Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

Archive for February, 2021

Foundations – Choosing a way to Live Life

For the last several weeks I’ve been delivering messages about Judgment Day, about Spiritual Warfare, about the armor God provides us to do battle with the enemy, about preparing for the “End Times,” and about having a Christ-centered worldview.

There’s a common thread woven through all these messages:  How to live in light of the days we are living in, and how best to prepare for the days to come.

I feel led to continue that thread today, starting in Matthew 7:24-27:

24 “Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  26 But anyone who hears My teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

I believe there are three takeaways from today’s message for you to think about.  They are:

  • There’s a right way and a wrong way to build a life
  • The foundation is the key to building the right way
  • The materials used in the building process are critically important

Take a look at this picture.  Can you see the foundation?

I went for a walk in my neighborhood yesterday and went by a new house being constructed.   From the road I could see that the blocks and bricks were now in place and I wanted to take the opportunity to inspect the foundation.

When I got to the site I thought, “I’m seeing exactly what Jesus was talking about in our text.”

Anyone building a house starts with the foundation … and you can do it the right way or the lazy, wrong way.  Nobody will know which course you took in the foundation stage until storms come.

Jesus made note that two builders – a wise one and a foolish one – would have to build a SPIRITUAL house that would withstand rain, floods, and winds.   Both houses would have to withstand storms that would ferociously beat against them.   

Do you think Jesus was talking about hurricanes and tornadoes, or was He talking about other kinds of storms? 

Jesus made note that the wise man’s house would stand while the foolish man’s house would catastrophically collapse.

Paul wrote two letters to First Century believers living in the ancient city of Corinth, and in the first letter he explained …

1 Corinthians 3:9-11

9  …You are God’s building.   10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder.  Now others are building on it.   But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.  11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have — Jesus Christ.”

Paul was a wise builder in the Kingdom of God, and with God’s grace he brought the Good News about Jesus Christ.  First, Paul preached the Cross.  He said that was the most critical part of the foundation he was laying in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 2:1-2

1 “When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s mysterious plan.   For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the One who was crucified.”

Paul started with the Cross.  I will call the Cross the cornerstone of the Gospel.  The Cross is where sin and death were defeated, and our salvation was purchased with Christ’s shed blood.

People everywhere are building their lives.  Some will wisely build their life upon Jesus, the firm foundation, while others will build their life in the worldly-wise way, using worldly ideas.

I give you some examples of what I’m talking about.

In America we are taught that worldly-wise people should start building a life with a good education (nursery school, then pre-K all the way to doctoral degrees), followed by a good job, finding a good mate, living in a good neighborhood, belonging to a good gym, making wise investments, preparing for retirement, etc.

And while all these things are good, aren’t they temporary?  

  • And what if a person doesn’t have access to a good education?  
  • And what happens if there are no jobs … good ones or bad ones?  
  • What if your Prince Charming turns out to be just a charmer, or your Cinderella turns out to be a sad fantasy?  
  • What happens when housing bubbles explode, and you find yourself homeless?  
  • What if your health fails and your investments dry up?   
  • What if …??

What happens when the storms of life beat against your house?

I believe Jesus was saying, and Paul was wholeheartedly agreeing … OUR SPIRITUAL HOMES, OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES must rest on a foundation.  The foundation MUST BE OUR STARTING POINT.   And I believe our foundation for a life is meant to last for eternity, not just for time.

Hebrews 11:10 says, “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundationsa city designed and built by God.”

The first two takeaways from Jesus’ teaching about SPIRITUAL FOUNDATIONS are:

  • There’s a right way and a wrong way to build a life, AND …
  • The foundation is the key to building the right way

So … do you think you are building wisely, and do you have a firm foundation?

The third takeway from today’s message is found in Paul’s teaching about “no other foundation” that we referred to earlier.

In 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, Paul writes about the materials used in the SPIRITUAL LIFE building process, and how they are critically important.

12  “Anyone who builds on that foundation (JESUS CHRIST) may use a variety of materials — gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done.  The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.” 

I believe Paul was specifically talking to pastors and teachers that would follow him to Corinth … people that would build upon what Paul had already taught.

But I’m going to take some license with the text and suggest that what Paul addressed to church leaders applies to each and every member of the Body of Christ.  

That’s you and me.  Paul wrote, “Anyone who builds on that foundation …”.  Are you an “anyone?”  Yes, you are.  So …

Ultimately, you and I are responsible for our SPRITUAL LIVES … not imperfect pastors, passionate prophets, energetic evangelists, appealing apostles, memorable missionaries, tremendous teachers or fellow believers!  Mom and Dad are not responsible for you or how you build!  Your social status, your bankroll, and your personality won’t matter on Judgment Day.

So, how will you build upon your foundation?  What will it be?  “Gold, silver, jewels …” or “wood, hay or straw?”

I fear that most of the people who claim to be Christians in my beloved country think they are using precious materials, but I fear they are using flammable materials instead.

How do you spend your time?  How do you spend your money?  What do you dream about?  For what will you expend energy?  What do you idolize?  How much do you value others?

Jesus was very clear in our original text … the one found in Matthew 7:24-27.  Wise SPIRUTAL LIFE builders are, “Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it…”.   

[And while you’re at it, look at Luke’s version of this same teaching.  It’s found in Luke 6:46-49.]

What are the teachings Jesus was referring to?

I would begin with what Jesus said were the greatest commandments.  

He said (1) to totally and without reservation love God, and (2) love others.  

Another one of His teachings was found in John 3, in His conversation with Nicodemus.  He told Nic, “You must be born again.” That applies to you and me, too.

I did an internet search and came up with the a list of the teachings of Jesus.  There may be more, but this is a good start:

  • Have communion – the bread and the wine – in remembrance of Him
  • Love your enemies, not just your friends and family
  • Forgive everyone
  • Avoid swearing oaths, or swearing at others (“Raca,” right?)
  • Rejoice when you are persecuted
  • Take another look at the 10 Commandments because Jesus said He didn’t intend to abolish them but fulfill them
  • Let your light shine and glorify God while you are doing good works
  • End disputes quickly
  • Whatever causes you to sin, get rid of it
  • Give to the poor and don’t announce it when you do
  • Feed the hungry and clothe the naked
  • Don’t lust or murder in your heart
  • Be like the “Good Samaritan”
  • Keep your word
  • Don’t lie
  • Go the second mile
  • Turn your cheek
  • Do meaningful things secretly, like praying and giving to the needy
  • Seek God’s Kingdom first!
  • Do not judge
  • Don’t oppose other believers
  • Have faith in God
  • Be merciful
  • “Do to others in the same way you want them to do to you”
  • Beware of false teachers and prophets
  • Pray.  Talk to Him, and then listen to God
  • Honor your parents
  • Deny yourself and follow Him
  • Be prepared to take up YOUR cross
  • Take really good care of children and guard them from harm
  • Honor marriage, and love your spouse
  • Be a servant 
  • Pay your taxes
  • Be expectantly waiting for His return
  • Go into all the world and make disciples
  • Teach new disciples everything Jesus has taught you
  • Be filled with the Holy Spirit

Are you building your life on Jesus and His teachings?  Or are you following the ways of the world?

The worldly way is:

  • God may be just a fantasy, right up there with Santa and the Tooth Fairy
  • Love friends and family as best you can, and punish your enemies
  • Forgive if you feel like it
  • Swear all you want
  • Forget the 10 Commandments.  Those ideas are passé
  • Sue everyone
  • Ignore the poor, the hungry and the naked
  • Lust all you want, just don’t get caught
  • Lie if you must, and keep your word when its convenient, or it won’t cost you anything
  • Turn your cheek?  Right!  Payback is the name of the game
  • Judge others – they deserve it, and you are right and they are wrong
  • No mercy
  • Forget the “golden rule”
  • Pray when you need some way to get out of trouble
  • Never deny yourself 
  • Love your spouse as long as he or she is the best in show
  • Avoid taxes
  • Be filled with spirits … like a good bourbon, whiskey or scotch.  Eat, drink and be merry.

My dear friends … Jesus said it and I believe Him:  The storms of life are going to come!  

You can be wise or foolish.  That’s up to you.  You get to choose.  Even God can’t force you to build wisely, but He will help you if you do decide to do life His way.  

Simply put, you can choose to build your life using the ways of this world, or you can choose to do LIFE God’s way.

Worldly foundations may last a lifetime.  Foundations built on Jesus will last forever.

Judgment Day?

February 21, 2021 – Living Grace

Where do people get the idea that sometime in the future there will be a day of reckoning? Everyone seems to have an opinion about what happens to a person after they die.  Most people, and most religions, believe that there is some kind of afterlife.  And most believe some kind of determination will be made by someone or something about the life of the individual … whether a person was good or bad.  The alternative to having this belief is to not have this belief … that when a person dies, that’s it.  Over.  Done.  Nothing.  Oblivion.  Poof!

It’s pretty obvious from reading books and novels and sci-fi, or watching movies or TV, that belief in something in the hereafter is the preferred way to go.  If you’re into Star Wars, you are either Darth Vadar and you’ve used the “dark side of the force” to prey on mostly good people, or you are a combination of Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi, and you’ve tapped into the good side of “the force,” and you are a galactic hero.

I want us to focus our attention today on the afterlife, and in particular, a coming “judgment day.”   That’s the day when, most people believe, you either get to go to heaven, limbo, or hell.

The USA Today online page, AZCentral, reported what was trending on Twitter yesterday: “Rush Limbaugh has died, and now he can ‘rot in hell’ where he can join the ‘Hall of Shame’ for eternity.  Sound harsh?  But that appears to be the sentiment of a fair amount of Twitter users …”[1]

One such Tweet came from Saturday Night Live’s Luke Null.  He wrote, “Rush Limbaugh already started a radio show in Hell, and is ranting about how the devil should shut the fiery gates because all these OUTSIDERS are ruining everything!”[2]

The View is a daytime show on ABC.  Fox News reported, “The liberal hosts of ‘The View’ blasted conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh the day after his death, saying Thursday that he ‘normalized hatred’ for ‘people sitting in their trucks in the middle of America’ and suggesting he was in Hell. Co-host Sara Haines said while many were mourning Limbaugh, ‘many are not’ and blamed him for the ‘beginning of conspiracy theories.’  She even suggested he would wind up in Hell. ‘At the end of our lives, it’s just us, answering for everything we did, who we were, what we said, and how we treated people,’ Haines said.  ‘And so now, Judgment Day has arrived for Rush Limbaugh.’”[3]

WOW! Talk about a judgment call …

The Bible talks a lot about a day of judgment. Check out 1 Peter 4:5, 7a NLT

But remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both the living and the dead. …. “The end of the world is coming soon.”[4]

Jesus said something about judgment in Matthew 7.  He was concluding His famous “Sermon on the Mount” when He said, 1“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For God will judge you as you judge others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

Later, in Matthew 7 (vss 21-23) Jesus, speaking of a day of judgment, said: 21 “Not everyone who calls out to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter.  22 On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!  We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’  23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you.  Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”[5]

The writer of the book of Hebrews mentions death and judgment this way: (Hebrews 9:27-28) 27 “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”[6]

C. S. Lewis, the man who wrote a best seller entitled Mere Christianity, had some observations that we should examine.

Among the Jews living about 2,000 years ago in Palestine “… there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God.  He claims to forgive sins.  He says He has always existed.  He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time.  

“Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it.  But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God.  God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else.   And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.

“One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to.  I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. 

Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic.  We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself.  You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man … who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money? 

“…. Yet this is what Jesus did.  He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured.  He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences. 

“This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.  In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history.

“… I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” 

That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg … or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:  or else a madman or something worse. 

“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.   But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher.   He has not left that open to us.   He did not intend to.”[7]

I want to make a prediction. As time goes by you and I will hear more and more about “end time prophecies,” the “end of the world,” climate change that leads to a dead planet, atomic warfare recklessness, Iranian terrorism, the nation of Israel, a person called “the anti-christ,” something called “the mark of the beast,” etc., etc.

Sprinkled in with all the gloomy predictions, political nonsense and government malpractice you’ll begin to hear more and more about the conspiracy theory of all time …  JUDGMENT DAY. JESUS took it seriously.  So should you and I.

If you are a follower of Jesus, your hope is in Jesus – you believe that He was and is who He said He was and is.  You believe in the Bethlehem Christmas story, His three years of preaching and teaching, His recruiting disciples and calling twelve of them “apostles,” and you believe that He was arrested, condemned to death on a Roman Cross, that He did in fact die on that Cross, was buried, and three days later He was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit and the will of His Father in heaven.  And you believe that 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven in front of hundreds of witnesses … and those witnesses were so sold on His authenticity and His authority that they faced death rather than deny Him.

Let me remind you … When it’s all said and done, you really do believe Hebrews 9:27-28: 27 “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”

I want to encourage you today. Time is winding down.  Like Peter said, (1 Peter 4:7a NLT), “The end of the world is coming soon.”[8]

If you are a Christ-follower, you don’t need to fear anything or anyone.  The future has already been decided in your favor.

Now, today … because Jesus died for you, live for Him.  Trust Him.  Talk about Him.  TALK WITH HIM. Share your story with other people.  Live your life in a way that brings God glory and not shame.  Jesus has you in the palm of His nail-scarred hand, and He will not let you go!  Like we talked about last week … put on the full armor of God that’s described in Ephesians 6 … and win spiritual battles every day by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

And above all … remember that the outcome of your story does not rest on your performance but on what Jesus did for you and what He has done IN YOU.  Don’t put your faith in your faith.  Keep your eyes focused on Him and what He did, and it will affect what you do.

Judgment Day is coming. Live like it may come tonight.




[4] I Peter 4:5,7a  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

[5] Matthew 7:1-2, 21-23.  Ibid.

[6] Hebrews 9:27-28.  Ibid.

[7] Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis; The MacMillan Company, New York, New York, © 1943, 1945, 1952; paperback edition 1960.  Pages 51-56, Chapter:  “The Shocking Alternative.”

[8] I Peter 4:7a  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Spiritual Warfare is Real

Spiritual warfare is Real!

Many people might say that we are surrounded by a world that operates on cold, hard facts.  A physical world with laws like Newton’s law of gravity and his three laws of motion, the law of supply and demand, ocean tides, Earth’s orbit around the sun, the laws of physics, the laws of mathematics, and so on. The world we live in is a beautiful place, and it continues because certain facts are always in play.

The spiritual side of life seems so unreal in this age of megabytes, cellular phones, and Zoom meetings.

Yet the spiritual, immaterial side of life is every bit as real as the physical, material side.  The invisible and its existence is very much a reality.

Paul was concluding his letter to the Ephesian church (vss. 10-18) when he wrote the following:

10 A final word:  Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Paul was warning the First Century Church and you and me that we have a real enemy.  He’s absolutely out to kill your faith in God.  He is a dirty fighter, using deception, lying, stealing, killing, lawlessness, lust … anything he can to pull you down and pull you away from Jesus!  Paul referred to our enemy’s weaponry as “the strategies of the devil.”  Frontal attacks, blindside attacks, attacks from the rear … All REAL!  And deadly in every sense of the word.

Paul was saying that we meet this foe – the devil – on spiritual battlefields.  He calls Satan’s army “mighty powers of this dark world.  This fight is no mini-series … this fight has been going on since Satan fell like lightening to this planet, along with all his other rebellious angels.

Paul never mentions the word “fear”.  Doesn’t that seem strange to you?  I thought it was cool … Paul didn’t need to mention it because we’re on the winning side of this war.

C. S. Lewis, one of my favorite people who ever lived, wrote a book called “Mere Christianity.”  I’d like to read some portions to you because he so accurately and powerfully describes this war and our enemy.  He was an atheist who finally read the New Testament and it changed his life.

(Page 50) “One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe – a mighty spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin.”

(Page 51). “Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful King has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.  … I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day (this modern age), to reintroduce our old friend the devil – hoofs and horns and all.  … My answer is, ‘Yes, I do.’”

“Christians believe that an evil power has made himself for the present the Prince of this World.”

(Page 53)  “The sin of Satan, and the sin that he taught the human race [was elevating SELF … wanting to be God.] … Some people think the fall of Adam had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake.  What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’ – be their own masters – and invent some sort of happiness outside God, apart from God.   And out of that hopeless attempt [to find happiness apart from God] has come nearly all of what we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – the long terrible story of Man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Wow!  I think C. S. Lewis did a pretty good job of describing Satan and his ultimate aim – to separate us from the God who loves us and created us, and have us worship him as lord.

In our text Paul used some imagery to help us visualize what we need to be victorious in this war and warfare.


You and I must have every element of the Armor of God.

1.  FIRST, The Belt of Truth

14 “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth…” 

If you don’t know the Truth, you’ll be toast in no time … and Jesus said it best.  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father but by Me.”   (John 14:6). You need to know Him, not just know about Him.  The devil can tell the Christmas story and can describe the events of Easter.   The demons shudder when they hear the Truth.  You need more than just the facts about Jesus.  You need to know and love and follow Jesus … IN RELATIONSHIP.

Satan would love for you to “get religion,” but he does not want you to get relationship.

If you don’t know the Truth that sets you free, and the Truth that disarms the devil’s lies, you’ll be easily fooled into believing that God’s way is too difficult to live, too restrictive and boring, too weird, anti-fun, or too hard to understand.

You and I need the belt of Truth.

2.  SECOND, The Breastplate of Righteous

14b the body armor of God’s righteousness

Righteousness is “uprightness.”  Righteousness is “right standing with God.”  Righteousness is “virtue and morality.”  Righteousness is “genuine.”

You can’t fight the devil if your body armor is full of holes.

3.  THIRD, The Shoes of Peace

15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  

In order to stand your ground when the enemy attacks you, your footwear is important.  You’ll stand your ground when the peace of God that comes from believing the Gospel is strapped on.

4.  FOURTH, The Shield of Faith

16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  

In addition to all of these” can be translated “Above all …”

Self-confidence is a killer.  Self-confidence in spiritual battles is fatal.  You are not smart enough or powerful enough in your SELF to deal with the attacks of the devil. Your confidence needs to be in God.  Your faith and trust must be in God.  

Put another way, you and I aren’t quick enough to avoid the fiery arrows of the devil.  Our faith will deflect and stop those missiles!  The Lord will guard our minds and strengthen our faith in Him.

5.  FIFTH, The Helmut of Salvation

17 Put on salvation as your helmet, 

Salvation … the reason Jesus went to the Cross … “to save His people from their sins …”.  Salvation is what you put on your head! Knowing you are redeemed by the blood of Jesus will keep your head protected!

Have you ever heard the enemy whisper or shout, “You’re not good enough.  You can’t be a Christian, your life is so messed up.  You keep sinning, etc.”  Maybe the enemy doesn’t have to shout it.  Maybe that’s what you think.

Welcome to the WAR!  Satan wants to get inside your head.  The primary spiritual battlefield is the mind, and the devil wants to destroy your assurance of salvation by convincing you that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough, or you’re not good enough.  Whatever.

This would be a good time to pick up …


17B …and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Every bit of armor you have put on up to now is defensive in nature.

The Sword of the Spirit is the only OFFENSIVE WEAPON in your arsenal.  And it’s the only one you need.

Paul says that this Sword is really “the Word of God.”

When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness how did the Son of God defeat His enemy?  He used the Word of God.

During the first two temptations Jesus said, “The Scriptures say …”.  “The Scriptures say …”

Then Satan got way ahead of himself and began his third temptation by saying, “The Scriptures say…”. Yes, that’s right.  Satan knows the Scriptures, too.

Jesus replied, “The Scriptures ALSO SAY …”

VICTORY!  When you know and believe God’s Word you can take the fight to the devil.  You don’t have to back peddle or stammer or cower in fear.  You can attack!

If Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit, and Paul says you need to “take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” I would say you’re not FULLY prepared for spiritual warfare unless it is in your hand and in your heart.

Jesus quoted it.  He knew it.  He used it.  And so can you.

A good time and place to start sharpening your Sword would be today, by memorizing our text, Ephesians 6:10-18.  You can do it!!


18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Over the years I’ve been told, and maybe you’ve heard, that each Christ follower needs FOUR disciplines … FOUR tools to keep the Armor in good shape.

They are:

  1. Personal Prayer
  2. Worship
  3. Bible study
  4. Fellowship

Try your best to put these disciplines into practice.  They will save your life, impact your world, and cause Satan indigestion.


Preparing for The End Times

This is the video presentation of the message I shared on Sunday, February 7, 2021. If you compare the previous blog (A Christian World View) with the message I think you notice some differences. God bless you as you watch and listen!

A Christ-Centered World View

Much of what you’re about to read was inspired by reading the book in the Bible – First John, as well as the writings and teachings of Frances Schaeffer, with special focus on his book, “THE GOD WHO IS THERE.”

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, that’s your truth but it’s not my truth.”

According to the Urban Dictionary: The words “my truth, your truth” are substitutes for “non-negotiable personal opinion.”   This is a convenient phrase for avoiding arguments because people can contradict your opinion but not “your truth.” The phrase is often used when seeking to justify a controversial personal stance or action because people are not allowed to argue with “your truth.”

FOR EXAMPLE:  One day Gertrude said, “I’m leaving my husband.  He is a really good, faithful guy and all, but I just don’t love him anymore.  It was a tough decision, but I have to stand in My Truth!”
Sharon: You are so brave! I’m so proud of you for being true to yourself!  Stay strong!”

RELATIVISM is a family of philosophical views which believe that mankind is alone in the universe.  Relativism believes that there are no standards for living on this planet based on an outside source … like God.  Relativism believes that each person and each generation defines truth, ethics, laws and morals in their own way for their own time.

I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about:

Within the last 60 years words like marriage, family, sex, and gender have drastically changed.  It wasn’t that long ago that all these words, and more, had different definitions.  Marriage was between and man and a woman, family was a married couple with children, sex was male or female, as was gender.

In the Western World, there is a general sense that religion, or anything described as God, has no say in a culture or society because religion and the worship of God is not based on science.  There’s no basis or allowance in science for a God who creates, or One who has standards that are above mankind’s understanding of this world. 

In a humanistic, relativistic world, Man is the measure of all things.  Man determines what is true and what is not true.  Man determines what is moral and what is not.

Enter the Apostle John.  He wrote the Gospel of John, the Revelation, and three letters called 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. Throughout 1 John, the Apostle kept referring to something we need to understand.

1 John 2:15-17: 15Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  16For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world.  17The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 3:13: Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

1 John 4:2-4: This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.  4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.

1 John 4:17: This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment:  In this world we are like Jesus.

1 John 5:4-5: 4 … for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  5Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

1 John 5:19: We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

What was John writing about … and why would Rome put him into prison and try so hard to wipe out the infant, First Century Church?

Here’s the answer, but first I need to give you some history.  By 51 BC, Julius Caesar rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in the Roman Republic.  He was a military genius, and through a string of military victories in the Gallic Wars, he greatly extended Roman territory.  When the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome.  

He had many, many enemies.  They feared his power.  Leaving his command in Gaul would mean losing his immunity to criminal prosecution by his enemies.  Knowing this, Caesar openly defied the Senate’s authority by crossing the Rubicon River (in northern Italy) with his legions, and marching towards Rome.  Thus began Caesar’s civil war, which he won.

After his victory, the Romans made Caesar “dictator for life” in the hope that the government of a single person would give them time to breathe after so many conquests, wars and civil wars.  

After Caesar’s death Octavian (later called Caesar Augustus, grandnephew of Caesar) came to power.  The great Roman poet Virgil, a friend of Augustus, wrote that Augustus was a divinely appointed leader, and that his calling, and Rome’s mission, was to bring peace and civilization to the world.

Augustus came to power in 27 BC, and he reigned for 38 years!  Because Augustus offered peace, Romans of every class were ready to allow him total power.   His power and influence was so strong that from 27 BC until about 180 AD the European and Mediterranean world experience the “pax Romana,” or the Roman Peace.

In order to control the political and economic system, Augustus became the head of the state religion with the title “pontifex maximus.”  All men were urged to worship the spirit of Rome and the genius of the emperor. Later this became obligatory for all the people of the empire.  The emperor ruled as a god, and you were required to recognize him as “Lord.”

Augustus set out to legislate morals, family life, the legal system and welfare programs, but a human god … an emperor … was a poor foundation.  Rome eventually fell because it was not securely built upon the foundation of God’s truth.

Do you remember, during the trial of Jesus, that Pilate actually asked Jesus, “What is truth?”

The Roman world view was that everything was built on the whims and wishes of powerful men and women.  These people dictated the terms of society and shaped culture.  

Consider this: It is important to realize the difference a person’s worldview makes.  In the First Century, when someone became a Christian, it meant that he or she stood, not only opposed to the surrounding religions, but the entire culture that was built on those religions … including the state religion. Our world … not just America, but the entire world … is built on the foundation of Man and manmade religions.  History is about to repeat itself.  

Get this:  legally, in First Century Rome, you could practice your own personal religion as long as you worshipped the emperor, too.  The emperors of Rome would tolerate divided worship because they knew it kept people in line. But back in the Roman Empire era, when a person became a Christian and was marked as a Christian by baptism, it was very short path from an open profession of faith to a martyr’s death.  Why?  

Here is the answer:   Christians worshipped one God, only, and they rejected every other religion.  All other gods were seen as “false gods.”  If Christians had worshipped Caesar they would have gone unharmed.  But they couldn’t.  They made a powerful choice. Christians were killed because in human history, no totalitarian authority, no authoritarian state, has ever tolerated those who have a world view that rejects the state and its actions, using standards produced by God. Christians were killed because they were seen as rebels.  When one became a Christian, it meant that he or she stood in opposition to the culture that was built on those religions and beliefs.  

The early church believed that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.  They really did believe that the Old Testament, the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the growing New Testament was the only TRUE foundation for living a life that pleased God. CHRISTIANS believed that God had a voice, that He had spoken, and that God had given/revealed/defined TRUTH.  The early Christians, therefore, could not be caught up in the relativistic Roman world.  

How does this history lesson effect you and me? Well, think about it.  Rome was really much like our own day and age.  The foundation of the world’s cultures rest upon the whims and wishes of men and woman in power today.  (Example: In America, people no longer care about what our founding fathers had to say, but more importantly, our culture in general doesn’t care to hear what God has to say.). Generally speaking, because most cultural foundations are built on the shifting sands of Man’s opinions, collapse and ruin are inevitable.

What does this mean to you and me this morning?

Simply this:  if your life is built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and His teachings, your life will stand when the culture around you is crumbling.  You’ll be about as popular as the First Century Christians were, but you won’t care about the opinions of Man!  Only God’s opinion is important to the Christ-following believer.  You need to understand that!

Here is something to ponder:  If you buy into the worldview that rests on religion of humanism, your life will lack meaning.  Humanism is dog-eat-dog, and only the strong survive.  And because there will always be someone more powerful, more influential, more connected, more popular than you, your life won’t count.

The foundation of the Christian worldview rests upon God … the infinite, personal God who has spoken in the Old Testament, revealed Himself through Jesus Christ, and empowers your life and mine by the power … the Dunamis … of the Holy Spirit! 

In the New Testament, the Greek word translated “power” is Dunami(the source of the English words dynamic and dynamite).  Both of those words are easily associated with “power.”  In addition, Dunamis can also be translated “mighty works.”

You and I need God doing mighty works in us and through us in our day and age.  We need God’s dynamite, His power, His Holy Spirit if we are going to come against the lies of God’s enemy and our enemy, Satan.

Even though many of the First Century Christians were martyred, they had the answer to life which the Romans did not have.  Rome did not collapse because of outward forces such as the Barbarians, but because of inward rottenness.  Rome gradually became a ruin because they tried to build upon the state or upon their limited, manmade and false gods, but the Christians continued to grow in numbers and continued in history.

Let us determine to build our lives upon Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, a stumbling block to humanistic Mankind, but to us who are being saved by His work on the Cross, He is the only foundation for real, purposeful, meaningful, dynamic, satisfying and ETERNAL LIFE!