In the beginning Adam was created in the image and likeness of God. God created him to have a mind and a will in order to choose. To use New Covenant language we might say, he had the mind of Christ. So actually what happened at the fall was Adam lost his mind. Adam had made the decision to go with what Satan said rather than God. Therefore all who have been born of Adam are born operating from the mind of the enemy, or the mind naturally ours because of the fall.

The Bible admonishes us to “not lean on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and “There is a way that seems right to a man but the end leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). So we’re not supposed to live according to our natural reasoning because our natural reasoning is opposed to God. “The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God” (Romans 8:7). Because, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Proverbs spends a considerable amount of time telling us to seek Wisdom. We are to “make our ear attentive to wisdom, incline our heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:2-5). So we see Wisdom is a woman who is to be sought after. The Wisdom of God is actually God Himself. It’s the knowledge “of” God not simply knowledge “from” God. In the New Covenant we discover “Christ Jesus became to us Wisdom from God…” (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are to “be renewed in the spirit of our mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:23-24).

It only makes sense to me if Wisdom from God is a woman, the enemy might just have a woman of his own. You see we have all been operating from the wrong mind or wisdom because of the fall. Part of what happened in the fall is the Wisdom of God departed. Once Adam, and subsequently all of us, was left without God’s Wisdom, or mind, natural reasoning was all we had left. The trouble is what I’m calling “natural reasoning” is actually the mind of the Harlot.

Proverbs seven shows us the mind of the harlot, who is a deceiver. She sees a naive young man lacking sense walking a bit too close to her house. What I would like for you to notice is the harlot works this foolish young man over through natural reasoning. She says, “Today I’ve paid my vows. I have spread my couch with coverings. I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. My husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey.” The young man blindly walks right into her web “as an ox goes to the slaughter.” That old harlot gave him every reason in the world why he should come to her place, and he went. You see we are absolutely no match for the craftiness of the enemy without the Wisdom of God. We are told “in all your getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). We are told to “Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your intimate friend; that they may keep you from the adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words” (Proverbs 7:4-5).

Ultimately we are all operating from one of two minds. Romans eight tells us “the mind set on the flesh (natural reasoning or mind of the harlot) is death, but the mind set on the Spirit (the Wisdom of God, mind of Christ) is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh(natural reasoning, satanic mind) is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God; for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh(natural reasoning, satanic mind) cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).

James tells us the wisdom from below is “earthly, natural and demonic…but the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:15-18).

Louie

The first few verses of the Bible tell us God created the heavens and earth but things were in disarray. We’re told “the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the waters.” The question is what happened to cause this darkness? The words formless and void mean confusion and indistinguishable ruin, in other words, chaos.

If you look at these verses through the lens of what we discover elsewhere in the scriptures, a bit of clarity may come. For instance, we know according to Isaiah 14 Lucifer thought he could exalt himself and make himself “like” God. In other words, he saw himself as “Independent” of God. Could it be Lucifer’s rebellion found him exiled to roam to and fro on planet earth? If this is true and Lucifer, also known as Satan, was living on earth with the mindset of being independent of God, it only makes sense the result would be chaotic darkness, right?

With this in mind I want you to think back to what your life looked like prior to coming to Christ. I don’t know about you but mine was pretty dark and chaotic. The Apostle Paul tells us, “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Sometimes I see people whose lives are full of rebellion, chaos and darkness. For me to live in their circumstances would suck the life out of me and yet they seem to be at home there. Then I remember how my life must have looked to those looking on from the outside. When all you’ve ever known is chaos you tend to find it comfortable. So our job is to be the light. We can’t be the one’s to sort out the disarray but we can shine a little light in. This is why sharing your testimony is so important. Some people have only known me since I’ve been born again and really don’t understand how miraculous the transformation has been. I’ve discovered most people can’t relate to us in those areas where we seem to have it all together, but they can find a bit of traction in those areas where we have blown it.

The key I’ve discovered is to learn how to see yourself as joined to Christ. If the reason for the chaos in your life is because you see yourselves as “independent”, the answer must be union. Once you start to see Christ is your life, you will start to see light shining out of the darkness and order replace the chaos.

Louie

Recently during our morning church service we had the privilege of watching someone be baptized. Our pastor read Romans 6:3-4 “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Then He read Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…”

As he read the Matthew passage, it was quickened within me Jesus is saying being baptized in the name of “The Father, Son and Holy Spirit” means the believer has become one with the Trinity. You see Jesus (God in the flesh) came here in order to set the fall of Adam straight. When someone is born-again of the Spirit of God, they are brought into an intimate union with God Himself. In fact this is a union of a sort even better than what the first Adam had enjoyed, for he never partook of the Tree of Life, which is Christ. This is why the operation of the cross was necessary. Our union with fallen Adam had to be severed in order for us to be brought into the intimate relationship God always had in mind. Through the cross, God took us out of Adam, and joined us to Christ in order to elevate us and seat us with Him in the heavenlies.

Those who have been born again have the privilege of an intimate union with God never known prior to Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension. According to Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God”; and 1 Corinthians 6:17 tells us “He that is joined to the Lord are one Spirit.” We truly are His workmanship, his hands and feet. In 1 John 4:6 we read, “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us.” Then in v. 13 “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

You see it has always been God’s plan for man to be at His right hand. Ephesians 2:5-6 tells us “God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Oh my! We, right now, are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Jesus himself told the church in Laodicea, as recorded in Revelation 3:21, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Let me finish with a quote from page 36 of Paul E. Billheimer’s book “Destined For The Throne.”

“Nothing can ever dim the fact that infinity separates the Creator from the created. Christ is the eternally unique and only begotten Son, “the brightness of [God’s] glory,” and “the express image of his person”(Heb. 1:3). But from all eternity God purposed to have a family circle of His very own, not only created but also generated by His own life, incorporating His own seed, “sperma,” “genes,” or heredity. “Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own [in a genetic sense], through what Christ would do for us.” In order to obtain this personal, organic family relationship, God conceived the infinitely vast and infinitely wise plan of creation plus redemption through the new birth, in order to bring “many sons to glory” (Heb. 2:10).

Amen.

Louie

In the beginning God gave Adam (man) dominion over the whole earth. In fact God told him to subdue it. This word “subdue” is telling us plenty. Subdue is defined in the Strong’s concordance “to tread down; to disregard; to conquer, subjugate, violate–bring into bondage, force, keep under, subdue, bring into subjection.” Wow! Do you see where I’m going with this yet?

Of course we know Adam sinned and in the fall handed over his dominion to another, namely Satan. Essentially Adam’s fall changed the subduer into the subdued.  Thankfully that’s not the end of the story though.

Look what God told Israel about the Land He promised them. He told them “If you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours…” (Deuteronomy 11:22-24). Did you notice God would drive out the nations yet you (Israel) will dispossess nations greater and mightier? God is giving back the earth to His people.

In the New Covenant we discover the real territory is in Spirit and our real enemy is spirit–the spirit of error to be exact. We are told we aren’t wrestling with flesh and blood but against rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The real war starts from within.

Tracey and I recently had the privilege to meet a lady who told us an amazing story. She is in fact the wife of a pastor friend of ours who is fearless when it comes to sharing the gospel. She told us of going to a strip club and praying with dancers. She said, “I go in and sit at a table, pray and listen for God to show me which young lady I am to approach.” She said, “God showed me one lady, so I went to her and told her I wanted a private dance. She took me to a private room, and when she shut the door I told her, that’s not really what I’m here for.” The lady looked puzzled as she told her, “I’m here to pray with you.” As she started to pray she said the young lady sort of curled up in a ball on the chair and started to cry. After she finished, she said, “No one has ever prayed for me like that.” She pleaded, “Will you please pray a blessing over my son?” So she prayed for her son and by the time they left the room they were both in tears. Jesus said, “you are the light of the world” and this friend of ours marched right into the darkness and it had to flee!

I’ve been thinking lately about how the world is okay with “The Church” as long as they keep it quiet. They say, “I don’t care if you go to church, or talk about Jesus on your time, but don’t bring it to work or the market place.” As if this isn’t bad enough, I’m afraid what has happened is “The Church” has done just about the same thing. The church seems to have given the world over to the darkness. The average church going Christian isn’t going to be seen in a strip-club or bar or anywhere else if the world tells us to stay away. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we should all go to strip-clubs but what I am saying is, God gave us dominion! We are called to be the light. Light is meant to dispel the darkness, right? Jesus Himself was accused of being a wine-bibber (drunk), wasn’t He? Apparently He had a tendency to hang around with some folks the “Religious people” didn’t like.

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of settling for anything less than what God has given me. In Ephesians 6 we discover we have been given the very armor of God. I can’t think of any other uses for armor except war. What do you say we Christians get up every morning and make it our goal to destroy Hell. This may happen in small or large ways. It may be the overcoming of an addiction, sharing the gospel with someone, holding a door for someone, offering someone a ride, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry or visiting those that are sick or in prison.

Jesus himself said, “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” So many times I think people think this verse means Hell can’t overcome the Church but I think we’ve got that backwards. Jesus said, “The gates of Hell will not overpower the church. As far as I know gates don’t move, so what if Jesus is telling us Hell can’t stop the church from advancing into it. Maybe it’s time for the church to go on the offensive for a change. Let’s go set some captives free what do you say?

Louie

There are many situations in life requiring wisdom. Sometimes knowing how to help someone can be tricky. For instance, what do you do when someone who has a history of drug abuse comes to you asking for money? As far as you know the person has been clean for several years and you have no reason to believe they’re using now, but you’ve been noticing some red flags. They have been acting a bit erratic lately, and now they need cash and fast. What about someone who has a history of going in and out of jail? When do you know it’s time to stop giving to them?

Just a bit of advice to any who haven’t been or lived around someone using drugs. When they start behaving desperate, selling their belongings, asking for money and getting easily offended watch out, especially if you haven’t witnessed this type of behavior before. There’s a good chance there’s something up. So what do you do? This is where wisdom comes in.

I recently talked with a friend of mine who has been attempting to point someone in the right direction. The person they are helping is facing many charges extending from drugs, weapons etc. They have been in and out of jail over and over again in the past years and yet they say, “I’m done with it this time. I’m going to give my life to God.” How do you know when it’s real? When is it time to back away?

My friend was telling me how he had helped this guy before and he ended up back on drugs, breaking his probation and was put back in jail. Now he’s saying, “I’m done this time.” My friend has been contemplating whether or not he should help him anymore. He asked me about it and we talked about the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. It seems the father in that story accepted his son back and gave him full access to all of his goods, signified by his giving him the ring, without any trial period at all. I told my friend the one thing about the prodigal though was he was broken and truly repentant. I’m not so sure about your friend though. This takes discernment from the Spirit.

As my friend told me this he said, “one thing he said was I have to get out of here.” There it is! The real motivation this man has isn’t to stop his behavior rather it’s to get out of jail. I was so proud of my friend because he heard the real reason behind what was being said, and realized his friend wasn’t really repentant, therefore he probably shouldn’t give anything to him for now.

Looking back at the story of the prodigal in Luke 15, notice what took place just before the wayward son came to his senses. After the son had been given his inheritance, went into a far country, spent all his money living irresponsibly and found himself so hungry he longed to eat pig-slop, we read, “and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses…” It was only after no one was there to help him that he came to his senses. I’m not sure about you; but for me it was only after my wife left, I lost my job, my friends stop coming around and I had a raging addiction that I was awakened to my true condition. Then and only then did I decide I wanted to live rather than die; so I headed toward a methadone clinic to start rebuilding my life.

Without quoting too many cliches let me just say, “sometimes you really do have to get sick and tired of being sick and tired.” I’ve also heard it said time and time again “tough love is still love.” As painful as it is to watch someone you love going down the wrong road, many times they have to come to the conclusion it’s the wrong road on their own and all you can do is patiently wait for them to see it. Then you will be free to welcome them back with open arms and enjoy watching God restore them bit by bit to their sanity, family, employment, purpose and joy. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell when our help is really hurting the ones we love; but thankfully the Spirit of God is there to show us what we need to see at the very moment we need to see it. If you’re facing a similar situation in life right now don’t let your feelings take the lead. Stop and ask God to show you the truth, open your ears to wisdom and wait…..James 1:5-8.

Louie

In Genesis 17 God said to Abraham “Walk before me, and be blameless.” If that’s not enough, Jesus said, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Are you serious? Blameless and perfect? What does this mean to me? Is God dangling the proverbial carrot in front of us, all the while knowing we can never measure up, or is there some way for us to fulfill these over-the-top demands?

I think most would agree the God of the Bible is a perfect God, right? And the Bible tells us Jesus was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). So, a blameless, perfect God telling us to be blameless and perfect seems to be valid, right? The problem then isn’t on God’s side, it’s on ours. What are we going to do then?

If you think about it, this perfect God gave us the Ten commandments and they essentially are telling us the same thing. When the commandment says, “Do not lie, or bear false witness, it means not even one! When it says, “Do not commit adultery, and Jesus said, “don’t even lust in your heart”, it means what it says. It’s the same with the rest: don’t murder, covet and so on. So for those of us who are honest with ourselves we eventually come to the conclusion that left to ourselves, we’re doomed. It may seem odd to some but that’s the conclusion God intends. Left to ourselves we have absolutely no hope of being blameless and perfect, yet the command still stands.

This is why God Himself came here in the flesh. John told us, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). You see the perfect God became the perfect man, in order to live the perfect life, die the perfect death, to perfect all who receive Him. According to Hebrews 10:14 “By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Did you catch that? He (God in the flesh) gave Himself as an offering for sin once and for all in order to fulfill His own demands on humanity.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans he declares “those of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death.” He then goes a bit further saying, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). After establishing that we have died to sin he goes on to declare we have also died to the Law (Romans 7:4).

After discovering we have been crucified with Christ, died to sin and died to the Law, Paul then drops another big revelation on us. In Romans 8 he tells us the Law couldn’t do the job anyway because we simply couldn’t obey. He said, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:3-5). Did you catch that? What we couldn’t do, “God did.” So what God has done is moved into us, by way of His Spirit, and He now lives out the blameless, perfect life He requires of us. Once we see that we have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live, but Christ lives in us, we will begin to walk in the very blameless perfection He demands.

Jesus Himself said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The key here is nothing. As long as we are attempting to live the Christian life, as if independent of Christ, we are doomed to feelings of condemnation and failure, which is as it should be. The Gospel means “good news” and the good news is Christ in you, is the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27). Paul said, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete (perfect) in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). So you see perfection is possible, but only to those who are in the perfect one who is Christ. This is why the Bible admonishes us to walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8).

Louie