Archive for the ‘Battle Focus’ Category


Under Gods Command

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

All Christians have faith. Some, however, have the spiritual gift of faith, which is an unusual measure of trust in the Holy Spirit’s power.

“Prophecy” does not just refer to predicting the future; it can also mean giving a message received from God to the community of believers: “The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (14:3). The prophet Joel had written the words of the Lord, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy” (Joel 2:28). As with the gift of faith, the ability to share one’s faith with power is available to everyone (see 14:1–5), but to some the Spirit gives a special measure of this gift. Paul wrote in Romans, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith” (Romans 12:6). Some have interpreted “prophecy” to be fulfilled in various sermons throughout church history. Others, however, say that prophecy is not a sermon, but a spontaneous, Spirit-inspired message that is orally delivered in the congregation for the edification and encouragement of the body of Christ.

Opinions differ over exactly what Paul meant by “tongues.” Some believe that this refers to speaking in earthly languages that a person did not say that this refers to an “ecstatic” language, a “heavenly” language. Most likely the second view is correct. Probably the only time that the word “tongues” refers to other earthly languages is when describing Pentecost. The rest of the time in the New Testament, the word refers to ecstatic languages unknown to anyone—languages of angels (13:1). Speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Spirit. The exercise of the gift demands some guidelines (as noted in chapter 14) so that the purpose of the gift—to help the body of Christ—is not lost. Those who speak in tongues should follow the guidelines; those who do not speak in tongues ought not seek the gift as a sign of salvation or of special closeness with God, for it is neither. It is a gift of God, given only to whomever God chooses. If a person has not experienced the gift of tongues, he or she ought not seek it but seek what gifts God has given. For more, see the notes in chapter 14.

Lets Bring it Home: No matter what gift(s) a person has, all spiritual gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit decides which gifts each believer should have. We are responsible to use and sharpen our gifts, but we can take no credit for what God has freely given us. Note that discussions about spiritual gifts usually create difficulties when two central points are overlooked: (1) Properly used, spiritual gifts are not self-serving but serve the whole body of Christ (12:7); (2) each gift becomes practically useless when used without love (chapter 13). As you seek to identify and utilize the gifts God has given you, make loving God and loving fellow Christians your highest motives.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 21:18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright.

The God of heaven loves the righteous, and He gladly sacrifices the wicked for them. The ransom price to purchase and bless the righteous is the lives of wicked transgressors. He will save the righteous by sacrificing their wicked enemies, and He will return their wicked designs against the righteous upon their own heads. Consider Psalm 7:10-17!

Are you envious at the prosperity of the wicked? Are you troubled by their hatred for the righteous? Are you afraid of their proud waves? They shall foam out their shame in everlasting darkness! But before they get to that dark place, they shall be sold to trouble. There is a righteous God, and He makes differences in how He treats men (Ps 58:10-11 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then men will say, “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.”)

The best example to illustrate this lesson is the ransom of Egypt for Israel. The LORD loved His people Israel, and He heard their cry by reason of the hard bondage the Egyptians put upon them (Ex 1:13-14; 2:23-25). He had respect for them, but He did not have respect for Egypt. They were about to become the ransom for His righteous nation.

He sent ten plagues and horribly destroyed them before drowning Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Pharaoh’s counselors admitted the plagues had destroyed the nation (Ex 10:7). With the firstborn dead in every home, the Egyptians begged for Israel to leave, so Israel “borrowed” the wealth of the whole nation to never return it. And the Lord joyfully directed Israel to spoil the Egyptians this way (Ex 12:35-36). Give God the glory!

The LORD declares of this transaction, “For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life” (Isaiah 43:3-4). This is the lesson.

God directed Joshua to stone Achan and his family to save Israel (Josh 7:1-26). Saul’s seven sons were hanged to ransom Israel from a famine from the LORD (II Sam 21:1-14). And Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai and the Jews (Esther 7:10). There is a God that treats men differently (Ps 58:10-11).

Consider the words in another proverb, “The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead” (Pr 11:8). The Lord will pluck the righteous out of trouble and put the wicked in his place! The Lord will punish the wicked instead of the righteous.

God used Assyria as his tool to chasten Israel; then He turned and crushed Assyria for their actions and attitude (Is 10:5-19). And He did the same to Babylon, whom He used to punish Israel and other nations for seventy years before punishing them (Jer 25:8-14).

The servant that did not earn a return on his single talent was punished severely, and his talent was taken and given to the man with ten. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer; yes, the poor are sacrificed for the rich in this spiritual parable (Matt 25:14-30).

Dear reader, if you fear the Lord and seek to live righteously, the Lord loves you and will gladly sacrifice the wicked for you. There is no need to fear them at all. The Lord is in His holy temple, and He will never let the wicked have their way with you. Your lesson in this proverb is the glorious providence of Almighty God in disposing of events in this life for the benefit of His people. He will sacrifice others for the benefit of His children.

The day is coming when Christians will judge the world and angels (I Cor 6:2-3). The devils and sinners have persecuted them for thousands of years, but the day of vengeance is coming, when the martyrs under the altar of God shall have their great desire fulfilled (Rev 6:9-11). Both wicked men and angels shall be sacrificed in place of His children.

Let this lesson drive away any fear or intimidation of the wicked, and let it replace that fear with a humble desire to be the honourable and beloved people of the most High. For “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (Is 54:11-17). And “he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye” (Zech 2:8-9). Thank you, Lord, for defending and saving the upright in heart. Consider Psalm 7:10-17 again. Glory!


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 20:26 A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them.

Great rulers crush criminals. A powerful king that will not tolerate civil opposition is a beautiful thing (Pr 30:31). Solomon and his father David were both wise and successful kings. Here Solomon gives inspired and learned political advice to kings and others in authority. Wise rulers will fight and destroy wicked persons under their authority.

The origin and purpose of civil government are not mysteries. The LORD God ordained rulers over nations and other political principalities to punish evildoers (Rom 13:1-4; I Pet 2:13-14). Resisting or resenting this authority is to resist and resent God Himself. Civil government has the right to capital punishment in enforcing its laws, and God sends these rulers as His ministers to execute revenge upon criminals that break the law.

Bringing the wheel over the wicked is to crush them. Grain was crushed in King Solomon’s day by turning or rolling a heavy wheel over it (Is 28:27-28; Judges 16:21). This separated the wheat from the husk. Wise government will take heavy measures to crush wicked men who have set themselves against the state, law, and other citizens.

The wisdom here teaches that civil government should be strict and severe. There can be no tolerance or compromise with criminals. Compromise and delay cause an increase in crime by hardening the hearts of criminals. You can see this in current issues of hung juries, appeals, delay tactics, further appeals, and stays of execution (Eccl 8:11).

There are several references to kings in this chapter of Proverbs. Solomon was providing wisdom for his son Rehoboam, the next king of Israel, and for rulers in general. He described the positive virtue of great fear (Pr 20:2), their holy execution of judgment (Pr 20:8), and their balance of mercy and truth in protecting the innocent (Pr 20:28).

Wise rulers seek quiet and peaceable lives for their productive citizens. These people can only have such lives, if the wicked are scattered and crushed. Leaders must take the justice part of their office seriously and do all they can to destroy criminals and crime. They must be free of sentimentality to aid, abet, respect, or pardon criminals.

There is not room for one wicked person, one criminal, in a just and good nation. Death row in the U.S. should be emptied of 3700 monsters by way of public stoning on pay-per-view television, with the proceeds going to the victims’ families. One cent spent on their upkeep in the penal system is a waste and encourages crime. Stones are cheap. David, a king after God’s own heart, had zero tolerance for criminals (II Sam 4:1-12; Ps 101:4-8).

Those who resist civil government or speak evil or lightly of those in authority should be dealt with most severely. God Himself opened up the earth to swallow men and their families alive for speaking against Moses (Num 16:1-34). The New Testament says they should be destroyed like rabid dogs, for they obviously do not understand the basic necessity or duties of authority (II Pet 2:10-12; Jude 1:8-10). There is no such thing as freedom of speech against authority in God’s wisdom (Ex 22:28; Ec 10:20; Job 34:18).

Let every man in a position of authority use strict and severe measures against the wicked in his realm of control. This applies to employers, fathers, husbands, and pastors, as well as kings and presidents, governors and sheriffs. Righteousness, peace, and quiet in any society depend on strong leaders ridding it of fools and their rebellion (Pr 19:25; 21:11).

Jesus Christ is the greatest of Kings, with the most wisdom. He is King of kings! When the Jews rejected God and their O.T. scriptures and crucified Him, He promised to return and miserably destroy those wicked men (Matt 21:41), tear down their temple, send His armies to burn up their city (Matt 22:7), and grind them to powder (Matt 21:44).

He promised to not leave one stone on another when He destroyed Jerusalem (Luke 19:44). He promised more distress and trouble on them than any nation had suffered before or since (Matt 24:21). He fulfilled all this and more in 70 AD by Roman armies under Titus Vespasian Augustus. But at the same time, to those who feared His name and loved Him, Jesus the Sun of Righteousness came with healing in His wings (Mal 4:2).

The Lord Jesus Christ is soon coming again with His mighty angels in flaming fire to wreck vengeance on all those that have rejected God and disobeyed the apostolic gospel (II Thess 1:7-9). But He will be admired that day by all those who believe the gospel and love His appearing, and He will bring eternal blessing and reward for them (II Thess 1:10; Titus 2:13). Reader, repent of your crimes against heaven and beg for His mercy!


Under Gods Command (Messing with Believers is messing with God)

Zechariah 2:08 For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you-for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye. 

Believers are precious to God (Psalm 116:15); they are his very own children (Psalm 103:13). Treating any believer unkindly is the same as treating God that way. As Jesus told his disciples, when we help others we are helping him; when we neglect or abuse them, we are neglecting or abusing him (Mathew 25:34-46).

Lets Bring it Home: Be careful, therefore, how you treat fellow believers-that is the way you are treating God.


Under Gods Command

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (24) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (25) Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

 Whatever happened to self-discipline? Many books and speakers guide wandering souls to self-fulfillment, self-satisfaction, and self-awareness. Not many tackle self-discipline. Self-discipline requires an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses, with emphasis on the latter. It means building the will to say no when a powerful appetite inside you screams yes. For example, when you have self-discipline, you can

(1) say no to friends or situations that will lead you away from Christ

(2) say no to casual sex, saving intimacy for marriage, and

(3) say no to laziness in favor of “can do” and “will do.”

 Self-discipline is a long, steady course in learning attitudes that do not come naturally, and channeling natural appetites toward God’s purposes.

Lets Bring it Home: Where are your weak points? Pray with a friend for God’s help to redirect weakness into strength.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:15 A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his ways.

Skepticism is a virtue. Caution is a sign of nobility. Demanding proof is wisdom. Only the foolish and stupid believe all they hear or read. A wise and successful man will examine things carefully, before he makes his decision. He understands the risks and rewards before he chooses a course of action. He does nothing by chance or mere hope.

The proverb is for safety and success. It is one of the best. Memorize it. It will save you often (Pr 22:3). You live in bad times. Men trust sound bites instead of sound reasoning. The information explosion bombards you with new data every day. Telemarketers, mail order catalogs, advertisements, infomercials, pop-up ads, and the Internet throw opinions, suggestions, and products at you. God inspired Solomon to save you by this pithy saying.

The simple are gullible. They are not bright. They do not have conviction or ability to question and criticize new information. If it sounds good, and something they want to be true, they believe it. If others are enthusiastic about it, they get excited. If it is in print, they believe it true. If a perceived authority says it, they trust it completely, even without evidence. If strangers say it worked for them, that is good enough evidence to buy it.

The prudent are wise. They have discretion. They are not gullible. They are skeptical of anything sounding too good, too easy, too neat. Too good to be true is their motto. They are not impressed by things in print, words by authority, or testimonials from strangers. They want evidence, and it must be valid. If the simple are excited, they conclude it must be wrong. The majority opinion, in this ignorant and perverse society, scares them away.

Learn to reject anything without proof, and learn the rudiments of evaluating proof. A testimonial is not proof of anything; a drawing of the evolution of the horse is fantasy. The public education system neglects logic and rhetoric: they want you gullible to trust their authorities, which are educators, the media, and entertainers. None of whom, in this Bible-rejecting day, have a clue about truth and error. See the comments on Pr 13:16.

Men are vulnerable to fraud in different areas. The old crave a cure for aging and disease, so they buy magazines filled with health speculations, fraudulent advertising, and testimonials of miracles. Young men want to look like Hercules, so they ingest gargantuan amounts of the latest weight-gain powder from the same store that granny visited! Of course, in twenty years they will try a new powder to take that weight off!

Some men fall for financial fraud, because they want to make millions, easily! Others obsess about conspiracies and avoid the electronic cashier at the grocery store, for fear of receiving the mark of the beast! Safety freaks stop flying, because their flight, out of 100,000 each day, might have a passenger with a shoe bomb! And doting mothers play subliminal ocean sounds to their sleeping children to help them learn to swim!

Many hold evolution to be science, though it violates key parts of the scientific method. Many buy lottery tickets thinking they have a chance because they saw a winner on television. Many worship Joel Osteen for his constant repetition they all can be grinning millionaires like him. Many cremate dead relatives because the funeral home said it is better than burial. Many are vegetarians because an emaciated guru said it leads to god.

How could the Tulip mania of Holland occur in 1637? Or the dot.com bubble of 1997-2000? How did America turn its opinion of sodomy upside down in one generation? Why blame banks for the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2009, when they loaned the money? How could anyone buy a ticket for the Heaven Is for Real movie? How can network marketing still exist when 98% lose money buying overpriced stuff for the 2%?

Many Christians practice infant baptism, though not even hinted at in the Bible. Charismatics in many places claim to be apostles, though Paul was the last one. Seventh-Day Adventists’ claim to fame is their false prophecy of the Lord’s coming in 1844, yet they have millions of followers still. Catholics at Mass eat a wafer they claim is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ without any Bible or scientific evidence at all.

Parent, teach your children to be skeptics. It can be enjoyable. Show them the false advertisement you get about the free family cruise to Tahiti. Show them the fine print requiring you to get to Mexico City for departure and the contract to rent expensive condos on four continents over the next four years. Teach them to look for the fine print, and teach them to look around in a full circle, which is circumspection (Eph 5:15).

Teach your children one of life’s greatest lessons – there is no free lunch. Teach them another – no stranger loves them. The salesman and infomercial have one goal, to take their money from their pockets for themselves. Teach them the Bible is the only book to believe absolutely. Teach them that God is the only Being they can totally trust. Remind them that only God and the godly are truly looking out for them and their future success.

Watch the Evening News together, and point out the blather of the anchor, no matter who it is. Watch a Benny Hinn crusade. Tell them he has never healed anyone and screens every sick person several times before they ever reach the platform. Read The Emperor’s New Clothes to them, and explain how often they will need to say, “But the emperor doesn’t have any clothes on!” in this twisted world of peer-pressured perversity.

You live in the perilous times of the last days (II Tim 3:1). Information is the rage. Schools and degrees, books and other media, multiply ridiculously. Men are gorged on information, but there is no truth! Paul warned, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim 3:7). And it will not get better, for he said, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim 3:13).

Husband, protect your wife. Satan stole Eve’s mind in about ten seconds in Eden, and Paul warned religious creeps would seek to capture silly – weak and vulnerable – women (II Tim 3:6). Protect your weaker vessel (I Cor 14:34-35; I Pet 3:7). What is the cure? Confidence and knowledge in the Bible and a pastor that will preach mainly to you and provide encouragement and doctrine to lead your family (Ps 119:128; II Tim 3:14 – 4:4)!

Here is valuable wisdom. In life, there is truth and error. A wise man will prove all things, reject the error, and tightly hold the truth. Paul taught this rule when he wrote, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thess 5:21). The Bereans were noble for searching the Scriptures to prove even Paul (Acts 17:11). They were not simple. They did not believe impulsively; they proved him out. Believe not every spirit (I John 4:1-6)!

God is absolute truth, and His word is absolute truth (Deut 32:4; John 17:17). Satan is a liar and the father of lies; he has no truth in him (John 8:44). And all men follow one or the other. There is no neutral ground (Gal 1:8-9; Eph 2:1-3; I Tim 6:3-5). By your first birth, you love lies (John 8:45). But as the children of God, you can follow the truth, if you will prove it and pursue it (Jn 8:47; I Cor 2:15; Jude 1:3). Let God be true (Rom 3:4)!

The Lord Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). You can trust Him completely, for your future today and for eternity. 


Under Gods Command:

Mathew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 To “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” means to turn to God first for help, to fill your thoughts with his desires, to take his character for your pattern, and to serve and obey him in everything.

Lets Bring it Home: What is really important to you? People, objects, goals, and other desires all compete for priority. Any of these can quickly become most important to you if you don’t actively choose to give God first place in every area of your life.

 Matthew 14:29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!

Peter started to sink because he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the high waves around him. His faith wavered when he released what he was doing.

Lets Bring it Home: We may not walk on water, but we do walk through tough situations. If we focus on the waves of difficult circumstances around us without looking to Jesus for help, we too may despair and sink. To maintain your faith when situations are difficult, keep your eyes on Jesus power rather than on your inadequacies.