Your days are numbered!

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16 ESV

”Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.” Job 14:5 NASB

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27 NASB

A glimpse into the knowledge of Creator God, He has ordained our days. His knowledge supersedes our own in every way imaginable, and this includes knowing the exact amount of days we will walk this earth. Worry will not add any time; knowledge will not add any time; in fact, nothing we can do will add a day to our lives. You might say a good diet, exercise, or just healthy habits, in general, will add to our lives. But not in the book, not in God’s knowledge.

i am not discouraging good eating or healthy habits, i am simply pointing out that God already knows, has already counted, has already ordained our days. It is, however, within God’s power to add if He so desires, to our days, as we read: “Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.’” Isaiah 38:1-5 NASB

So why am i writing this? What is my reasoning? We have a tendency to assume or believe that we are in control of our days and that we always have tomorrow. But we are not guaranteed tomorrow. As we read in Luke, “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’”

The most important thing you can do isn’t a good diet or exercise. It isn’t financial security or healthy habits. The most important thing you can do is prepare your heart, soul, and mind. Life has always been spiritual, we are spiritual beings, and the battle we fight is spiritual; worship is spiritual, yet Satan is actively attempting to distract us with physical things and making it seem as if physical things or physical appearance will be what makes us happy. i assure you, we find our happiness, not in the physical realm but the spiritual.

You will never be satisfied with the things of this world. The word is clear, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34 ESV

So, if you were to die, if God were to require your soul tonight, do you know where your soul will go? You can have the assurance of tomorrow in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Word says, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:13 ESV) There is no secret initiation, just simply: “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart, you believe and are justified, and with your mouth, you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10 Berean Study Bible

You see, God so loved the world that He made a way for us; we only need to respond in faith, repent of our sins, and seek first His Kingdom. If you want more information or have a question, please don’t hesitate to comment below or reach out via messenger on our Facebook page, Coffee with Jesus.

You are loved,

cj

spiritual forces of evil

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

i think we need a reminder of something. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) This is as true today as it was when Peter wrote it, and as true as: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say,’” (Genesis 3:1) Not only is he crafty, he is the father of lies. If you are a true born-again believer, he knows who you are, and he hates you.

There is a fascinating book within scripture that has many difficult sub-stories within the main story, and that is Job. There is much we could talk about, but i would point you to the beginning and the interaction between God and Satan, Job 1:6-12. Consider the entire context but for emphasis, let me share what Satan already knew of Job. Verse 9 “Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.’” Truly Satan did know all there was to know about Job. Consider also this passage from Acts 19:15 “But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” The spirit was talking to itinerant Jewish exorcists; they were not followers of Jesus.

Although Satan will use the non-believer for his purposes, he doesn’t, nor do his minions know them. They don’t care to know them. However, if you are a child of God, you have a target on your back, and i can assure you, Satan and the fallen ones know exactly who you are and want nothing more than to see you fail. They will stop at nothing to accomplish their mission. They have crept into the Church, they have crept into the family, they have crept into governments, and their mission is to devour the children of God. To usurp the authority of God, and we can read in Revelation, they will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal.

Indeed, we must be vigilant, sober-minded, watchful! “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. . . . praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me . . .” (Ephesians 6:13,18,19a)

You are loved,

cj

“Just the facts, ma’am.” -Sgt. Joe Friday

It has been somewhat challenging not to read Christain books. i usually alternate between a good, who done it, mystery novel, or just a novel based on somewhat real life, and a book on spiritual formation from a Christian perspective. However, since the beginning of this year, i have cut out all of the latter and have been focused on a biblical foundation to my understandings rather than the interpretations of someone else. i will look for insight as needed or perspective from others, but i have cut out reading extensively on one subject. That isn’t to say i won’t ever again, just not in this season.

i want to focus on Scripture and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. i know a novel concept. Yet, so few dive into this idea of coming to Biblical truth by simply reading the Bible and seeking wisdom and understanding or interpretation from the pages of God’s Word. After all, Paul writes to Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Therefore, i have deemed 2021 my year to set aside all my favorite Christian authors and seek wisdom from the purest source, the Bible. With some helpful commentaries or specific short writings but from several perspectives and interpretations to gain perspectives i may not have seen before with the understanding the Biblical text will determine the outcome of what it says . . . if i cannot make sense of a passage in the pages of Scripture, i will sit in it, pray through it until it is made clear. Knowing, however, that there are mysteries and that at present, i am looking through a mirror dimly.

Meanwhile, i am also enjoying my reading of secular novels. As i turn the pages and enter into the life of the characters, i ask myself, “how would i respond, or what would i do given the circumstances presented?” Or “how would i reach this person with the Gospel?” i am not a fast reader, so the fact that i am on my fourth novel this year is awe-inspiring for me. my current book is going to be very interesting for sure and will be a great source of inspiration as i turn the pages of Scripture in order to seek ways to present the Gospel to Edward, the main character. Who often says, like SGT. Joe Friday, from the old TV series Dragnet, would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

One of the verses that have spurred this idea or venture on is found in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” i think we are living in similar days now. Now because i have a desire to understand Scripture and to know God, just not know of Him, i am searching Scripture as a miner seeks after gold, and silver, or as Indiana Jones, hunts down treasures.

i hope that my journey inspires you. That you are encouraged to seek the Truth of God through the pages of His Holy Word, with the filter of the Holy Spirit. John records Jesus saying, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) Why do i find it essential to have a personal understanding, one based on Scripture first, confirmed by the Holy Spirit . . . because difficult times are upon us, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Finally, let me remind us of Jesus’ words during the sermon on the mount, Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

You are loved,

cj

We made it!

my writing has grown more sporadic. i have been finding it difficult to think of what to write, and then when i do have a topic, it doesn’t flow as easily to the keys. i start and then delete and then stop. i am determined this time to sit here until i have written something, anything, and then post it. Why? i don’t know other than i feel compelled to write and beat the distraction and the lack of self-confidence that are my biggest detractors or deterrents.

i was inspired yesterday through a very sad encounter. She was an elderly woman, in her seventies, i would guess but with early onset of dementia or Alzheimers. She was frail, slow, with thinning hair. i picked her up from the cancer clinic, so i can only assume she was or is or had been dealing with that as well. She was, at this moment, very alone. i wondered as i realized more and more of her condition; where was her family, her friends, anyone?

But there i was and although the situation was frustrating, it was so, not because of her, but because i desired to help. Yet, i was limited and didn’t precisely understand fully what she was dealing with, which made helping a shot in the dark. i had some help that i sought from a couple of receptionists from the clinic. Who in the midst of it were as heartbroken and frustraited as i was.

i tried to imagine from her perspective, you know, walk in her shoes, what would i be thinking, and having never experienced such a thing it made it nearly impossible, however, as all turned out to be good in the end. i was able to help her, and now reflecting on it, i can see some spiritual application.

The spiritual relm is a mystery to us, in fact, God in large part is a mystery to us. We have some understanding through the fully man and also fully God, Jesus, even still we don’t fully understand. Paul writes it this way; “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I now in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Earlier Paul wrote:

Yet among the mature, we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-8

As i helped this woman get home, you could see her mind coming back; she began to recognize her surroundings and her confidence returning. Bit by bit and mile by mile, she knew more, recognized more until we pulled into her building. She exclaimed, “We made it!” i feel this way as i walk with Jesus, bit by bit and mile by mile, i know more and understand more, and i look forward to one day pulling into heaven and exclaiming, “i made it! by the grace of God, i made it!”

You are loved,

cj

Doomsday with cj

First, let me set the record straight, “But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24:36. i am in no way setting a date, predicting a time, pointing to an individual as the anti-christ, or calling anything out as the ‘mark of the beast.’ Okay, with that said, i do want to talk about some exciting things, and at no point in history (although many throughout history have believed they were the generation) have all these things come to pass together. What are all these things, you ask?

Well, first off, up until 1948, Israel wasn’t in their homeland, and much of the prophecy concerning the return of Christ is centered on Israel. So before 1948, the likelihood of Christ’s return would have been, prophetically speaking, zero. Many will argue that Israel was regathered 500 years before the time of Christ’s earthly ministry. However, that gathering was from Babylon, one place, here is mentioned a second gathering, and that from the ends of the earth.

In that day, the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. In that day, the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:10-12

Now let me point our attention to the headlines of today.
1. China, Russia, and Iran, all aggressively making moves with an emboldened war footing.
2. Global technology burst with the ability to RFID chip, continual Surveillance, and transhumanism.
3. Pandemic, plagues, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
4. Unveiling of confirmed UFO sightings.
Never in the history of the world have we seen a convergence of all these things at once. And don’t forget that from the moment Jesus ascended to heaven, the Apostles pointed to His return. Yet, as Jesus taught, “these things are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Ask any woman who has given birth; the closer she is to giving birth, the more frequent and the more severe the pain becomes. Without a doubt, all of these things are on the uptick, and again i will point to the convergence of all of them simultaneously.

Jesus said, “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:32-35

Now concerning the time before Jesus returns, He also laid out this warning, which is one reason, among several, that i am not a proponent of the rapture. Don’t get me wrong, if there ever was an area of prophecy that i would love to get wrong its this one! my fear, however, in teaching with 100% certainty, that the pre-tribulation rapture is a correct interpretation, is that many will not be ready to endure what Jesus Himself warns us about.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14

Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

i do not write to stir fear or anxiety, but i write that we might be sober-minded, looking up, and ready “. . . but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the DAY drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25b)

You are loved,

cj

A Kingdom Divided

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mark 3:24-25

The puppetmasters are working overtime to divide us. They are opperating from a postion of false unity that is actually tearing us apart. It is right out of a playbook, divide, and conquer. The more subclasses they can create the more confusion is created. Race, political, economic, gender, sexual orintation, maskers & vaxxers, and of course religious . . . to name a few prominent ones.

One of the playbooks being used is the “Communist Manifesto” and it states,

Do Communists reject existing religions?
Answer: All religions which have existed hitherto were expressions of historical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But communism is that stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and supersedes them
.”

This question is the one that gets me the most especially knowing something about how end-time prophecies play out. It should be especially alarming to you too! There are others that are also frightening, but as a Follower of The Way, this is the most egregious. How does it relate to the passage in Mark? Simply put, as a country so divided we are ripe for a fall and the one who is both doing the pushing and the catching is planning a system very similar to communism. It isn’t communism in its entirety as there will be a religion. A one world religion that worships the beast.

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.” Revelation 13:11-12

This is the beast that was given the allowance to wage war on the saints. “Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. If anyone has an ear . . .” Revelation 13:7-9

Friends, we are living in a time that requires that we seek Truth. We need to take off our worldly lenses and begin to look at everything through the scope of Scripture and that of the Whole Testimony. We must be like the Bereans: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11

Stay vigilant, and keep your eyes on Jesus.

You are loved,

cj

Easter is a week late; so were 5 out of 10 virgins…

Why do we study the Word of God at all if we are so flippant with the actual dates of events and so willing to intermix pagan holidays and traditions into the remembrance of the most pivotal day thus far in History? Do you think Satan takes delight in the followers of The Way celebrating a holiday that actually takes its name from Ishtar? Although many will say it is pure speculation, the dates line up perfectly every year with a pagan celebration. And the story of Nimrod and Semiramus, a goddess who had a child, killed by a boar, who was raised from the dead? Sound slightly familiar? Oh, and the goddess claims to have immaculately conceived the reincarnation of Nimrod. Hmmm, sounds remotely familiar.

But don’t worry, it can be redeemed after all God likes when we Worship Him as pagans worship. Deuteronomy 12:31-32 says: “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” So we are good. Don’t worry. Also, God changes His mind often, just like the writer of Hebrews tells us: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (13:8) and Numbers 23:19 says: “God is not man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?” Or as Isaiah states: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.”

Besides, most modern pastors are completely fine with it; therefore, it has to be okay. After all, it is recorded in Deuteronomy that we are to follow after prophets who say it is ok to worship other gods. Deuteronomy 13 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.”

And if your pastor teaches otherwise, it is okay to leave and find one that teaches things that are easy to accept. As Paul writes to Timothy: “3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a]teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:3-5) When you find a pastor you like, you should take everything he teaches as absolute truth and never study for yourself. An excellent example of that would be the Bereans: “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now, these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:10-11)

For it should be easy to follow Jesus, full of constant blessing and praise from others as we blend the traditions of humanity to coexist. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) Even Jesus said it would be easy: “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)

So, the fact that the celebration of Easter is a week after Passover or actually at the end of the complete feast itself, which ends for traditional Jews on April 3 and for some April 4th.; And either way, the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection aligns with Passover, the week before conventional Easter, this year, shouldn’t bother you. Better late than never, right?

Do you want to know who else was late? Five of the ten virgins.

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps[a] and went to meet the bridegroom.[b]2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25:1-13

You are loved,

cj

The Cry of a Watchman

The world is changing at a rapid pace. Unlike anytime in history really. Yes, life and civilization have been changing since the beginning. However, with technological advances never seen before, life tomorrow could be vastly different from life today. One could even point to this new vaccine as a sign of the increase in knowledge as it introduces new medical technology known as mRNA. Regardless of your opinion on these discoveries and medical practices, you have to admit that technology is advancing at breakneck speed.

These advances make one Bible prophecy that once seemed more like a conspiracy theory more probable with every passing minute.

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” Revelation 13:16-18

As we seem to edge our way to a system that eerily resembles this passage, we can not afford to blow this prophecy off any longer, but we must be alert and aware.

With the introduction of vaccine passports, cryptocurrency, RFID Chips , and yes, even brain chips, as an AI company known as Neuralink has been developing the technology, we must stay vigilant. We can no longer afford to remain ignorant of these things and how they relate to Bible prophecy.

Couple this with the push for oneness in world religion and the watering down of even mainline Christianity, we are pressed all the more to remain faithful to the Gospel, especially in light of 2 Timothy 4:3-4;

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Like a watchman, i feel called to sound the alarm, blow the trumpet if you will, so that all who hear it may respond accordingly. Be alert, remain faithful, seek Truth, do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly; our Lord is coming soon!

You are loved,

cj

Prayer and Fasting

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hyporcrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you; they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18

There is a lot of information on Fasting and dieting available with a simple internet search. Endless information, really. Most of it will be related to dieting with intermittent fasting and mostly positive regarding its health benefits. You will also find information on Biblical fasting and its health benefits. So i will not bore us with more information regarding this topic along these lines. However, i will focus on what one should expect while fasting.

If the purpose of fasting is to draw near to God, and that indeed is your focus. Whether to get direction or refocus your life and attention on God, you can, without doubt, expect a spiritual attack. As fasting is a fantastic tool to approach God in the way of humility, it also awakens the demons around you, and they will do all they can to distract, disrupt, mislead, and discourage you.

As Jesus is our perfect example, when He was in the wilderness before the start of His ministry, He was fasting and praying and tempted. We need to expect the same. We need to be aware of our weaknesses and prepare ourselves with Scripture to do spiritual warfare.

A real biblical fast should have at least one of three goals, focused worship, gaining wisdom, or as part of a repentant heart. If your reasons for fasting are not based on at least one of these three, there will be no spiritual benefits. If one or more of these is your focus, you should, without doubt, expect temptation and demonic distraction. This spiritual warfare can only be waged in the Spirit with The Word and with prayer.

If i can be transparent here, i always hesitate to go into a season of fasting because not only do i come under spiritual attack but so do those around me. i take the passage above to heart and try to keep my fasting between God and myself. However, this can be a problem if those around you don’t understand why there is an increase in spiritual warfare that if they are sensitive to the spirit, they will sense but without having an understanding as to the “why.” i say this not to discourage you but to encourage you to communicate with those close to you in regards to fasting because those in your home or if in ministry, those with whom you closely associate need to also prepare for increased spiritual influences.

Satan can absolutely use those around you, even Christians, to be a distraction to you. Look at how Peter was used to distract Jesus, “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

Let me wrap this up with this if your motive is on the “things of man,” your fast will most likely go off without a hitch. You might even feel spiritually empty but physically healthier because there are health benefits to fasting. However, the spiritual emptiness will be the result of your focus. If your focus is on the things of God, your fast might leave you feeling hungry but spiritually strong. “And after fasting . . . He was hungry.” “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’ Then the devil left Him, angels came and were ministering to Him.” Matthew 3:2, 10, 11

You are loved,

cj

You might be the answer . . .

i was in my mid 20’s and married to the mother of my boys. We had hit a rough financial spot, and i had spent the week in prayer. i would go down to the harbor in Dana Point. There was a place where the storm wall met the beach that created fantastic tide pools. The waves would crash upon the rocks at low tide with great force making for a spectacular water show. This was my prayer closet every morning, and i loved it. It was here that i brought all my worries and concerns and financial needs to the Lord and tried my hardest to leave them there in faith.

A week had gone by, and we were growing increasingly desperate for relief when came a knock on the door. It was our neighbor Carlos; he said, “Good morning, i have been restless all week. My wife and I came into some extra money unexpectedly after having a dream to give you money. I ignored the dream and bought a new TV. We got the TV home and plugged it in, but the screen blew, and it didn’t work. That night I had another dream about giving you the money. Again I ignored the dream and that morning went down and exchanged the TV. The same thing happened, and it happened again yesterday. Three times total. Last night I had the dream again, and I can’t ignore the dream anymore. So here is a check, please accept it; I don’t understand why but if I am not obedient, I am afraid I will never sleep without that dream.”

We did accept it, and after he left and I had gone inside, i opened the check, and it was for the exact dollar amount we needed for our financial shortfall. The EXACT amount! To this day, i have a dollar in the Bible i used down at the harbor as a memorial to God’s faithfulness. i had prayed for a week; God set out to answer that prayer as soon as i started to pray. Finally, through the obedience of our neighbor and friend, the answer arrived. i think about when Daniel fasted and prayed, and 21 days had gone by before getting an answer to a pressing vision he had. You can read the account in Daniel 10.

Now i am no Daniel, but i find it intriguing to think that as we pray that within the heavens, battles are being fought. Also, that the ruler of this world and his many minions are fervently fighting to delay answers to prayers. Have you felt led through a dream or vision a pinch of the heart to help someone and failed to do so? Could it be that the devil would have you distracted from being the very answer to someones prayer? If the devil can get you to focus on yourself, you will miss the need of your neighbor.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about giving to the needy in this way. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you; they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4

Earlier, He said this: “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42) Now i didn’t make known our need, and my only begging if one would call it that was making my petition to the Lord. God moved Carlos to be the answer to that prayer. His willingness to be obedient in giving was a blessing to us and actually to him! i want to be careful here because i don’t want to give folks the wrong impression of being obedient. Our reward is often in heaven, however for Carlos and his wife, that weekend at a company picnic, they won a drawing for a TV! Coincedence? Maybe, maybe not.

Here is my question for us, what dream or vision is God giving you? Who is he leading you to reach out to, to lend a hand to, or perhaps even help through money or groceries? You might just be the answer to someone’s prayer, don’t delay the response any longer, giving temporary victory to the evil one.

You are loved,

cj