Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of GOD’s Word.
And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. – John 8:32
Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of GOD’s Word.
And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. – John 8:32
APRIL 15 – Weakened Hands
Ezra 4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
How often do we allow the world to weaken our hands when it comes to the work of the Lord. There are so many things that can be used to slow the work of the Lord and delay what we should be doing. Friends, family, and even enemies can weaken the will of man. The work is then slowed or stopped completely.
This plan has never changed. Satan will use what is at hand to deter the work of the Lord. He will use conflict. This conflict can be a Church member that stands in the way. There are some phrases that are used. “We have never done it that way before.” Maybe the term, “that is too expensive.” How about, “that way has never produced results.” Most pastors have run up against these excuses and some Church members have heard them and a few have used these excuses to weaken the hands that are involved in the Lord’s work.
Satan will use family and friends to disrupt the work of the Lord. If family and friends are not as committed to the Lord’s work as you are, they can seriously weaken the hands. There are emergencies that come up that can keep you away from the service of the Lord. A chore that can be used to keep you away from a worship service or dealing with the lost. Loved ones can easily divert us from the work for the Lord by different demands made on our time.
The enemy, the stranger, and those that have worldly pursuits can weaken the hands. They can stand against the work of the Lord. There is a constant attempt to limit and eliminate the possibility to share the gospel in public areas. The ridicule of the world is often intimidating to God’s people. The World will attack any effort. The world will give every reason for not serving the Lord. They will never give up.
Some of our churches are not growing because they have given up. They have been discouraged. Some have been charter members that have worked for years and are now tired. We must never give up. We need to encourage each other. Let us trust in the process and the method the Lord has given us. We must never give up. The Lord will strengthen us.
THE CHURCH THAT LIVED IN SATAN’S SEAT OF POWER
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
Twice, our Lord made mention that the church at Pergamos lived where Satan’s seat was, Rev. 2:13.That in itself made the message most interesting. It was my privilege to visit this place several years ago. What I saw is burned into my memory for as long as I have one. Just what was the power of Pergamos. Think with me!
The city was characterized by politics, religion, industry, and health services. Located in western Turkey not far inland from the Aegean Sea, two rivers ran near the city, and one of the most complete libraries of the ancient world containing over 200,000 volumes was there. The word “Pergamos,” according to some linguists, means a high walled city, which Pergamos certainly had. It hosted a great walled citadel, with magnificent idol temples, and one of the steepest amphitheaters in the world. From this mountain part of the city one can see for miles in any direction, allowing ample warning of any approaching enemy. Others think the name comes from the Greek word for marriage with an intensive prefix meaning “thoroughly married,” as in full submission to the forces of the world (Satan).
The political winds of Pergamos were largely passive. They had pursuits of life more important to them than politics, especially on the international scene. So, whether Greeks, Romans, or whoever was in power, they acquiesced to them to continue their pursuits. Thus, it became a significant city to all. They were a city of much idol worship with temples rivaling those of Ephesus. They were also the first city to be known as a city of emperor worship, having a temple to Augustus Caesar.
In industry, they were the first producers of parchment. The very word “parchment” came from “Pergamos.”
In health services, they were worshippers of the mythological god “Asklepios.” It was symbolized as twin or two-headed snakes, a symbol that remains with the medical community. They were into Psychiatry and became a sort of hospital city. Roman soldiers suffering depression were sent there with a full year of leave to heal. Once there they enjoyed entertainment at the city’s two amphitheaters. bathed in the natural hot springs, and spent some time at night walking through great underground tunnels while required to shout constantly whatever was on their mind. “Psychiatrists” would listen in at strategic points and formulate a plan of therapy for them. If they were not well in a year, Rome would have the soldiers executed. It was quite an incentive to heal.
The church at Pergamos witnessed, was persecuted, and yielded up several martyrs, resisting the doctrine of Balaam, and actions of Nicolaitanism which The Lord said He hates. It sounds a lot like today. May God help us to do as well or better than this ancient church did. Satan’s seat did not die with ancient Pergamos.
MARCH 7 – Defying the armies of the Living God
1Sa 17:26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
David had a great courage. This courage was on display when a lamb was attacked by a bear and a lion. He had a responsibility to respond to this challenge. Responsibility is a big word with a mature meaning. We must teach our children responsibility. Even though David was young, possibly late teen, he was serious about his responsibility.
David felt that responsibility when he came to the army of Israel. One big, loud mouth bully had caused the men to quake and fear. I remember the preachers of 50, 60 years ago. They were bold against sin. They were bold on the church and what it is. They were bold on membership. They were bold in setting the saved and members on a solid foundation. They never apologized for the Word of God, the Church, and the doctrines that were built on the foundation of God’s Word.
We have a responsibility today. The question to be asked, are we being responsible. Satan opposes all we do. Satan uses every form he can to twist the truths of God’s Word. In the Old Testament, Pharoah, an emissary of Satan, copied the stick to a snake. The separation of the nation into the northern and the southern division, Satan used Jereboam to change the worship and built two golden calves and sent the priests of God packing and brought in his personal, corrupt priests. We know this was not acceptable to God. Ten tribes were led astray from the true worship of God.
Satan is busy today attacking what Jesus has built. The world has been offered on a platter to the Lord’s church. The church is not declining because of the strong preaching of the Word of God. It is declining because the world is creeping in. Many terms are used to make the world acceptable to the church. Some use the term method. Do we not have the Lord’s directive on what method to use? The instruction is very clear, entice them? No. We are not in the enticing business. We are in the going business. We are to carry the gospel to a lost and dying world. We are not called to use the wisdom of the world, but the wisdom of God. Let us stand against the world. Let us stand for God.
Let us do it God’s way.
A Blessing awaits those who watch!
By: W. A. Dillard
PLANET EARTH: MY MOTHER!
There is a natal bond between planet Earth and mankind. From the initial days in Eden it speaks of his prime directive or purpose. Think with me!
Adam (mankind) was the name of the first human. Add the feminine ending (ah) to that word in Hebrew and one has “Adamah” which is translated “dust, soil, dirt,” the substance of the planet. So, Earth is the mother of mankind, and God is the Creator/Father. He was made to be Adam from the same elements as the soil, and God breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives: (yes, lives, plural) physical, mental and spiritual. Thus was Adam made the lord of the life sustaining planet. Inquiring minds want to know why.
Previously, the earth was under the care of Lucifer and the myriad of angels under his command. Lucifer coveted the position of the Son, originating opposition to the Will of God; hence, sin! It is believed Lucifer is responsible for wrecking to the point of utter chaos what was a perfect, life-sustaining planet , Gen.1:2.
Logic would indicate that a controversy over ownership of the planet ensued between God as Creator and Lucifer claiming it was given to him. There being no other super powers to settle the argument, the planet would thus speak for itself. Of course, being without brain, or mouth, that seemed impossible, but here is where the import of the bond becomes underscored. God caused the planet to give birth as it were to one like itself, but who could reason, speak and make decisions. That would put Adam into the position of being a walking, talking dirtball, which seems a little humiliating. Actually, it is an extremely exalted position. He would speak for the planet since God as Creator is not an arbitrary God.
So man must be subjected to the influences of God and of Lucifer. Eve being deceived and Adam choosing her over the word of his Creator brought sin to the species and a yielding up of the lordship of the planet to the fallen archangel.
But the story does not end there. The Creator chose to become one of His created beings and succeed where Adam failed. Since it was a decision of commitment that brought sin, it is a decision of commitment that brings life and righteousness. It is also the purpose of the Creator to bring man to a high level of spiritual maturity that will enable him to do in the millennial reign of Christ, what he should have been doing from the beginning. He will rule the earth in righteousness to the eternal glory of Jesus, and the astonishment of his unfathomable grace. Paul says in Romans 8 that the creation groans in travail, awaiting the glorious liberty of the sons of God (its offspring) in which it also will be finally freed from the power of bondage. There is good reason earth is called “Mother Earth.”
THREE REQUISITES FOR YOUR LIFE
Ask a group of people, almost any people, to prioritize the important requisites of life, and the answers received will not be a surprise. People prize education, wealth, fame, and the human concept of immortality. It is as a noted professor of sociology in a large northern university is reported to have said to a group of male students. “Get a good education, a good job, and a good wife. Those having these requisites possess the wellspring of life.” Well, this writer does not belittle these requisites by no means. They are good, and they are important, but it is obvious that many who have an abundance of these things are most unhappy. Material things do not satisfy the spiritual need of people, and a loving mate cannot substitute for that either. Think about it!
Mankind was created by the Creator/God of heaven and earth. He was created to live in harmony with God, and he was placed on the earth to make good decision for material creation as its lord. Boy, did sin ever interfere with that!!!
With sin came condemnation and death to the delight of the Destroyer. However, there are three things he had not counted on and could not foresee. In short those are love, blood, and the Word. Thinking surely he had won the creation when he successfully caused the sin and fall of Adam and Eve, which incorporated sin into the species inherently, how Satan must have rejoiced, but it was to be short-lived.
Enter, the manifested love of God per John 3:16. God would redeem His created beings by becoming one of them and succeeding where the first Adam failed. Moreover that love would extend into longsuffering through the ages. But it was the gift of God’s love that did the trick. The Lord Jesus came into the world to die for sinners. He could do so because He alone was qualified.
Additionally, He gave the Holy Spirit to this sphere of creation to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment by which His unspeakable gift might be freely given to “whomsoever.” But that is not the end of the story. He made it possible for a remnant of the race to actually accomplish in spiritual maturity the purpose of their creation through His perfect Word.
So here it is, plain and simple: three requisites for your life. They are the Love that sought us, the Blood that bought us, and the Word that taught us to sanctification of life. The good news is that all three of them are accessed through the channel of faith. How great is God!??!
Ephesians 6:19, 20
“[Pray] . . . for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, . . . that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak,” Ephesians 6:19, 20.
Fear is one of Satan’s greatest tools. Since Americans have historically been raised in Christian ethics, there is a tendency to be polite and acquiesce to the strangers among us.
They have not been trained to acquiesce to us. They are here by the millions to evangelize us into their false doctrines. We must be polite, but when God’s truth is under fire, we should boldly defend the truth.
God leaves believers on earth for the purpose of bringing in the sheaves. Jesus asked the rhetorical question in Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
This prophecy, which implies there will not be a lot of faith, does not give Christians permission to be slack on the job just because we may become a minority. We are children of the King. We represent the King in His domain.
Paul taught Christians to be hospitable and generous to the lost. But, when it comes to Jesus and His truth, there is no reason for the saved to be apologetic. “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:14-16).
We must be polite but not apologetic. Wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
gā’āh [and] zēḏ
The English proud appears some forty-two times in the OT (AV) and pride another forty-six, both of which are a translation of several Hebrew words. One such word is gā’āh (H1342), a verb primarily meaning “to rise,” with the added ideas of “exalt” and “lift up.” In the literal sense, for example, it pictures stream waters rising (Eze_47:5), the proud (or “frothing”) waves of the sea (Job_38:11), or plants growing (Job_8:11).
It is the figurative meaning, however, that is most significant. It is God alone who is to be exalted. Another form of the word (gâ’ôn, H1347), for instance, speaks of the “LORD, and for the glory of his majesty” (Isa_2:10) and “the voice of his excellency (Job_37:4). Significantly, the Septuagint usually renders these and other related words as doxa (G1391), which speaks of “radiance” and “glory.”
Most significantly, it is the negative use of gâ’ôn and related words that stands out, and such negative use is always of man. “I will break the pride of your power,” God said to His people (Lev_26:19), for “the fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Pro_8:13), and, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro_16:18).
Likewise, Isa_13:11 declares, “I will cause the arrogancy [gâ’ôn] of the proud to cease and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible,” while also introducing another word. Proud here is zēḏ (H2086, from ziyḏ, H2102), which appears some thirteen times, most often in the Psalms. Its basic idea is “pride and a sense of self-importance, which often is exaggerated to include defiance and even rebelliousness.” Jer_50:31-32 is especially graphic on God’s attitude toward pride: “Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud [zāḏôn, H2087], saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee. And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.”
In a day when pride is cloaked with high-sounding terms such as “self-esteem” and “positive pride,” we do well to remind ourselves where pride will take us, as it was the ancient sin of Satan before his fall and the one that brought him down to hell (Isa_14:12-15; cf. 1Ti_3:6). Pride is never positive.
Scriptures for Study: Note the following uses of zēḏ: Psa_19:13 (“presumptuous”); Psa_86:14; Psa_119:21; Psa_119:51; Psa_119:69; Psa_119:78.
By: William Andrew Dillard
A few decades ago, a man of great charismatic personality with the common name of Jim Jones successfully allured about one thousand of his followers to the tropical, isolated jungle where they built a compound, camp complete with airstrip. They were preparing themselves in isolation from the world for the next life. As time went on, some became discontent, but were unable to leave. On examination by a party that included a congressman, the examining party was murdered as they attempted to leave, and the population was given poison kool-aid to drink to usher them into the next life. A few days later, the camp was found with everyone dead.
From that dreadful event has come the expression, “don’t drink the kool-aid!” It reminds us of so many biblical warnings and admonitions regarding spiritual “kool-aid.” From the Garden of Eden, the battle for the spirit and mind of man has constantly waged. From the “Kool-aid” offered by the serpent to Adam and Eve, to the religious debate over what was right between Cain and Abel, to the ruination of the antediluvian world, to this very day there has been no relenting of it. The decision weighs heavily on every individual: what to believe; how to proceed; what to do? The crux of these weighty matters suffers no little number of Kool-aid vendors.
Ancient Israel knew mountainous onslaughts from the idol gods of the gentiles around them, bringing harsh and swift judgment from the Almighty upon them. From false religion, false doctrine, to “every man doing what was right in his own eyes” lessons of life were painfully, repeatedly learned. During His ministry on earth, Jesus warned His disciples to “beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” By this they understood that He referenced false doctrine (Kool-aid!).
To facilitate ingesting the Kool-aid, another form of it has been quite successfully sold. It is the idea that a layman, untrained theologically cannot understand or rightly apply the teachings of the Word to his life. He must have professional help! Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Holy Spirit of God accompanies the Word of God, and anyone who desires to know the doctrines of the Bible shall know them. It does require that one be exposed to them. So, what are you waiting for? Open the Book! Read for yourself! Prayerfully seek God’s help for your understanding, and then act on what He teaches you! There is no safety in numbers of people of any particular persuasion, and the flavors of Kool-aid are multiplied. DON’T DRING THE KOOL-AID!