Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Hamas: Turkey's Longtime Love

Hamas: Turkey's Longtime Love: Erdogan's ideological love affair with Hamas is obligatory for all Islamists in this part of the world, and they do not tend to forget it. In February, a deported Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) board member, Sami al-Arian, denounced the United States as

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Great Battle  --  J. C. Ryle

The Great Battle  --  J. C. Ryle

The Great Battle
J. C. Ryle
First published as a "Helmingham Series" Tract in Helmingham, Suffolk
All men ought to love peace. War is an immense evil, though it is a necessary evil sometimes. Battles are bloody and distressing events, though sometimes nations cannot maintain their rights without them. But all men ought to love peace. All ought to pray for a quiet life.

All this is very true, and yet there is one war which it is a positive duty to carry on; there is one battle which we ought to be always fighting. The battle I speak of is the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. With these enemies we never ought to be at peace; from this warfare no man ought ever to seek to be discharged, while he is alive.

Reader, give me your attention for a few minutes, and I will tell you something about the great battle.

Every professing Christian is the soldier of Christ. He is bound by his baptism to fight Christ's battle against sin, the world, and the devil. The man that does not do this, breaks his vow: he is a spiritual defaulter; he does not fulfil the engagement made for him. The man that does not do this, is practically renouncing his Christianity. The very fact that he belongs to a Church, attends a Christian place of worship, and calls himself a Christian, is a public declaration that he desires to be reckoned a soldier of Jesus Christ.

Armour is provided for the professing Christian, if he will only use it. "Take unto you," says Paul to the Ephesians, "the whole armour of God." "Stand, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness." "Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." "Above all, take the shield of faith" (Ephes. vi. 13-17). And not least, the professing Christian has the best of leaders, —Jesus the Captain of salvation, through whom he may be more than conqueror; the best of provisions,—the bread and water of life; and the best of pay promised to him,—an eternal weight of glory.

All these are ancient things. I will not be drawn off to dwell on them now.

The one point I want to impress on your soul just now is this,—that if you want to be saved, you must not only be a soldier, but a victorious soldier. You must not only profess to fight on Christ's side against sin, the world, and the devil, but you must actually fight and overcome.

Now this is one grand distinguishing mark of true Christians. Other men perhaps like to be numbered in the ranks of Christ's army; other men may have lazy wishes, and languid desires after the crown of glory: but it is the true Christian alone who does the work of a soldier. He alone fairly meets the enemies of his soul, really fights with them, and in that fight overcomes them.

Reader, one great lesson I wish you to learn this day is this,—that if you would prove you are born again and going to heaven, you must be a victorious soldier of Christ. If you would make it clear that you have any title to Christ's precious promises, you must fight the good fight in Christ's cause, and in that fight you must conquer.

Victory is the only satisfactory evidence that you have a saving religion. You like good sermons, perhaps; you respect the Bible, and read it occasionally; you say your prayers night and morning; you have family prayers, and give to religious societies. I thank God for this: it is all very good. But how goes the battle? How does the great conflict go on all this time? Are you overcoming the love of the world and the fear of man? Are you overcoming the passions, tempers, and lusts of your own heart? Are you resisting the devil, and making him flee from you? How is it in this matter? My dear brother or sister, you must either rule or serve sin, and the devil, and the world. There is no middle course. You must either conquer or be lost.

I know well it is a hard battle that you have to fight, and I want you to know it too. You must fight the good fight of faith, and endure hardships, if you would lay hold of eternal life; you must make up your mind to a daily struggle, if you would reach heaven. There may be short roads to heaven invented by man; but ancient Christianity,—the good old way,—is the way of the cross: the way of conflict. Sin, the world, and the devil must be actually mortified, resisted, and overcome.

This is the road that saints of old have trodden in, and left their record on high.

When Moses refused the pleasures of sin in Egypt, and chose affliction with the people of God,—this was overcoming: he overcame the love of pleasure.

When Micaiah refused to prophesy smooth things to king Ahab, though he knew he would be persecuted if he spoke the truth,—this was overcoming: he overcame the love of ease.

When Daniel refused to give up praying, though he knew the den of lions was prepared for him,—this was overcoming: he overcame the fear of death.

When Matthew rose from the receipt of custom at our Lord's bidding, left all and followed Him,—this was overcoming: he overcame the love of money.

When Peter and John stood up boldly before the Council and said, "We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard"—this was overcoming: they overcame the fear of man.

When Saul the Pharisee gave up all his prospects of preferment among the Jews, and preached that Jesus whom he had once persecuted,—this was overcoming: he overcame the love of man's praise.

Reader, the same kind of thing which these men did you must also do, if you would be saved. They were men of like passions with yourself, and yet they overcame: they had as many trials as any you can possibly have, and yet they overcame. They fought, they wrestled, they struggled: you must do the same.

What was the secret of their victory? —their faith. They believed on Jesus, and believing were made strong. They believed on Jesus, and believing were held up. In all their battles they kept their eyes on Jesus, and He never left them or forsook them. They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of His testimony, and so may you.

Reader, I set these truths before you: I ask you to lay them to heart. Resolve, by the grace of God, to be an OVERCOMING Christian.

I do fear much for many professing Christians: I see no sign of fighting in them, much less of victory; they never strike one stroke on the side of Christ. They are at peace with His enemies: they have no quarrel with sin. Reader, I warn you this is not Christianity: this is not the way to heaven.

Men and women who hear the Gospel regularly, I often fear much for you. I fear lest you become so familiar with the sounds of its doctrines, that insensibly you become dead to its power. I fear lest your religion should sink down into a little vague talk about your own weakness and corruption, and a few sentimental expressions about Christ, while real practical fighting on Christ's side is altogether neglected. Oh, beware of this state of mind! "Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only." No victory,—no crown! Fight and overcome!

Young men and women, and especially those who have been brought up in religious families, I fear much for you. I fear lest you get a habit of giving way to every temptation. I fear lest you be afraid of saying "No!" to the world and the devil,—and when sinners entice you, think it least trouble to consent. Beware, I do beseech you, of giving way. Every concession will make you weaker. Go into the world resolved to fight Christ's battle,—and fight your way on.

Believers in the Lord Jesus, of every Church and rank in life, I feel much for you. I know your course is hard: I know it is a sore battle you have to fight; I know you are often tempted to say, "It is of no use, and to lay down your arms altogether."

Cheer up, dear brethren and sisters: take comfort, I entreat you; look at the bright side of your position. Be encouraged to fight on: the time is short, the Lord is at hand, the night is far spent. Millions as weak as you have fought the same fight; not one of all those millions has been finally led captive by Satan. Mighty are your enemies,—but the Captain of your salvation is mightier still: His arm, His grace, and His Spirit shall hold you up. Cheer up: be not cast down.

What though you lose a battle or two? You shall not lose all. What though you faint sometimes? You shall not be quite cast down. What though you fall seven times? You shall not be destroyed. Watch against sin, and sin shall not have dominion over you. Resist the devil, and he shall flee from you. Come out boldly from the world and the world shall be obliged to let you go. You shall find yourselves in the end more than conquerors: you shall overcome.

Reader, let me draw from the whole subject a few words of application, and then I have done.

For one thing, let me warn all formalists and self-righteous people to take heed that they are not deceived. You fancy you will go to heaven because you go regularly to church; you indulge an expectation of eternal life, because you are always at the Lord's table, and are never missing in your pew. But where is your repentance? Where is your faith? Where are your evidences of a new heart? Where is the work of the Spirit? Where are the proofs that you are fighting the great battle? Oh, formal Christian, consider these questions! Tremble: tremble, and repent.

For another thing, let me warn all careless members of Churches to beware lest they trifle their souls into hell. You live on year after year as if there was no battle to be fought with sin, the world, and the devil; youpass through life a smiling, laughing, gentleman-like or ladylike person, and behave as if there was no devil, no heaven, and no hell. Oh, careless Churchman, or careless Dissenter, careless Episcopalian, careless Presbyterian, careless Independent, careless Baptist, awake and see eternal realities in their true light! Awake, and put on the armour of God! Awake, and fight hard for life! Tremble: tremble, and repent.

Reader, the great battle must be fought by all who want to be saved. And more than this, it must be won.

Prove All Things  --  J. C. Ryle

Prove All Things  --  J. C. Ryle

Prove All Things


J. C. Ryle


"Prove all things: hold fast that which is good."--1 Thessalonians 5:21


First published by Drummond's Tract Depot, Stirling, Scotland

You live in days when the text before your eyes is one of the first importance. The truths it contains are especially truths for the times. Give me your attention for a few minutes, and I will try to show you what I mean.

There were three great doctrines or principles which won the battle of the Protestant Reformation. These were first, the sufficiency and supremacy of Holy Scripture:—secondly, the right of private judgment and thirdly, justification by faith only, without the deeds of the law.

These three principles were the keys of the whole controversy between the Reformers and the Church of Rome. Keep firm hold of them when you argue with a Roman Catholic, and your position is unassailable: no weapon that the Church of Rome can forge against you shall prosper. Give up any one of them, and your cause is lost. Like Samson, with his hair shorn, your strength is gone. Like the Spartans, betrayed at Thermopylae, you are outflanked and surrounded. You cannot maintain your ground. Resistance is useless. Sooner or later you will have to lay down your arms, and surrender at discretion.

Remember this. The Roman Catholic controversy is upon you once more. You must put on the old armour if you would not have your faith overthrown. The sufficiency of Holy Scripture,—the right of private judgment,—justification by faith only,—these are the three great principles to which you must always cling. Grasp them firmly, and never let them go.

Reader, one of the three great principles to which I have referred appears to me to stand forth in the verse of Scripture which heads this tract,—I mean the right of private judgment. I wish to say something to you about that principle.

The Holy Ghost, by the mouth of St Paul, says to us, "Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good." In these words you have two great truths:

I.—The right, duty, and necessity of private judgment. "Prove all things."

II.—The duty and necessity of keeping firm hold upon truth. "Hold fast that which is good."

I propose to dwell a little on both these heads.

I.—Let me speak first, of the right, duty, and necessity of private judgment.

When I say the right of private judgment, I mean that every individual Christian has a right to judge for himself by the Word of God, whether that which is put before him as religious truth, is God's truth, or is not.

When I say the duty of private judgment, I mean that God requires every Christian man to use the right of which I have just spoken;—to compare man 5 words and man's writings with God's revelation, and to make sure that he is not deluded and taken in by false teaching.

And when I say the necessity of private judgment, I mean this,—that it is absolutely needful for every Christian who loves his soul and would not be deceived, to exercise that right, and discharge that duty to which I have referred; seeing that experience shows that the neglect of private judgment has always been the cause of immense evils in the Church of Christ.

Now the Apostle Paul urges all these three points upon your notice when he uses those remarkable words, "Prove all things." I ask your particular attention to that expression. In every point of view it is most weighty and instructive.

Here, you will remember, the Apostle Paul is writing to the Thessalonians,—to a Church which he himself had founded. Here is an inspired Apostle writing to young inexperienced Christians,—writing to the whole professing Church in a certain city, containing laity as well as clergy,—writing too with especial reference to matters of doctrine and preaching, as we know by the verse preceding the text: "Despise not prophesyings." And yet mark what he says: "Prove all things."

He does not say, "Whatsoever apostles,—whatsoever evangelists, pastors and teachers,—whatsoever your bishops,—whatsoever your ministers tell you is truth: that you are to believe." No: he says, "Prove all things." He does not say, "Whatsoever the universal Church pronounces true, that you are to hold." No: he says, "Prove all things."

The principle laid down is this, "Prove all things by the Word of God.—All ministers, all teaching, all preaching, all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices,— prove all by the Word of God. Measure all by the measure of the Bible.—Compare all with the standard of the Bible. Weigh all in the balances of the Bible.—Examine all by the light of the Bible.—Test all in the crucible of the Bible. That which can abide the fire of the Bible, receive, hold, believe and obey. That which cannot abide the fire of the Bible, reject, refuse, repudiate, and cast away."

Reader, this is private judgment. This is the right you are to exercise if you love your soul. You are not to believe things in religion merely because they are said by Popes or Cardinals,—by Bishops or Priests,—by Presbyters or Deacons,—by Churches, Councils, or Synods,—by Fathers, Puritans, or Reformers. You are not to argue, "Such and such things must be true, because these men say so." You are not to do so. You are to prove all things by the Word of God

I know such doctrine sounds shocking in some men's ears. But I write it down advisedly, and believe it cannot be disproved. I want to encourage no man in ignorant presumption or ignorant contempt. I praise not the man who seldom reads his Bible, and yet sets himself up to pick holes in his minister's sermons. I praise not the man who knows nothing but a few texts in the New Testament, and yet undertakes to settle questions in divinity which have puzzled God's wisest children. But still I hold with Bishop Bilson (A.D. 1575), that "all hearers have both liberty to discern and a charge to beware seducers; and woe to them that do it not." And I say with Bishop Davenant (A. D. 1627), "We are not to believe all who undertake to teach in the Church, but must take care and weigh with serious examination, whether their doctrine be sound or not." *(see footnote at end of page.)

Reader, men may dislike the doctrine of private judgment, but there is no doubt that it is continually taught in the Word of God.

This is the principle laid down in the eighth chapter of Isaiah, 19th verse. These words were written, remember, at a time when God was more immediately King over His Church, and had more direct communication with it than He has now. They were written at a time when there were men upon earth who had direct revelations from God. Yet what does Isaiah say? "When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." If this be not private judgment what is?

This again is the principle laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. Remember what He says:— "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruit." (Matt. vii. 15.) How is it possible that men shall know these false prophets, except they exercise their private judgment as to what their fruits are?

This is the practice you find commended in the Bereans, in the Acts of the Apostles. They did not take the Apostle Paul's word for granted, when he came to preach to them. You are told, that they searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so," and "therefore," it is said, "many of them believed." (Acts xvii. 11, 12.) What was this again but private judgment?

This is the spirit of the advice given in 1 Cor. x. 15, "I speak as unto wise men; judge ye what I say;" and in Coloss. ii. 18,— "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit:" and in 1 John iv. 1,—"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God:" and in 2 John 10,—"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house."

If these passages do not recommend the use of private judgment, I do not know what words mean. To my mind they seem to say to every individual Christian, "Prove all things."

Reader, whatever men may say against private judgment, you may depend it cannot be neglected without immense danger to your soul. You may not like it, but you never know what you may come to if you refuse to use it No man can say into what depths of false doctrine you may be drawn if you will not do what God requires of you, and "Prove all things."

Suppose that, in fear of private judgment, you resolve to believe whatever the Church believes. Where is your security against error? The Church is not infallible. There was a time when almost the whole of Christendom embraced the Arian heresy, and did not acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ to be equal with the Father in all things. There was a time, before the reformation, when the darkness over the face of Europe was a darkness that might be felt. The General Councils of the Church are not infallible. When the whole Church is gathered together in a General Council, what says our Twenty-first Article? "They may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation, have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they he taken out of Holy Scripture." The particular branches of the Church are not infallible. Any one of them may err. Many of them have fallen foully, or have been swept away. Where is the Church of Ephesus at this day? Where the Church of Sardis at the present time? Where the Church of Hippo in Africa? Where the Church of Carthage? They are all gone! Not a vestige of any of them is left! Will you then be content to err merely because the Church errs? Will your company be any excuse for your error? Will your erring in company with the Church remove your responsibility for your own soul? Oh, reader, it were surely a thousand times better for a man to stand alone and be saved, than to err in company with the Church, and be lost! It were better to prove all things, and go to heaven, than to say, "I dare not think for myself," and go to hell.

But suppose that, to cut matters short, you resolve to believe whatever your minister believes. Once more I ask, Where is your safety?—Where is your security? Ministers are not infallible, any more than Churches. All of them have not the Spirit of God. The very best of them are only men. Call us Bishops, Priests, Deacons, or whatever names you please, we are all earthen vessels. I speak not merely of Popes, who have promulgated awful superstitions and led abominable lives. I would rather point to the very best of Protestants and say, "Beware of looking upon them as infallible,—beware of thinking of any man (whoever that man may be) that he cannot err." Luther held consubstantiation;—that was a mighty error.

Zuinglius, the Swiss Reformer, went on to battle, and died in the fight;—that was a mighty error. Calvin, the Geneva Reformer, advised the burning of Servetus;—that was a mighty error. Cranmer and Ridley urged the putting of Hooper into prison because of some trifling dispute about vestments;—that was a mighty error. Whitgift persecuted the Puritans;—that was a mighty error. Wesley and Toplady in the last century quarrelled fiercely about Calvinism;—that was a mighty error. All these things are warnings, if you will only take them. All say, "Cease ye from man." All show us that if a man's religion hangs on ministers, whoever they may be, and not on the Word of God, it hangs on a broken reed. Never make ministers Popes. Follow us so far as we follow Christ, but not a hair's breadth further. Believe whatever we can show you out of the Bible, but do not believe a single word more.

Neglect the duty of private judgment, and you may find, to your cost, the truth of what Whitby says: The best of overseers do sometimes make oversights. You may live to experience the truth of what the Lord said to the Pharisees: When the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch. Reader, be very sure no man is safe against error, unless he acts on St. Paul's injunction,—unless he "proves all things" by the Word of God.

Reader, I have said that it is impossible to overrate the evils that may arise from neglecting to exercise your private judgment. I will go further, and say that it is impossible to overrate the blessings which private judgment has conferred both on the world and on the Church.

I ask you to remember that the greatest discoveries in science and in philosophy, beyond all controversy, have arisen from the use of private judgment. To this we owe the discovery of Galileo, that the earth went round the sun, and not the sun round the earth. To this we owe Columbus's discovery of the new continent of America. To this we owe Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood. To this we owe Jenner's discovery of vaccination. To this we owe the printing press, the steam engine, the power-loom, the electric telegraph, railways, and gas. For all these discoveries we are indebted to men who dared to think for themselves. They were not content with the beaten path of those who had gone before. They were not satisfied with taking for granted that what their fathers believed must be true. They made experiments for themselves. They brought old established theories to the proof; and found that they were worthless. They proclaimed new systems, and invited men to examine them, and test their truth. They bore storms of obloquy and ridicule unmoved. They heard the clamour of prejudiced lovers of old traditions without flinching. And they prospered and succeeded in what they did. We see it now. And we who live in the nineteenth century are reaping the fruit of their use of private judgment.

And, reader, as it has been in science, so also it has been in the history of the Christian religion. The martyrs who stood alone in their day, and shed that blood which has been the seed of Christ's Gospel throughout the world,—the Reformers, who, one after another, rose up in their might to enter the lists with the Church of Rome,—all did what they did, suffered what they suffered, proclaimed what they proclaimed, simply because they exercised their private judgment about what was Christ's truth. Private judgment made the Waldenses, the Albigenses, and the Lollards, count not their lives dear to them, rather than believe the doctrines of the Church of Rome. Private judgment made Wyckliffe search the Bible in our land, denounce the Romish Friars, and all their impostures,—translate the Scriptures into the vulgar tongue, and become "the morning star" of the Reformation. Private judgment made Luther examine Tetzel's abominable system of indulgences by the light of the Word. Private judgment led him on, step by step, from one thing to another, guided by the same light, till at length the gulf between him and Rome was a gulf that could not be passed, and the Pope's power in Germany was completely broken. Private judgment made our own English Reformers examine for themselves, and inquire for themselves, as to the true nature of that corrupt system under which they had been born and brought up. Private judgment made them cast off the abominations of Popery, and circulate the Bible among the laity. Private judgment made them draw from the Bible our Articles, compile our Prayer-book, and constitute the Church of England as it is. They broke the fetters of tradition, and dared to think for themselves. They refused to take for granted Rome's pretensions and assertions. They examined them all by the Bible, and because

they would not abide the examination, they broke with Rome altogether. All the blessing of Protestantism in England, all that we are enjoying at this very day, we owe to the right exercise of private judgment. Surely if we do not honour private judgment, we are thankless and ungrateful indeed!

Reader, I warn you not to be moved by the common argument, that the right of private judgment is liable to be abused,—that private judgment has done great harm, and should be avoided as a dangerous thing. Never was there a more miserable argument! Never was there one which when thrashed proves so full of chaff!

Private judgment has been abused! I would like the objector to tell me what good gift of God has not been abused! What high principle can be named that has not been employed for the very worst of purposes? Strength may become tyranny when it is employed by the stronger to coerce the weaker, yet strength is a blessing when properly employed. Liberty may become licentiousness when every man does that which is right in his own eyes, without regarding the rights and feelings of others; yet liberty, rightly used, is a mighty blessing. Because many things may be used improperly, are we, therefore, to give them up altogether? Because opium is used improperly by some, is it not to be used as a medicine on any occasion at all? Because money may be used improperly, is all money to be cast into the sea? You cannot have good in this world without evil. You cannot have private judgment without some abusing it, and turning it to bad account.

But private judgment, people say, has done more than good! What harm has private judgment done, I would like to know, in matters of religion, compared to the harm that has been done by the neglect of it? Grant, for a moment, that among Protestants who allow private judgment, there are divisions. Grant that in the Church of Rome, where private judgment is forbidden, there are no divisions. I might easily show that Romish unity is far more seeming than real. Bishop Hall, in his book called The Peace of Rome, numbers up no less than three hundred differences of opinion maintained in the Romish Church. I might easily show that the divisions of Protestants are exceedingly exaggerated, and that most of them are upon points of minor importance. I might show that, with all the varieties of Protestantism, as men call them, there is still a vast amount of fundamental unity and substantial agreement among Protestants. No man can read the "Harmony of Protestant Confessions" without seeing that.

But grant for a moment that private judgment has led to divisions, and brought about varieties. I say that these divisions and varieties are but a drop of water when compared with the torrent of abominations that have arisen from the Church of Rome's practice of disallowing private judgment altogether. Place the evils in two scales,—the evils that have arisen from private judgment, and those that have arisen from no man being allowed to think for himself. Weigh the evils one against another, and I have no doubt as to which will be the greatest. Give me Protestant divisions, certainly, rather than Popish unity, with the fruit that it brings forth. Give me Protestant variations, whatever a man like Bossuet may say about them, rather than Romish ignorance,—Romish superstition,—Romish darkness,—and Romish idolatry. Give me the Protestant diversities of England and Scotland, with all their disadvantages, rather than the dead level, both intellectual and spiritual, of the Italian peninsula. Let the two systems be tried by their fruits,—the system that says, "Prove all things," and the system that says, "Dare to have no opinion of your own,"—let them be tried by their fruits in the hearts, in the intellects, in the lives, in all the ways of men, and I have no doubt as to the result.

Reader, I warn you above all things not to be moved by the specious argument, that it is humility to disallow private judgment, that it is humility to have no opinion of your own, that it is the part of a true Christian not to think for himself!

I tell you that such humility is a false humility, a humility that does not deserve that blessed name. Call it rather laziness. Call it rather idleness. Call it rather sloth. It makes a man strip himself of all his responsibility, and throw the whole burden of his soul into the hands of the minister and the Church. It gives a man a mere vicarious religion, a religion by which he places his conscience and all his spiritual concerns under the care of others. He need not trouble himself! He need no longer think for himself! He has embarked in a safe ship, and placed his soul under a safe pilot, and will get to heaven! Oh, beware of supposing that this deserves the name of humility. It is refusing to exercise the gift that God has given you. It is refusing to employ the sword of the Spirit which God has forged for the use of your hand. Blessed be God, our forefathers did not act upon such principles! Had they done so, we should never have had the Reformation. Had they done so, we might have been bowing down to the image of the virgin Mary at this moment, or praying to the spirits of departed saints, or having a service performed in Latin. From such humility may the good Lord ever deliver you!

Reader, as long as you live resolve that you will read for yourself; think for yourself, judge of the Bible for yourself; in the great matters of your soul. Have an opinion of your own. Never be ashamed of saying, "I think that this is right, because I find it in the Bible," and "I think that this is wrong, because I do not find it in the Bible." "Prove all things," and prove them by the Word of God.

As long as you live, beware of the blindfold system, which many commend in the present day,—the system of following a leader, and having no opinion of their own—the system which practically says, "Only keep your Church, only receive the sacraments, only believe what the ordained ministers who are set over you tell you, and then all shall be well" I warn you that this will not do. I warn you that if you are content with this kind of religion, you are periling your immortal soul. Let the Bible, and not any Church upon earth, or any minister upon earth, be your rule of faith. "Prove all things" by the Word of God.

And, above all, as long as you live, look forward to the great day of judgment. Think of the solemn account which every one of us shall have to give in that day before the judgment seat of Christ. We shall not be judged by Churches. We shall not be judged by whole congregations. We shall be judged individually, each by himself. What shall it profit you or me in that day to say, "Lord, Lord, I believed everything the Church told me. I received and believed everything ordained ministers set before me. I thought that whatever the Church and the ministers said must be right"? What shall it profit us to say this, if we have held some deadly error? Surely, the voice of Him that sits upon the throne will reply, "You had the Scriptures. You had a book plain and easy to him that will read it and search it in a childlike spirit. Why did you not use the Word of God when it was given to you? You had a reasonable soul given you to understand that Bible. Why did you not 'Prove all things,' and thus keep clear of error?" Oh, reader, if you refuse to exercise your private judgment, think of that awful day, and beware!

II And now let me speak of the duty and necessity of keeping firm hold upon truth.

The words of the Apostle on this subject are pithy and forcible. "Hold fast," he says, "that which is good." It is as if he said to us, "When you have found the truth for yourself; and when you are satisfied that it is Christ's truth,—that truth which the Scriptures set forth,—then get a firm hold upon it, grasp it, keep it in your heart, never let it go."

He speaks as one who knew what the hearts of all Christians are. He knew that our grasp of the Gospel, at our best, is very cold,—that our love soon waxes feeble,—that our faith soon wavers,—that our zeal soon flags,—that familiarity with Christ's truth often brings with it a species of contempt,—that, like Israel, we are apt to be discouraged by the length of our journey,—and, like Peter, ready to sleep one moment and fight the next,—but, like Peter, not ready to watch and pray. All this St. Paul remembered, and, like a faithful watchman, he cries, by the Holy Ghost, "Hold fast that which is good."

He speaks as if he foresaw by the Spirit that the good tidings of the Gospel would soon be corrupted, spoiled, and plucked away from the Church at Thessalonica. He speaks as one who foresaw that Satan and all his agents would labour hard to cast down Christ's truth. He writes as though he would forewarn men of this danger, and he cries, "Hold fast that which is good."

Reader, the advice is always needed as long as the world stands. There is a tendency to decay in the very best of human institutions. The best visible Church of Christ is not free from this liability to degenerate. It is made up of fallible men. There is always in it a tendency to decay. We see the leaven of evil creeping into many a Church, even in the Apostle's time. There were evils in the Corinthian Church, evils in the Ephesian Church, evils in the Galatian Church. All these things are meant to be our warnings and beacons in these latter times. All show the great necessity laid upon the Church to remember the Apostle's words: "Hold fast that which is good."

Many a Church of Christ since then has fallen away for the want of remembering this principle. Their ministers and members forgot that Satan is always labouring to bring in false doctrine. They forgot that he can transform himself into an angel of light,—that he can make darkness appear light, and light darkness; truth appear falsehood, and falsehood truth. If he cannot destroy Christianity, he ever tries to spoil it. If he cannot prevent the form of godliness, he endeavours to rob Churches of the power. No Church is ever safe that forgets these things, and does not bear in mind the Apostle's injunction: "Hold fast that which is good."

Reader, if ever there was a time in the world when Churches were put upon their trial, whether they would hold fast the truth or not, that time is the present time, and those Churches are the Protestant Churches of our own land. Popery, that old enemy of our nation, is coming in upon us in this day like a flood. We are assaulted by open enemies without, and betrayed continually by false friends within. The numbers of Roman Catholic churches, and chapels, and schools, and conventual and monastic establishments, are continually increasing around us. Month after month brings tidings of some new defection from the ranks of the Church of England to the ranks of the Church of Rome. Already the clergy of the Church of Rome are using great swelling words about things to come, and boasting that, sooner or later, England shall once more be brought back to the orbit from whence she fell, and take her place in the Catholic system. Already the Pope is parcelling our country into bishoprics, and speaks like one who fancies that by-and-by he shall divide the spoil. Already he seems to foresee a time when England shall be as the patrimony of St. Peter's, when London shall be as Rome, when St Paul's shall be as St. Peter's, and Lambeth Palace shall be as the Vatican itself. Surely, now or never, we ought all of us to awake, and "Hold fast that which is good."

We supposed, some of us, in our blindness, that the power of the Church of Rome was ended. We dreamed, some of us, in our folly, that the Reformation had ended the Popish controversy, and that if Romanism did survive, Romanism was altogether changed. If we did think so, we have lived to learn that we made a most grievous mistake. Rome never changes. It is her boast that she is always the same. The snake is not killed. He was scotched at the time of the Reformation, but was not destroyed. The Romish Antichrist is not dead. He was cast down for a little season, like the fabled giant buried under Etna, but his deadly wound is healed, the grave is opening once more, and Antichrist is coming forth. The unclean spirit of Popery is not laid in his own place. Rather he seems to say, "My house in England is now swept and garnished for me; let me return to the place from whence I came forth."

And, reader, the question is now, whether we are going to abide quietly, sit still, and fold our hands, and do nothing to resist the assault. Are we really men of understanding of the times? Do we know the day of our visitation? Surely, this is a crisis in the history of our Churches and of our land. It is a time which will soon prove whether we know the value of our privileges, or whether, like Amalek, "the first of the nations," our "latter end shall be that we perish for ever." It is a time which will soon prove whether we intend to allow our candlestick to be quietly removed, or repent, and do our first works, lest any man should take our crown. If we love the open Bible,— if we love the preaching of the Gospel,—if we love the freedom of reading that Bible, no man letting or hindering us, and the opportunity of hearing that Gospel, no man forbidding us —if we love civil liberty—if we love religious liberty—if these are precious to our souls, we must all make up our minds to hold fast, lest by and by we lose all.

Reader, if we mean to hold fast, every parish, every congregation, every Christian man, and every Christian woman, must do their part in contending for the truth. Each should work, and each should pray, and each should labour as if the preservation of the pure Gospel depended upon himself or herself, and upon no one else at all. The bishops must not leave the matter to the priests, nor the priests leave the matter to the bishops. The clergy must not leave the matter to the laity, nor the laity to the clergy. The Parliament must not leave the matter to the country, nor the country to the Parliament. The rich must not leave the matter to the poor, nor the poor to the rich. We must all Work. Every living soul has a sphere of influence. Let him see to it that he fills it. Every living soul can throw some weight into the scale of the Gospel. Let him see to it that he casts it in. Let every one know his own individual responsibility in this matter; and all, by God's help, will be well.

If we would hold fast that which is good, we must never tolerate or countenance any doctrine which is not the pure doctrine of Christ's Gospel. There is a hatred which is downright charity—that is the hatred of erroneous doctrine. There is an intolerance which is downright praiseworthy—that is the intolerance of false teaching in the pulpit. Who would ever think of tolerating a little poison given to him day by day? If men come among you who do not preach "all the counsel of God," who do not preach of Christ, and sin, and holiness, of ruin, and redemption, and regeneration; and do not preach of these things in a Scriptural way, you ought to cease to hear them. You ought to act upon the injunction given by the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament: "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction which causes to err from the words of knowledge." (Prov. xix. 27.) You ought to carry out the spirit shown by the Apostle Paul, in Gal. i. 8: "Though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other doctrine unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed." If we can bear to hear Christ's truth mangled or adulterated,—and can see no harm in listening to that which is another Gospel,—and can sit at ease while sham Christianity is poured into our ears,—and can go home comfortably afterwards, and not burn with holy indignation,—if this be the case, there is little chance of our ever doing much to resist Rome. If we are content to hear Jesus Christ not put in His rightful place, we are not men and women who are likely to do Christ much service, or fight a good fight on His side. He that is not zealous against error, is not likely to he zealous for truth.

If we would hold fast the truth, we must be ready to unite with all who hold the truth, and love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. We must he ready to lay aside all minor questions as things of subordinate importance. Establishment or no establishment, liturgy or no liturgy,—surplice or no surplice,—bishops or presbyters,—all these points of difference however important they may be in their place and in their proportion,—all ought to be regarded as subordinate questions. I ask no man to give up his private opinions about them. I wish no man to do violence to his conscience. All I say is, that these questions are wood, hay, and stubble, when the very foundations of the faith are in danger. The Philistines are upon us. Can we make common cause against them, or can we not? This is the one point for our consideration. Surely it is not right to say that we expect to spend eternity with men in heaven, and yet cannot work for a few years with them in this world. It is nonsense to talk of alliance and union, if in a day like this there is to be no co-operation, The presence of a common foe ought to sink minor differences. We must hold together. Depend upon it, all Protestants must hold together, if they mean to "hold fast that which is good."

Some men may say, "This is very troublesome." Some may say, "Why not sit still and be quiet?" Some may say, "Oh, that horrid controversy! What need is there for all this trouble? Why should we care so much about these points of difference?" I ask, what good thing was ever got or ever kept without trouble? Gold does not lie in English cornfields, but at the bottom of Californian rivers. Pearls do not grow in English hedges, but deep down in Indian seas. Difficulties are never overcome without struggles. Mountains are seldom climbed without fatigue. Oceans are not crossed without tossings on the waves. Peace is seldom obtained without war. And Christ's truth is seldom made a nation's property, and kept a nation's property, without pains, without struggles, and without trouble.

Let the man who talks of "trouble" tell me where we should be at this day if our forefathers had not taken some trouble? Where would be the Gospel of England if martyrs had not given their bodies to be burned? Who shall estimate our debt to Cranmer, Latimer, Hooper, Ridley and Taylor, and their brethren? They held fast that which is good. They would not give up one jot. They counted not their lives dear for the Gospel's sake. They laboured, and they travailed, and we have entered into their labours. Shame upon us if we will not take a little trouble to keep with us what they so nobly won! Trouble or no trouble,—pains or no pains,—controversy, or no controversy,—one thing is very sure: that nothing but Christ's Gospel will ever do good to our own souls. Nothing else will maintain our Churches. Nothing else will ever bring down God's blessing upon our land. If, therefore, we love our own souls, or if we love our country's prosperity, or if we love to keep our Churches standing, we must remember the Apostles words, and "hold fast" firmly the Gospel, and refuse to let it go.

And now, reader, I have set before you two things. One is the right, the duty, and necessity of private judgment. The other is the duty and necessity of keeping firm hold upon truth.—It only remains for me to apply these things to your own individual conscience by a few concluding words.

For one thing, if it be your duty to "prove all things," let me beseech and exhort you to arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written Word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible. Prove all religious truth when it is brought before you by the Bible. A little knowledge of the Bible will not suffice. Depend upon it, a man must know his Bible well if he is to prove religious teachings by it; and he must read it regularly if he would know it well. There is no royal road to a knowledge of the Bible. There must be reading daily, regular reading of the Book, or the Book will not be known. As one said quaintly, but most truly, "Justification may be by faith, but a knowledge of the Bible comes only by works." The devil can quote Scripture. He could go to our Lord and quote Scripture when he wished to tempt Him. A man must be able to say, from his knowledge of Scripture, when he hears Scripture falsely quoted, "Thus it is written again," lest he be deceived. Neglect your Bible, and nothing that I know of can prevent your becoming a Roman Catholic, an Arminian, a Socinian, a Jew, or a Turk, if a plausible advocate of any of these false systems shall happen to meet you.

For another thing, if it be right to "prove all things," take care to try every Roman Catholic doctrine, by whomsoever put forward, by the written Word of God. Believe nothing, however speciously advanced—believe nothing, with whatever weight of authority brought forward,—believe nothing, though supported by all the Fathers,—believe nothing, except it can be proved to you out of Scripture. That alone is infallible. That alone is light. That alone is God's measure of truth and falsehood. "Let God be true, and every man a liar." The New Zealanders' answer to the Romish priests who went among them is an answer never to be forgotten. They heard these priests urge upon them the worship of the Virgin Mary. They heard them recommend them to pray to saints. They heard them advocate the use of images. They heard them speak of the authority of the Church of Rome, the supremacy of the Pope, the antiquity of the Romish communion. They knew the Bible, and they heard all this calmly, and gave one simple but memorable answer: "It cannot be true, because it is not in the Book." All the learning in the world could never have supplied a better answer than that. Latimer, or Knox, or Owen, could never have made a more crushing reply. Let this be our rule when we are attacked by Romanists; let us hold fast the sword of the Spirit, and say in reply to all their arguments, "It cannot be true, because it is not in the Book."

Last of all, if it be right to "hold fast that which is good," let us make sure that we have each laid hold personally upon Christ's truth for ourselves. Reader, it will not save you and me to know all controversies, and to be able to detect everything which is false. Head knowledge will never bring you and me to heaven. It will not save us to be able to argue and reason with Roman Catholics, or to detect the errors of Popes' Bulls, or Pastoral Letters. Let us see that we each lay hold upon Jesus Christ for ourselves, by our own personal faith. Let us see to it that we each flee for refuge, and lay hold upon the hope set before us in His glorious Gospel. Let us do this, and all shall be well with us, whatever else may go ill. Let us do this, and then all things are ours. The Church may fall. The State may go to ruin. The foundations of all establishments may be shaken. The enemies of truth may for a season prevail. But as for us, all shall be well. We shall have in this world peace, and, in the world which is to come life everlasting, for we shall have Christ, and having Him, we have all. This is real good, lasting good,—good in sickness, good in health, good in life, good in death, good in time, and good in eternity. All other things are but uncertain. They all wear out. They fade. They droop. They wither. They decay. The longer we have them the more worthless we find them, and the more satisfied we become that everything here below is "vanity and vexation of spirit." But as for hope in Christ, that is always good. The longer we use it the better it seems. The more we wear it in our hearts the brighter it will look. It is good when we first have it. It is better far when we grow older. It is better still in the day of trial, and the hour of death. And best of all, depend upon it, will it prove in the day of judgment.

Reader, if you have not yet laid hold on this hope in Christ, seek it at once. Call on the Lord Jesus to give it to you. Give Him no rest till you know and feel that you are His.

If you have laid hold on this hope, hold it fast. Prize it highly, for it will stand by you when everything else fails.


* "The people of God are called to try the truth, to judge between good and ill, between light and darkness. God hath made them the promise of His Spirit, and hath left unto them His Word. They of Berea, when they heard the preaching of Paul, searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so as he taught them, and many of them believed. So do you: give heed to instruction and yet receive not all things without proof and trial that they are not contrary to the wholesome doctrine of the Word of God."—Bishop Jewell, author of the Apology of the Church of England. 1553.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

John Kerry Told Palestinian Pres. To Ignore Trump, He’ll Be Out Of Office Soon

John Kerry Told Palestinian Pres. To Ignore Trump, He’ll Be Out Of Office Soon

Now that he’s out of office Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry is continuing his anti-Israel endeavors, while possibly violating the Logan Act at the same time. Israeli Newspaper Ma’ariv reports that former secretary of state, John Kerry has sent a message to Palestinian Authority Pres, Abbas, “that he should stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President Trump’s demands,” because Trump will be out of office within the year.

Ma’ariv has learned that former US Secretary of State John Kerry met in London a close associate of Abbas, Hussein Agha , for a long and open conversation that contained many headlines. Agha apparently reported details of senior PA officials in Ramallah. A senior Palestinian official confirmed to Ma’ariv this week that there had indeed been such a meeting.

Agha is one of Abbas’s closest associates and a veteran of peace negotiations with Israel. “He conducted the “London Track,” secret negotiations held from 2010 to 2013 between the emissaries of Netanyahu, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, and Brigadier General Mike Herzog, under the supervision and presence of Dennis Ross. Agha also authored with Yossi Beilin the Beilin-Abbas agreement in the 1990s.” Mr. Agha is a staunch supporter of the peace process, and very close to Abbas.

Per the  report, John Kerry asked Agha to convey a message to Abbas  “ask him to ‘hold on and be strong.’Tell him, he told Agha, ‘that he stays strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President Trump’s demands.’ According to Kerry, Trump will not remain in office for a long time. It is a good chance that within a year he will not be in the White House.”

Kerry offered his help to the Palestinians in an effort to advance the peace process and recommended that Abbas present his own peace plan. “Maybe it is time for the Palestinians to define their peace principles and present a positive plan,” Kerry suggested. He promised to use all his contacts and all his abilities to get support for such a plan. He asked Abbas, through Agha, not to attack the US or the Trump administration, but to concentrate on personal attacks on Trump himself, whom Kerry says is solely and directly responsible for the situation.

Ma’ariv also described the President using derogatory terms and offered to help create an alternative peace initiative without the Americans and help it gain international support from the Europeans, Arabs, and others in the international community.

Kerry hinted that many in the American establishment, as well as in American intelligence, are dissatisfied with Trump’s performance and the way he leads America. He surprised his interlocutor by saying he was seriously considering running for president in 2020. When asked about his advanced age, he said he was not much older than Trump and would have no age problem (…)  even in the Republican Party do not know what to do with Trump and very dissatisfied with him and need patience and breathing time to get through this difficult period.

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but Kerry’s actions sound  like a violation of the Logan Act:

The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799) is a United States federal law that criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized persons with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Strategies of the Enemy: How to Counter and Defeat Satan

Strategies of the Enemy: How to Counter and Defeat Satan

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. -1st John 2:15-17 (NLT)

We know as Christians that we have a friend, his name is Jesus. And we know as Christians that we have an enemy, and his name is Satan. Jesus is Lord in heaven, all authority has been given to him, and Satan is the prince of the Earth, he won control of it when he successfully tempted Adam and Eve in the garden.

So we face an ancient, deadly enemy. This enemy is at war with the human race, and seeks to destroy our souls. Essentially Satan is a suicide bomber. Satan's fate is already sealed because of his rebellion against God. Satan is going to outer darkness. So Satan is like the suicide bomber, blowing himself up, and seeking to take as many with him as possible. There is a malevolence here that staggers the imagination, but there it is.

The world is at war with Christianity, and seeking to subvert it. The church is essentially the forward front of Christ's expanding kingdom. The chief General and strategist of this expansion of the church is the Lord Holy Spirit. He is the strategist battling our enemy Satan. Our job as Christians is to go about holy sabotage efforts to the kingdom of Satan. And Satan is attempting to subvert us, diminish us, discredit us, and destroy us.

Satan has a framework of attacks he levies against us. None of them are new, there is nothing new under the sun, and these are the same attacks he's levied against humanity since the beginning of time. Satan's chief weapons are temptations and lies.

As Christians we must be shrewd, cunning, innocent and brave. Because we have an enemy, and he'll take any opening we give him. Let's look at a few of the enemy and his tactics to destroy Christians.

1. Affair - Yes, the dreaded extra-marital affair. That receptionist, that friend, that person on Facebook, and it always begins with tiny, miniscule compromises. It's a bit exciting, so we toy with it. We let it go on. We make tiny little compromises in what we would normally do. We enjoy how it makes us feel, and pretty soon small compromises give way to larger compromises. And eventually your in bed with that person, wondering what has happened, and the flood gates of guilt descend. The affair on husband or wife is of course the cornerstone of destruction. It destroys trust, it will usually destroy the family, ending in divorce, and the children are crushed. That of course isn't the end, especially in regard to those in ministry. Jesus helps us to counter this enemy attack through prayer, through swift action and through a firm commitment to covenant with our husband or wife. The solution is to flee that situation. The solution is to build those boundaries. The solution is to pray and ask God for a new revival in the marriage that will return it to normality, that of true love between husband and wife. Amen.

2. Pornography - No new tricks indeed. Our enemy knows us too well I think. Sex, especially for me as a man, and yes, you as a woman, is our weak point. Time and again in the New Testament the lists of sins are given, and almost always first listed is: Sexual immorality. Pornography is so destructive. It decimates the mind. Pornography as it's been studied has a similar effect on the brain to cocaine, heroin and other drugs. Yet Jesus can break every chain. Yes, Jesus wants to break every chain. So we must pray, and cry out to him, and beseech him in this area, and then get to work with whatever tools we have available to battle and defeat this sin in our lives. Pornography destroys us, it destroys marriages, and it destroys people and feeds the sex slave industry. Defeat it in Christ.

3. Going too Fast - Too much of a good thing? Oh yes, this can happen. The enemy can get us rushing and rushing doing so many good things that we're beginning to subtly burn out. Maybe we're doing great, we're living the dream baby, we're a pastor, we're rocking it, we're loving people and Christ is changing lives through ministry. So satan sees this, and attacks with a different tactic, he seeks to burn you out. So many good things begin to pile up that they subtly begin to destroy. The devotional life vanishes, the family and marriage take a back seat, the prayer life disappears, and pretty soon stress, depression, and exhaustion are piling on our back. And then the door is open for Satan to bring up the mistress, or the Mr. the man or woman "who understands" everything we're going through. Too much of too many good things can and will destroy us. Christ saves us from this by giving us freedom to slow down. Christ invites us to remove things from our schedule, to close down ministries that we can't maintain at our current level. Christ invites us to slow down, and seek Him, and know peace.

4. Crushed Devotional Life - If you're studying to become a minister, like I am now, or you're involved in ministry, and you don't think you need to pray or be engaged in daily devotionals, then you should quit right now and do something else. I'm serious, you should quit. Because your just wasting everyone's time and money and you're going to burn out, destroy yourself, and have a useless ineffective Spirit-less ministry. To be a pastor without prayer and devotions is to be nothing. Doubly nothing, nothing to God and nothing to those you serve. So get real about prayer and devotions, it's 100 percent necessary or you will fail.

Jesus invites us to ask Him for help in this. I struggled so hard with this because I go so fast, I'm so often on the computer, on the web, and I thought how could I possibly slow down and have enough discipline to read my Bible at night, and pray for an extended period, and pray in the morning and read a devotional book. So I just prayed to God, look Lord I can't do this, so you'll have to make it possible. After many petitions, it all became possible, and happens regularly now.

5. Garbage of the Soul - Would Jesus pour garbage into his soul? I doubt it. So why do we? Why do we watch Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead? Why do we go see movies like 50 Shades of Grey and It? Why read trashy novels that would strange ideas into our minds? We're called to purity, and as part of a Wesleyan holiness movement I feel that it's doubly important for me to watch what I put into my soul.

Clear it out! That's what one of my professors told us about. Her and her husband trashed the magazines, the music, and the novels; they got rid of the cable TV and got rid of the movies. Holiness is what Christ calls us to. I'm not trying to judge you, Christians can get really upset about this topic. Maybe it's a soft spot for us, but we should address it. Jesus calls us to a higher standard, and if we're Christians in leadership, honestly, let's get real here.

6. Lording It Over - Glorying in self leadership - A church leader, or a business leader, or any leader can quickly move from a humble biblical servant leader to a lord leader. We're not called to lord it over those we serve. Beginning to bully and lord it over our people is a recipe for pride, ego, and eventually the development of a babylonian self-based church.

It can start as a self-less project to glorify Christ, and pretty soon it can be a multi-campus mega church movement with my name plastered all over everything, Justin Steckbauer ministries, Justin Steckbauer's awesome preaching, God forbid, God forbid that I turn any church into a self-exalting babylon Justin worship experience. What a nightmare! But we see it all the time don't we? Yes we do.

Are we building our own name brand? Or are we building Christ's kingdom? Are we in charge or is the Holy Spirit guiding our efforts? Those are important questions to ask. But Mark Driscoll is a good example of repentance in this area. He built up his kingdom of churches in the Mars Hill network, and there were many problems, so he broke up the empire, left his role as it's king, and went to pastor a small church elsewhere. The self-kingdom was dissolved. Could we do the same in such circumstances?

7. Pride - Pride comes before the fall. It's a well known proverb, but it also happens to be true. I think we know this one pretty well. Cultivate humility in submission before God, on your knees, in prayer. That is a humbling experience, make it daily.

8. Doubting God's goodness - This is one of Satan's favorite tactics. He's done it twice with two big names: Eve and Jesus. He dared to suggest to Eve that God was hiding some blessing from them when God had commanded Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan suggested that Eve would become like god if she ate from it. He put the lie into her mind that God wasn't really good or true. Eve believed the lie. When Jesus faced down Satan in the wilderness the third temptation Satan offered was to give the world to Jesus, and in this Satan attempted to call into question God's goodness in sending Jesus to the cross.

When terrible things happen do we immediately ask: How can a good God allow this to happen? Or do we dare to trust in God even when we don't understand why? That is the question isn't it, can we have such radical faith and trust in our Lord that we know his goodness remains even in the face of terrible evil? Yes Jesus calls us to this great trust in God's character.

9. Worldly Wisdom - We can start to rely on studies, and the latest research, instead of the word of God. We can start to rely on the cultural views more and more so, inch by inch, instead of the Bible. And it's interesting how we can start educating ourselves into imbecility because we're no longer looking to the word, we're looking to social services research, to experts, to the latest research, and we've made biblical truth secondary.

The word of God is timeless and eternally true. It doesn't change with the times or trends. It doesn't need to be updated to please our culture. It doesn't need to be redefined or added to or subtracted from. It isn't wrong to seek wisdom in many places, but when the word becomes subservient to studies by experts, scientists, and academics, we're setting ourselves up for problems. Very often those experts are the very same people who a priori have ruled out the Bible, Christianity, and even the existence of God. We'd be wise to regard their research and data with a skeptical, discerning eye.

10. Toying with Old Sins - We've put our old lives behind us, but the enemy will bring back old things we struggled with, and entice us, not to all out jump back in again, but the enemy invites us to begin to just lightly flirt with those old sins. And that flirtation, as harmless as it may seem, begins to crack that door open, and over time... that old sin starts gaining power in the mind once again. Keep that door locked, bolted, and if necessary pour cement in the entryway.

Jesus Christ has set us free from all sin. Sometimes we sit in the prison cell of sin and impure thinking, but maybe we don't realize that though we sit in the cell, the cell door is wide open. Jesus breaks every chain. He has set us free. Let us not return to the trough of sin as the dog returns to it's vomit. So we are called to live in the Spirit, and to not gratify the desires of the flesh.

In conclusion I'd refer you to Genesis chapter three and Matthew chapter four to read and study how Satan successfully tempted Adam and Eve, and how Satan unsuccessfully tempted Jesus Christ our glorious victorious savior. Remember that Satan can and will appear as an angel of light, but if you know your Bible you'll be able to counter him.

And here's a tip for "god-mode" style temptations that occurred when Satan failed to tempt Jesus: Satan will quote the Bible itself out of context to try to deceive. So know your Bible in and out, cover to cover, understand how each book should be read, if it's history or letter or poetry or wisdom. And put on the full armor of God that you may stand against every attack of the enemy. We can stand against temptation. It's a battle, this world is warfare. But we can do this because Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior forever.

Must See: DHS Just Released An Absolute Bombshell Terrorism Report - 73 Percent... - Sarah Palin

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How Socialism Ruined My Country | PragerU

How Socialism Ruined My Country | PragerU

Monday, January 15, 2018

(6) Mark Taylor January 14 2018 - ALL FAKE NEWS ARE SHUTTED - Mark Taylor Prophecy Update - YouTube

(6) Mark Taylor January 14 2018 - ALL FAKE NEWS ARE SHUTTED - Mark Taylor Prophecy Update - YouTube

(6) Europe: Closer to the Antichrist - YouTube

(6) Europe: Closer to the Antichrist - YouTube

(6) MYSTICISM in Our MIDST - The Dangers of Contemplative Christianity - YouTube

(6) MYSTICISM in Our MIDST - The Dangers of Contemplative Christianity - YouTube

Reformation Theology Waning As Many Protestants Believe More Like Catholics

Reformation Theology Waning As Many Protestants Believe More Like Catholics

A Message of Hope! :: By Matt Ward - Rapture Ready

A Message of Hope! :: By Matt Ward - Rapture Ready

Majority of Refugees Admitted into U.S. under Trump are Christian - Christian News Headlines

Majority of Refugees Admitted into U.S. under Trump are Christian - Christian News Headlines

Watching the Stage Being Set

Watching the Stage Being Set

‘Downton Abbey’ movie will be ‘a last hurrah with all the characters’ – British Period Dramas

‘Downton Abbey’ movie will be ‘a last hurrah with all the characters’ – British Period Dramas