Sovereignty of God

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
~ Isaiah 55:8-9

The total sovereignty of God over all people and circumstances, is a matter concerning which many believers remain in doubt. They may give lip-acknowledgment to it, but they don’t believe it “works” in the situations of daily life. Yet the Scriptures are full of examples of how God worked sovereignly on behalf of His people – and often in the most unlikely ways.

Many of us are familiar with the obviously miraculous ways in which God worked on behalf of His people – such as the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt etc. But we have often missed seeing the greater miracles by which God turned the tables on Satan when Satan attacked God’s people.

The case of Joseph is a classic. God had a plan for that eleventh son of Jacob to make him the second ruler in Egypt by the time he was thirty. Joseph was a God-fearing lad and therefore he was hated by Satan. And so Satan instigated his elder brothers to get rid of him. But God ensured that they didn’t take Joseph’s life. They managed, however, to sell him off to some Ishmaelite traders. But where do you think those traders took Joseph? To Egypt, of course!

That was the fulfilment of Step One in God’s plan! In Egypt, Joseph was bought by Potiphar. This too was arranged by God. Potiphar’s wife was an evil woman. Taking a fancy to Joseph, she tried to entice him again and again. Finally when she found that she could not succeed, she accused Joseph falsely and had him cast in jail. But who do you think Joseph met in the jail? Pharaoh’s cupbearer! God had arranged for Pharaoh’s cupbearer also to be jailed at the same time so that Joseph could meet him. That was Step Two in God’s plan.

God’s third step was to allow Pharaoh’s cupbearer to forget about Joseph for two years. “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. It happened at the end of two full years that Pharoah had a dream…. Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh…(Genesis 40:23; 41:1,9). That was the time, according to God’s time-table, for Joseph to be released from prison. Psalm 105:19, 20 says, “Until the time that His word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. Then the king sent and released him and set him free.” Joseph was now 30 years old.

God’s time had come. And so God gave Pharaoh a dream. And God reminded the cupbearer also of Joseph as the interpreter of his dream. Thus Joseph came before Pharaoh and became the second ruler in Egypt. God’s timing of events in Joseph’s life couldn’t have been more perfect! We would never have thought of arranging things the way God did. If we had the power to plan Joseph’s life, we would probably have prevented people from doing him any harm. But the way God did it was better. It’s a far greater miracle when the evil that people do to us is turned to fulfill God’s purposes for us! God takes great delight in turning the tables on Satan, so that all things work together for the good of His elect.

Let us look at one more example from the Old Testament, so that our minds can be firmly established in this truth. In the book of Esther, we read of how God rescued the Jews from being slaughtered as a race. But it is amazing to see how God did it – through one small incident – that the king could not sleep one night. Haman and his wife had been plotting one night to get the king’s permission to hang Mordecai on a gallows the next morning, as a prelude to destroying all the Jews.

But while Haman and his wife were making their wicked plans, God was working on behalf of Mordecai too. “The Keeper of Israel never slumbers or sleeps.” (Psalm 121:4). God prevented the king from sleeping that night, “During that night the king could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the king” (Esther 6:1). The king listened to his nation’s history for many hours, until the day began to break. Then the reading came to the place where it was recorded that Mordecai had once saved the king from being assassinated. The king asked his servants what honour had been bestowed on Mordecai for this, and they replied that nothing had been done. God’s timing of events was again perfect. At that very moment Haman walked in, planning to ask the king for permission to hang Modecai. Before Haman could open his mouth, the king asked Haman what he thought could be done for one whom the king desired to honour. Haman, conceited man that he was, thought that the king was referring to him, and so suggested a great parade of honour for such a man. “Go and do that for Mordecai, quickly,” the king said.

How wonderfully our God can turn the tables on Satan. Haman finally hung on the very same gallows that he had made for Mordecai. As the Bible says, “He who digs a pit (for another) will fall into it (himself). And he who rolls a stone (at another) will find the stone rolling back (to crush him)” ( Proverbs 26:27). Haman, in this story, is a type of Satan who is always planning some evil against us. God won’t stop him, because God has a far better plan. He wants to turn the tables on Satan. The pit that the Devil digs for us will be the one that he himself falls into finally. Zephaniah 3:17 says (in one translation) that God is silently planning for us in love, all the time.

While Mordecai was sleeping peacefully that night, quite ignorant of all the wicked plans that Haman and his wife were making against him, God was also planning to protect Mordecai. So Mordecai could have slept just as peacefully, even if he had known of Haman’s wicked plans. Why not? If God was on his side, who could be against him?

Once we have seen the sovereignty of God, we will stop blaming people for anything. We’ll no longer be afraid of Satan, fearing that he might harm us in some way. We won’t be afraid of sickness or disease or anything else in this world.

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**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at cfcindia.com / Photo by Johannes Plenio at pexels

Prayer Binds Satan’s Hands, but a Spirit of Negativity Binds God’s Hands

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;” – Hebrews 3:12


INTRODUCTION

BINDING SATAN’S HANDS

So Satan is desiring to cause disaster in in our homes, in our marriages, in our churches, and in our own hearts – but we have the power to bind his works by praying, and by praying in unity. Husband and wife can bind things in their children’s lives, members in the church can bind things when they pray with one another, etc. See again in Matthew 18 verse 19, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” So that’s binding Satan’s hands. But there’s another verse which is very interesting in Matthew 13:58, and also similarly in Mark 6:5-6 – that says that the Lord was not able to do many works for His own hometown because they had such unbelief: Matthew 13:58 “And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.” Mark 6:6:5-6 “And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief…”

BINDING GOD’S HANDS

We say we want to bind Satan’s hands, but I believe we read in this verse itself that we by our unbelief may be tying ropes instead around God’s hands in our life!  Maybe He’s able to work in many other people’s lives the way He wants, but with regard to my own life His hands may be tied if I have unbelief! Wow. Imagine the Father reaching down from Heaven to (figuratively) lift up a boy and care and comfort and encourage him.  And as the Father is reaching down from Heaven to help this boy, the boy reaches up to His Father’s hands… but he doesn’t take His loving hands and hold them and receive His loving care; instead the boy places handcuffs on His Dad’s wrists, and then takes a rope and wraps up the wrists and hands that were reaching down to lift him up!  I believe this is exactly what we do when we don’t trust our Father, and we don’t believe He can help.  When we focus not on the hope and promises we have in Christ, and His power, but instead on how bad the situation is. 

NEGATIVITY

I think one word for this which often sums up unbelief is: “Negativity”. A spirit of negativity is the spiritual equivalent of tying ropes around the hands of the Father who is trying to reach down to pick me up and love me. I sometimes had to repent of and ask God to forgive me for my ‘sighs’ of negativity. I don’t always use words, but have often let out a ‘sigh’ of unbelief that with my groan was actually in reality saying “Oh great I have to deal with this again.” And when I think about what it implies I have to admit that it is saying that what God has chosen to allow is bad. It’s not for my good (it denies the plain truth of Romans 8:28). Or at least, with my negativity I’m confessing that the trouble/hassle of the trial is not worth the good that it would bring. But there’s something important about faith: Faith is not just believing that what God says is true, but it’s also believing that it’s as valuable as He says it is! It’s not only believing His Word, but believing it to the point that we’re enthusiastic about it (I believe we see this in the parables of the treasure / pearl of great price Matthew 13:44-45). And so I’ve seen I have to repent of negativity. We have to have a constant attitude of faith that just as the Lord turned the worst thing that ever happened in the universe (the death of Jesus) into the best thing (Jesus dying for us, rising again and saving us forever) – we have to be confident every ‘bad’ thing is not bad, it’s actually good if we love the Lord, and if it’s fully submitted to Him so that He can do something with it. And it’s not just ‘good’, but it’s REALLY REALLY good! A faith filled Christian MUST be an optimistic Christian. Always hopeful, always patient, exulting in tribulation instead of cursing it. Romans 5:3-4 “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;” “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation” (Romans 12:12), Be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12)

CONCLUSION

So I see now more of the seriousness with which I need to take unbelief, when I see what it is – unbelief actually is tying up the hands of God so that He cannot work. Unbelief is not an ‘innocent sin’, committed by poor unlucky people who deserve pity from a God who has been too hard on them!  It’s tying ropes around the very One who’s loved us from the beginning, and Who wants to help us even more than we want to help ourselves.  But accepting every single situation that comes our way (both good, and difficult) as from His loving hand is what frees Him up to work mightily in our life, and also is the very thing we can do which pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6).


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**By Bobby McDonald © Copyright – Bobby McDonald. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at NCCF Church / Photo by Jan Antonsen from Pexels

The Spiritual Battle For The Mind

Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9

That no advantage may be gained over us by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his devices. ~ 2 Corinthians 2:11

Resist the Devil

These two scriptural passages indicate to us how full of evil devices Satan is. His basic work is to camouflage whatever he does so that people will not know it is his doing! He even fashions himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). All his works are done under the cover of deceit. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar and he always lies (John 8:44). Of all that he has ever done, he has never willingly and openly acknowledged anything as his work. If he were to make a public report of his works, probably nobody would want them; everyone would probably resist them. For this reason, he always disguises his work in a multitude of ways.

The Work of Satan

Satan’s works are manifold. In order for a Christian to walk well before God, he must learn how to resist Satan. In order to do that, he must discern what is the work of Satan. According to the judgment of the Bible, many so-called natural things are actually Satanic works. From a human point of view we may consider something to be incidental, natural, or circumstantial, but the Bible distinctly labels it as the work of the devil. If we are to follow a straight course, God’s children must not be ignorant of the devices of Satan—how full of wiles he is, how pretentious and deceptive. We should recognize him in order to resist him.

The Work of Satan in the Human Mind

Let us now mention a few of Satan’s devices so that we may resist him and overcome him before the Lord.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Satan surrounds man with strongholds so as to prevent him from obeying Christ. The special field of his work is found in man’s mind or thought life. Oftentimes man is bombarded with speculations or imaginations which are adverse to the obedience of Christ. Paul says the weapons of our warfare against these are not of the flesh. These imaginations must first be destroyed before we can bring our thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

The sphere of Satan’s operation is in man’s thought life. He will inject a thought, an imagination, which appears to be your own. Under this deception, you accept it and use it as if it were yours, though in actuality it is his. Do remember that many things in the life of a Christian begin with speculations or imaginations. Many sins are first committed in the imagination of the mind. Many unpleasantnesses among brothers and sisters arise from these fancies.

Then there are those sudden thoughts. Sometimes a thought will flash into one’s mind that a certain brother is wrong. Many of God’s children do not recognize such thoughts as the work of Satan. A person may consider such a thought as his own and take it as true, thinking that the brother really is wrong. And yet, this is not true. It is Satan who has put the thought into his mind. How is he to resist the devil? He must say, “I do not want this thought. I return it to you, Satan.” Should he accept it, it will become his own thought. It is Satan’s at the start, but it will become his if he keeps it.

Christians need to know what Satanic temptation is. Satanic temptation enters mainly, if not exclusively, in the form of thought. When Satan tempts people, he does not attach a label saying, “This is Satanic temptation!” If people knew it was of Satan they would resist it. No, he sneaks in stealthily without causing a ripple. All his temptations are formulated so as not to easily arouse the Christians. He does not want them to suspect him; he would rather have them sleep on. So he surreptitiously injects a thought into their mind. Once they accept it, it has become a foothold for him.

This is why the children of God must learn how to resist inordinate thoughts. However, they also should be careful lest they become overly attentive. Any excess in this respect will cause further confusion of the thoughts, causing them to fall further into the wiles of the enemy. If one is concentrating on his thoughts, his eyes will not be focusing on the Lord. We must, indeed, resist improper thoughts, yet we should not be wholly occupied with our thoughts.

I would like to cry aloud that over these years I have seen two extremes: some people exercise no restraint in their thoughts, others are totally taken up with dealing with their thoughts. The latter are just as deceived by Satan as the former. Further, they are likely candidates for a nervous breakdown. So we need to maintain the right balance. We should not allow Satan to tempt us by injecting his thoughts; neither should we be engrossed in how to deal with our thoughts. If we are constantly taken up with dealing with our thoughts, then we have fallen into Satan’s temptation, for, instead of having our eyes on the Lord, they are on our thoughts.

Satanic thoughts can be quite easily withstood. There is a saying frequently quoted by many servants of the Lord that goes, “You cannot forbid a bird to fly over your head, but you certainly can forbid it to make a nest in your hair.” Do remember, then, that though you cannot prohibit many thoughts from passing through your mind, you can prohibit them from nesting in you. As a thought flashes through you, you may thrust it away by simply saying, “I do not want it. I will not accept it. I reject it.” Then you will see that it is thrown out.

Many of God’s children have great difficulty with their thoughts. They cannot easily control them. Of the many letters I have received over these past years, the one question most frequently asked is, “How can I control my thoughts?” Some confess that they find it especially difficult to control their thoughts during their prayer time. At this point there is something I would like to say briefly. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8), the Bible tells us. Think on these things! God’s children should learn to engage their thoughts in positive thinking. The more they use their mind positively, the less their thoughts will be out of control. Many are not able to control their thoughts because they do not think; they are passive in their thought life. This gives Satan the opportunity to insert some of his many ready-made thoughts into their minds.

Satan will not find it so easy to inject his thought into your mind if you learn to use your mind for thinking on things spiritual, good, righteous, holy, peaceful, and loveable. When your mind is positively engaged and your thoughts are not idle, Satan has no opportunity. But if a Christian’s mind is unoccupied and idle, then that passive, ungirded mind of his is open to Satanic infiltration.

Because of this, God’s children ought to exercise their minds as they exercise their bodies. This will prevent the intrusion of Satanic thoughts. Learn to recognize what thoughts are unclean, divisive, and slanderous, and then learn to resist them as soon as they are discovered to be of the enemy. Many thoughts are distinctly Satanic and therefore can be easily rejected. Some thoughts, though, are quite subtle and therefore not so easily repudiated. Nonetheless, we must learn to resist all of them.

Satan is neither omniscient nor omnipresent. He is, however, acquainted with many things, for through his evil spirits—the sinful angels—he has spread an intelligence network throughout the earth. When we are idle, Satan easily puts something that is known to him, but not to us, into our thought. He injects the intelligence that his secret service has obtained into our thoughts. He makes us fancy something, imagine something, and thus thrusts his intelligence into our mind. As soon as we ponder it and accept it, it becomes real to us. God’s children, therefore, must reject all communications from Satan, even if such communications do shed light on things. We should refuse to know anything that does not come to our knowledge by revelation received through prayer.

A child of God must not be curious or nosy. If he is not, he will escape many Satanic thoughts. If he is, Satan will supply him endlessly with some of the many things he knows. The Christian at first may think that such knowledge is beneficial. However, if he continues to accept these thoughts, he will soon become a pawn in Satan’s hand. Satan will employ the Christian’s mind to do his work. It is for this reason that one must resist all causeless thoughts. Whenever a thought about another brother’s fault flashes into one’s mind, if it comes from the thought of the mind and not from the consciousness of the Spirit, it should be rejected. If it is accepted, it will eventually become a personal conviction. One who thinks a brother has done him wrong will soon reckon it to be real. Consequently, he will break fellowship with his brother.

Unless these sudden thoughts are cut off at the beginning, they will get out of hand afterward. When Satanic temptations first invade the mind, they are relatively easy to deal with; but once they become “facts” in the mind, they are most difficult to get rid of. For this reason we must deal with thoughts. We must reject all unclean thoughts lest we sin. We must actively use our mind so as not to live a loose and dissipated life. Under God’s light, we shall see that many sins come through receiving temptations in the thought life.

Let me reiterate: after a thought is first resisted, the matter is considered closed. When the thought comes the second time, it should be ignored. In other words, when a thought first comes to you, resist it by faith, believing that it has fled away. Should it present itself the second time, it comes as a lie, not the truth. Therefore, you must reckon it as false and declare that you have already resisted it. Take this position until the thought flees. If you acknowledge the returned thought as true, you shall soon find it so attached to you that you can hardly throw it off. Many defeats may be attributed to this error. If you resist the devil, he will flee from you. This is the word of the Lord and it is totally trustworthy. Whatever Satan says is undependable. The Lord says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7). Therefore, that which comes back again must be a fake and should be totally discredited.

Why are the minds of so many Christians confused? It is because they are always resisting. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” says the Bible. Resist him once, and he will flee. You ought to believe that he has fled away. You do not need to resist him many times. Simply believe that he has fled, for this is in accordance with God’s Word. Whatever then comes back is not true. You can well afford to ignore it, and, if you do, it will soon disappear. It lurks just outside the door, trying to peep in; if you reckon it as true, it will immediately step in. So, the basic principle is: resist the first time, ignore the second time. If a second time indeed comes, you do not even need to resist; all that is necessary is to not pay the slightest attention. To resist the second time is to discredit the first resistance; to resist the third time is to refute the first and the second resistances, and so on. Each new resistance means one more distrust of your former resistance. Because you do not believe what the Lord has said, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” you resist to the hundredth time. You will be occupied with resisting from dawn to dusk. The more you think, the more confused you become. The more you use your mind, the more severely you suffer. Therefore, do not resist foolishly. Simply believe that once resisted the devil will flee.

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**By Watchman Nee from his book “Love One Another” / Picture by Knowledge Media

35 Signs of A General and Spiritual Narcissist aka The Jezebel Spirit

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

A narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which a person has an inflated sense of self or importance. This disorder can cause challenges in all areas of life—at work, at home, in your health, and in your relationships. A narcissist is often characterized by behaviours of grandiosity. One of the root causes of narcissism is pride and wanting to exalt oneself above others, more on pride here. “Narcissism is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride.” Quote by DC Robertsson.

It may be easy to spot narcissistic behaviour in someone else, but it can be more difficult to identify that same behaviour within oneself. When we’re looking inward, we often sugar coat our behaviour or deny it altogether.

If you are a narcissist, you might not think anything is wrong with you. That would be an expected response. It can be an insult to a fragile self-esteem to admit your need for treatment, but we want to encourage you to first admit there’s a problem, then seek the Lord in prayer for spiritual healing, as the Lord Jesus is also known as the Great Physician, the healer and restorer of all things. You can also seek assistance from a trusted Christian counsellor. This will help you find other ways to improve your self-esteem and self-worth without these damaging behaviours.

It’s sad to say, but not everyone who claims to be Christian is really a follower of Christ. Many are simply pursuing their own agendas, be it money, fame, or power. These false disciples come in many shapes and forms, but perhaps none is more dangerous as the Spiritual Narcissist. A Spiritual Narcissist is someone who uses the Gospel to build themselves up while they tear others down. If left unchecked, their actions can inflict devastating harm on both Christians and non-Christians alike.

35 Narcissistic Traits

If a number of the narcissistic traits listed below are present in your life, we would encourage to reach out first to the Lord and /or a licensed Christian counsellor.

1. You ignore people’s boundaries

You might not feel like other people’s boundaries apply to you or that it’s not a big deal if you cross them. In fact, you may get a kick out of crossing them and getting a reaction out of the individual. On the other hand, you might not even notice another person’s boundaries or pick up on social cues that something is not acceptable.

When someone communicates a boundary with you, you may be shocked and feel a need for them to explain why you have to follow it and why it applies to you rather than simply respecting the boundary.

2. You feel superior to other people

You might look down on other people and feel like you are far superior to them in intelligence, looks, talent, and more. This superiority typically exceeds narcissists actual abilities or talents and is a defence mechanism meant to protect them from feeling vulnerable or putting a dent in their self-esteem.

3. You suffer from extreme perfectionism

You might suffer from extreme perfectionism and get enraged when you or others don’t perform according to your standards.

4. You have an excessive need for constant validation and attention

If you’re not getting attention or validation from other people, you may feel discouraged, unloved, and depressed. You might be incapable of validating yourself or feeling worthwhile without others telling you so.

5. You blame and shame others and never accept responsibility

If another person makes a mistake, you may intentionally shame them in an effort to damage their self-worth (lest they think they’re better than you). When you make a mistake, you also likely never accept responsibility and pass the blame on to someone else.

6. You get pleasure from putting other people down or causing them harm 

You might take pleasure in making people cry or hurting their feelings, giving you a sense of power to have such an impact on that person. It may also make you feel a sense of control.

7. You lack empathy and compassion

You may scoff at someone’s misfortune or fail to feel sympathy for someone who is ill. If someone in your life dies, you may feel very little emotion and lack compassion for those who are experiencing a loss.

8. You have a sense of entitlement

You may begrudge the world and think that people owe you. You might think you deserve more than you’ve gotten out of life or that you deserve a better job, higher pay check, better partner, or more expensive car. You may look to the luxuries of the world and believe you have a right to them.

9. You are arrogant and conceited

Paradoxically, underneath it all, narcissists often have very fragile self-esteem and are hypersensitive. But, narcissists are often at the same time extremely arrogant and conceited. You may believe no one would refuse you, find you unattractive or unqualified, or not choose you for a promotion, partner, project, etc.

10. You exaggerate your skills, talents, and achievements

You may over-exaggerate your abilities or what you’ve achieved in life and truly believe that you are at the top-level when it’s very apparent to others that you’re not. When you and someone else tell a story about the same experience but there are glaring differences and inconsistencies.

11. You are preoccupied with success, power, outward appearances, or status symbols

You may be preoccupied with achieving power through money, authority, position, or leadership. You could be obsessed with obtaining status symbols such as a large home, sports car, “trophy wife or husband,” vacation home, yacht, country club membership, and more.

You might be so focused on your appearance that you spend hours obsessing over what you eat, working out, or undergoing plastic surgery. You might also demand a partner do the same, too.

12. You constantly feel underappreciated or undervalued

If you fail to receive the recognition, thanks, or applause you feel you deserve you might feel underappreciated or undervalued. Even if you do receive it, but not to the level or degree you believe you should, you may still feel this way. You might constantly think people are taking advantage of you or do not understand how lucky they are to have you in their life.

13. You are self-righteous

You may believe you do everything right and never make mistakes. You might believe that you follow all of God’s rules or obey the ten commandments and because of this, you are holier than other people.

14. You think everyone else is ignorant

You may think that everyone else is stupid or less knowledgeable than you. You may expect them to mess-up, not know what you know, or need your help if they’re going to succeed.

15. You like to control others and get them to do your bidding

You may get a power high from getting others to do your bidding or manipulating them into doing so without them knowing it. You might like to control when a partner can do something and how often. You might also go out of your way to try to control your environment and mitigate risk to your ego.

16. You despise talking about feelings or emotions

Narcissists often struggle controlling their emotions and change the subject any time feelings or emotions are brought up. They may refuse to “go there,” change the topic or huff at the idea of needing to be “sensitive or talk about that kind of thing.”

17. You don’t listen, you just wait to talk

If you’re a narcissist, you may dominate conversations. When someone else is talking, you might not be listening, but rather just waiting to talk or occupying your mind thinking about all that you’re going to say and the points you’re going to make.

18. You are unfaithful in relationships

You might get a kick out of seducing others or getting them to do things they’d never do for you. You might feel an insatiable need to ensure other people are still attracted to you and even hold that over a partner’s head, warning him or her that if he or she isn’t on his or her best behaviour, you can always get someone else.

19. You often have people end relationships with you in less than six months

If you find that individuals regularly break up with you once they’ve got time to know you and all comment on similar behaviours as a reason why you might be a narcissist.

Often times in a relationship, it takes a while for the relationship to reach a level of comfort where an individual starts letting their guard down and showing their true character. If partners have repeatedly brought up troublesome behaviours and left you because of it, you may have some narcissistic behaviours.

20. You are a serial dater or seducer

Since narcissists get their validation from other people, you might be a serial dater or serial seducer, getting your sense of worth from how many people say “yes” to you or find you charming or attractive.

21. You are hypersensitive to slights

If you’re a narcissist, you might be incredibly sensitive to slights or criticism. These slights and critiques can be highly damaging to a fragile ego and may cause extreme rage or depression.

22. You demand special favours and compliance

You may constantly demand special favours from people around you or demand extreme compliance from a partner or children. If you don’t receive those favours or compliance, you might become extremely agitated and aggressive. You will never consider that you might have asked too much, but that the individuals don’t understand your worth, value, or entitlement.

23. You struggle to deal with stress and adapting to change

Because narcissists like to control their external environment and other people, they can struggle to adapt to change or stress, which naturally make a person feel out of control.

24. You get aggressively angry when you don’t get what you want

If you don’t get what you want, you may blow up or fly into a rage that includes threatening others, breaking things, causing violence, and more.

25. You get unusually depressed or upset when you fall short or fail

You may beat yourself up (or physically punish yourself) for not achieving a certain result, making a bad decision, or failing at a goal.

Below are 10 warning signs that you may be dealing with a Spiritual Narcissist:

1. They Constantly Reference their own Achievements

The Spiritual Narcissist loves to self-promote. For them, every conversation is an opportunity to share just how superior they are to the average believer. They typically go about this by listing off their own achievements. You’ll hear them talk incessantly about their upcoming book, their latest blog post, sermon series, missions work, or that time they led someone to Christ. Scripture tells us not seek our own glory and to let our work stand on its own (Proverbs 27:2), but the Spiritual Narcissist will flaunt anything they believe might bring them praise.

The best way for Christians to counter this display is to follow the example of Micah 6:8, live justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with the LORD your God.

2. They Invade Conversations

The Spiritual Narcissist craves control, and their highest authority is always their own self-reference. As a result, it’s not uncommon for them to invade the personal or private conversations of others. They’ll often do this under the guise of “helping” or “correcting” fellow Christians, but they have no real interest in two-way dialogue. You’ll notice they also have a way of injecting their own opinions into situations, and are the first voice their complaints about recent events in the Church. The Bible warns that such people create division among believers and serve only their own appetites (Romans 16:17-18, Psalms 36:1-4).

There’s no good way to speak with Spiritual Narcissists (Proverbs 26:4-5), the best response Christians can make is stand their ground and refuse to be bullied.

3. They Twist Scripture

Someone once said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires”. In the same way, a Spiritual Narcissist uses scripture as a tool for their purpose instead of God’s. They approach the Bible with a closed mind, memorizing only a handful of useful verses that will justify their behaviour. Anything else, particularly scripture that conflicts with their actions, gets ignored. Like the men of Jude 1:4, they should not to be trusted.

The best defence Christians have against this kind of faulty theology is to simply read the Bible. The more familiar we become with God’s work, the more familiar we become with God.

4. They Profess Love, but Never Show It

Perhaps the easiest way to identify a Spiritual Narcissist is to see if their works match their words. Many will claim they have nothing but love and compassion in their hearts for those they rebuke, but their actions prove otherwise. Matthew 7 teaches us that we can judge a prophet by the fruit of his labours, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” So, what kind of harvest do they bring to God’s table? Division? Disdain? Cruelty?

Love is more than words, love is actions. That’s what separates the true Christian from the Spiritual Narcissist.

5. They Talk, but They Don’t Listen

Listening can be a powerful tool for Christians. Listening builds trust, creates empathy, and fosters understanding among individuals. James 1:19 even urges believers to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. The Spiritual Narcissist, by contrast, is quick to speak, quick to take offense, and incapable of listening. They enjoy being the loudest one in the room, and the idea of deferring to someone else galls them.

A true Christian listens to others, even when they might not agree with them. Listening requires that we be selfless, which is the one thing a Spiritual Narcissist can never be.

6. They Live in Echo Chambers

In 1 Kings 22Jehoshaphat king of Judah and Ahab king of Israel join forces to wage war against a neighbouring adversary. However, before they depart Jehoshaphat decides to inquire upon the Lord for guidance. Four hundred prophets’ parade in front of the kings proclaiming victory is at hand, but Jehoshaphat isn’t convinced. When asked whether there is still a disciple of the Lord they can speak with, Ahab reluctantly admits,

“There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”    

Like Ahab, the Spiritual Narcissist lives in their own personal echo chamber. They surround themselves with individuals who will always affirm their existing preconceptions or opinions. Don’t make the same mistake. A wise Christian knows the right answer isn’t always the popular one.

7. They Refuse to Acknowledge Their Mistakes 

No one likes admitting they were wrong. It’s a humbling (and let’s be honest, sometimes embarrassing) experience, but accepting responsibility for your mistakes is the first step towards real maturity. Naturally, the Spiritual Narcissist will have none of it. Even when confronted with insurmountable evidence, the Spiritual Narcissist will continue to defend their actions as right. For them, it’s not about the greater good, it’s about protecting their self-image.     

Humility is a precious gift. It allows us to learn from our mistakes, recognize our faults, and grow into better people because of it. Take some advice from Philippians 3:13, accept what you’ve done wrong and strive to live for what comes ahead!

9. They Lead by Force, Not Example

A Spiritual Narcissist makes for the worst kind of leader. They’re petty, uncompromising, spiteful, and controlling. Heaven help the ministry which falls under their stewardship. By comparison, great leaders have always inspired their followers by example. They correct others without humiliating them, mentor those who need growth, and weigh their words carefully before speaking.

Take David, who despite his faults, showed humility and wisdom for God’s anointed rulers (1 Samuel 24). What about Peter? He spent his life testifying to Christ’s resurrection and building bridges of fellowship between strangers (Acts 10). Unlike the Spiritual Narcissist, a true leader knows their duty is to serve, not be served.

10. They Ultimately Put God Second

An expert in the law once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. His reply,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” – Matthew 22:37-40

Many Christians know this verse by heart, but the meaning behind Christ’s words goes much farther than we realize. Not only is Jesus calling believers to love God with all their heart, he’s telling them our faithfulness is affirmed by our love for our neighbours. To put it simply: we can only love God if we’re unselfish. A Spiritual Narcissist will always put God second. Whether it’s by neglecting Christ’s commands, or how they treat their neighbours, pride will always make a person spiritually toxic. Don’t let yourself miss out on God’s amazing plan by being a Spiritual Narcissist.

Some More Bible Examples and Verses

Bible examples of people with one of the variant types of narcissism from covert, overt / grandiose, somatic, sexual, malignant, cerebral and spiritual: Cain, Laban, Jezebel, King Ahab, Haman, Potiphar’s wife, King Saul, Nebuchadnezzar, Delilah, King Herod, Diotrophes, Ananias & Sapphira, King Sennacherib, The people of Sodom, Herodias, King Ahasuerus, Adonijah, Absalom, Judas, the Pharisees and Satan the devil.

But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 amp)

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!” (2 Corinthians 11:13-21)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 1-3)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Christian Counselling to Overcome Narcissistic Traits

If you recognize these narcissistic traits in yourself, getting treatment can help you overcome your internal and external conflicts for a more enjoyable life and better relationships. Reach out to God in prayer for healing (sometimes deliverance is needed) and us, for Christian counselling to overcome narcissism. You were created in the image of God for the purpose of bringing Him glory. Perhaps you are currently in a season in which you do not feel that you are bringing glory to God. Maybe you are even questioning whether you were made in His image. Many people reach a point in their lives when they feel stuck. They want to move forward, but they feel powerless and don’t know where to turn. Using biblical principles, warmth, and patience, I will work with you to seek lasting, positive change that will help you reflect God’s image and bring Him glory.

Side Note: We are all sinners saved by grace, and we all need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. May the Lord help us to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and give us much grace, discernment and wisdom in these last days.

**How to have a relationship with God : The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

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**By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC at Bothell Christian Counselling & Ryan Duncan at Crosswalk.com / Photo by Lilartsy at Pexels

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Take away notes from David Pawson’s sermon above on, ‘once saved always saved?

The Bible warns that some will depart from the faith in the last days, you can’t depart or fall away from the faith unless you were a part of it to begin with: 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

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” ~ 2 Peter 2:20-22

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. ~2 Timothy 3:1-5

The Bible warns about backsliding, you can’t back slide if you didn’t slide forward to begin with: Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” ~ Luke 9:62

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. ~ James 5:19-20

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. ~ Hebrews 6:4-6

Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return. ~ Jeremiah 8:5

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

There’s also reference in the Bible of people’s names being blotted out of the book of life, your name can’t be blotted out unless it was written there in the first place:

Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. ~ Revelation 3:3-6

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. ~ Revelation 22:19

There are numerous verses that certain people will not inherit the Kingdom of God, whether they call themselves a ‘Christian’ or not:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.  ~ Matthew 18:8-9

God is holy so you must be holy (1 Peter 1:16), you need to enter into the narrow gate (Luke 13:24) and aim to be perfect as the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48); you will be sanctified and changed overtime and conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 12:2; 8:22). If you’re born again you can still fall away. Jude refers to it as being twice dead (Jude 1:12). Remember in revelation it states the devil makes war with those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ and keep the commandments of God (Revelation 3:17). Now most people do one without the other, for instance, lukewarm Christians (revelation 3:16) have the testimony of Jesus but are living in intentional sin. The Jews keep the commandments of God, but do not have the testimony of Jesus. To say that you have eternal security but continue to live in intentional sin and don’t repent i.e., of pornography, lying, stealing, fornication etc… (2 Corinthians 5:17) is delusional. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.

 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:6-8

At the end of the day whether you agree or disagree, it’s better to live a life as if being saved and err on the side of caution than to get it completely wrong and think that you could live as you like and still go to heaven… those who love God seek to do His will and obey His Word. Let God be true and every man an liar (Romans 3:4). Please read God’s Word, the Bible, for yourself and remember to “put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The enemy of the saints, the devil, was a liar and deceiver from the beginning… remember Eve in the garden.

~ there is none good, but God

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**How to have a relationship with God and be saved: The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE

**Picture by John McGlone