Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Fifty-seven years ago, I was dying in my sins, until a little Baptist pastor sat me down and led me to Jesus Christ. I loved going to church and to Sunday school. I even went to Wednesday night crafts. I was 10 years old at the time. Everybody thought I was going to be a pastor when I grew up.
Four years later I started high school. Well I grew up in high school alright, and let peer pressure talk me out of sharing the Gospel. It was not their fault but mine, for not sticking with my guns. There is a saying that says, “Get out of the way and let God.” Well, I got out of the way all right but I forgot about the let God part. I have to take responsibility for much blood because of my lack of evangelism in my life. I refer you to the first Scripture of this three part series, Mark 16:15:
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Remember also John 15:16
". . .but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. . ."
I’d misplaced the ordination of Christ. When I did try and lead someone to Christ, I did it the wrong way. I ended up beating them up with the Bible. Oh, my heart was in the right place but my approach was a little Levitical in nature. I wish I would have taken Paul’s advice in Acts 20:19-21 instead of following John’s in your face approach. God anointed John to be that way. God anointed most of us to be like Paul, compassionate, understanding, full of love, forthright, and serving the Lord in everything.
Last week we got a glimpse of serving God. We need to know who God is to us and know why we serve HIM. That is number one and of the utmost importance. It was the first thing that Paul mentioned. When approaching others about the Gospel, remember that Christ wants to shine and work through us. This is where the serving comes in handy, not just being a friend of HIS. I want to be a bond slave (sold out) to Jesus Christ.
I serve Jesus, yes I do.
I serve Jesus, how about you-u-u?
HUMILITY OF MIND
Paul says to lift up the Lord for we are HIS body. Spiritually, the Lord literally sits on our shoulders. When I approach someone with the intent of sharing the Gospel, do people see me or the Lord? How am I acting? What is my countenance? Am I soft and compassionate? Am I forthright but mellow? The head guides, teaches, and tells us what to do and how to act. By using the words humility of mind, Paul is saying to esteem others and not self. Esteeming self is prideful.
We might be the only Bible someone might see. I do not want to beat them up with it anymore. When I approach anyone I just listen a lot and then tell my testimony. If I can tell them what God has done for me instead of telling them how God feels about a certain sin (one that they may have or confess), then they are more receptive. Now, I let God convict their heart. Christ called me to bring them to HIM, nothing more, and nothing less. I refer to Mark 16:15.
Paul’s emotions were very high when he spoke about Christ and preaching the Gospel. He had many tears toward the lost condition of mankind. He had a broken and contrite heart. Paul never laughed at any sin but developed tears over the people because he knew that they were dying in those sins.
Paul’s point, many tears, prompted the title and motivation of this three part blog series. Unless we develop tears over the lost and dying condition of mankind, it will be a sad commentary for history’s reflection and for our souls. Genesis 6:3 says that God will not always strive with man.
TEMPTATIONS, WHICH BEFELL ME
The Jewish people laid in wait to trap Paul constantly. He had to be on the guard at all times but he obeyed and followed the Lord everywhere HE told him to go. Paul never gave up no matter what the temptation was to not go or worry about what lay in store for him. He stayed the course and ran his race. It didn’t matter what the people thought as long as he was serving the Lord. Paul knew who and why he was serving God. It's what motivated him. We can never go wrong by serving and following the Lord.
A pastor once told me a very profound story about his dog. He was trying to teach his dog “Charlie” to be obedient and the meaning of the word “No.” He would lay down the dog’s favorite toy or piece of food and when the dog was tempted and went for it, the pastor would say “No.” Eventually, after a few lessons, reprimands, and a well placed "No," Charlie would come to a halt and look at his master and didn't take his eyes off of him. The pastor said that the dog was smarter than most humans in that the dog continued to look at him until he got the okay to go get what he wanted.
We all would probably do well to emulate Charlie’s behavior. When the enemy tempts us, coming to a halt would be a prudent plan of action. Immediately look to our master and not take our eyes off of HIM until the temptation abates. Wait until HE either gives the okay or still says “No.” Instead of a fifth grader, we too can be smarter than a dog.
Next week, I’ll discuss the final three points of Paul’s encouragement:  Keep back nothing,  Showed you, and  Taught you publicly. Paul was a tremendous man of God. Oh, but to have known him personally. At least we have his story, exploits, and teaching via the Holy Spirit. See you next week. God bless.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Part One: Serving the Lord
There is a time coming when God will wipe away all the tears, all things will be reconciled, and the lamb will lay down with the lion. Human government will be over and the reign of Jesus Christ will begin. The fields are white unto salvation.
Before Jesus ascended, HE gave us only one thing to do, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature ." What an awesome responsibility. Man does not first have to ordain us to preach the Gospel because Christ said in John 15:16, "but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. . ."
Christ Himself has ordained us in the affairs of the Kingdom and HIS thoughts were that the fruit of our ordination would remain for many generations to come.
Luke’s second volume of Acts shows us how the early church coped with the pagans, Jewish thought, the Roman Government, and a Hellenistic society. The book of Acts still holds true today as a guide to Christian defenses, history, and for the purpose of conversion.
We can learn a great lesson from Paul about conversion as he speaks to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:19-21 .
Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul sought to bypass Ephesus because he wanted to get to Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. So. . .from Miletus he sent word to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church (v17).
When they came unto Paul, he reminded them of the manner in which he preached to them in all seasons past (v18), and gave them seven attributes for not only their benefit and use, but for the furtherance of the Gospel for then and for the times to come .
Serving the Lord
The first thing that Paul said was that he always came to them serving the Lord. Those three words made me stop and think, What does it mean to serve the Lord? Who is it that I serve, and why do I serve HIM?
I would imagine that each of you out there is thinking that it is irrelevant why I serve the Lord. So, the question then becomes, who is the Lord to you and why do you serve HIM? We have to ask ourselves these and many other questions concerning whom God is to us and why we serve HIM.
In my quest to answer for myself I learned that the Greek word for "serving" is douleuo (doo-loo’- o), which means to be a slave or to be in bondage either literally or figuratively. The Bible uses the same form of the Greek word when saying "servant" in Romans 1:1.
In biblical times, it was customary for the owner of a slave, after seven-years, to release them from bondage. They were free to go. However, many slaves continued to serve their masters because of his kindness and fairness. The slaves stayed because of their love for their masters. Therefore, I am a bond slave to Jesus Christ.
So. . .who is the Lord to us? Why do we serve HIM?
The answers to these all-important questions will dictate our attitude toward those with whom we approach with the Gospel. Who and why we serve God should be very apparent. Like Paul, if the authorities arrested us for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us.
Next week I’ll discuss the remaining six attributes of Paul’s manner with which he presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ and HIM crucified wherever he preached.
 The word creature refers to man. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible has it as meaning "men" in accordance with many Jewish writings (i.e. gentiles and/or offspring’s of Adam etc).
 Luke probably wrote the Book of Acts while Paul was in prison and told of his many exploits.
 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I have a passion for writing and sharing God’s Word with everyone. I love His Word. God has opened a few doors for me in my writing by placing a number of professional writing mentors in my path and they have helped me tremendously in my writing growth. Thank you Jesus.
It is very hard to keep silent when one can discern things when reading God’s Word. I don’t mean to imply that I see everything or profess to hold the office of the prophet, because I don’t. However, I have such a desire in my heart to reach out to the body that I feel compelled to teach and share what I have learned over my lifetime. I have been a student of the Bible, off and on, for over 50 years.
There are many people, let alone Christians, who are hurting and bound in any number of ways. Some are fresh converts and do not know the Bible that well. According to many Christians, Christ is still up on the Cross or we have put Him up there again by our actions or beliefs. I know that I have and continue to do so daily. Forgive me Lord. Help my unbelief. My heart goes out to these hurting people especially in these days.
In the process, my writing reflects what we need to do to be victorious “in Christ.” However, when I use statements like, we should, we have to, or we need to, I end up talking down to the reader. Without meaning to, it elevates my status above them. Sometimes my heart gets ahead of my pen. I want to give my readers their brains back and stop thinking for them. So, I am trying hard to eliminate the “superior writing” style.
The second sign of a religious spirit is: When leadership style is bossy, overbearing, and intolerant of the weakness or failure of others. By using should, have, and need to statements, I believe that my writing becomes a little like each of these traits, maybe not in the strongest sense of the word in which it infers but nonetheless, it does.
When we disseminate our writing, we are setting ourselves up in a leadership position, whether that is the intent or not. It is a huge responsibility. Therefore, we had better be as right as we can and then let the reader think for themselves. God will hold us accountable for their blood.
It would appear that I suffered from another religious spirit. God was teaching me more about myself in my writing, than I was while trying to teach others through my writing. God has a good sense of humor.
Again, my manual called this style “superior writing,” and here is an example from my second book of what they meant by this term. The first example is the original paragraph.
. . .
It is another thing to speak to identities “in Christ.” Our identities, destinies, and our perceived significance to God, are very important aspects of our personal and spiritual make-up. The body needs to get back to the basics. If we are ever to become a world in order, we need to understand these three aspects of our psyche. So. . .what is the definition of identity?
I edited this paragraph to read:
. . .
It is another thing to speak to who we are “in Christ.” Our identities, destinies, and our perceived significance to God, are very important aspects of our personal and spiritual make-up. Every time I revisit basics, they teach me something new and I remember something that the Holy Spirit is trying to impress on me at the time, to which I say, thank you Lord. Basics are foundational and our foundation is Christ Himself. If we are ever to become a world in order, it is crucial to understand these three aspects of our psyche. Therefore. . what is the definition of identity?
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:17,18)
When we write, peace, gentleness, mercy, impartiality, and humility are good objectives to adopt, for . . .the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. I have endeavored to remove most statements containing the words “we should, we need,” and “we have to.” There will be an occasion to use these words but we’ll know when that time will be. I pray that this has helped you in your writing presentation.
As a good writing friend of mine once said, ". . .the challenge to good writing is the writer's ability to get out of the way and let God's Spirit move the reader to a conclusion." To this I would add, that every peace should espouse hope, encouragement, and that they can make it.
Instead of telling the reader what to do, I try to tell them about the benefits of what I am asking them to do. In other words, instead of saying something like, "We need to get back to basics." I say something like, "Basics are foundational to our faith, and Christ is our foundation." Or something like, "Basics can benefit us all." Or, "Every time I revisit basics, I learn something new or remember something that the Holy Spirit is trying to impress on me at the time, to which I say, thank you Lord."
God bless you all in your writing and in your walk with the Lord. Again, you can find a list of religious spirits and a test at my Website: http://www.jameslindquist.net/htmfiles/free.htm
I heard a message the other day in a new church I tried out last Sunday. I love the pastor and his presentation. I may have found a new church home. It was a great message. He said that we should pass it around and preach it ourselves. So. . .next week, we’ll look into the Book of Acts. It is a pertinent message for this day and concerns the tools needed for the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Recently, I graduated from a journeyman’s level writing class at CWG (Christian Writers Guild) out of Colorado. They taught me more than this old brain could remember all at once. Although I did well, I will still be visiting my manuals frequently for the next several months .
In retrospect, I consistently had trouble in a couple areas. It wasn’t intentional but I just couldn’t seem to break out of the habit. The manual called it “superior writing,” and that does not mean that I write better than anybody else. Not even close. I would eventually learn that I had a little more than a writing problem.
During the year that I attended my journeyman’s classes, I had my mentor critique an article of mine. I'll paraphrase our comments from memory. When I received the article back, one of the things she wrote to me was: “You do not have any references from other sources. You used many Scriptural references, and that’s a good thing, but you have no other references.”
I replied to her, “Why would I use man’s references to give credibility to God’s Word? He is the ultimate, definitive, and final word to all things.” I was unprepared for the answer. She wrote, “You are absolutely correct, God is the final word on everything but when you don’t use other references, it makes you sound like you and God are the only ones with the answer.” Ouch! She was right.
The first sign of a religious spirit is: a philosophy that will not listen to man, but will “only listen to God.” 
After reading her reply and once I got off of the floor from cringing, I started seeking a solution to my problem. I had a religious spirit. I still struggle somewhat trying to correct it but I am getting better and incorporating other references from man.
Since God usually speaks through man, this philosophy is an obvious delusion, and reveals spiritual pride. This creates an elitism if you will, and makes us live separately from the body . Boy did I blow it. My heart was in the right place, however. The enemy is real subtle and is very sneaky.
Also, God does nothing lest he first reveals it to His prophets . This Scripture also talks about those who fear Him and serve Him, as well as the prophets . I do not hold the office of the prophet but we all prophesy in part . So the body that jointly fits together can receive from the head, which is Jesus Christ.
By using other references in my writing, my readers see that I am not shoving God’s Word down their throat or using God’s Word to justify my own interpretations, biases, or ideas. I am using the body to be jointly fit together with Christ as the head. Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus.
We are all subject to religious spirits to some degree. Those who are completely free of religious spirits should have already been like Enoch - translated.
Religious spirits are the most destructive spirits in Satan’s arsenal. There are about 20-25 signs of having a religious spirit. Other stages and traits also exist, among which are pride, fear, and legalism, but I surmise that the aforementioned will keep us busy for quite some time. However, you may even know of more.
We all have probably battled most of them at one time or the other. The idea is to be cognizant of the problem and adjust ourselves accordingly.
I am taking one more sign from the list and sharing it with you next week. I had another problem in my writing. I am also enclosing a link to my Website for a free download for the others. This same link will contain a religious spirit test.
I wish you well in your battle, but know that I will be battling right alongside of you in the spirit. (In the spirit that God created, not the one the enemy created.)
God bless you all and I’ll see you next week when we discuss the second sign of a religious spirit.
Signs of a Religious Spirit A link to my Website for this and many other freebies.
 If you are a writer and are serious about the same, I highly recommend CWG to you. They have a tremendous teaching and critiquing staff. I received the best critique I have ever had through their critiquing service. Bar none.
 The list of “Signs of a religious spirit” came from Rick Joyner and also Morningstar Teaching notes.
 Ephesians 4:1-16
 Amos 3:7
 John Gills exposition of the entire Bible
 1 Corinthians 13:9