The war for the minds and souls of the people by Pastor Don
Friday was an interesting Bible study. One of our members has two daughters were visiting for the summer. They go to school in England and Pastor Don asked them to report about what was going on in England. They had some interesting comments. I was not taking notes at first, but will share what I remembered. They talked about how Christianity is not as prominent in England as it used to be. The muslims are coming in and taking over areas. They move in, buy a business, have many children, and more move in, purchasing businesses. The ratio of muslims to non-muslims is increasing, so soon there will be a majority of muslims in England. Their hopes are to get elected into government and affect the laws in favor of muslims.
That being said, there are significant numbers of muslim women who wear the burka or if not a burka at least they wear head coverings, and they fight for that right. Yet, in England Christians cannot wear crosses or symbols of their religion. These girls contend that, for the muslim, the head covering is also an outward sign of their religion. They talked about the morals and values of the muslim families and contrasted that to the values of Christians in England. Christians in England do not all live a high moral standard. People start looking at the muslims trying to find out what it is that muslims have that Christians don’t. The girls said Christians have to get their lives more in line with the Word of God so people start looking at Christians to see what it is they have.
There was a lot of cross talk (I am laughing because I guess Bible study is Cross talk) but what is also happening is people are trying to blend allah with God, saying that they are one and the same. This is not true, for allah is nothing like our loving God. Pastor Don told us people fear allah. They don’t know where they stand with allah. Is praying five prayers a day enough, or should it be 10, 20, 30 prayers to get into heaven? allah does not deal in the same loving manner as God. allah also has roots in the moon gods.
Another comment had to do with the low divorce rate of muslims – but what is overlooked is how women are treated. If a husband does not like what a wife is doing in some countries he can kill her and no eyebrows are raised.
This conversation about England led to Friday’s Bible study which Pastor Don did off the top of his head.
Pastor Don told us we are in a war for the minds and souls of the people. We have failed to insulate our world view. We are not doing enough to raise our children in a Godly fashion. Pastor Don said the battle is won or lost in Sunday School. If we are not raising up the next generation to know and love God, we are losing our war.
Matthew 24:37-39 (Jesus speaking) But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, thy were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
(Heather’s note, Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.)
What was life like in the time of Noah? Similar to what it is today. There is lawlessness, an unhinging of the moral code (mystery Babylon), religious spirits, humanism. To see the moral decline, just look at the mentality of the people in the 50’s and compare it with today. Now so many things from society are set to reduce the impact of the family, and we are seeing the fruit of these new secular humanistic ideas and the decline of morality in the decadence that is so rampant in today’s society.
We are in a cultural war, and Christianity is the only way to win the war. We need to begin to live out and practice the tenants and teachings of Christ. Our focus needs to be love, but the agape love of Christ is not unconditional like many want us to believe. There are conditions, but in the agape love of Christ those conditions are FOR OUR OWN GOOD, not for the agenda of Christ. Yes, Jesus loved and accepted everyone, but He did not throw out His standards of morality to do this. He kept the Law and the Covenant. He would accept people with sexual sin, heal and minister to them, but then tell them to go and sin no more.
Jesus has called us to reach out to a lost and a dying world. We are to love like Jesus loves, which is better than everyone else who loves you.
The root of sexual deviancy or any sin is the same root for all – our own personal realization of our own inadequacy. We need a savior, but those who get caught up in sins are seeking things in the world to fill the real need, the need of a savior.
People try to claim the reason they cannot stop the particular sin they are doing is because, “I was made that way.” Nooo. It is because of human inadequacy, feelings of personal inadequacy. We need to realize Jesus loves us the way we are, but we will have to leave our sin outside. He is for changing us to be the best He knows we can be. We are to feed His sheep with the Word and with His love.
Today people want us to be INCLUSIVE, to accept all lifestyles and doctrines, but God expects people to line up with His Word.
People can have the best job, acquire all the material things they feel they need to have, be in a position of power, and still feel inadequate and rejected. We all have problems with our self-worth stuff. We can change our outside, but that doesn’t necessarily change how we are feeling inside. We all come to Jesus in our inadequacies. Jesus tells us, “I love you. I will never leave or forsake you. I love you so much and want you to love me so much that you can live with the moral code I have set for you.” We are not perfect people, but In Christ we are changing.
Our upbringing and sense of inadequacy drove us to sin. When we came to church we did not get it right away, it was a process of growing closer and closer to Christ. It took us a long time to change, but when newcomers come in with their sins, we expect them to instantly get things right, forgetting how long it took us to get over our stuff.
Jesus told us all to spread the Good News, and the Good News is not – you don’t measure up. Nobody measures up, but God loves us, and we are good to God. The muslims have no assurance of salvation. The koran tells the people that allah is impossible to know. But Our God is a personal God who longs for relationship with us!
We want to hold onto this relationship. As you read in Revelation at the end times 2/3 of the planet and 3/4 of the people left will go down in judgment. We want to help the most people to find salvation in Christ.
2 Tim 3:1-2 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves (selfish in the Greek), lovers of money (lottery tickets, the bigger the prize the more spend money to buy hoping to win – money they really can’t afford to spend), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.
Today rap music is full of blasphemy, there are websites where people can go and commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, people are disrespectful of God, and tell lies about Him. We certainly see parents have lost control over children, and children are disobedient. Our lifestyles are not holy, and there is no attitude of gratitude.
2 Timothy 3:3 unloving, unforgiving (Pastor Don had us write ‘trucebreakers’ over unforgiving) slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good.
This is so prevalent in today’s society. Many have no self-control.
2 Timothy 3:4-5 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
A form of godliness – muslims and hindus have lifestyles that are outwardly holy looking, people who are bad do good things, the new age practices many things that Christians do, it is an outward form, but without that inward relationship with Christ it is an empty shell. We worship worldly things, our new gods on the scene are the god of mammon and the god of tolerance.
2 Timothy 3:6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts.
Besides people and false teachers, TV can do this as well with shows that put ideas into people’s minds. Pastor Don talked about a couple who divorced. The husband tried to find out why, and it turned out he did not match up to the kind of love life portrayed on TV romances.
2 Timothy 3:7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Pastor Don asked us what this generation is called: the information generation. They learn lots of things, have access to much information, but the deeper things of God are lost in the process.
2 Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, disapproved, concerning the faith.
We went back to Exodus to see how these magicians of Pharaoh resisted Moses.
Exodus 7:8-13 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.’” So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the LORD commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.
The magicians were able to imitate what Moses did at God’s direction. They were able to imitate the serpent (but God’s serpent ate up theirs), they were able to imitate turning water to blood, and they were able to imitate the frogs. But after that, they could not reproduce the plagues. (Heather’s note, I notice when the magicians, or satan, comes in to show himself strong rarely does he make things better. When there was a plague of frogs, how many frogs were needed – they needed a miracle of removing frogs, or making bloody water pure. They could only add to the problem at hand. Only God had the power to remove the plague. Only God could do the next plagues.)
Exodus 8:16-19 So the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the land, so that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’” And they did so. For Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and struck the dust of the earth, and it became lice on man and beast. All the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. So there were lice on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had said.
It was beyond the ability of Pharoah’s magicians to create life from lifeless dust, and even they recognized the finger of God. But Pharaoh chose to ignore them. It is important to realize that satan has no authority over us unless we give him authority or unless we are willing to receive it.
Pastor Don asked us to read the following passage with the above in mind, that satan has no authority over us, and in light of the signs of the times.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
This is a powerful passage for spiritual warfare, a big God, wants a big sacrifice (all of us – mind, will, emotions). Is your mind, body, and emotions in line with God’s word? Are you alive in Christ? We can become captive to our own thoughts, unless we turn them over to God.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We are being transformed. Pastor Don gave the illustration of our minds being like a car. When you want to get Old Betsy to run, you don’t throw out the old car, you restore her. How do you restore a car? You put in new parts for any part that can’t be fixed or restored. We need to do the same with our minds. Replace the old thoughts, feelings, emotions actions, with new ones. Fill our minds with the Word of God, create new godly habits.
Pastor Don then asked us, what if your problem is you hate yourself? We need to take out the tools of the Word of God and begin to regenerate those negative thoughts. Sort of like mind surgery. It is not a defensible position to say with resignation, “that’s just the way I am.” We are supposed to make ourselves a living sacrifice by transforming and renewing our mind, reminding ourselves that we are a new Creation In Christ. We have to take out the CAN’T DO part and find a CAN DO part. God wants us to prove Him in this transformation of our mind.
Remember, we are under construction, being restored and remade. God is the vine dresser, he prunes us up, and whatever is binding, holding or limiting us is not the best that God has for us. He will cut that off and cast it away.
Behind God’s perfect love – comes His pruning shears. Behind the love of God is the true love of God, pruning us because He really loves us, He will prune us and help us to change into His best for us.
2 Corinthians 10:1-2 Now I, Paul, myself, am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ–who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
Notice Paul is pleading with them, and this is important for the church in the last days. It is a grievous error to assume for any man or woman of God who has a ministry, to not have the wisdom to realize when their ministry changes from a ministry of God to a ministry of the flesh.
For spiritual maturity there are no pet sins. All sins are sins. Some people seem to think some sins are worse than others. From God’s perspective that is not the case. For God all sin is SIN.
Pastor Don says he will minister to us whether or not he likes us. When he speaks words of advice or judgment, they are based on the Word of God, not on the type of day he has had. No one in our church can say, Pastor Don really laid into me, he must have had a bad day. He does not let his emotions interfere with his ministry. Pastor Don said, like Paul, “I am what I have to be to get the Gospel across to you.”
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
Verse 3 is the key verse for winning the cultural war. We will not win it in our flesh.
We then read 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 in the Amplified Bible For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.
Arguments and imaginations and theories can undercut our spiritual warfare. That is why we have to stick to God. We do not want to be in disobedience to the will of God. We can get an idea in our mind, in the midst of the cultural war, and take a position that God did not want us occupying. We can cross over the line God has set. We want to hold onto the territory Jesus laid hold of, to guard and protect it. We are part of this battle. And the first step at protecting us is to bringing ourselves into obedience to the Word of God. We have to examine what the media and people tell us. Examine it in the light of Christ and line up with the Word of God. We can only pull down strongholds when we are mighty IN GOD. Here in New York we can’t pull down strongholds in the mind of the leaders of Washington D.C., but we can pray for a saint to be sent. Angels can come and affect the leaders, and our prayers will affect their policies.
The Church believes it has to pursue politics, not prayer. God does not take someone who is ordained and called in one arena and move them to another. The weapons of politics are carnal, and you use carnal weapons to get political position, to please a group of constituents.
A Pastor in the pulpit does not preach to please constituents, to please the congregation. A good pastor preaches in a way that lines up with the Word of God and what the Spirit is directing him to preach.
What are our spiritual weapons: The Word of God (Bible, teach and read), prayer, and carpet dust (praying on the carpet).
When we are tormented in any aspect of our being, we have to remember our weapons are not carnal. Sexual deviants are trying to get society to say their brand of sexuality is okay, but they do not feel okay inside.
To keep focused, when we are surrounded by worldly things, we have to renew our minds, to fill our minds with God’s Words. We have to realize, if we think about a sin in our mind, it is still a sin even if it isn’t acted upon. That is why we have to fill our minds with what is of God, then there is no room for the sinful thoughts. It is the Word of God that renews our minds.
Pastor Don said we do get thoughts that do not come from us, to try and pull us off of track. If Pastor Don wakes up wondering why he chose to be a pastor, started thinking about the kind of day he was going to have, and then figured it was too much, he ought to retire or quit, satan would be glad. When thoughts that are not of God come to us, there has to be something in us that rises up and says, “I am not going to think this.”
When the devil attacks, get up out of bed, go in the living room and spend 15 minutes in the Word of God, and you will have an anchor to fight satan with. The battle is not in our head, we have to bring the truths to our heart and hold onto them.
Why in the Body of Christ are we so lazy to do the warfare? Remember when Jesus cast out the demon, he told the disciples when a demon is cast out it comes back and brings seven of his friends with him and the person will be in more trouble than before. When satan is cast out, we have to fill that space with the Word of God, leaving no room for satan and his crowd.
Pastor Don talked about alcoholism, how a person can be dried out, stay away from alcohol, but in a moment of weakness come back addicted by a few drinks. He said the only way to beat alcoholism is to replace the need that alcohol addressed with something that is better – the love of Christ. But we have to do the housework, to keep ourselves filled with Him. That is what is meant by working out our salvation. We do not work to gain the free gift, but we work to maintain what God has so graciously given us. He helps us maintain if we are in relationship with Him.
Reading tons of Scripture (while it gives you Biblical knowledge) is not most important. Better to read a few scriptures and DO what they tell you. We want instant faith, microwave faith, like instant coffee. Throw in a few scriptures, stir it up and faith. But faith doesn’t work that way. We feed our faith and it grows the more we feed it.
God is looking at the heart and the renewing of the mind. We are Brides waiting for our Groom (Christ). We need to be ready, have enough oil (Spirit) and be prepared for His coming. Jesus is not coming for the townspeople, He is coming for His bride. We are to remain occupied doing His work, and keep our selves prepared for His coming.
When all hell is breaking out around you, your friends will try to get you to do things in the flesh. Your true friends will encourage you In Christ and In the Word.
We then prayed.
Hoping you have a blessed day!
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