Avoiding The Web of Deception

I don’t particularly like spiders; but have you ever watched one getting ready to eat? Using just the right number of sticky threads, he carefully prepares his web and positions himself to wait for an unsuspecting victim. When one comes along and is caught, the spider feels its vibrations and immediately runs to devour his meal.

Like a spider seeking his prey, the enemy of your soul is hoping to have you for a snack. The Bible says you should “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). One of the ways Satan devours Christians is through false ministries. He strategically sets up his web of deception and waits for you; but he can only devour you if you let him.

As God pours out His Holy Spirit in these last days, you can expect to see more and more legitimate signs and wonders. But, whenever God begins to move, the devil always tries to distract people with a counterfeit move. Jesus said, “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and they shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive even the very elect”  (Matthew 24:24). This prophecy has been in the fulfillment stage for about 2000 years but never more so than at the present time. Satan knows his time is short, and he is doing all he can to deceive God’s people. Therefore, you need to be spiritually sharp so you can avoid the devil’s web of deception.

Seeing is not Believing

Many people unwittingly get caught in the devil’s web of deception because of their eagerness for supernatural experiences. Even some Christians think that just because an occurrence is supernatural, it must be from God. They couldn’t be more wrong! The Apostle John wrote, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, to see if they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We’re told not to blindly believe every spirit, prophet or prophecy, but to test the spirits and judge the prophecy. In other words, don’t just look for supernatural experiences. Instead, look for those things you are certain come from God.

When the Holy Spirit was being poured out in the book of Acts, something very tangible occurred. In fact, the devout Jews criticized what was taking place and tried to explain it away as drunkenness. Peter gave us some good criteria for judging supernatural manifestations when he said, “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:15-18). Notice he said, “This is that.” If you cannot look at an experience and find it in scripture, you don’t want it as part of your theology!

Recognizing False Ministries

False ministers point to themselves and not to Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:28-30). False ministers draw disciples to themselves, claiming to have spiritual insight local pastors and church leaders do not have. They have a “special” revelation from God. True ministers are messengers who always point to Jesus, not themselves.

False ministers are usually critical of local church leadership. Jude referred to ungodly men who deny the Lord as “grumblers and faultfinders who follow their own evil desires.” They were recognized as those who boasted about themselves and flattered others for their own advantage. That is what deceivers do — they attack and criticize the leadership of your local church while exalting themselves

False prophets usually bring a negative message, especially for those who resist their “ministry.” Their theme is doom, gloom, and destruction. The first time I went to Russia, someone prophesied I was going to die in a plane crash. I prayed about it and didn’t feel the prophecy was right. So, I went as planned and, in just one meeting, over a thousand people were saved. Five hundred churches were planted as a result of that trip. If I were the devil, I would have tried to stop it, too!

The Bible says we are to be led by the Spirit of God, not by prophetic words. If I had I allowed myself to be directed by prophecy alone, I’d never have gone to Russia. Just remember, prophecy should be used to confirm what God is already speaking to you.

False ministers will let you know they are “special” messengers from God. They want to make you believe God speaks to them in a way He does not speak to you. Many people have regrettably poured their hearts, their finances, and their lives into the hands of false ministers just because they were told, “God sent me to you.” Remember, a person is not necessarily on a divine mission from God just because they say so.

One of the easiest ways to spot a false ministry is by discerning the spirit of the minister. A true representative of God is teachable and humble. False ministers are rebellious and un-teachable. They feel no one but God has the right to tell them what to do. Be careful not to get involved with such a minister. If they have a know-it-all attitude, they have already opened the door to the devil’s deception. You don’t want to walk through the door with them!

False ministers display “gifts,” but their fruit is bad. Jesus warned, “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 thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Mat 7:15-17). He did not say you would know the good from the bad by signs, miracles, or gifts, but by their fruit. Learn to look beyond the supernatural display to examine the fruit of the ministry.

Finally, false ministers are often “drifters” who have no real roots. If you could do a background check on them, you would probably find that false ministers have gone from church to church, leaving a long trail of confusion, division, deception, and destruction. The Bible says we are to know those who labor among us. In other words, don’t blindly receive the ministry of someone who is not known or recognized by your local leadership.

Knowing the Truth

The most important thing you can do to discern a false ministry is to know what a true ministry looks like. The better you know someone, the less likely you are to be fooled by someone disguised as that person. The better you know the Lord, the less likely you are to be fooled by someone falsely representing him.

I challenge you to stay full of the Holy Spirit and to stay in the Word of God. Hold your local church leadership in high regard, recognizing that they may see things you do not see. Finally, take a bold stand against false ministries and help those who are deceived.

Signs of False Ministries

1. They point to themselves, not to Jesus.
2. They are critical of local church leadership.
3. They bring a negative message.
4. They say they are “special” messengers sent from God.
5. They’re usually rebellious and un-teachable.
6. They display “gifts” but have bad fruit.
7. They’re “drifters” who have no verifiable roots.

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**By Duane Vander Klok at walkingbyfaith.tv / Photo by Pixabay

Invisible Barriers to Healing

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

God provides healing as part of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. But what do you do when you don’t see the healing manifest in the physical realm? Derek Prince discloses six common barriers to healing—and how to overcome them. The notes below are from the sermon here: Invisible Barriers to Healing

Common Barriers To Receiving Healing

A. Ignorance (Isaiah 5:13; Hosea 4:6)

B. Unbelief (Hebrews 3:12–13)

Prayer: “Oh, God, I come to You in Jesus’ Name, and I confess my sin of unbelief. I do not try to excuse it. I am responsible for it. I am sorry for it. I ask You to forgive me and to deliver me from it and impart to me Your faith. I want to declare: I believe in God the Father, I believe in Jesus Christ His Son, I believe in God the Holy Spirit, and I believe in the Bible—the true, authoritative Word of God. I believe, Lord Jesus, what you said, “God’s Word is the truth.” Amen.”

C. Unconfessed sin (Proverbs 28:13) [Ask God to reveal any areas of unconfessed sin]

Prayer: “Oh, God, I acknowledge I am sorry. Forgive me, cleanse me in the blood of Jesus. Thank you for forgiving me, God. I receive your forgiveness. Now, God, because You have forgiven me, I forgive myself.”

D. Resentment and unforgiveness toward others (Mark 11:25)

Prayer: “Holy Spirit, I ask You now in Jesus’ Name to speak to my heart and show me areas of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness and make me willing to forgive. If there has been any resentment in my heart—any unforgiveness, any bitterness— I renounce it now. I lay it down. If anyone has ever harmed me or wronged me, I forgive them now, as I would have God forgive me. Lord, I forgive them in Your Name, and I believe You forgive me. Thank you, Lord, in Jesus’ Name.”

E. Occult involvement (Exodus 23:24–26):

1. Fortune-telling

2. Ouija board

3. Horoscopes

4. Superstition

5. Rock music

6. Drugs, etc.

Prayer: “Lord, if I have ever been involved in the occult, even ignorantly, whatever it was, I confess it as a sin and I renounce it. I ask You to forgive me and I commit myself now that never again will I be involved in those things. Forgive me, Lord, and release me from their influence. Right now. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.”

F. Freemasonry (Exodus 23:32):

1. False religious system

2. Royal Arch Degree – The god Jabulon (Ja = Jehovah, bul = Baal, on = Osiris). This is an abomination in the sight of the Lord.

3. One example: Woman with baby, six weeks old, that would not take nourishment (girl’s father was a Freemason). Baby took three full bottles after curse broken.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, I want to serve You and love You. If there is in my life (or in my family) a curse of Freemasonry or any other cult, I ask You to release me and forgive me and break its power over me right now. In Jesus’ Name.”

G. Effects of a curse over a family:

1. Mental and emotional breakdown

2. Repeated and chronic sicknesses (especially hereditary)

3. Repeated miscarriages or female problems, barrenness, etc.

4. Breakdown of marriage and family alienation

5. Continuing financial insufficiency

6. Accident prone

7. Suicides or unnatural deaths

Prayer: “Thank you, Lord Jesus, that on the cross You were made a curse that I might be redeemed from the curse and enter into the blessing. And because of what You did, Lord Jesus, in Your precious Name I release myself from every curse over me and my family and I claim the blessing that You purchased for me with Your blood. Thank you, Lord Jesus.”

H. Evil spirits associated with sickness (Luke 4:40–41).

Direct cause of sickness:

1. Spirits of infirmity, crippling, pain

2. Curvature of the spine

3. Spirit of death (Look on dark side of things, morbidity, dressing darkly)

Prayer: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” (Ps. 118:17) I. Ministry to the sick (Mark 16:18) After prayer, keep your plug in.

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**Courtesy of Derek Prince Ministries

** The spiritual warfare prayer

Overcoming Sexual Passions

In Ezekiel 16:49-50, God describes the real sins of Sodom that led to the destruction of that city (in Genesis 19). Most of us have always associated Sodom with sodomy (homosexuality) and other sexual sins. But sexual sin was the ultimate result of a way of life. What was it that led them into such depths of evil? Here we are told that Sodom’s sins were actually:

1.Pride

2. Laziness

3. Gluttony (love of good food)

4. Neglecting the poor and needy

These were the reasons why God wiped out that city. It is interesting to note that God does not even mention their sexual sin. Sexual sin in Sodom was the result of their lazy, comfortable life-style. What can we learn from this? That there is a close connection between:

  • Pride and sexual sin.
  • Laziness and sexual sin.
  • Gluttony and sexual sin.
  • A lack of concern for other people and sexual sin.

Consider just these four areas. Many of you who are young have to admit that you are finding it very difficult to overcome your sexual passions. That is an extremely difficult area. But why not begin by overcoming in these four easier areas? You may, then, find it easier to overcome in the sexual area.

Begin first of all, by humbling yourself in all situations. Avoid all arrogance.

Then begin to be hard-working and diligent in whatever you do.

Then try fasting – avoiding food – once in a while.

And fourthly, begin to think a little more about the needs of people around you and see how you can help them.

Try this prescription for one year and you may discover that overcoming your sexual passions becomes easier. We cannot overcome any sin without grace from God – but He gives His grace only to the humble; and He helps only those who are kind and helpful to others.


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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

**Videos on overcoming addictions and sexual sin can be found HERE!

Spiritual Vows To Make and Keep

Some people object to taking vows, but in the Bible you will find many great men of God directed by covenants, promises, vows, and pledges. The psalmist was not averse to the taking of vows. He said, “Thy vows are upon me, 0 God, I will render my praises unto thee” (Psalm 56:12).

My counsel in this matter is that if you are really concerned about spiritual improvement – the gaining of new power, new life, new joy, and new personal revival within your heart -you will do well to make certain vows and proceed to keep them. if you should fail, go down in humility and repent and start over. But always keep these vows before you. They will help harmonize your heart with the vast powers that flow out and down from the throne where Christ sits at the right hand of God

A carnal man refuses the discipline of such commitments. He says, “I want to be free. I don’t want to lay any vows upon myself; I don’t believe in it; it is legalism.” Well, let me paint a picture of two men.

One of them will not take vows. He will not accept any responsibility. He wants to be free. And he is free – in a measure – just as a tramp is free. The tramp is free to sit on a park bench by day, sleep on a newspaper by night, get chased out of town on Thursday morning, and find his way up a set of creaky stairs in some flophouse on Thursday night. Such a man is free, but he is also useless. He clutters up the world whose air he breathes.

Let’s look at another man – maybe a president or prime minister or any great man who carries upon himself the weight of government. Such men are not free. But in the sacrifice of their freedom they step up their power. if they insist upon being free, they can be free, just like the tramp. But they choose rather to be bound.

There are many religious tramps in the world who will not be bound by anything. They have turned the grace of God into personal license. But the great souls are the ones who have gone reverently to God with the understanding that in their flesh dwells no good thing. And they knew that without God’s enablement any vows taken would be broken before sundown. Nevertheless, believing in God, reverently they took certain sacred vows. This is the way to spiritual power. There are five vows I have in mind which we do well to make and to keep.

1. DEAL THOROUGHLY WITH SIN
Sin has been driven underground these days and has come up with a new name and face. You may be subjected to this phenomenon in the schools. Sin is being called by various fancy names – anything but what it really is. For example, men don’t get under conviction any more; they get a guilt complex.

Instead of confessing their guilt to God and getting rid of it, they sit on a couch and try and tell a man who ought to know better all about themselves. it comes out after a while that they were deeply disappointed when they were two years old or some such thing. That’s supposed to make them better.

The whole thing is ridiculous, because sin is still the ancient enemy of the soul. it has never changed. We’ve got to deal firmly with sin in our lives. Let’s remember that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Righteousness lies at the door of the kingdom of God. The soul that sins, it shall die.

This is not to preach sinless perfection. This is to say that every known sin is to be named, identified, and repudiated and that we must trust God for deliverance from it so that there is no conscious, deliberate sin anywhere in our lives. It is absolutely necessary that we deal thus, because God is a holy God and sin is on the throne of the world.

So don’t call your sins by some other name. if you’re jealous, call it jealousy. If you tend to pity yourself and feel that you are not appreciated, call it what it is – self-pity.

And then there is your temper. Don’t call it indignation. Don’t try to christen it by some other name Call it what it is. Because if you have a bad temper you will either get rid of it, or it will get rid of much of your spirituality and most of your joy. So let’s deal with sin thoroughly. Let’s be perfectly candid. God loves candid people.


2. NEVER OWN ANYTHING
I do not mean by this that you cannot have things. I mean that you ought to get delivered from the sense of possessing them. This sense of possessing is what hinders us. All babies are born with their fists clenched, and it seems to me it means, “This is mine!” One of the first things they say when they begin to speak, is “mine” in an angry voice. That sense of “This is mine” ‘is a very injurious thing to the spirit. If you can get rid of it so that you have no feeling of possessing anything, there will come a great sense of freedom and liberty into your life.
Now don’t think that you must sell all that you have and give it to charity. No. God will let you have your car and your business, your practice and your position, whatever it may be – provided you understand that it is not yours at all, but His, and all you are doing is just working for Him. You can be restful about it then, because we never need to worry about losing anything that belongs to someone else. If it is yours, you are always looking in your hand to see if it is still there. If it is God’s, you no longer need to worry about it.
Let me point out some things you’ll have to turn over to God. Property is one thing. Some of the dear Lord’s children are being held back because there is a ball and chain on their legs. if it is a man, it’s his big car and fine home. If it is a woman, it’s her china and her Louis XIV furniture and all the rest. Take that vase for instance. There it stands. And if anybody knocked it off and broke it, the poor owner would probably lose five years from her life! it is always necessary to remember that we are only stewards of that which is usually called a possession.

3. NEVER DEFEND YOURSELF
We are all born with a desire to defend ourselves. And if you insist upon defending yourself, God will let you do it But if on turn the defense of yourself over to God, He will defend you. He told Moses in Exodus 23: “I will be an enemy unto thine enemies and an adversary to thine adversaries.”

What do we defend? Well, we defend our talents; we defend our service; and particularly, we defend our reputation. Your reputation is what people think you are, and if a story gets out about you, the big temptation is to try to run it down.

Henry Suso was a great Christian of other days. Once he was seeking what some Christians have told me they are seeking to know God better. Let’s put it like this: You are seeking to have a religious awakening within your spirit that will thrust you farther out into the deep things of God. Well, as Henry Suso was seeking God, people started telling evil stories about the man, and it grieved him so that he wept bitter tears and had great sorrow of heart.

Then one day he looked out the window and saw a dog playing on the lawn. The dog had a mat, and kept picking the mat up, tossing it over his shoulder, running and getting it, tossing it some more, picking it up and tossing it again. God said to Henry Suso, “That mat is your reputation, and I am letting the dogs of sin tear your reputation to shreds and toss it all over the lawn for your own good, but one of these days things will change.”

And this did change. it was not very long before the people who were tearing his reputation were confounded, and Suso rose into a place that made him a power in his day and a great blessing still to those who sing his hymns and read his works.

4. GUARD YOUR WORDS ABOUT OTHERS
Never pass anything on – about anybody else that will hurt him. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). The talebearer has no place in God’s favor. if you know something that would hinder or hurt the reputation of one of God’s children, bury it forever. Find a little garden out back – a little spot somewhere – and when somebody comes around with an evil story, take it out and bury it and say, “Here lies in peace the story about my brother.” God will take care of it. “With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.”

if you want God to be good to you, you are going to have to be good to His children. You say, “But that’s not grace.” Well, grace gets you into the kingdom of God. That is unmerited favor. But after you are seated at the Father’s table, He expects to teach you table manners. And He won’t let you eat unless you obey the etiquette of the table. And what is that? The etiquette of the table is that you don’t tell stories about the brother who is sitting at the table with you – no matter what his denomination, or nationality, or background.

5. NEVER ACCEPT ANY GLORY
God is jealous of His glory and He will not give His glory to another. He will not even share His glory with another. It is quite natural, I should say, for people to hope that maybe their Christian service will give them a chance to display their talents. True, they want to serve the Lord. But they also want other people to know they are serving the Lord. They want to have a reputation among the saints. That is very dangerous ground – seeking a reputation among the saints. It’s bad enough to seek a reputation in the world, but it’s worse to seek a reputation among the people of God. Our Lord gave up His reputation, and so must we.

Meister Eckhart once preached a sermon on Christ cleansing the Temple. He said, “Now there was nothing wrong with those men selling and buying there. There was nothing wrong with exchanging money there; it had to be. The sin lay in their doing it for profit. They got a percentage on serving the Lord.” And then he made the application: “Anybody that serves for a commission, for what little bit of glory he can get out of it, is a merchant, and he ought to be cast out of the temple.”

I go along with this. If you are serving the Lord, and yet slyly -perhaps scarcely known to you – you are hoping to get just a little five percent commission, then look out! it will chill the power of God in your spirit. You must determine that you will never take any glory, but see that God gets it all.

Now, it is the easiest possible thing to give a message like this. The hard thing is to make it work in one’s own life. Remember that these five vows are not something you write in the back of your Bible and forget. They have got to be written in your own blood. They have to be made final, irrevocable, if it only comes off the surface, it is no good. Much of our consecration is just that way – it comes off the surface. Many of our promises conic off the surface. No, no. Let it come out of the depths of your heart, the deep depths of’ your spirit.

These vows cut against the old human nature. They introduce the cross into your life, and nobody ever walks back from carrying his cross. When you make these vows, remember, they strike at the heart of your self-life and there is never a place to go back to. And I say, “Woe unto the triflers!”

In America – and maybe in other places too – SO many people are saying, “Try Jesus try God!” Triflers, experimenters, tasters they arc. Like a rabbit with a half dozen holes so if one is stopped up lie can flee to another! No! From the cross there is no place to flee You don’t “try” Jesus. He is not there to be experimented with. Christ is not on trial. You are. I am. He is not! God raised Him from the dead and forever confirmed His deity and scaled Him and set Him at His own right hand as Lord and Christ. Turn everything over to Him, and you’ll find your life begin to lift. You’ll blossom in a wonderful way.

Now, if you happen to be one of those on whom God has laid His hand for a deeper life, a more powerful life, a fuller life -then I wonder if you would be willing to pray this kind of prayer: -0 God, glorify Thyself at my expense. Send me the bill – anything, Lord. I set no price. I will not dicker or bargain. Glorify Thyself. I’ll take the consequences.

This kind of praying is simple, but it’s deep and wonderful and powerful. I believe that if you can pray a prayer like that, it will be the ramp from which you can take off into higher heights and bluer skies in the things of the Spirit.

by A. W. Tozer

A Spiritual Check Up

 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.  (Proverbs 4:23-24)

 

A Spiritual Check UP

Did I speak any idle words today?

Did I indulge in overeating or laziness or any other filthy lust?

Have I spoken or thought evil of anyone today?

Did I act in a selfish way towards anyone today?

Was I happy or even unconcerned about someone else’s failure?

Did I seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first today?

Did I look for opportunities to witness for Christ and to do good?

Did I doubt the love or the power or the sovereignty of God today?

Was I proud of any accomplishment?

Was I discouraged or depressed over anything?

Did I do or say anything, which was not profitable or edifying?

Did I do to others as I would want them to do to me?

Was I carnally inquisitive or a busybody in anyone’s affairs?

Did I waste money on anything useless today?

Did I tell another what was told to me in confidence?

Was I impatient with anyone today?

How did I treat servants and those on a lower social scale?

Did I speak a word of encouragement or appreciation to anyone?

Did I show my love to the members of my family?

Did I consider myself as better than anyone else?

Did I pass judgment on anyone today – even in my thoughts?

Is there anyone I have not forgiven totally, from my heart?

Did I believe any evil story, without verifying the information?

Were my thoughts morally pure today?

Have I prayed for those who hate me and persecute me?

Was I jealous of anyone today?

Did I value and delight in my fellow-believers?

Was I concerned about the spiritual & physical needs of my brethren?

Is it possible that I might have hurt someone thoughtlessly?

Did I keep my word and my promises?

Was I a servant to all whom I came across today?

Have I cast my every care and burden on the Lord?

Was I concerned about the opinion of any man?

Did I waste any time today, or did I use the day profitably?

Was I alert to hear what the Lord had to say to me today?

Did I try to live simply, avoiding luxury as far as possible?

Did I share something of spiritual value with my children today?

Did I try to help my wife (husband) in her (his) work today?

Did I despise anyone who doesn’t have the same light as I have?

Is there any thought in my heart that is not good, towards anyone?

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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. Excerpt from Zac Poonen’s  – The Full Gospel. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

Have Patience With Me

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” Ephesians 4:2

“Have patience with me,” cried the slave as he begged his fellow-slave for mercy (Matt.18:29). This is also the unspoken cry that comes to us as housewives and mothers from many of those with whom we have to do each day. But we need to be sensitive in our spirits if we are to hear that cry – for it is unspoken. It may be that our children are slow at learning something that we have repeatedly been trying to teach them, and we are sorely tempted to become impatient with them. If we could hear their unspoken cry, saying, “Have patience with me, I am trying my best to do it right,” then it would be easier for us to overcome the temptation to get irritated with them.

Perhaps the servant who helps us with our work around the home is somewhat clumsy, and not as clean as we want her to be, and we are tempted to be hard on her. But her unspoken cry is, “Have patience with me. Give me another chance and I’ll improve” – and we are presented with another opportunity to be more gentle. Or it may be that our aged parents, being old and infirm, are now dependent on us. Their feeble, unspoken cry is also, “Have patience with me. I don’t want to trouble you, but I need your help now.” If we are sensitive to their feelings, we will hear their cry and help them, without depriving them of their dignity, and without letting them feel their dependence.

Perhaps the behaviour of our fellow-sisters in the church is a trial for us. Their unspoken cry is also, “Have patience with me. I still lack a lot of wisdom.” Then we realise that they also, like us, are struggling towards perfection.In such situations, we all find a tendency in our flesh to be like that unmerciful slave. Yet those are the very times when we need to remember afresh how much we have been forgiven by God, and how patient others have been with our own follies. So we should have our spiritual ears attuned at all times to hear the cry for patience that comes to us from our fellow-slaves – both young and old. Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:4).

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**By Dr Annie Poonen © Copyright – Annie Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

**Be blessed further by Annie Poonen with FREE books, articles and sermons: Here

22 Questions John Wesley’s Holy Club Asked Themselves Every Day

These are the questions that members of John Wesley’s Holy Club asked themselves every day in their private devotions over 200 years ago:

1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?

2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?

3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?

4. Can I be trusted?

5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?

6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?

7. Did the Bible live in me today?

8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?

9. Am I enjoying prayer?

10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?

11. Do I pray about the money I spend?

12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?

13. Do I disobey God in anything?

14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?

15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?

16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?

17. How do I spend my spare time?

18. Am I proud?

19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?

20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticise, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?

21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?

22. Is Christ real to me?

The A-Z of Pride

 

“PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTION, AND A HAUGHTY SPIRIT BEFORE A FALL.” – PROVERBS 16:18

A – Pride loves ATTENTION and honour from men. It loves compliments and flattery. The humble fear this since they recognise the temptation to steal God’s glory. The humble follow the principle to “Serve God then run away”, such as Jesus did when people tried to make Him king (John 6:15). We may not be able to run away from these moments physically, but in our heart we should be running away from all temptations to indulge in proud thoughts and steal the glory of God.Pride does many good works while secretly hoping someone noticed, being happy at the thought that someone apart from God may be thinking well of us. 

B – Pride is a spirit of BLAME. When something goes wrong, it assumes some other person or situation is at fault (Matt 7:3).  The proud make excuses when it is their fault, and can easily find reason why their mistake is actually the fault of another. 

C – Pride is COMPARISON. It’s one piece of dust saying to another piece of dust “look at how great I am, because I’m a bit bigger than you.” (Psalm 103:14, 2 Cor 10:12) 

D – Pride is DISOBEDIENCE to God.The main characteristic of humility was shown in Jesus’ obedience even to the point of death (Php 2:8).  Pride is plain and simple disobedience to the Lord in anything. 

E – Pride is ENTITLEMENT, it’s feeling that we deserve something from anyone, because of who we are or what we’ve done. For example: it is unwilling to be frugal in money because it feels entitled to buy what it likes. Or it can be an unwillingness to eat simple food, or take a simple vacation rather than a more luxurious one. Humility is never entitled, but keeps an attitude of unworthiness / undeservedness (Luke 17:10, Luke 5:8). Humility recognises that all we have comes from God (1 Cor 4:7). 

F – Pride loves to FIGHT (it is contentious, very quick to argue).  It sets itself to quarrel as long as it takes, until it wins the argument.Humility is letting the other person win the argument, and then changing the conversation to something else you can agree on without fighting, like sports or the weather. 

G – Pride GLORIES in past good works it has done.Pride is revisiting the good works we’ve done in our mind and patting ourselves on the back, taking satisfaction in what we’ve done “with our own hands” instead of giving God the glory (Daniel 4:30-37).

 H – Pride is very HARSH with other people in words or actions, it’s lacking in a critical fruit of the Spirit: gentleness (Gal 5:23).  Humility is gentleness (careful not to harm another even in little ways, such as a careless hurtful word or joke about someone).But pride leads to uncontrolled anger that ends up lashing out in harsh ways at others.

 I – Pride is IMPATIENT. For example, a proud person gets quickly frustrated with a coworker who is slow to respond, with a slow driver on the road, or with a crying child because he feels he deserves much quiet time to himself. 

J – Pride JUSTIFIES itself (Luke 16:15), and JUDGES others, looking down on others in the heart (Matt 7:1). It often joins hands with the accuser (Rev 12:10), focusing on the sins of others, and excusing its own sins. 

K – Pride often gets puffed up with KNOWLEDGE (1 Corinthians 8:1).Pride is assuming that we see and understand things more clearly than others. 

L – Pride is having LOFTY thoughts of yourself (Romans 12:3).Pride assumes we are indispensable in the kingdom of God or at our occupation, for example. Both will get along fine without us after we are gone! I once heard a saying, “The graveyards are filled with indispensable people.” So many millions of “important” people in the past have lived and died, but the world kept on going. (1 Peter 1:24-25) 

M – Pride is MISERLY.  Not only with its money, but with its time.  It can often get offended when someone asks a favour of us, as if they have no right to.This is because it considers my plans and obligations as more important than somebody else’s; so it is unwilling to be inconvenienced. For example, pride is fixing lunch for myself if I’m hungry but leaving my kids without food until they get cranky and start asking. Or it’s consistently leaving messes for my wife to clean up, without considering her work. Jesus cleaned up even a small linen cloth after He was resurrected (John 20:7). Humility is very considerate of others (Philippians 2:4). Pride is being consistently too busy to help my spouse or child with little things. It’s is an unwillingness to be interrupted. 

N – Pride is being NOSY. It’s being a busybody in other people’s matters (2 Thessalonians 3:11) – pride assumes that we deserve to know what’s going on in another person’s life or that our opinion about it matters. 

O – Pride is very OPINIONATED about many matters outside of the things of God. Jesus was not very opinionated outside of the things of God. We should hold tightly to God’s word, but outside of that it’s possible to be very strongly opinionated as well, expressing our strong feelings about such and such matter which has nothing to do with us. Paul said, “I will not boast in anything except for in the cross of Christ” (Galatians 6:14).  I heard a saying once which blessed me; “The more we grow in Christ the less eager we are to share our own opinions.” 

P – Pride is PRESUMPTION: it’s the assumption that I know what’s going to happen in the future, or holding tightly to my own plans which I for sure will carry out (James 4:14-16) – we should only say “If the Lord wills it.”  Pride depends on self (and is quite confident in it!), rather than God. 

Q – Pride is QUICK to speak, and slow to listen, rather than the other way around (James 1:19). A proud person loves talking about himself a lot – pride assumes that my life is more interesting than that of another.  A proud person often dominates a conversation.The proud don’t listen very carefully to sermons or when reading Scripture since they feel they are pretty good people already, they may listen or read for knowledge which they can boast about later, but the humble have a keen eye and ear specifically for personal application they can take for themselves since they recognise their need and want to improve in the areas of their need/sin. The ear of need is what Jesus referred to as “ears to hear” (Matthew 11:15).Pride is being very eager to share with others what the Lord has showed us (because we feel clever and want to impress people), but not valuing the other truths that our brothers and sisters have to share. It’s being very interested to speak, but having little interest to listen. 

R – Pride is the ROOT of every sin.Grace is God’s power to keep me from sin (Romans 6:14, 2 Corinthians 12:9), and God gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).  That means: if I sinned, I didn’t get grace because there was pride in me somewhere.  At the root of every sin is pride. 

S – Pride refuses SERVING in ‘Low’ tasks (which we consider ‘below’ us), either in the home (like washing dishes or doing laundry), or in the workplace, such as some menial task which we consider someone else’s job. Humility is quietly willing to take the low, dirty responsibilities which nobody else wants (John 13:14). 

T – The proud are THANKLESS and ungrateful, since they feel they are quite deserving of the good that comes to them.The proud may sing praise songs on Sundays but know nothing of thanking the Lord from the depths of their heart in secret, praising Him with a hymn of thanks in their heart when no one else sees, because they do not really believe they are that sinful and needed the Lord’s mercy all that much (Luke 7:47). 

U – Pride is UNFORGIVING and UNAPOLOGETIC.  Pride stays cold against someone even after they’ve apologised for wrongs against us.  And it refuses to acknowledge or apologise for a wrong it has committed.Pride gets offended when rebuked or corrected (Prov 15:5).  In that case, pride defends itself or worse – criticises the one giving the rebuke. 

V – Pride is VENGEFUL. In subtle ways pride will hold a grudge, such as keeping a cold shoulder against someone for some time, even if on the outside they say with their mouth “I forgive you.” (Romans 12:19) 

W – Pride is WITHOUT SYMPATHY for the suffering of others, and it’s full of jealousy for the success of others.Since it is so self-centred, pride can easily rejoice in its own ease and comfort, even while a brother is deeply mourning. Its attitude is “I’m glad that didn’t happen to me.” Alternately, it is easily jealous and so it doesn’t rejoice when a brother or sister is rejoicing. (Romans 12:15) 

X – Pride is placing EXpectations on others.We are not God that we should command people what they should do and expect so many things from them.  But pride gets angry at others when they don’t do what we want – even toward the Lord Himself.Pride makes demands from God for selfish reasons that aren’t promised in His Word – James 4:2-3 

Y – Pride is very unYIELDING and stubborn. It will not consider or yield to the opinion or desire of another, it will not back down until it gets its way.Jesus granted the request of even a demon when it asked to be cast into pigs! (Mark 5:12-13)But the motto of pride is “MY will be done.” 

Z – Pride is ZEALOUS for one’s own honour (Matt 23:6), and self preservation.  Pride is thinking only about myself and my family, and unconcern for others outside of that circle.  It is void of genuine love and concern for others. 

**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