Don’t Be a Dummy in the Devil’s Playground

           Our culture is becoming more intrigued by mystics; and its impacting believers of Christ, too. Some are being strayed away from the truth being led to believe that to know God supernaturally can be accomplished by going beyond the scriptures, doctrine, teachings and the church. While they claim that these four are important, they spend a great deal of time seeking a supernatural experience – almost paranormal and otherworldly.
           Timothy tells us these people need to come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil. Indeed they do! They often engage in godless and empty chatter which leads to destruction of their very souls. These people even have the power to destroy the faith of others, sadly because others are not rooted in truth.  These others are weak willed and saturated with the sin of SELF.
           Timothy states so clearly that “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Notice the purpose of scripture: teach-rebuke-correct-train. What is the servant of God being taught, rebuked, corrected and trained for? Good work and that good work is to serve others – not themselves. The only service to us is to be equipped for God’s will. The greatest of God’s will (commands) is to love God and love others.
          What I find interesting is how these mystics hide in small obscure places for their “church” services – a place to practice “their ministry” in secret. I also notice how small these gatherings are. The recycling of the congregants (where some go and come back) is perceived as growth when in fact all that is growing is a deceived body of followers. We are supposed to be a city on the hill, a light burning brightly not to be hidden.
           Jesus rebuked the devil’s temptation with His value of the word of God, “…Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).  Bread is of the world; it sustains our temporary body; but our souls need to live off the word of God. We have been blessed with God’s words – the words He has granted us to live by. If there is more to come, which I am sure there is, we have not been granted this as of yet. We need to trust Jesus when he said to his disciples, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). Seeking beyond what God has given us is a dangerous thing, because we end up with what the flesh or demons produce not what is of God. God has restricted us from knowing anything beyond His word. Trust Him with His word and what He has given! Going beyond His boundaries creates a tsunami of deathly problems.
           God has also given us the gift of the church. The church serves the purposes of fellowship, accountability, support, prayer, and solid doctrinal teachings. The first church’s disciples were devoted to the Apostles teachings, to prayer, to fellowship and breaking of bread. (Acts 2:42) Being devoted is to heed their leading and make this gathering a priority in our lives. The writer of Hebrews encourages us,“…to consider how we can spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together…” (Hebrews 10:25). If we neglect the church, we seclude ourselves and become susceptible to the twisting of truth by the devil. We cannot go beyond the church to find God – when we do we neglect His Spirit whom lives in others.
            Fellowship, growing in God’s word together, worshiping with one another bonds us to God, the Son and Spirit together as One. The very desire Jesus prayed for us is found in John 17:21-23, “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you, may they (we) also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me…that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity.”  Jesus also prayed that we would each be sanctified by truth – not sanctified by experiences or other worldly aromas, environments, or psychic bizarre happenings. The latter gives a superficial power to people while the former glorifies God’s power on earth. The aim is to make Jesus evident to all on earth – not show how great we are.
            God is Spirit. Jesus makes God known through human flesh. Jesus tore the curtain and allowed the opportunity for the Spirit of God to live inside us making God evident to others through our flesh. While, we are not God, we do bring Him glory by His Spirit living through us. Without Jesus, we would not be able to bring God glory. Jesus is God – He is the exact representation of His Father in Heaven (Hebrews 1:3). He is God with us (Matthew 1:23). He is Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6). He is God and Savior (2 Peter 1:1). He is the Word who was God in the beginning (John 1:1).
             The difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of mysticism is who is gaining glory. The Spirit seeks to glorify God and edify others; mysticism seeks to glorify and edify self. Mystics seek an atmosphere and they create channels for spirits that result in shaking and convulsing. Their minds become fuzzy, so they can be easily persuaded. They think their every thought is a word from God; they see no need to test the spirits. They simply fly forward with their internal leanings. They seldom look to the word for they think they have elevated above it and found a new pathway to who God is. This proves that mysticism has a very inward focus –  to the point of being senseless not serviceable.
             On the other hand, the Spirit of God produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). All of this fruit serves others. This fruit magnifies God’s character; each explains Him. Each equips us for ministry to God’s people; by this fruit we are prepared to lead the lost to Christ.
             Mysticism is tempting and intriguing, especially living in world of stress.  It can temporarily serve our need that calms our nerves, but it is dangerous. You may have an encounter that makes you think, “I could not have had this without God!” However, you can have “otherworldly” encounters without God – you can have them with the devil. He seeks to deceive you through being a camouflage of light…but then he whams you with his evil purposes in the end. That purpose is to steal, kill and destroy you and any kind of representation you have of Christ. In essence, when you go the route of mysticism, you become a puppet in the devil’s hand. You are not in control, nor do you have power. You are a dummy in a demon’s playground.
              Jesus says, “Sanctify them in truth. Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Isaiah said, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8). Going beyond God’s teachings, His holy scriptures, His flawless doctrine and steering from the purpose of His church that equips us is to sell our soul to a multitude of sins. Don’t be a dummy in the devil’s playground! Be a useful vessel in God’s Kingdom and produce fruit that lasts!

Watching Over the Affairs of Our Household

A wife and mother watch over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:27-28

Verse twenty-seven through twenty-eight is just a slice of the Proverbs 31 Woman. This slice indicates her devotion and her commitment above all else. She has an agenda: to care for her home, her husband and her children. All else is secondary to this one mission in her life.

Many woman refuse or neglect to read Proverbs 31:10-31 for fear they will find conviction. Conviction is certainly not comfortable, but it is profitable. While we will find conviction, we also find steps to improve and a clear path to follow. Some women feel defeated before they even get to the passage; therefore, they give up before they get started. Some think that the expectations of this passage is simply too high, yet, I would disagree. Nothing is impossible WITH GOD.

Let’s unpack this slice in the Proverb.
First, we discover that a wife and mother will take care of the affairs of her household and not eat the bread of idleness. Does this mean she has a perfect model presentation of her home? No. Does it mean she has a perfectly decorated (in season and out of season) residence? No. The affairs of the home involve so much more than presentation. For we can have a beautiful home and still neglect the affairs of the family. It’s funny, when we look at Proverbs 31:10-31, we do not see anywhere that the woman was praised for a perfectly festive home. We see a spiritually strong woman with a heart filled with love.

When we look at other passages in scripture we find what these important affairs include:

1.  A wife respects, submits, and obeys her husband; likewise the husband loves and submits to her. (Ephesians 5:21-23). This affects the rest of the household.  It begins with the marriage relationship; when this relationship is strong, loving, and filled with understanding, it flows into the training and development of the children. The fruit is a home of PEACE. 

2. mother will teach her children. In Proverbs 6:20 each child is instructed to not forsake his mother’s teaching. That teaching involves giving insight to the word of God, application to their existence, preparing each for their niche in life, and building godly character in each child’s person. From this each unique child  finds his or her way for which God has set out for them; they in turn are effective.  The fruit is a home of PURPOSE

3.  A mother and wife will support a home of order. A home of order is not a perfect model but a clean and manageable place to live. Keeping order sets the tone of calm and security for our family. Food and cleanliness brings sustenance and harmony to each member. We serve a God of order not chaos; the fruit of taking care of the affairs of our home communicates this part of God’s character to our family and those in our influence. (1 Corinthians 14:4; Titus 2:5). The fruit is a home of DIRECTION.

 4. A woman of influence is not idle nor does she feed on senseless ideas and chatter. A wife and mother will carve out the time each day to fill herself with God’s wisdom, His purposes, and His ways. She faces each difficulty with God’s hope not the world’s despair. She is one who reaches out vs. retreats in. She is a blessing outside the home and a profit to her family. She is all this, because she is first on her knees and serves out of humility. The fruit is a home of IMPACT.

Secondly, we find in this passage a beautiful benefit to being this woman: her children praise her and her husband also. When this woman ages, and she watches her children grow up and out, she can look back and see the fruit of her efforts. If she has respected her husband, she also has wonderful years to look forward to as the empty nest faces her.
But take note, when a woman like this does look back she also sees her mistakes and the ways she could have improved. She sees the frailty of her human weaknesses.  She does have some regrets; however, she can say that she brought her failures to the Lord and asked Him to fill in the gap where she was inadequate to the call. She will remember that God conquers and wins when we choose to conquer our spiritual immaturity with prayer and persistence to NEVER GIVE UP.