Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Wednesday
Jan072015

SHOULD YOU ENLIST FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE?

The definition of “fanatic?” Anyone who is more religious than you are.

It’s a good working definition, and for decades I’ve been suspicious of anyone who talked about the devil, demons, or spiritual warfare. I dismissed them as the lunatic fringe of Christianity. Since then, however, I’ve learned about Dean Sherman and Don Basham. They are both sensible, civilized men who have been through rough experiences—experiences they did not seek.

For example, Don Basham’s book is Deliver Us from Evil, 1972, Minneapolis, MN, Chosen Books. The subtitle is “A Pastors Reluctant Encounters with the Powers of Darkness.”

I have a lot of trust for Don.  In the ‘60s, when I explored the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I read his book, Face Up with a Miracle. At that time, the charismatic movement included a number of whackos. In contrast, I found Don Basham to be sane and wise, along with my other favorite charismatic writer, Dennis Bennett, who authored Nine O’Clock in the Morning. So, when I wanted to find out more about spiritual warfare, I again found Don sane and wise.

Don Basham (1926-1989) was a pastor ordained in the Disciples of Christ. He was also the chief editorial consultant to the magazine, New Wine, favored by my wife and me in the 70’s.

Dean Sherman is dean of the College of Christian Ministries at Youth With a Mission. He spent decades in foreign missions where the devil works more blatantly. The devil has it easy in the U.S. where we dismiss him as a Medieval fantasy. Dean’s book is Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian, 1990, YWAM Publishing, Seattle, WA. On page 23, he lays out the basic reality which each of us faces as a Christian.

Ready or Not…You’re in the Battle

“I find many are simply not interested in hearing about spiritual warfare. They would never come to a seminar, listen to a tape, nor read this or any other book that deals with the enemy. Some feel that spiritual warfare is a special gift or calling only for a small segment of Christians. I remember one lady in Australia saying, ‘Well, I’m just not the fighting type.’

“Spiritual warfare, however, has nothing to do with personality, gifting, calling, or background. When we signed up to be Christians, we automatically entered into warfare. It’s not a matter of preference. Spiritual warfare begins with recognizing that we are already in the midst of it.

“Almost every Christian freely confesses that Jesus defeated the enemy at Calvary. However, the mental knowledge—that Jesus defeated the devil and that we have authority over him—isn’t enough. We continually allow Satan—who was defeated—to push us around and take advantage of us. We often act more like victims, than the victors Christ intended us to be.

“As the children of God, we need never be victims. If we understand the Biblical principles of spiritual warfare and how the enemy operates—and if we stand against him—we will overcome.”

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The two books are complementary. Both have personal testimonies. Both stress Scriptural theology. However, Don’s book is primarily testimony. Dean’s is primarily analytical and theological.

Obviously I’m urging you to read both. The sequence? Your choice.

Dean Sherman begins his book with a powerful six-page testimony. Among his best teachings concerns the church “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) You may be amazed to discover the probable locations of the gates of hell.

Don Basham asked the question, “Are Christians at risk of demonic invasion?” His answer was “Absolutely not!” That’s what he thought when another pastor suggested evil influences might be causing turmoil in his church and failures in his ministry. But after more troubling and perplexing problems, Basham began to discover he was wrong.

So, should you enlist for spiritual warfare? Not likely. We can’t.

GREETINGS: We’ve been drafted. So, shape up. Pack up. Fall in. Move out. Praise and conquer.

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Purpose of this blog is to compile several books for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright  ©  2015 by Jack Towe

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