Monday, March 15, 2010

Our Daily Battle and Having a Heart of God

Ephesians 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Yes, this is what we fight on a day-to-day basis. I used to discount this long ago a religious craziness, but I have seen this with my own eyes. This struggle is real: a struggle between good and evil, lightness vs. darkness-between God and Satan. I recommend Father Corapi's Immortal Combat series as he is someone who has seen greater depths of this in his own life.

Yes, we live in a fallen world. Who controls it?

  • 1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Even Jesus didn't refute Satan's control on earth:

  • Matthew 4:8-11: Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

But we know that Satan is fighting a losing battle, his time is short and that goodness wins out over evil:

  • Revelations 12:12: Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.

Satan - the Master of Lies and Division

Unfortunately, until the end of time, Satan will try to inflict as much damage as he can. He is the Master of Lies and tries to blind you from the truth:

  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4: And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Satan takes great delight in dividing and destroying anything that is good or Holy. He accomplishes this when we don't stay close to Christ, when we are wounded, when we make things of the world (money, alcohol, drugs, material things, etc,) our god and when we lack forgiveness:

  • 2 Corinthians 2:10-11: If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

This is why it is important to stay close to God, through prayer, reading the bible, hearing the word in church and fellowship with other Christians. We all need friends, acquaintance friends and close friends. But we must be careful who we chose to be close friends with.

As Christians, we need to be out in the world but not "of the world." Christ ate with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus said in Mark 2:17: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

But unlike us, Christ was free from falling to temptation from Satan. He could not be influenced to do wrong, he influenced to do what is right. Jesus helped raise the spiritually dead through example and teaching.

Therefore, we need good Christian friends around us that can lift us up and be positives influences in our life and in our spiritual journey. We need to be a light in the world and be surrounded by the light can make our light burn brighter.

"Friends are the mirror reflecting the truth of who we are." ~ Unknown

This is why we need really good Christian friends if we truly are Christian. Steel sharpens steel. If we are called to be the light of the world, then think of ourselves as candles in a world filled with darkness. A candle that burns and gives off light needs oxygen. The Holy Spirit is our oxygen. The Holy Spirit is replenished by reading scripture, hearing the word in Church, praying, Holy Communion, listening to spiritual music and fellowship with other Christians.

If we don't do these things, then we chance having our light get blown out or dimmed.

How can we can tell a Christian? By the fruits of their spirit:

Galatians 5:22-24: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Having a Heart of God

One of the fruits of the spirit not identified above is forgiveness. Why? Because forgiveness is love. God is love. So forgiveness is key to having a heart of God:

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” -- Bryant H. McGill

Jesus taught the importance of staying free from things that cause sin and the importance of forgiveness:

Luke 17:1-4: Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

When you do things that don't glorify God, watch out! God is a loving god and he will do whatever it takes to bring you closer to Him.

Here are some great quotes on forgiveness:

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.

~ Robert Quillen.

He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love.

~ Martlin Luther King Jr.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.

~ George MacDonald

Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again. ~ Saint Augustine

Having a Heart of God is greater than having a Heart of Gold. Because God is love and love is worth all the gold on earth.

I love you all,

That means I will always be ready and willing to forgive you,

© Michael J. Cox

A new video I recommend: Click HERE

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Anger and Blame

We all get angry from time to time. Whether it is when someone cuts us off on the highway, from co-workers on a stressful day on the job or to our loves ones at home. But is it OK for a Christian to get angry? Well, anger is a real human emotion.

Many people believe it isn’t Christian to get angry but God got angry at times:

  • Jeremiah 21:5: “I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in anger and fury and great wrath.”

  • Deuteronomy 29:28: In furious anger and in great wrath the LORD uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.

Slow to Anger

The key here is, God was slow to anger. "Slow to anger" is mentioned 9 times in the NIV version of the bible. Click HERE

But God sent us his son Jesus Christ to serve and set an example for us on this earth. And yes, even Christ got angry at times too. Here are a few examples:

In Matthew 23, Jesus was angry at the Scribes and Pharisees and he didn't sugarcoat what he thought. Read this chapter and see how many times that Jesus calls them hypocrites, fools, and blind guides. And in Matthew 23:33, he even referred to the Scribes and Pharisees as snakes.

In Matthew 21, Jesus became angry for all the buying and selling that was going on in the temple.

  • Matthew 21:12-13: Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves."It is written," he said to them, 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'"

In Mark Chapter 3 Jesus shows visible anger with the Pharisees who doubted him:

  • Mark 3:5: “And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

But Christ’s anger wasn’t over petty things or for selfish reasons. Christ had righteous anger that centered around moral issues (making a mockery of God’s house), leading people to do wrong, refusing to listen to God, for lack of faith, injustice, taking advantage of the poor or due to hardness of hearts.

And most importantly, knowing that we will get angry at times, we are instructed to not sin in our anger and resolve it quickly:

  • Ephesians 4:26: "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

Jesus tells us the importance of forgiving:

  • Matthew 6:14-15: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. "

So in our busy, hectic lives, we Christians always need to be remember the parameters of anger and how to appropriately deal with it. And also to employ the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The above spirits identify us as Christians.


The key fruit of the spirit in dealing with anger is self-control. Nobody really makes us get angry. We can feel anger but we don't have to show anger. There is an equation for this: Event + Response = Outcome. We may not have much control over the Event but we do have complete control over the Response part of the equation and how we react to an event.

  • Proverbs 25:28: Whoever has no rule over his own spirit--Is like a city broken down, without walls.

Whenever we lose self-control and get out of touch with our Holy Spirit, we are inviting Satan into our soul and expect many bad or hurtful outcomes.


The first human sin recorded in the bible is found in Genesis Chapter 3 when Eve disobeyed God and ate fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. This sin was pride as Eve disobeyed God and thought she could be like Him and gain His knowledge by eating the fruit.

The second sin was blame as Adam took the fruit from Eve and ate it and then tried to blame God--"it was the woman you gave me!"

  • Genesis 3:12: The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

Likewise, Eve blamed the Serpent (Satan):

  • Genesis 3:13: Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Here is a great quote on blame:

"All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.” -- William Dyer

When we constantly blame others, we give up our power to grow spiritually. We cannot blame other people, other things or Satan for when we stumble and sin. The devil doesn't make you do it, we have to take personal responsibility for our actions because we all will be held accountable to God someday.

  • Romans 14:11-12: It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

A good concluding scripture:

  • Ephesians 4:31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

A video I recommend that I think can help when you get angry and calm your spirit: Click HERE

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox