It Will Cost You Everything

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“‘I have not troubled Israel,’ Elijah replied, ‘but you and your father’s house have, for you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.'” 1 Kings 18:18(BSB)



Will serving and loving God cost you anything?  Yes, it will cost you everything (Luke 14:25-34), but the results are so worth it.  It is not enough to call yourself a believer.  It is not enough to be exposed to the Word of God.  You must be loving the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  You must be applying His Word to your life and obeying God and His Word out of that love for Him.  It really does come down to choosing whom you will serve.

When leaders choose to worship other gods, it causes problems for the nation or church or organization or households.  Why?  Because whatever the leader’s spirit is will be what the leader will be ministering with.  Don’t get me wrong.  God used a donkey to get His point across to Balaam the prophet in Numbers 22:28.  After all, nothing is too difficult for God. 

Either a leader will lead with the guidance of the Holy Spirit or a leader will be leading by the flesh.  When one leads with his/her flesh, there will always be major issues and problems.

With that being said…

There is one God, but Ahab and Jezebel worshiped Baal (most popular of the Canaanite gods).  However, Elijah was in the midst of the people, and eventually, Elijah challenged the people to take a stand. Either they would choose God or remain Baal worshipers.

When people have to give up their sinful pleasures in order to serve God, you can see their reluctance and walking away because they are not willing to surrender to God.  Their actions will make it quite clear whether they served God or not.  If you take a stand for God, you cannot live the way you want to.

You may be thinking, “I’m not a leader.”  Yes, you are.  All of us lead someone at some point.  Even if you think you are not a leader, you are being watched by someone (children, spouse, professors, teachers, supervisors, co-workers, list goes on).  How you act, what you say, and whether or not you stand for truth matters to whoever watches how you are living your life.  There are those who will watch to see if your walk and your talk line up with each other.  Make sure you keep yourself in right relationship with God, keeping Him first in all things.



 

Just like Elijah had challenged the people so did Joshua.  The Word of God gives this account in Joshua 24:24-27(BSB):  

“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; cast aside the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!”

The people replied, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!  For the LORD our God brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and performed these great signs before our eyes. He also protected us all throughout our journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because He is our God!’

But Joshua said to the people, ‘You are not able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your rebellion or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, He will turn and bring disaster on you and consume you, even after He has been good to you.’

‘No!’ replied the people. ‘We will serve the LORD!’

Then Joshua told them, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.’

‘We are witnesses!’ they said.

‘Now, therefore,’ he said, ‘get rid of the foreign gods among you and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.’

So the people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the LORD our God and obey His voice.’

On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem, he established for them a statute and ordinance. Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was near the sanctuary of the LORD.  And Joshua said to all the people, ‘You see this stone. It will be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words the LORD has spoken to us, and it will be a witness against you if you ever deny your God.'”

 



Taking a stand is never easy.  However, either you will choose to serve God and live for Him, or you will reject Him.  When it comes to living for God, there is NO neutral ground.  This is not the time to be backing down.  It is time to rise up and move forward doing whatever task God has called you to do.  You may be in this world, but you are not of this world.  Be a godly influence in this world, but do NOT let the world influence you. 



Linda A. Knowles



“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.  Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will.  And I know that I will not be put to shame.” –Isaiah 50:7(NLT)

 

 

 

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Give Rightful Place To GOD

Psalm 139vs23-24



Idols cannot give us life.  GOD, however, is the Creator;  He is the Giver of Life.  “…yet my people have exchanged their glorious GOD for worthless idols,”  (Jeremiah 2:11).   An idol is anything or anyone that takes away GOD’s rightful place in our lives.  To exchange GOD for temporal things is foolishness.  Why would we exchange GOD who is the glory and the lifter of our heads (Psalm 3:3) for something else that is incapable of giving us life, for something which fades or withers away, something which eventually breaks (1 John 2:17).  Why exchange GOD who is eternal for other things which are not lasting?



“You must not have any other god but me.  You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.  I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”  -Exodus 20:3-6

Since we are commanded not to have any other gods but the Almighty GOD then we must take hold of GOD, and cling tightly to His truth for He is our Sustainer (Psalm 54:4) and He is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).  When we love GOD, with our whole heart and soul and mind, we won’t want to hurt or displease GOD.  We demonstrate our love for GOD by giving GOD His rightful place in our lives and obeying all He has commanded us to do.  First place in our lives is not for anyone or anything else.

GOD alone is sovereign, worthy of all glory, honor, and praise for Who He Is.  He is worthy because He is GOD and has demonstrated His love and mercy to us by bestowing His love and His blessings lavishly upon His children.  GOD is to be our First Love.  Nothing can give us lasting joy except for GOD, and there is nothing that can replace GOD in our lives.  We can try to replace GOD in our lives, but that would be breaking GOD’s commands which would displease GOD and cause us nothing but heartache.



“So that I may take hold of the hearts of the people of Israel.  For because of their idols, they are all estranged from ME.” -Ezekiel 14:5


“So humble yourselves before God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come close to God, and God will come close to you.  Wash your hands, you sinner;  purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between GOD and the world.  Let there be tears for what you have done.  let there be sorrow and deep grief.  Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” -James 4:7-10



Let’s not pull away from GOD, but let’s be faithful to our GOD and not dessert Him for things which are fleeting.  Instead, let’s worship Him in spirit and in truth, giving Him our very best because He gave us His very best, loving Him because He first loved us.  GOD is worthy of us following Him wholeheartedly.  We should never give Him our leftovers, but give Him all the honor due Him because He is GOD. 



PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are Sovereign.  There is no other who compares with You for You are glorious and majestic in all Your ways.  Forgive me for the times I have put other things before You.  I never want to displease You.  Help me to always remember that You alone are GOD and You want the best for me.  Thank You for allowing me the privilege to be able to draw close to You.  Thank You for being mindful of me and for lavishly loving me.   Thank You for forgiving me.  Because I love You, I will do as You command and walk in Your ways.  Guide me into all truth.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles

 

 

Divination/Witchcraft: (Part 2b) – Spellbound Captivation – YOGA

YOGA 1“‘You shall have no other gods before Me.'” -Exodus 20:3 (NASB)
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“I am the LORD; that is my name. I will not give my glory to anyone else or the praise I deserve to idols.” -Isaiah 42:8 (NASB)
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“‘For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.'” -Isaiah 48:11 (NASB)
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Yoga has gained popularity in Christianity;  however, Yoga has no place in the life of Christian, and it is also another form of “Christian Meditation.”  Christians may live in this world, but we are not of this world.  We have been set apart for service unto God and are to do things God’s way and not take on the customs of this world.  Vain philosophies and imaginations of man such as Yoga will only take you down the broad road that leads to destruction and just because the word “Christian” is slapped in front of Yoga or the like DOES NOT make it Christian.  It is simply disguising itself in a blatant display of defiance before the God Most High who is spoken of in the Bible.  The Scriptures clearly show the children of Israel did not get away with Idolatry, neither will you.

THE ORIGIN OF YOGA


YOGA 2.jpgYoga has its origin in Ancient India and is practiced in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.  In India, “Namaste” is a common greeting as well as in the cultures neighboring them, and “Namaste” is associated with Yoga. The word “Namaste” literally means “I bow to you” and the other meaning to “Namaste” is “the light in me bows to the light in you,” and the word “Namaste” is used at the beginning and end of every Yoga session. If you are a Christian and you greet someone with the term “Namaste” you are actually telling the person, “I bow to you” which is recognizing the individual as a god, which means you are also acknowledging the ultimate goal of Yoga.
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The word “Yoga” literally means, “to combine” or “to yoke,” and if you are doing Yoga, you are yoking yourself to the worship of false gods.  Part of Yoga is the chanting of the Sanskrit word “Aum” or “Om,” which is considered so sacred that it is at the beginning and ending to every Hindu mantra and incantation.  Even the holy book of Hinduism, the Bhagavad Ghita (ancient Indian Text) tells you why every mantra and incantation is buttoned with “Aum” or “Om,” and is symbolic “Uttering the monosyllable Om, the eternal world of Brahman, One who departs leaving the body (at death), he attains the superior goal.”  The religion of Buddhism also considers “Aum” to be sacred and follows suit in its practice as well.


THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF YOGA


YOGA 3In Hinduism, the ultimate goal is to become one with god, to be the creator god (the supreme god) called Brahma, the first god (4-headed) in “the triad,” which also includes the Hindu gods Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer as shown in the photo to the left.  To reach what is called “moksha,” a state of complete perfection, liberation, and godhood,  some Sadhus, Indian wandering holy men, have chosen a life of poverty in order to go on a quest in search of perfection and liberation, and to become god the creator.  They look inward toward themselves, “the god within.”  However, it is not only the Sadhus looking to reach a state of complete perfection, liberation, and to be the creator god but also anyone who practices the religion of Hinduism.

YOGA 5Now if any of this sounds familiar to you, there are passages that speak to one creature we know of that was thrown out of Heaven because he wanted to be God; His name is Lucifer/Satan, and he is the epitome of wickedness and anything that tries to exalt itself against the God of All Creation spoken of in the Holy Bible.  Both the King of Babylon and the King of Tyre, within the pages of the Bible, are shown to have the same characteristics in human form as Satan; Satan, being the epitome of all evil, and the kings, spiritually speaking, were no different than their father the devil.  The Kings of Babylon and Tyre wanted to be God and would do anything to achieve their goal of reaching the absolute state of perfection and godhood.  From Isaiah 14:12-17 (GW) “How you have fallen from heaven, you morning star, son of the dawn! How you have been cut down to the ground, you conqueror of nations! You thought, ‘I’ll go up to heaven and set up my throne above God’s stars. I’ll sit on the mountain far away in the north where the gods assemble.  I’ll go above the top of the clouds. I’ll be like the Most High.’  But you’ve been brought down to Sheol, to the deepest part of the pit.  Those who see you stare at you; they look at you closely and say, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook the kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and tore down its cities, who didn’t let his prisoners go home?'”  From Ezekiel 28:12-18 (ESV) “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx and jasper, sapphire, emerald and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings.  On the day that you were created they were prepared.  You were an anointed guardian cherub.  I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.  In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you out as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stone of fire.  Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.  I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.  By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you.”  From Luke 10:18-20 (BSB) When Jesus was speaking to the 72 who had come back from doing great works in His name, “He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  The 72 could not take credit or pride in what they had done in the name of God and through the authority given to them by Christ because the great exploits they had done were not done by human strength or human wisdom.  They were given authority by Christ.  They were to give glory to God and not take pride or take joy that the demons submitted to them.  

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“I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me.” -Isaiah 43:11 (NASB)
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“You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.” -Exodus 34:14 (NLT)
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“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” -Matthew 24:11 (KJV)
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“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” -1 Timothy 4:1 (NLT)


ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION


How do you repurpose pagan worship and pagan prayer and then turn around, call it Christian, and actually believe the pagan worship and pagan prayer will be acceptable to the God who is spoken of in the Bible?



Coming Next:  Divination/Witchcraft: (Part 3) – Spellbound Captivation – Who Do You Want To Talk To?