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Monday, August 13, 2018

Listen: Keeping Score Only Works In Competitive Sports; However It’s Disastrous In Friendships And Relationships. But Until You Make The Decision To Forgive, The Process Can’t Even Begin.

Colossians 3:12-14, “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” (MSG)

Jimmy’s temper got out of control at a party and he ended up becoming loud and embarrassing to his wife Lisa. The next morning he felt bad and asked her to forgive him. She said she would, yet she kept bringing it up. One day in discouragement he said, “I thought you were going to forgive and forget.” She said, “I have, I just don’t want you to forget that I have forgiven and forgotten.

Now, before you judge her too harshly and hastily, ask yourself an honest question requiring an honest answer: Do I “forgive and forget” just like that? A forgiveness that’s merely lip service because your heart doesn’t genuinely and sincerely mean it? Well, I’m here to tell you that this is NOT biblical forgiveness for believers. And for samples of what biblical forgiveness looks like, all we need to do is look at God: “And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And they divided His garments and distributed them by casting lots for them” (Luke 23:34 AMP); “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]” (1 John 1:9 AMP); “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 AMP); “Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities; Who heals [each one of] all your diseases” (Psalm 103:3 AMP).

I find it amazing that God can forgive us like that, and yet, we that call ourselves “Christians” and “Christ-Like” act nothing like His Character. 

Knowing in advance, before time, all of the sins and mess we would commit and get ourselves into, and yet He still forgave and continuously forgives all of us, moment, by repentant moment! And what does He ask that we do in return? Simple. Follow His Example! Why? Because there is a biblical danger found in unforgiveness: “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:15 AMP); “Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.” (Luke 6:37 AMP).

In case you’re not getting it, you are not forgiven, UNTIL you first forgive! And let’s be honest here, are you really so perfect, blameless, sinless and spotless, with absolutely no blemishes, that you can afford to be without God’s forgiveness? I think not. And I love the way Luke puts it, "Do Not Judge, Do Not Condemn, Do Not Pronounce Guilt…INSTEAD…Acquit, Forgive, Release, Give Up, and Let It Go!" Like it or not, but if you are truly in fact a Believer, then the whole Bible is to be followed by YOU! And full, complete and total forgiveness of others is indeed a part of the Package Plan!

Listen: Keeping Score Only Works In Competitive Sports; However It’s Disastrous In Friendships And Relationships. Truth is, there’s so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that we’ll spend much of our lives learning to forgive and forget. And let’s be honest, forgetting is harder when the offense is great. Small offenses can often times be forgiven and even forgotten rather quickly; bigger ones require a healing process. But Until You Make The Decision To Forgive, The Process Can’t Even Begin.

So how can you “forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you?” Paul answers that question for us in today’s text: “Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].” (Colossians 3:12-14 AMP).

I love that God addresses our BEHAVIOR! And what should our Behavior be as Believers? “Tenderhearted Pity; Mercy; Kind Feeling; a Lowly Opinion of Ourselves; Gentle Ways; Patience; Tireless and Long-Suffering; Endurance; Good Temper; Forbearing; Pardoning; Forgiving; and Loving." And like it or not, but you cannot be Unforgiving, and yet Behave Christ-Like, nor call yourself a Christian!

Remember This: You are Commanded to Forgive! I think we’ve somehow forgotten that in today’s form of church. Now we forgive and forget conditionally, not unconditionally as we have been commanded! A “Command” is defined as, “To Give an Authoritative Order; a Charge by a Superior”. In other words, this is not a Suggestion! To “Suggest” means you have the opportunity to “Think it over; consider it; and change your mind”. You do not get to think it over whether you will forgive or not, you are commanded to do so by your Superior and the command is non-negotiable! And “Non-Negotiable” is defined as, “not open for discussion, debate or modification”. So, the next time you utter the words “let me pray about it”, when it comes to forgiveness, remember this is a Non-Negotiable Command That is Not Open for Suggestion, Discussion, Debate or Modification! This is NOT about your feelings, but about your obedience! Extending forgiveness as a believer does not depend on how you feel, what emotions you’re embracing, nor is it about waiting until you’re in a better mood or have adjusted your attitude, over time. It is about receiving a Direct Order from Your Superior Who has Commanded You to Hear and Heed! You don’t get to alter the Bible because someone hurt you. Their actions are never to alter your discipline to obey.

God makes it clear, you cannot “forgive” and then bring it back up again! How do I know that? Because He COMMANDED: “forgive as quickly and COMPLETELY as the Master forgave you” “Completely” is defined as “Entirely; Absolute; and Total”. I reiterate, this Command is Non-Negotiable!

Now am I saying this is easy? NOPE! Because personally I’ve had to forgive over the course of my life. But I also cannot deny the fact that I’ve had to be forgiven over the course of my life too. And it was not easy on either side, but it was Necessary for my Growth, Development, Maturity, Leadership and Even My Blessings! 

As a counselor & leader, I’ve sat across from cases where if I were in their shoes, I honestly don’t know if I could have forgiven some people and some stuff. It’s just that real. Victims forgiving their rapist and molesters; drug and alcohol addicted parents, children, spouses, siblings etc…who did and said some horrible things under the influence; the drunken driver that killed your family members; marriages that had to face infidelity and even children born during affairs; and dare we even address church hurt. And the list could go on and on forever because truthfully, saved and unsaved alike, we are still faulty, flesh and blood and we have a tendency to behave in manners that are not becoming, not just as believers, but also as human beings. Which is why, especially for the believer, we ought to daily thank God for grace and mercy. He has extended it more times than we’ve deserved it. And all of us, with one sin or another, are repeat offenders, who find ourselves back at the throne of grace again and again. 

None of us are perfect, and that’s not an excuse or a reason, it’s just the truth. However, as we grow in God and mature in our convictions, our long laundry list of wrongs ought to turn out right at some point! This takes time and practice, but it can be done.

Therefore, to practice this kind of forgiveness you must focus on a person’s worth, not their weaknesses. You must turn your heart away from what Was, to what Can Be. And to do that, we must always remember our Ministry: “But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].” (2 Corinthians 5:18 AMP). Well, it’s kind of difficult to hate someone and bring them into harmony with Christ at the same time! So what helps? 

Remembering that YOU FIRST had to be brought into harmony with God! 
And it’s certainly hard to point clean fingers with dirty hands! You have to remember where you were, and what you did that needed forgiveness and restoration and then likewise extend the same unto others. Remember: “And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.” (Luke 6:31 AMP). If you want to receive forgiveness…give it; if you want to receive understanding…give it; if you want to receive restoration…give it; if you want a fresh new start…give it; if you want grace and mercy…give it; if you want patience and long-suffering…give it. It’s really more simple than it is complicated…just do unto others as you would want done unto you. And no one wants to be partially forgiven. So stop being the one who partially forgives.
And even with all of that said, there will always be the one person who asks, “But why should I forgive and forget?” Simple: 

1...Because God’s Word Tells You To. Challenge yourself this week and look up all the Scriptures you can find about forgive and forgiveness. Memorize a different one daily. You’ll be amazed at how softened your hard heart becomes towards others. Remember: Forgiveness is non-negotiable, meaning it is not open for discussion or up for debate. You’re commanded to do it and the Bible clearly states: “If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.” (John 14:15 AMP). However, if you attempt to say you love God and yet hate your brother or sister, the Bible has a little more to say to you: “If anyone says, “I love God,” but keeps on hating his brother, he is a liar; for if he doesn’t love his brother who is right there in front of him, how can he love God whom he has never seen?” (1 John 4:20 TLB). If you love Him, you will keep His commandments, and His commandment is that you forgive quickly and completely. 

Because You Yourself Will Continue to Need Forgiveness. I don’t care how wonderful you are or think you are, but as long as you remain flesh and blood, you will sin, and therefore you will continue to need forgiveness. However, the Bible has already made clear that if you don’t forgive you will not be forgiven. It doesn’t matter how wealthy you may be, you cannot afford to be without the forgiveness of God.

2...Because You Weren’t Built to Carry the Stress that Goes with Resentment. Do you know how draining resentment is? It ages you, makes you hard and bitter, unloving, and intolerable. After all, would you want to hang out with someone who is always negative, complaining, bitter, and mean-spirited? Well, neither does anyone else. Stress kills, and so does resentment and unforgiveness. Your heart was never designed to hold hatred! So, what is your heart designed to hold? Psalm 119:11, "Your Word I have treasured and stored in my heart, That I may not sin against You." (AMP) Your heart is to store and hold onto the Word of God. And what has the Word of God said to you? Forgive, completely and totally and quickly. In a nutshell: release it, release them and release you!"

Today is a good day to stop keeping score! Remember, we are many parts but only in one body. And whatever you do to one member, it affects the whole body! Hebrews 12:14-17, “Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. 

Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.” (MSG)

Are you starting to see the real dangers found in unforgiveness? You don’t get to even see a glimpse of God because of your bitter discontent. You become one weed that ruins the whole garden. Not to mention you can find yourself like Esau, full of regret, but tears or no tears, you messed up and missed God’s blessing for all eternity. Do you really think unforgiveness is worth you paying that price?

Listen, When we keep score, we all lose because we’re fighting against our own teammates! How can we win a game while we're keeping score against one another? Therefore; no more. Determine this will be a New You! And the best way to start New, is to get rid of the Old. Today, get rid of Old attitudes of resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness. Fill your heart and life with love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness. You'll look better, you’ll feel better and you’ll live and be better! 

J.P. Olson

Monday, August 6, 2018

More The Surprise About Your Storm Is, That YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! I Know The Storm Blew Some Stuff All Over The Place, Some People Were Expecting You To Be Destroyed In The Storm: But Look At God!

Acts 27:44, "the rest were to follow, holding on to the planks or to some broken pieces of the ship. And this was how we all got safely ashore.” (GNT) 

It was some years ago, but I remember when they closed a local airport. You see there was a violent storm at Newark airport, and thousands of people had their plans suddenly changed indefinitely. I’ve come to find out in life, Storms have a way of doing just that!

There’s a snow storm, for example, and schools and businesses, even though they all had their plans made for the day, suddenly have all those plans thrown out the window. Meetings that HAD to be today are amazingly rescheduled. Planes and ships are diverted and all because of a storm. 

You see, a storm is a classic embodiment of that familiar phrase, “Due to circumstances beyond our control…” Ever heard that line? 

Truth is: maybe you’re in the middle of a storm right now. Your life and plans are being blown around in every possible direction, and it seems like everything is completely out of control. Well, if that’s your testimony, then I’ve got some really good news for you today! According to the Word of God, Acts 27 talks about A Stormy Surprise!

Now, I don’t know where your storm is right now, but maybe there’s something blowing your life out of control: (a marriage conflict; a troubled child; a financial crisis; a health scare; a job loss; or a ministry transition). Whatever your storm is, it’s blowing fierce and hard! And to make matters worse, you've already tried everything to get it back to smooth sailing, and yet, all you see in all directions is nothing but complete and utter chaos!

And by the way, if you’re one of those tremendously blessed folks who’s not in a storm Right Now, Just Stay Tuned; Your Forecast Will Change Just Like the Rest of Us! That’s just the way life is. Before you know it, out of no-where, the winds blow, the waves are high, the lightening is bright, the thunder is loud, the foundation is shaky, the cold airs of conflict and crisis strike, and you’re wondering if you’ll Survive the Storm! We all get them, so if you haven’t YET, simply Stay Tuned!

However, for those who feel that In Your Life Right Now Things Are Completely Out of Control By the Storms of Life, You’ll Most Definitely Be Able to Relate to Paul’s Storm in Acts 27!

What was happening was that Paul was being taken by Roman soldiers on a grain ship from Israel to Rome. They had a lot of water to cross to get from where Israel is and to cross the ocean and to get over to Italy where they needed to be, and in the middle of all this they encountered a terrible storm that lasted for fourteen days. Hurricane strength, we’re told in Acts 27:20

When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” (NIV). Now, if you’ve ever felt like all your points of reference were gone, like Acts 27:20, you couldn’t see the “…sun, the moon, the stars…” –Which Are All Things You Can Usually Count On To Be There As Your Day-to-Day, Consistent Point of Reference. When That’s Gone, The Storm Is Bad! The things you were able to hang on to before, They’re No Longer There! That one song that use to encourage you, now you can't remember one verse of it, that friend whose shoulder use to be available for you to lean on has vanished into thin air, that Scripture that would pop into your head right when you were ready to throw in the towel (and now you have no idea what book of the Bible it’s even found in). It feels as though all you used to Depend on has somehow Disappeared into the Darkness of the Storm! 

Well, maybe you’re there right now, and you know what, truth is, it’s easy to give up hope. I know "church folks" will tell you that's not supposed to ever happen to a believer. But truth is, life can get real hard, and heart breaking. 

It's difficult to keep a praise on your lips when your coworker is cursing you out. It's hard to keep joy when you've lost loved ones back-to-back. It's not easy to keep shouting when your marriage is screaming divorce. Its’ rough trying to teach Sunday school to other children when your own don't even attend. Life is not easy! No, not even for the believer. So never beat yourself up when you have a moment of lost hope, it happens to the best of us, from the pulpit to the door (whether we admit it or not)!

However, before you feel as if your lost hope can never be found again, keep this in mind: The Outcome of the Story Is What You Need to Take Note Of! Acts 27:44declares, “…Everyone Reached Land Safely.” They were blown into the rocks after two weeks, But It Says, IN THE END, They Were On An ISLAND! And in chapter 28 we find out the ISLAND was called MALTA! Do you know where Malta is? IT’S ON THE SOUTHERN COAST OF ITALY! Why is that such good news? Because, Regardless to a Violent Storm, They Ended Up Right Where They Were Heading All Along! Oh, they’d been out of control for two weeks or so it seemed, BUT THE WHOLE TIME THEY HAD BEEN OUT OF CONTROL, THEY HAD ACTUALLY BEEN RIGHT ON COURSE, AND SO ARE YOU!

The Surprise About Your Storm Is, That YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! I Know The Storm Blew Some Stuff All Over The Place, I Know You Received Some Bumps And Bruises And Even Some Brokenness In The Storm, But YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! As hectic as it is, as violent as it was, as rough as it’s been, as depressed as you’ve felt, YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE! Yes, with a marriage that seemed to be sinking, children that seemed to be jumping over-board, a ministry that seemed to lose the wind in its sails, and a health that has seemed to be tossed to and fro, from healthy to sick all in the same week, YOU MY FRIEND ARE STILL ON COURSE! REGARDLESS TO THE STORM, PAUL STILL ENDED UP EXACTLY WHERE HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE…AND SO WILL YOU! SO, DON’T BE DISCOURAGED BY THE STORM, YOU’RE STILL ON COURSE!
Nahum 1:3 says, “…The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” (AMP)

Look at this text in a few additional translations with some deeper insight:
“…He can BE SEEN in storms and in whirlwinds; clouds are the dust from His feet.” (CEV) Some encouragement during your storm is found in knowing that God is SEEN even in storms. The problem is that like Peter, we tend to focus on the storm instead of the Savior who’s in the storm With Us! Matthew 14:30-32, “But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus extended His hand and caught him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” (AMP) The key is knowing that Jesus is in the storms of life WITH us, and close enough to us in the storm, like Peter, that all He had to do was reach out His hand and touch him. He's that close to us in the storms of our lives as well. So take heart beloved, because in the harshest of storms, the hand of God is still nigh. Those are the things we lose sight of in storms. We began to focus on the ‘effects of the wind’ instead of keeping our eyes on the One who created and controls All the Elements! When your in the storms of life, don’t look at the storm or its effects, look for God, He can always be seen in the storm!

“…He will USE whirlwinds and storms to show His power. People walk on the dusty ground, but He walks on the clouds.” (ERV) Don’t be afraid of the storms, God uses storms to show forth His power! The problem is that we focus on how powerless we feel in the storms of life instead of focusing on how powerful God is even in the midst of the storm! In fact, He’s using the storm you’re in right now for your good not your harm. That's why you have to always condition yourself to look for the lessons He’s showing you on how to trust Him even in strong storms where you feel most weak! 2 Corinthians 12:9, “but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.” (AMP) God uses storms to showcase His power, and uses your weaknesses in the storms of life to do the same. Be encouraged in knowing that God is Using this storm on your behalf!

“…Raging winds and storms MARK HIS PATH, and clouds are the dust from His feet.” (GWT) When the winds and storms are raging in your life, don’t try to figure out which way to go, simply look for the Path of God. Follow His Footsteps and You’ll Exit the Storm Better Than You Entered it! Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” (AMP) Don’t pace the floor in fear, walk by faith as you follow the path of God. If you just ask Him, He’ll show you the way to go! Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord, and He delights in his way [and blesses his path].” (AMP) In chaos, let God order your steps, and you will be sure to never stumble. Just ask Him to show you where He’s marked His path so you can follow it, instead of tripping over trouble trying to figure it all out on your own. Jeremiah 33:3, “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ (MSG)

“…He shows His power in the TERRORS of the cyclone and the raging storms; clouds are billowing dust beneath His feet!” (TLB) No matter how terrifying your storm is, know that God still shows His power in the terrors of the cyclone and the raging storms. When God is in the storm with you, you need not worry yourself, no matter how bad the storm is. Your Storm Will Never Be Bigger Than the Size of Your God! Remember, Your God is Omnipotent; Omnipresent; Omniscient; All-Powerful; All-Present and All-Knowing. What Storm Do You Know Can Top That?! Psalm 147:5, “Great is our [majestic and mighty] Lord and abundant in strength...” (AMP); “Great is our Lord and of great power…” (AMPC); “Our Lord is great and so strong…” (CEB); Our Lord is great and powerful…” (CEV); “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power…” (ESV); “Our Lord is great, and His power is great…” (GWT); “How great He is! His power is absolute!” (TLB); “Our Lord is great, with limitless strength…” (MSG) Now, with a God that Great, are you really going to let this temporary storm scare you?!

“…Tornadoes and hurricanes are the wake of His passage, Storm clouds are the dust He shakes off His feet…” (MSG); “…Where the Lord goes, there are whirlwinds and storms, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” (NCV) I hope you’re starting to understand that when God is in the storm with you, you are in the safest place in all the world! And that means even in the midst of the tornado, hurricane, whirlwind and storm, He is always present, and you are always protected! After all, the Bible says, “Where the Lord goes, there are whirlwinds and storms…” If you’re in a storm, God is already there, so take heart!

Be Not Discouraged! The Lord Is Still In Control of Your Care and Course…Despite the Storm!

Believe It Or Not, As Bad As It Looks, His Ways Still Work…Even In the Storms of Life! And for an added bonus, God speaks in storms too!  “And now, finally, GOD answered Job from THE EYE OF A VIOLENT STORM…” (Job 38:1 MSG) Never feel as though storms have the power to cut off your communication from God. He sees you, He hears you, He speaks to you, He’s there with you! Even when the storm is Violent it can’t silence His Voice! So, make sure that while you’re in the storm, you keep your ears open, the Lord has a wonderful way of communicating calm even in the midst of chaos! Listen to the Bible: “Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?” Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!” (Mark 4:35-41 MSG) Your storm is never designed to take you out! You just have to remember what happened BEFORE the storm took place: The Bible says, "…He said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” The best lifesaver in the storms of life is to always remember what “…HE SAID…”! He didn’t suggest to go, He said LET’S GO! When God is with you never let what’s around you distract you from the direction He’s already given you! If HE SAID let’s go across to the other side, it doesn’t matter what takes place along the journey, one way or another you will reach the other side! Remember: Your Storm is Keeping You On Course! Yes, Even With All of Its’ Chaos! Therefore, Never Allow the Sound of the Storm to Drown Out What God Has Already Said!

Your Storms Will NEVER Be Powerful Enough To Short-Circuit The Power Of The God You Serve! Remember: Even Jesus Himself had to face storms: “Right now I AM STORM-TOSSED. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’” A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28 MSG) Jesus Himself was “…STORM-TOSSED…” yet He determined to endure it because it would display the glory of the Father! And as bad as your storm is, and as violently as it’s tossing you to and fro, don’t give up, give out or give in! Stick it out! You will eventually arrive to your destination and there will be glory after this!

Yes, In the End You May Just Make It By On Broken Pieces, However, That Still Does Not Change the Unchangeable Fact and Truth, That You Still Made It!  

Jesus made it to the Crown, but not without the Cross, Enemies, Spit, Mockery, Piercing, Tomb, Grave, Nails, Pain, Suffering, Agony, Blood, Sweat etc…Yes, He made it, but it was a horrible journey. And yet He didn’t stop and take down the sails, He stayed the course, because there was too much Purpose and Promise on the other side of this. Likewise it is for you!

Paul Was Destined For Italy, and the Storm Would Not Be A Distraction, But a Driving Force to Ensure He Made It There! And Not Just Made It There, But Made It There With the Testimony of What He Had to Make It Through To Get There! And if it’s anyone who has a testimony of endurance, it’s certainly Paul! The Bible says, “I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones…” (2 Corinthians 11:23-29 MSG) Now, if Paul can survive THAT, you can survive THIS!

Listen: Your Storm Will Not Be a Straight Path To Your Destination! And After All, Who Wants to Hear the Boring Story of How You Left Here, and Simply Made It Straight There, With No Bumps, Bruises or Brokenness…Who Can Relate To That?!That’s Why Your Storm Is Adding Streets, Paths, Cliffs, Dead-Ends, U-Turns, Corners, Hills, Avenues, Back Alley’s, Valley’s and More to Your Story’s Journey! People Will Be Able to Relate to What You’ve Been Through, and then Further Be Encouraged to Know That They Can and Will Make It Through Just the Same!

You may feel like you’re either going nowhere right now or you’re on the verge of utter shipwreck disaster; maybe on the verge of being blown on the rocks even to crash and burn. But remember, the surprise in the storm is this: GOD STILL CONTROLS SEEMINGLY OUT-OF-CONTROL TIMES! He uses them to blow His children right where they were supposed to go all along! SO DON’T LET THE STORM DISCOURAGE YOU, DISTRACT YOU OR DISHEARTEN YOU! THE BOTTOM LINE IS: THE STORM IS KEEPING YOU ON COURSE! YOU WILL SURVIVE AND YOU WILL HAVE AN AWESOME STORY AND TESTIMONY TO TELL ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORM!  

J.P. Olson

Monday, July 30, 2018

What Satan Can and Cannot Do. Where Did he Come From? Why Does Satan Hate You? Answer: You Are Forgiven, He Is Not. The Devil Has A Word He Doesn't Want To Hear Used;It Will Destroy All Of his Plans.

  Satan was never, and never will be, like God, but you will: 1 John 3:2

Although Satan, the ruler of this world, was unable to overpower Jesus (Matthew 4) he still had the arrogance to try. Satan's Power Exists Only Because God Allows Him To Act. John 14:30-31. But Because Jesus Is Sinless, Satan Has No Power Over Him. If we obey Jesus and align ourselves closely with God's purposes, Satan can have no power over us.

Why does Satan hate you? Answer: You are forgiven, he is not. You will one day forget your fallen state; he is doomed to his fallen state forever. Psalms 85:2 

“The Enemy Uses These Three Things, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, to entice us to sin. Scripture shows this process at work in both the Garden of Eden and on the Mount of Temptation. The five senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing, and seeing, all report to the carnal mind – which is the enemy of God. These senses are what Satan uses to tempt us! The lust of the flesh includes tasting, touching, smelling, and hearing. The lust of the eyes is seeing. The pride of life is thinking you are special because of who you are, what you have, what you know, or what you look like."
How can Satan harm you? Satan can devour people. The Fellowship Between Satan And Humans Is Never Based On Love, Constructive Activity, Or On Redemptive Actions. It is all about hate, lust, and murder. He is the great devourer: Satan operates through humans in the flesh and through the flesh.

So, why does Satan hate you? Answer: You know more than he does regarding the deeper things of the Lord and his work.  John 14:26.  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  Satan will never again be "with" the Lord, but you will. Satan hates it that mortal beings like you can be forgiven (he cannot) and be like God in some way that we do not fully now understand.

Satan assumes that men are like him--which they strive for success and shun suffering. Satan’s words reveal his belief that men only serve God when it serves their own fleshly interests and that they will turn from God when suffering comes into their lives. Satan cannot imagine anyone worshiping God for who He is, rather than for what He gives. He thinks men must be bribed to worship and to serve God. His view is: “Take away the success, replace it with suffering, and saints will turn from God.”

Satan is allowed to do only that which God has planned for His glory and our good. He does nothing apart from divine permission. He does nothing contrary to God’s plan. Through Satan’s opposition, God’s purposes are fulfilled, and Satan’s purposes are frustrated. In spite of his failures, Satan never learns. Instead, he hastens on in his rebellion.

Satan cannot define himself. There is no scripture to indicate that Satan contemplates his own condition. He seems to be totally convinced that he is God, in spite of the fact that his fallen state is a result of trying to be God when he was in his perfect condition.

Satan must be defined by God. If you allow ANYONE to give you defining information about Satan which cannot be found in the Word of God, you have been deceived by Satan and the person teaching the heresy about him.

There are no scripture references for this point. The fact is, nowhere in the Word of God does Satan describe himself. Perhaps he would just as soon not think about what he is, for that would remind him of what he was before he fell from heaven.
Satan was created. This sets to rest several in-church urban legends. Satan is not omniscient, knowing all things, like God himself. Created beings do not have the ability to know things that are not revealed to them by some outside source. God is a self-contained source, so He knows all. This means that Satan does not know what you are thinking. God has reserved that for Himself:

  1. God created Satan! Nothing exists that was not made by God. God made the world out of nothing, and so all creatures in heaven, on earth, and under the earth owe their existence to God (Colossians 1 v 16). Satan is no exception.
  2. God created Satan good! Everything that God created was very good (Genesis 1 v 31) and there is no sin, deception, or evil in God (1 John 1 v 5; James 1 v 13). Therefore, we can conclude that when God created Satan, he created him morally pure.
  3. Satan has authority in the realm of demons. At several points in the Bible, Satan is spoken of as the leader of the demonic forces (John 12 v 31 and Ephesians 2 v 2). We also see Satan taking leadership in the work of attacking and tempting God’s people (Job 1 v 6; 1 Chronicles 21 v 1; Zechariah 3 v 1).
  4. Satan’s evil came from within himself. He was not tempted and led astray (for there was no one to tempt him) but he produced sin and deceit from within himself (John 8 v 44).
So Satan is the leader of the pack of angels who rebelled against God, and he was cast out of God’s presence.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Satan will never know you as God knows you:

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Satan was never, and never will be, like God, but you will:

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

So, why does Satan hate you? Answer: You know more than he does regarding the deeper things of the Lord and his work.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Satan will never again be "with" the Lord, but you will. Satan hates it that mortal beings like you can be forgiven (he cannot) and be like God in some way that we do not fully now understand.

Hell is a place to remember. The rich man in Jesus' parable was invited to remember:

Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us.

Like the rich man, Satan made his choices in his first estate, and he fell. He is now bound to the earth, and after one last verdict from God, he will be bound in the Lake of Fire. He is reminded in the Ezekiel text above of all that he has lost, just as the rich man was invited to remember all that he lost.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Why Does Satan Hate You? Answer: You Are Forgiven, He Is Not. You Will One Day Forget Your Fallen State, He Is Doomed To His Fallen State Forever.

Psalms 85:2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

Satan cannot have his office in heaven back and he cannot stop Jesus from doing his work:

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Further, Satan rules the kingdoms of the world for now:

Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Does he really own those kingdoms, or was he again lying?
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Satan today is in control of the world's kingdoms by aiding and comforting their sin and corruptness. The way he tempts good leaders of the nations to make war and do evil to other nations is by the same temptation he offered Jesus. If a world ruler will sell his soul to Satan, he will find his power increase and his borders expanded, with geographically, or, as in the present USA regime, in economic power.

The devil has a word he doesn't want to hear used, and it’s "JESUS", because The Power of That Name Will Destroy All his Plans! So, for over two thousand years, the devil has tried to make the name of Jesus the issue; the dividing point. It was over two thousand years ago when the Sanhedrin said, "You can talk about God, you can talk about religion, you can do anything, just don't mention that Name!”

And sadly enough, that’s still the issue today, isn't it? Truth is, people don't mind if you talk about religion, or even God, or the Bible, or morality, or family values, or your church, but don't mention the Name Jesus.

You need to remember two important truths about Satan. First, he is real, and he is powerful. Don’t make the mistake of thinking he is a cute little cartoon figure with a red suit and a pitchfork – for he isn’t. He is completely evil, and his goal is to block God’s work in our lives. The Bible says he is “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

But the second thing you need to remember is that the devil is a defeated foe! By His death and resurrection Jesus Christ conquered sin and death and Hell – and someday Christ will come again to pronounce judgment on Satan and his followers.

All too often we fall right into the devil's trap to censor the name of Jesus in our conversation. We don't want to be offensive; we don't want to turn anyone off. And there's this little voice that says, "Well, just talk about God. You know, most everybody would accept that." So we talk about God in our lives, but we avoid the name of Jesus.

Christian musicians will write songs that talk vaguely about Him with a capitol H, but too often they avoid the Name Jesus, so their music can cross over to the secular world. We no longer sing Gospel music about salvation, the blood, the cross, the resurrection, and the Name of Jesus. No, today the church has become quite “inspirational.” If you listen to the music, the prayers or even the lessons and sermons, it’s hard to know exactly who the church is talking, teaching, preaching about, or praying to!

Even Christian leaders try to avoid conflict by watering down the Name: “In His name we pray.”

But Acts 4:11-12 says, "This JESUS is the stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” (AMP). The power is in the Name of JESUS! The devil knows the power in that Name that’s why he works so hard to muzzle your mouth!  Don’t let him do it!


That word “alternative” is defined as “of one or more things available as another possibility; expressing a choice; offering of options; something that can be chosen instead of something else.” But, when it concerns salvation, there is nothing else available, no other possibility, no other choice or option, and absolutely nothing and no one else you can use instead of, ONLY THE NAME OF JESUS!

Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in CHRIST AS SAVIOR], to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (AMP)

I’ve even been with people while witnessing during outreach and listening to them talk about Jesus, without mentioning His Name! How is that even possible? You have to say the Name, because there is no other Name whereby they can be saved, except the Name JESUS!

How can you as a believer possibility be ashamed to say the Name JESUS?!
After all, it is by the Name JESUS where you received salvation, healing, wholeness, peace, joy, unconditional love, restoration, renewal, revival, forgiveness…HOW CAN YOU NOT SAY THE NAME JESUS?!

It is the Name JESUS that kept your marriage together; that brought your children back to their senses; that saved your household; that healed your mother; that delivered your father; that got you that job; that carried you through school…HOW CAN YOU NOT SAY THE NAME JESUS?!

But you see that's the 2,000-year-old editor from hell saying, "Edit out Jesus. How dare you mention that Name." But how did Peter and John feel about that? Let’s see:

Acts 4:18-20, “They called them back and warned them that they were on no account ever again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John spoke right back, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. AS FOR US, THERE’S NO QUESTION—WE CAN’T KEEP QUIET ABOUT WHAT WE’VE SEEN AND HEARD.” (MSG)

And truthfully, neither can you! I mean as you look back over the course of your life, and see what JESUS has brought you through can you honestly be quiet about the Name of Jesus?! Think about it: The addictions; the habits; the bad friendships, relationships, marriages; choices; consequences; health challenges; family troubles; financial disasters; loss of employment; repetitive failures…can you look at all of that and be quiet about the Name of Jesus?

After all, you’ve seen what JESUS did for you and your loved ones, after all the praise reports you’ve heard about what He’s done for others, can you really remain quiet about the Name of JESUS?!

Now Peter and John were facing some serious life or death decisions in mentioning or not mentioning the Name of JESUS. After all, listen to the Bible: 
“…The religious leaders renewed their threats…” So, their attackers weren’t about to let up on this. They came back at them and renewed their threats. They were going to do whatever it took to silence these boys, however, let’s read some more…“…but then they released them. They couldn’t come up with a charge that would stick, that would keep them in jail. The people wouldn’t have stood for it—they were all praising God over what had happened. The man who had been miraculously healed was over forty years old.”

Listen, what you do and what you don’t do, affects more than just you. The people were standing around, they also saw and heard what Peter and John had seen, heard and done. And likewise, people are watching you, listening to you and imitating you. Do you really want to set the example of being a coward for Christ?

John 14:13-14, “And I will do whatever you ask IN MY NAME [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. If you ask Me anything IN MY NAME [as My representative], I will do it.” (AMP) With a promise like that, how can you possibly be silent about the Name of JESUS?!

Isn’t it amazing what God does through His servants that aren’t afraid to publicly serve Him? Not only did Peter and John continue to preach in the Name of Jesus, but they were all endowed with power from the Holy Ghost, the other believers joined them in prayer, praise and worship and the furtherance of the Message of Jesus Christ! Even the church grew and there wasn’t a selfish bone in the Body of Christ, for they all met the needs of the entire church!

Two men decided to stand by the Name of Jesus, and to mention it out loud!  The results were they were blessed, and all the people, and all the church.

Peter and John are passed away. However, you are still here! Will you dare to continue their discipleship work and say and share the Name of JESUS? Or, will you let the devil have the final say as he muzzles your mouth?

So, how can we possibly be silent about the Only Name that brings Salvation, the Name OF JESUS! In the end, the choice is yours! Will you stay on the course God set you on, or will you bow to Lucifer and receive the rewards the easy way?

J.P. Olson