Everything that sounds right and spiritual is not of God. We are at a day and time when hardly anyone knows the difference between what is of God and what is not of God. Just because hands are lifted high in worship or the shout is “Hallelujah,” doesn’t mean it is for God. Every declaration that is right and spot on and spiritual is not of God. The devil is such a deceiver that even he will join in with true worshippers, but only as a mocker. I’m taking what I find in the Word of God and drawing the conclusion that the same things take place today. Here’s an example: Acts 16:16-18 “Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.”
That demon possessed slave girl was saying what was right and it sounded spiritual, but it was not of God. And in our world today, we are flooded with what sounds right and spiritual, but it’s not all of God. You say, “Does it matter?” It did to the apostle Paul, so I would say it should matter to us. How did Paul know what the girl was saying was not of God? Well, first Paul understood what she was saying was not of God “after many days.” It said he was greatly annoyed meaning what was coming out of her mouth didn’t bear witness with Paul’s spirit, even though it was true what she spoke. The girl didn’t include herself as a servant of the Most High God. Paul was keenly aware of the schemes of the enemy as we should be. It was on their way “to prayer” when Paul understood what the girl was saying was not of God. If you ever come to the place of knowing what is of God and what is not, it will be the result of a fervent prayer life.
One of the most challenging assignments in the military has to be that of a sniper. Snipers are unique individuals highly trained with their weapon and disciplined to remain statue-like still in the midst of unfavorable conditions. They also must be willing to take kill shots from great distances and then willing to live with their actions. Snipers understand their life depends on the ability to strategically position themselves and remain hidden. Very few soldiers qualify for this critical duty, and those who do are exceptional and remain silent about their exploits.
You must know also that Satan has his own highly skilled snipers who’s goal is to take you out. If you ever become a target because you are a threat and show to be working for the kingdom of God and making extraordinary advances, just be consciously aware there is a sniper in the distance with cross hairs on you waiting for the perfect circumstance to pull the trigger. These satanic snipers have taken many of God’s people out of the service of the Lord. They blend into the environment of your circumstance so well, you think it was something else or someone else that hit you. I know about satanic snipers because I’ve been hit more than once, and only by the grace and power of God I’m still serving in the Lord’s kingdom today. So as you mature in your faith, understand this truth and don’t be an easy target! And whatever you do, don’t let the enemy take you out.
—Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
—Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.
Judges 16:7 (NKJV) “And Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any [other] man.”
In case you didn’t know, if you’re a man, this is the enemy’s goal. His goal is to make a man of God like any other man, however he can do it, whoever he can use to do it, and whatever it costs him to do it. Samson was an unstoppable force until he met his match in Delilah. The enemy knows who to use against you. The enemy knew women were Samson’s weakness. The desires of his flesh controlled him and the determination of the enemy is what got him. And unless your devotion and dedication to God is greater than the determination of the enemy, you will join the ranks of those defeated and become like any other man. Delilah wouldn’t stop until she learned the secret of Samson’s strength. If the enemy has not brought you down and made you level with everyone else, he has not given up. So you must guard your heart and mind from sexual immorality, pornography and perversion. You must keep pursuing God because you are being pursued like David and even Solomon. For 20 years Samson put up a good fight and God’s people lived free from the enemy’s oppression, but the day his hair was cut and separated from his head, so was his mighty strength, so was the thing that distinguished him from other men. The enemy’s plan is to make you talk like, walk like, act like, and look like any other man (or woman) morally and spiritually. He could care less how physically or intellectually strong you are.
Think about this, the first thing the enemy did to Samson was put his eyes out. The enemy doesn’t want you to see where you are or recognize you are like all other men. Many times we are blind to ourselves. The enemy always celebrates too quickly because the Bible tells us that as blind and weak Samson was grinding in the Philistine’s prison, v. 22, “his hair began to grow.” If what happened to Samson has happened to you, there is some good news, your strength can be renewed. In the Philistines early celebration God gave Samson enough strength to kill more of his enemies in his death than in his life. Don’t forget this, unless your devotion and dedication to God is greater than the determination of the enemy you will become like any other man. You will become like any other Christian. To guard yourself get some spiritually healthy people around you, Samson didn’t do that. That still will not be enough though, you must have a man inside of you Jesus Christ. He will make you the unstoppable force you were made to be.
It’s possible to have so many gifts wrapped and stacked under the tree at Christmas to actually miss one. Or it’s possible you hid the gift and couldn’t find it when the time came to give it. Gifts get misplaced and sometimes forgotten, then months later or even years later they are found. Not only is this possible but it’s probably more common than we know. Some of that can be explained by just having too many gifts that you have forgotten what was purchased. It may also have something to do with the value of the gift. The greater the value, the less likely it is to be lost or forgotten.
Just like it’s possible to miss a gift when the opening frenzy begins, it’s very possible that followers of Christ haven’t discovered all the spiritual gifts God has so freely given them. Think about it, if you had a spiritual gift from God you haven’t discovered up to this point, wouldn’t you want to know what it is? We know we have at least one spiritual gift and it shouldn’t surprise us that we have more than one knowing the generosity of our Father and the kingdom purpose behind those gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual [gifts,] brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:, 7-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit [of all:] 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another [different] kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
When it comes to spiritual gifts, we should be as children and wonder, have I missed a gift? Why not take another look, there may be one more gift you have yet to discover. To look, tell the Father how thankful you are for the gifts He has already given you, then ask Him if there are any more. I can promise you He will not be upset, but He will be delighted in you.
It is highly possible that you could split our nation in half by our strong political affiliations. Americans are party people who for the most part stand for either the Republican or Democrat values and goals. There are some Independents mixed in, but all in all it is one of the two parties. Our news networks understand that and constantly feed one party’s perspective against the other, thus being a major driving force of strife and division. Political parties have long existed, but have you ever considered that you may be in the wrong party? I can promise you that the news stations could care less about the division and strife in our nation because their stations run on ratings and the more heated arguments they can televise the higher the ratings they receive. But have you considered you are in the wrong party?
When you become more Republican or Democrat politically than you are God-centered spiritually, you are in the wrong party. What a tragedy when Christians prefer their political views over the compassion and care for people. What a tragedy when a Christian talks more about their political party because they believe they have the answer to our nation’s problems than talking about Jesus Christ who alone has the answer. I have heard people say, “You can be too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” I don’t believe that personally, but I do believe you can be too politically minded to be any spiritual good. Have you chosen your side? Are you a staunch Republican or Democrat? Why not believe we are all being intentionally divided against ourselves and join the Christ-followers party? The truth is our political parties thrive in the confusion and chaos. Look at what Jesus said in Luke 11:23.
“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
You might be wondering if I am rejecting party affiliations. What I am saying is that if you are a child of God, born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, you better be known to be one who lines up with the Jesus party. What I am wanting you to evaluate is if your desire and passion is expressed more politically than it does spiritually. Only Jesus knows the way for us, the truth among us, and has the life for us, only Jesus! I am with Jesus Christ!
Life was very different just two weeks ago. Two weeks ago we were still freely moving about without fear and fully engaged in our community and church activities. But now all of that has changed and the change has come by the day and hour as with the rise of the coronavirus. This sudden change didn’t take much effort at all, but only with news reports of the spread of the virus and recommendations and executive orders by our government officials. The sudden and drastic change we have experienced should alert us spiritually. Because of these global events, not just local, we should make a note of what time it is. Let me ask you, do you know what time it is? Your phone or watch or clock will be of no use in telling what time it is concerning this global event. Is this not a spiritual hour we live in when sudden global change has taken place? I certainly believe so! Look at what Solomon wrote about things happening suddenly.
“I returned and saw under the sun that– The race [is] not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men [are] snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them.” Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
This global event is explained away by so many as only “time and chance.” But then it says, “man also does not know his time.” At any time of the day you can look up at the sun and give a good estimate on the time, but have you considered observing the activities of men to tell the spiritual time? Spiritually it is time to wake up and return to God and call on Him. Amazingly, there are so many Christians who are still sleeping because they don’t know the time, and to them this virus is like a bad dream. Let me encourage you to wake up and know and believe that what has happened globally is a great indicator of what time it is spiritually. Draw near to God and live like you understand the times.
Churches have certain people they call “shut-ins.“ These are the people who are physically not able to make it to church. Many shut-ins live in their homes with 24-hour care, while others live in assisted living or nursing homes. The shut-ins did not all of a sudden decide they were done with church and no longer wanted to attend, but because of age or failing health or accidents, they no longer have the ability to be in church. Of all the places most of these shut-ins want to be on Sunday morning, it is with their church family. But churches have another kind of shut-in today. Look at this, “Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” John 20:19
The disciples were shut in because of their fear of the Jews. It is definitely biblical for Believers to come into the house, shut the door and close the world out. But what happens with many is they receive Christ as Savior and remain shut in and never go out. Jesus said in John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
God has called every Believer in Christ to go in and-out. Christ did not save us to be spiritual shut-ins. Strangely, a Believer can go out and still be shut in if they never speak a word about Jesus. Walking out of a church building does not mean you are not a shut-in. Spiritual shut-ins are those who never let the light of Jesus shine through their lives. Yes, shut yourself in to be alone with Jesus and have fellowship with the body of Christ, but then go out and be the witness God has made you to be.
You may be at risk! This is not a warning about catching some kind of disease or virus that is spreading around. I’m not talking about being at risk of a stroke or heart attack. But you may be at risk spiritually of falling away from a close intimate relationship with God. How long have you been in the church? How long have you had a walk with God? The longer the walk, the greater the risk of falling away and fading out spiritually. I will say it again, the longer the walk, the greater the risk of falling away and fading out spiritually. What you had at the beginning of your walk with God, the love, passion, and desire to seek Him has a tragic tendency to disappear. When it does, two things can happen. You can still check into church every Sunday, but your heart never shows up. If this has happened to you, then you don’t need to blame the devil and you don’t need to blame those you once went to church with, you just need to look inside. This is a call to revival! Get the shine back in your walk with God. God hasn’t gone anywhere, and He is ever waiting for those to return to Him.
At one time, He was your first love, but what about today? Is He constantly on your heart and mind? Has He ever been? When my wife and I were first dating in the two years before our marriage, we pursued each other. Twenty-eight years later, we still pursue each other. This is how our relationship with God is supposed to be. What I’m saying is that your relationship with God does not have to fade, but it can grow and be your all-consuming passion every day. It’s not just for a few, but this dynamic is available to you. I told a group of people last week, “You are as close to God as you want to be.” It’s true. So how close are you? Why not close the distance and fall in love with Jesus again! I can tell you, there is not a microcell in your flesh that wants to get closer to God, so if this relationship is worth anything, you’ll have to fight for it with everything you’ve got.
Here how to get your relationship back with God. “Nevertheless I have [this] against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.” Revelation 2:4-5