Sunday, September 30, 2018

spiritual battle, Heavenly Bodies (1 Cor.15)

Here we get a lesson in nature, which is then used to illustrate something spiritual.

Just like a seed has to die in order to grow into something useful, we have to die to sin before we can grow in the Lord.

As well, if we have Holy Spirit in us, when our earthly bodies pass away, we will receive glorified spiritual bodies in heaven...

(1 Corinthians 15:35-49)  But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is oneand the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

And just like the angels, our heavenly bodies will be imperishable...

(1 Corinthians 15:50-58)  Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

From this we see:
- there are earthly bodies and there are heavenly bodies (1 Cor.15:40)
- just like the angels, our heavenly bodies will be imperishable (1 Cor.15:52)
- believers will receive their imperishable bodies at the rapture (1 Cor.15:52)

Personal experience:  I have heard various friends and family members mention that they didn't want to be cremated or scattered about after death because then at the rapture they would not have a body.

Well, here we can clearly see and understand that all believers will be leaving behind their earthly bodies anyway and receiving much, much, MUCH better ones!!!

My earthly body is merely a vehicle for me to get around in right now.  Although because this is a resource that God has given to me to use, I want to be a good steward and try to be as healthy and in shape as I can.  But my priority is my spirit and soul which is the essence of who I am.

Today's takeaway:  it is just like we cannot take our earthly possessions with us, so we should be storing up our treasures in heaven.  We cannot take our earthly bodies with us, so we need to be working on the "inside" - to be more Christ-like...

(1 Peter 3:3-4)  Your adornment must not be merely external... but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 

(Epheisians 5:1-5)  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

spiritual battle, Sacrificing to Demons (1 Cor.8-10)

There are many (false) gods and idols in this world that are worshiped.

A god or an idol is anything that comes first in our lives, ahead of God.

As believers, God should be first in our lives...

(1 Corinthians 8:4b-6)  ...we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

Even though idols and false gods are made by men, they fall into Satan's kingdom.  So if anyone makes a sacrifice to an idol, they are actually sacrificing to demons.

I would go so far as to say that if (for example) sports is your top priority in life, and a lot of your time and money is being spent on sports, that is your sacrifice to the god of your choice...

(1 Corinthians 10:20-21)  ...but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 

From this we see:
- there are many gods and idols on earth that are worshiped (1 Cor.8:5)
- false gods and idols are man-made and ineffective, there is only one true God who is able to save us (1 Cor.8:4)
- any false god or idol that you sacrifice to and serve is the same as sacrificing to and serving demons (1 Cor.10:20)
- we can only serve God or Satan, not both at the same time, so we have to make a choice (1 Cor.10:21)

Personal experience:  I had an uncle who was a missionary in Ethiopia.  There the people worshiped and served their gods and idols.  But it was very obvious that Satan was behind it all.  Especially when my uncle saw crazy things like people levitating, and leaping into the air with supernatural powers behind it.

There are many things in life that offer false promises which can tempt us, lead us and keep us away from God.  These can very easily become our gods - these worldly ideals of having fun, beauty, popularity, power... which all leads to impurity and corruption and discontentment.

Yet God offers us His acceptance, forgiveness, and power, and His beauty, contentment and joy... which leads us to holiness and unity and fulfillment.

Today's takeaway:  God will not allow us to be faced with more temptation that what we can handle.  Not only that, but God will provide the way of escape. 

It is not a sin to be tempted.  It is a sin to fall into that temptation.  And God is there to help us!  We just have to be putting God first in our lives - otherwise we are not really putting our trust in Him...

(1 Corinthians 10:6-14)  Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

spiritual battle, Sex and Satan's Temptation (1 Cor.7)

Here we have a very simple layout of God's plan regarding sex and marriage, which when followed will help avoid falling into Satan's temptations.  And when followed, we not only avoid the consequences, but we are blessed with amazing marital experiences!

No sex outside of marriage!  Not before, and not during!

And there should be only one man and one woman!  (No where in the Bible does God support having multiple spouses!  Some of God's children did that anyway - but there were only issues and consequences as a result!)...

(1 Corinthians 7:1-2)  Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

Somehow society figured that sex was dirty and wrong!  But then still "fun to do" because it was naughty.  This is Satan's lie - if it feels good it must be good.  Get your quick fix of personal gratification, no matter when or how, and no matter what the consequences.

Within marriage - sex is beautiful!  And should be respected!  We are to respect our spouse and their needs.  Sex should not be withheld from a spouse as a form of manipulation or punishment!...

(1 Corinthians 7:3-4)  The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Even when there is a good reason to abstain from sex (in marriage), be in agreement, and be reasonable.  Otherwise, we do make ourselves far more vulnerable to Satan's temptations...

(1 Corinthians 7:5)  Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 

From this we see:
- when we deny our spouse of sex, we make them and ourselves more vulnerable to Satan's temptations (1 Corinthians 7:5)

Personal experience:  when my husband's career took him on more and more business trips, some of them began to extend beyond an acceptable time period, especially when he had to go to countries on the other side of the world.  It was understandably so, but we knew that we needed to figure out something which would be best for our marriage.

We have a strong marriage, but as all marriages go - we need to keep working on it.  So, why put unnecessary strain on that?  After discussing this with each other and the company, it was agreed that I would travel with him when the trip went beyond a certain time period.

Today's takeaway:  often we are faced with difficult decisions which make us access our priorities in life.

For my husband and I, even while we were traveling together on these extended business trips, we made sure that we attended church.  If there wasn't a doctrinally-sound church accessible to us, then we resorted to the internet.  Our home church live-streams their services as well as posts the sermons, allowing us to continue to feel part of the family.

As well, we had to figure out how we could serve our church while our schedules were so busy and could change at a moment's notice.  But we found ways!

Trust in the Lord, and wait on Him, and according to His will, He will guide you...

Psalm 37:1-40)  Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at him, for He sees his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow to cast down the afflicted and the needy, tslay those who are upright in conduct.
15 Their sword will enter their own heart, and their bows will be broken.
16 Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord sustains the righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever.
19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil, and in the days of famine they will have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish; and the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures, they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives.
22 For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, but those cursed by Him will be cut off.
23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way.
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.
25 I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken ohis descendants begging bread.
26 All day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing.
27 Depart from evil and do good, so you will abide forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice and does not forsake His godly ones; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.
29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked spies upon the righteous and seeks to kill him.
33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand olet him be condemned when he is judged.
34 Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked, violent man spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.
36 Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; for the man of peace will have a posterity.
38 But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked will be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LordHe is their strength in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.