If you are new to my writings, you might ask, “Where is he coming from?” You might even ask the same question if you have followed all my writings. Either way, as I write this, I am not experiencing the preverbal writer’s block I have osculated with over the past thirty days. Call me old fashioned, but we have all heard the statement, “If you don’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.” At the end of the day, we are all human, we are all subject to sin and we all fall short of the Glory of God. It doesn’t matter who says different, that is the Truth. No one holds all the cards, except the Father.
We all have hopes and dreams; we all want to live in peace. Even in politics, everyone is trying to attain something they believe will make it a better place for all, even if it means getting rid of the competition. They either write laws in an attempt to get out of your life or write laws that continue to squeeze life out of you. Everyone fights for something – land, control, power, their way, to be right, for liberty, for a God-centered world, to be with the Father or to taste heaven on earth and some fight for a Godless world. Even in our spirits there seems to be a fight ensuing to get more out of life with peace being the means to an end. However, the place of some of our biggest battles are fought between our ears. Am I right or almost right?
The past thirty days have been very interesting for me. I attended a three day conference with the general topic being honor and following God wherever He may lead. I listened to some of the most inspirationally charged music from a renowned musician accompanied by a pick up band. They changed the atmosphere in a way that made my spirit lift. During the week of the conference, I was able to spend some quality time listening to teachings from one of the conference speakers, which prompted me to direct a specific question to another conference speaker, who I admit, I had second thoughts about. However, after speaking with him, I received a different view gaining understanding. I learned that while his teaching could be interpreted as “crazy talk”, resembling some of the older prophets in the Bible, in our conversation he was direct in answering my question straight on. He settled a doubt I had about his core belief and, at the same time, showed me something I was blind to. I was then able to speak to another man, attending the conference “by chance”, who had authored a teaching I had listened to on heavenly crowns. It was his teaching that prompted my God inspired journey through the Bible concentrating on the thirteenth chapter of each book. I believe I mentioned this eye-opening journey in a previous article.
One thing I did not mention previously was that prior to this conference, I was travelling and ended up having dinner with a new associate. As things progressed, and because I’m not afraid to share my faith wherever I am, I discovered my new customer was the son of a prominent pastor in a church I had personally questioned regarding their core doctrine. Realizing I had not performed a “deep dive” into researching the matter as of yet, my desire for truth prompted me to ask my one pressing question about the church he attended. From there we had one of the most engaging conversations about God and everything I had written about the previous week. After dinner, we parted ways with my new associate who was now on a mission to ask his father the question I had poised in our dinner conversation. Only God can orchestrate something like this!
Through these “chance” encounters, I had the opportunity to walk out my last writing without regret. Although I had doubts in my heart as to post the article or not, God answered my question again with a resounding, “Yes!” God was revealing His desire to be intimately involved in my life, which was making Him more and more real with each experience. Would you believe that on that same trip, I asked God if I could visit a specific place and heard His answer clearly, “NO.” Would you also believe that after all I had experienced to this point I attempted to move forward in travelling to the very place God said not to go! Every attempt in trying to obtain cyber directions to the place hit a dead end with all paths leading to nowhere in a dramatic fashion. My phone would not respond to my attempts to locate the desired venue but would only respond to my request for directions back to my hotel. You can’t make this up.
So, why am I writing about what I can’t seem to write about? Here’s the explanation: The entire time I was composing, “Love is a Battlefield: Part 3 Holisp”, I was ready to introduce the latest objectors to God’s plan: Gnostasia, Relignia and Pyrite. My goal was to demonstrate, through the story line, how a once famed pastor can be negatively influenced corrupting an entire church without realizing it. I carefully developed strategically placed “straw man” arguments to prove my point. Oh, how glorious it would be if I could warn the “unawares” of the path they were drawn to by a parallel comparisons to certain ministries. Sure I would ruffle a couple of feathers, but who doesn’t.
I wanted Part 3 to be a reflection of a real life situation I observed and understood to be true. Wanting it to be fantastic while reaching the goal of the story, I had to fill in some of the gaps by taking “artistic liberty” in order to prove my point. All this in the name of Jesus; what could be more glorious than that! Then I remembered my own words from my last post, “Do you want it to be true?” Ok, my thoughts were racing and I had to admit that it might be true, but I honestly did not have the experience or facts to know for sure. I only had half the picture.
I started reading the book entitled, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” by Thomas Brooks. In this book, it is interesting to note that the author identifies and provides remedies against a myriad of ploys or devises used by the powers and principalities of this world to work against Believer’s. We would like to believe we are not effected by these ploys or devises but the truth is their greatest success is in using “you” against “you”. We are our own worst enemy. Yes, the author Thomas Brooks may have been a Puritan and may have had no idea what the world we live in today would look like, but he did an excellent job presenting truth establishing that just as God never changes, Satan’s attempt to thwart us doesn’t either. I thought it would be interesting to share a few of these revealed ploys or devises of the enemy with you since they play a part in my post.
Section 1- How Satan Draws The Soul To Sin (Emphasis mine)
- Device # 1 Present the Bait and Hide the Hook.
- Nibble nibble, take the bait and swallow the hook
- Device # 2 Painting Sin With Virtues Colors
- Covetousness to be of good business
- Wantonness a trick of youth
- Drunkenness a call to fellowship
- Device #3 By Extenuating And Lessening Sin
- Oh that was just a little white lie. That sin is worse. Compared to him, I am an angel.
- Device # 4 Present The Best Man’s Sin And Hide His Virtues
- Oh if he did it I am surely OK, look at all he accomplished for God even after all he did to offend God.
- Device # 5 Present God To The Soul As One Made Up Of Mercy
- God will pardon more than punish His people. Let’s invest that thought into the stock market and see what sort of return we get.
- Device # 6 Persuade The Soul That Repentance Is Easy Work And The Soul Need Not Make Such A Matter of Sin.
- Just cry Lord have mercy on me and all will be forgiven even though I will surely repeat it because it is just too hard stop. No one understands just how hard it is, only God knows. That’s why He will always take me back.
- Device # 7 Make The Soul Venture Upon The Occasion Of Sin
- You can associate just don’t participate with no penalty. A brothel for instance. Just keeping good company trying to help. If you hang around a barber shop long enough you will get a haircut? Most explosives have a blast radius, how close are you? However as long as your are honest amongst a den of thieves…..
- Device # 8 Present The Souls Outward Mercies That Men Enjoy And Outward Miseries They Are Freed From While They Have Walked In Sin
- What say you, we have no troubles any different that anyone else. We have been saved by our own devices there is no need for God. Both of our actions brought us here. God equals (G)ood (O)rderly (D)irection and that can provide the same result.
- Device # 9 Present The Soul, The Crosses, Losses, Reproaches, Sorrows And Suffering Of Those Who Walk In The Way Of Holiness.
- An easier softer path. A little less holy means a little less pain and a few more compromises..
Additional section heading list with more interesting topics:
- How Satan Keeps Us From Holy Duties
- How Satan Keeps Saints In Sad Conditions
- How Satan Ensnares And Destroys
- Seven Characteristics Of A False Teacher
Followed by: Ten Special Helps and Rules in living with this ever present presence.
As I read the book this thought occurred to me, “This must have been the first self help book apart from Proverbs.” It was interesting to learn that Thomas Brooks lived in the 1600’s and for each of the revealed ploys or devises of the enemy, he provided an exhaustive list of remedies. He leaves nothing to chance and at every point provides multiple paths leading to safety.
Apart from the time it took me to list the above mentioned ploys and devices, it took about an hour to write this portion of the blog at first pass. In comparison, another article I’m working on took an hour just to write a paragraph! To me it was a night and day difference. Satan will use any means necessary to move us away from God’s mandate and closer to his. While it is true we should not engage the devil or waste our time in debate with him, we must not underestimate his prowess recognizing his ability to undermine us. When we take on any fight or want to do something noteworthy from the “I will” stance, we choose to follow in Adam and Eve’s footsteps eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. On the other hand, if we inquire of the LORD and allow Him to lead us forward, we eat from the Tree of Life. So, as I was reading Thomas Brooks’ book, I realized how I could relate to each of the above listed ploys and devises of the enemy reminding me that I too am not so far from Satan’s influence.
In my observations, two effective devises Satan is currently using to make significant inroads in the Christian community are:
- Present a world where Satan doesn’t really exist and is no longer empowered.
- Present a (self) righteous attitude, that states, “As long as “I” do “X” in the Name of Christ I am covered by His grace.”
BEWARE! These are two venomous serpents that are indeed deadly. Why would I say this? Here’s why. As I was writing part three of my allegory I went to my second point above. Everything I had been writing previously for the most part, was flowing from my finger tips, but this time “I” really wanted to make “my” point. Parts one and two spoke for the Father. Part three, as it was turning out, was speaking for me. While it is true I was using 1 Kings 13 and the book of Colossians as the basis for my comparison, I found I was “writing” a story my way but wasn’t “telling” the story for my Father in Heaven. I hope you can see the difference.
This is the fence we can walk daily. On the outside things can look the same but on the inside our motivations can be drastically different. Only you can answer the question, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” In other words, what’s the motivation of my heart? As I forged ahead in trying to write and finish my story it was becoming harder and harder for me to put the words together. I wanted to complete the task at hand and get it posted but nothing fit. I found I was struggling with this voice in the back of my mind that kept telling me, “You can’t say that.”
In an attempt to shed some light on my predicament coupled with the need to have a conversation, I called one of my buddies. As we talked and recapped our past week, he shared another conversation he had which reminded him that even though you have a mandate to do (fill in the blank) for God doesn’t automatically mean you have permission to proceed. Timing is everything! Let’s discuss Joseph’s situation regarding his vision and his mandate to rule, even over his brothers. At the time of his vision, Joseph was a youth and far from having permission to act on his vision. After sharing it with his brothers, Joseph wound up being sold into slavery. Thinking this over, I asked God if I had permission to write part three in the context it was currently built around, I heard, “NO!”
I had permission to walk out my mandate with God in every other area of my life except this one. With all my heart I wanted to finish Part 3 for God. My intentions were honorable but I lacked His permission to actually post it. I wanted to relay a story to everyone where good triumphs evil through the characters of Holisp, Gnostasia, Rappaj and Religina. I wanted to show how Holisp confronts Gnostasia once and for all; where Rappaj confronts and saves the false teacher from himself under Gnostasia’s and Religina’s control. I wanted you to see the beauty of a congregation realizing the error of their ways and return to following God once again. I wanted you to celebrate Holisp not only bringing the false teacher back into High Command’s charge, but also see Rappaj’s revelation that he too had sinned and needed to repent for some of his hardline religiously spirited stances. Even though Rappaj was called to Bethel, he would soon learn that he had allowed his desire to fight for a cause to cloud his vision in his mandate from God.
Think of the many stories in the Bible where men of God took it upon themselves to finish God’s work operating in the belief they had spiritual license to do so. Remember Saul? He did and lost his reign. How about David and the Ark of the Covenant – he wanted to return the Ark to its rightful place but in doing it his way, Uzzah, a good man dies, fear invades David’s heart and the mission is abandoned. David lost battles because of impatience and he even illegitimated his throne etc. The good news is that when David reverently approached God exercising true repentance God forgave, brought victory and even blessed David. Were there losses, yes! Remember Device #4 Present The Best Man’s Sin And Hide His Virtues “Oh if he did it I am surely OK, look at all he accomplished for God even after all he did to offend God.” David did accomplish many glorious things, but don’t forget the price he paid for doing things his way and compare the two. Other men like David chose to taste the poison once, but they did not go back. Some repented and held firm moving forward with God knowing full well what was at stake. Unfortunately, a prevailing attitude of, “I will do better tomorrow” exists in society today. Too many eagerly return to tempt fate by drinking the poison over and over again just to see if they will beat the odds and live.
In my world, it seems I have a nose to spot twists in the truth. “I pride” myself in smelling a rotten egg. Thankfully I’m able to identify many things that are false around me, but “when” to fight vs. “when” not to fight is at the discretion of the Father. I may have a mandate to write in God’s Name, but the topic to be addressed, including story lines, has to be within the boundaries of Father including timing. Once this truth was revealed to and embraced by me, I did ask Him if I could write and share this with you to which He responded, “YES.”
So was it writer’s block, disobedience or lack of permission that prevented the flow of words from heart to page? I would say all three, but in the end it was obedience that opened the door. It only took a month to finally realize what I was actually not supposed to do.
How about you? Have you asked Father for permission to do His bidding today or did you tell Him what you were going to do by going ahead without Him or His input?
I Love you Father.
I just downloaded the Thomas Brooks book…….can’t wait to read it!!!
Raymond R. Begin