy when I wasn’t trying to serve Him and now it’s spiritual war and it’s so hard to be happy under it and so easy to get gloomy and depressed….. WHERE now is the joy and happiness of being a Christian ?…. how am I going to be a testimony to the unsaved if my own life is so gloomy and stressful ?

TWO important things God showed me….

1. My problems are FAR, FAR less than the burdens of many, many others and the only way to improve my outlook is to TAKE MY ATTENTION OFF MYSELF…… and put it on HIM…. and on others around me who need help and comfort.

2. The frustration of failure and the fear of future failure…. can only be cured by giving it all to God COMPLETELY…..

Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you (1 Peter 5:7)

They that wait upon 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. (Isaiah 40:31)

Finally, God knows your heart desires and He sees your sacrifices and tears as you battle for HOLINESS in thought, word and deed….. and He blesses you in tangible, physical ways, in your flesh as well…. we often hear that the “flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63) and this is quite true from a spiritual eternal point of view…… but we have to avoid the extreme view of ASCETICISM….. and right now, we currently live in the flesh and God’s goodness extends to the WHOLE MAN (spirit, soul and body)…. therefore our flesh is blessed along with the rest of us.

It is totally amazing to me how GOOD and KIND…  GOD is in relation to our fleshly needs and (even sometimes) desires…. when we are TOTALLY SOLD OUT to Him …. GOD CARES FOR US in a way that no UNSAVED person will ever understand.

In the words of the hymn by Frances Ridley Havergal, (Like a River Glorious)

“We may trust Him fully All for us to do, They who trust Him wholly Find Him wholly true”

disasters

Read Luke 13:1 – 5

men must not judge but REPENT

Natural disasters are occurring with increasing frequency now…. the 20th Century may have been the “best” time for the earth (scientific “progress” provided a “better quality” of life for millions than was possible in the preceeding generations…  natural disasters were not of the magnitude that went before or are to come in the future).

Humans recoil from disaster…. the suffering…. the deaths….but they need to look at the BIGGER picture….. even a comfortable, cosy life ultimately ends in DEATH… for the sinner as well as the saint…. what is of the utmost importance is the manner of our life while we are here.

Are we living for GOD or for SELF ?

Most people who are living for self believe that self-denial means loss of pleasure and of other “good things” that they want for themselves.

But the reality is, that when you put GOD’s will for your life before your own…. He provides “good things” and pleasures for you as well…. it really is a question of ATTITUDE…. and of letting Him choose for you.

TRUSTING that He is CARING for your needs….. along the way, He also allows some of your WANTS (and you can be sure that the “wants” He does not allow were NOT “good” for your ultimate benefit).

We do not know WHY some Christians live a peaceful life into ripe old age and others die horribly in some disaster…. and we do not know what our own future may be…. but that should NOT affect our IMMEDIATE CHOICE of choosing GOD’s way over our own way.

If you realize that GOD is the SOURCE of any concept of what is “good”….  and that the purpose of Satan is the ultimate destruction of ALL humans…. surely your choice becomes a no-brainer ?

The demons continue to tempt, test and seduce humans with all sorts of thoughts in their heads…. on a daily basis…. but they do not LOVE you, they only want to USE you to further their agenda… and after your body is dead, they will simply find some other host victim to work on.

Humans…. because they feel so helpless to control their own environment….. make all sorts of “deals” with demons…. for protection, for wealth and success, for health…..  for getting whatever THEY want…. but the demons are not the ultimate authority and they are only created beings who are good at LYING and DECEPTION…..  even if they can DECEIVE you into thinking that “they have your back and that nothing bad could possibly happen to you”….. the TRUTH is they CANNOT deliver… because even though they have more power than you do, their power is still limited in many ways…. only GOD has ABSOLUTE POWER and AUTHORITY to do ANYTHING….. don’t you think it is better to be under GOD’s command ?…. He is the one who made you and He is the  ONE who truly cares about your welfare.

When you are going through trials and suffering… the demons whisper in your mind…. “GOD does not care about you…. look what is happening to you…. if God cared about you, do you think you would be suffering so?”

What will your reaction be ?

Will you LISTEN to the demon, and by so doing, allow him to gain a greater foothold (more territory) in your mind ?   OR…. will you follow the example of Jesus (Matthew 4:1 – 11)…. and use an appropriate Scripture verse to defeat his LIES ?

This is the ESSENCE of Spiritual Warfare…. and it goes on all the time… with every Christian who is living for God….. not just the few who are called to this particular ministry (for them it is just more intense).

The reason the sinful man does not “experience” this spiritual battle is because he is neither living for Christ…. nor guarding his mind…. he is in effect, “a sitting duck”, in most cases, doing whatever the demon(s) lead him to do… and the more they “take over” his mind and thoughts, the more bizarre will become his behaviour….. leading to all manner of sin, vice and even criminal activity.

Disasters are going to get worse…. and the economy is going to completely collapse…. there is nothing good coming in the future  (Luke 21:26) …….  UNLESS YOU REPENT AND ACCEPT THE FREE GIFT OF SALVATION THROUGH THE GOSPEL (good news)… only then you have a GLORIOUS future !

thoughts

How do you control what you are thinking about ?

Did you know that your thinking can affect your body and your physical health ?

It’s important to control your thoughts because repeatedly thinking bad thoughts makes them take hold of your mind…. and recovering that territory becomes more difficult.

One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You”

When Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, he was OK as long as he was looking at Jesus…. but when he looked around, he became afraid and started to sink. (Matthew 14:28 – 31)

May I say, from experience, this is a good illustration of Isaiah 26:3….. as long as we are thinking good thoughts of the Lord the enemy cannot disrupt our minds…. but if we dwell too long on negative thoughts that the enemy feeds into our minds, we are overcome…. our peace is gone and our body is in distress and the longer we go on in this state the harder it will be to get back to that quiet resting place…..  even if we can get our mind back on God, it may take some time for the physical body to follow.

Anxiety, fear, depression…. the doctors treat the physical symptoms in the body and they deaden the mind with drugs that they barely understand (the long term consequences have never been explored because they have only just been discovered).

God does not want this for any Christian…. He says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you REST”  (Matthew 11:28)

YOU CAN RECLAIM the territory in your mind that you have given to the enemy…. because it is GOD’s WILL that you have control of YOUR mind.

The demons do not own your mind…. YOU DO…. they are trespassing on your territory and they can only do it because YOU have allowed them to do it by the thoughts that you dwell on the sin in your life.

Dear children of GOD…. your Father WANTS for you to live in VICTORY… and He will help you recover all lost territory but you MUST be willing to PLAY YOUR PART….

1. FAITH…. have a steadfast faith that God IS delivering you in spite of anything that may appear to contradict this.

2. SURRENDER to God… do not hide sin…. confess and forsake it… you cannot hold on to sin because then you are aiding the demons and hindering God’s work on your behalf.

3. RESIST…. God needs YOU to resist as much as you are able… He WILL defend you when you are unable to help yourself….. but it is HIS WILL that you make some effort of your own…… the demons love human robots that they can control (2 Timothy 2:26)…. but God WANTS you to CO-OPERATE with Him, He gave you FREE WILL and He will not trample on your free will and He will not allow the demons to trample on your free will either…. you must actively RESIST evil thoughts and CHOOSE good thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5).