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If we are not careful, chaos will drive us to carnal reasoning and the resultant carnal response. The best defense is a good offense. Our best offense against the wiles of our carnal mind is the process of faith. That process is dependent on an intimate relationship with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:10

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

As a bit of a side note, it is interesting that the door of intimacy with the Lord opens both ways. He desires our intimacy like a groom for his bride. Truly, nothing but our reluctance stands in the way.

Recognizing that intimacy requires conversation, let me suggest three conversation starters:

Lord, what are you saying?

Lord, what are you doing?

Lord, what are you after?

There is an assumption behind these questions: God is after something; He is trying to do something to get what He is after, and; He is willing to tell us all that we need to know. God is using this season of chaos (like so many others) to prepare His children for a season of opportunity that is likely beyond our imagination. Read the rest of this entry »

Late last year, while researching for an article, I discovered the Global Rich List calculator. At the time, it reported that a U.S. worker making the federally mandated minimum wage ($7.25/hour) earns more salary than 92.2% of workers in the rest of the world. The statistics do not lie: American Christians are rich.

That’s a good thing, right? Well, as with so many things in this world, that depends on your perspective. From a heavenly perspective, we all have reason to be concerned.

Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:23-27

Jesus’ warning raises two important questions: Why is it so hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God? How do we mitigate the risk?

The first question is not hard to answer; the Bible has much to say on the subject. The answer to the second question is not so obvious (at least, for most of us). Here are nine reasons it is so hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God:

  1. The rich tend to trust in their riches (v. 24).
  2. Riches are deceitful, choking the word of God from our lives, resulting in unfruitfulness (Matthew 13:22).
  3. The unfruitful are cut off from Jesus Christ and thrown into the fire (John 15:2,6).
  4. The rich are tempted to bury their riches, instead of investing them into the kingdom of God (Matthew 25:24-27,30).
  5. The poor have been chosen to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5).
  6. Our heart is tied to our treasure (Matthew 6:21).
  7. To whom much is given, much will be required – including our riches (Luke 12:48).
  8. The world’s goods are given to meet the needs of others (1John 3:16-18). The rich are responsible to know how much to give away.
  9. The rich are most at risk of two powerful and destructive deceptions: they do not need God (Revelation 3:17), and/or God needs them (Acts 17:25).

Read the rest of this entry »

As it is with many who will read this article, God is working graciously and persistently to prepare me for the opportunities this pandemic will create – opportunities to advance His kingdom and hasten the day of His Son’s return. I pray the following will both encourage and edify you in your participation in the good work He is doing to prepare you.

In pursuing God’s intention for the coming season, I determined to search out the matter of overcoming – particularly in relation to the seven Revelation churches. What were they required to overcome? What were His promises for those that were able? I fasted sleep in the mornings to make time for the Bible study and time on social media at night to mediate on what I had learned.

Initially, this seemed to go well. I developed a spreadsheet of the church, requirement, and promise for overcoming, using this as an exercise to hear which of the churches I was to consider further. This turned out to be the churches at Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea. From there, I developed four questions I hoped God would answer.

It was at this point that my troubles began; God was not answering my questions. Increasing the frequency of my prayer and fasting each day did not help. Neither did putting the questions on a 3×5 card (to remember to meditate on them and lift them to God’s attention). My process of analysis was getting me nowhere.

Fortunately, I have been around the mountain enough times to know that when God is not speaking, it is because I am on the wrong trail. It became clear that God had something else in mind, and He was not going to accommodate my attempts to figure Him out in this way. In my defense, I must say that He has allowed this in the past. However, hindsight being twenty-twenty, He was looking for a more mature approach. Read the rest of this entry »

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of [Babylon], my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4

What is this Babylon of the Revelation? Some see it as a real city, the capital of the Antichrist’s new world order at the end of the age (the early church thought it was Rome). Others see Babylon as a symbol of sinful humanity and its capacity for self-delusion, pride, and depravity. This would include the systems of this world – government, education, entertainment, etc. – which war against the kingdom of God.

I am encouraged to ask a more important question: What is this Babylon to you?

What wars against the kingdom of God in your life?

The voice from God encourages us to come out of Babylon. The Holy Spirit draws us and stands by to guide us outside the camp to Jesus, to bear and share His reproach (Hebrews 13:13).

For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Hebrews 13:14

This journey out of Babylon and into the city of God passes through a narrow gate and down a difficult road (Matthew 7:14). Jesus encourages us to strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many will seek to enter and will not be able (Luke 13:24).

As much as our carnal minds would like to convince us otherwise, we must at some point move from seeking to enter, to striving. Seeking and striving are not the same. The seeker-friendly church and its message may serve some purpose, but it alone will leave untold numbers standing at the gate, wondering if there is more or deceived and camped out, only to be surprised when the books are opened.

God has provided the means and methods for avoiding such a surprise. Psalm 37:5 holds the key. Read the rest of this entry »

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

Knowing God is sovereign, we can confidently say that He creates or allows the chaos that finds its way into our lives. We also know that He works all things to the good of those who love Him and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28). How we respond to chaos makes more difference in our lives, and the lives of those in our spheres of influence, than we might think or imagine.

Generally speaking, chaos either draws us away from the truth or it serves to focus our attention on what is fundamentally real (i.e., the heavenly perspective). The greater the chaos, the greater the impact in one of these two directions.

Chaos tests the set of our mind. Chaos also gives us the opportunity to practice our resistance to the enemy’s distraction and deception. By the way, the enemy I am referring to is our carnal mind – our number one enemy. Scripture makes it clear that neither Satan nor the world can influence a child of God (James 4:7, Galatians 6:14) … unless they are allowed to do so. Our carnal mind opens that door.

Most of us have been trained for much of our lives to turn to our carnal mind when chaos invades our lives. This is directly and exactly the opposite of God’s intention. When chaos comes, He would have us choose the influence and direction of Christ’s mind. Make no mistake about it: We are responsible for that choice. Read the rest of this entry »

The renewing of our mind exchanges dependence on our carnal mind with subjection to the mind of Christ. Consider that for a moment. Born with the mind of our flesh, we find ourselves at enmity with God; reborn of Christ, we now also have His mind (1Corinthians 2:16).

And the battle for our transformation begins!

We are being transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), and the Holy Spirit is our transformer (2Corinthians 3:18). However, we cannot afford to be passive participants in this ongoing process. Based on personal experience and the testimony of others, I am confident that the renewal of our minds requires our cooperation.

We, born-again believers in Jesus Christ, are responsible for choosing the mind to which we turn. This is a continuous responsibility that particularly proves itself in the face of danger, confusion, offense, aggravation, etc.

This matter of the minds is challenging, to say the least. Thank goodness, God has given us an abundance of instruction. Here’s one I discovered just the other day.

Commit your works to the LORD,
And your thoughts will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

Does this verse strike you as odd (as it first did me)? Shouldn’t we have our thoughts established before we set out to work? Once again, we find that God’s ways and thoughts are above our own.

In Ephesians 2:10, we learn that God “created [us] in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Knowing the end from the beginning, God has carefully created and orchestrated our every good work.

With this knowledge in hand, Read the rest of this entry »

Approximately twelve years ago I attended a lecture at a workplace leaders’ conference on the physiology of the brain. It was really quite unusual. What was I doing at such a lecture? What was such a lecture doing at a workplace leaders’ conference? Looking back, I now understand that God orchestrated that lecture, at that conference, for my edification and encouragement.

The presenter showed us how scientists observe physical changes in the brains of patients recovering from alcoholism; that new electronic pathways are created over time. It occurred to me that this research scientist was talking about the renewal of the mind. I came to understand that the renewal of the mind is as much a supernatural miracle at the physical level, as the healing of terminal cancer through prayer (something I have also witnessed). The notion captivated me.

This discovery connected well with my prior vocation: working with a team of enterprise architects to change the way banking executives thought about the use of technology. Our ultimate purpose was to transform their business with technology. We called this “changing their paradigm.” The equivalent Biblical term for “paradigm” is “mindset.” Others prefer “worldview.”

I spent more than a decade in the technology field proving that changing someone’s paradigm is much easier said than done. As promising as technology was to their bottom line, the executives I worked with resisted us religiously. Why? Because the implementation of technology required them to transform their thinking about work and to change the way they did business.

The ensuing twelve years of workplace ministry have proven that the mind’s resilience to change exists in every sphere, and no less with my brothers and sisters in Christ. This is lamentable, for our transformation into the image of the glory of the Lord requires the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We must change the way we think!

Over the years, this matter of the mind has become increasingly important to me. I have tried to make it important to others. And so, we have come to the writing of An Enemy Lies Within to encourage and help Christians think about the way they think, and to empower them to think in line with God’s prescription for the renewing of our mind.

Ultimately, our hopes and prayers are for the transformation and reformation of the Western church.

Our Thesis

Read the rest of this entry »

An Enemy Lies Within and we need your help to overcome its influence in the Western church.

The time has finally come; in less than three weeks, An Enemy Lies Within will be available in print format. We can now work toward getting it into as many hands as possible. For this, we need your help.

The #1 enemy of God and all humanity lies within each one of us – yes, even Christians. That enemy is not the Devil; resist him, and he must flee (James 4:7). Our #1 enemy is not the world; for through Jesus Christ, the world has been crucified to us, and we to it (Galatians 6:14). Neither Satan nor the world have power over a born-again believer… unless we allow it.

Truly and indeed, our #1 enemy is our carnal mind!

When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, mankind’s ability to reason was forever entangled with the sin of rebellion. Consequently, our carnal mind is at enmity with God and can be nothing else (Romans 8:7).

Christians in the 20th and 21st Centuries have fallen victim to the carnal mind’s deceit and destruction. We have been deceived into exchanging the mind of Christ for lesser and earthly ways of thinking. Collectively, our carnal minds are destroying the Western church from the inside out.

But all is not lost, for God has given us a process for overcoming the deceptions and distractions of our carnal mind; it is the process of faith. Exercising the disciplines of the faith process enables and empowers Christians to lay hold of the grace of God for the renewal of our minds and the transformation of our spheres of influence. Getting our minds right is key to the reformation of the Western church.

It would be naïve to suggest that An Enemy Lies Within is the magic pill for all that ails the church. However, our situation is certainly more dire than we imagine and pursuing God’s ways is the only way our circumstances are going to get better. We must find His ways for our participation with Him in restoring what has been lost.

To this end, An Enemy Lies Within exposes the carnal mind as our #1 enemy, and equips Christians to overcome it through the application of spiritual disciplines. It goes on to encourage the liberated, like soldiers freed from captivity, to help others break free from the deceptions and distractions which plague the Western church. Read the rest of this entry »

Grace is appropriated through faith for the renewing of our minds – that we might be obedient to the faith and experience the perfecting of our faith through the work of grace.

This is not a play on words; it is the way we mature as children of God.

The grace I am thinking of:

  • The Father working in us (Philippians 2:13);
  • Jesus making us (Matthew 4:19); and,
  • The Holy Spirit transforming us (2Corinthians 3:18).

Isn’t it amazing and incredibly encouraging that each person of the Godhead has taken responsibility for our spiritual development and progress!!

So, how do we appropriate this inward grace? We do so by choosing to join the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the work they are doing (note: “choosing” is the operative word).

How does that happen? What can one do to engage in the sanctifying, transforming, and faith-increasing work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? How does one respond to their invitation of a good work, done in us?

We do so by practicing the grace-empowered disciplines God has provided!

For example, we are encouraged by Paul to set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). This is a process and a challenge. We are not sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God (2Corinthians 3:5). To join in His process for the (re)setting of our mind:

  1. We must choose to hear Colossians 3:2 as God’s word for each of His children (Romans 10:17). That requires the disciplines of Bible study and prayer.
  2. We must choose obedience to the faith that now resides in our heart (Romans 1:5).
  3. We must choose to meditate on His word (another discipline), that faith and desire would increase.
  4. We must choose to commit our way to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, trusting them to bring our transformation to pass (Psalm 37:5).
  5. We must choose to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting when opportunities present themselves for the work of faith (James 2:22).

We must choose! Choosing is a big part of spiritual discipline! Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscientists have concluded that 80+ percent of our thinking occurs subconsciously. In other words, a lot of our thinking happens off the radar, below the surface of our attention and consideration. Think about that in light of Paul’s assertion that the normal Christian brings every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2Corinthians 10:5).

Of course, we are not sufficient for such things; our sufficiency is from God (2Corinthians 3:5). Lest we forget and become discouraged: we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13). God has not commanded anything that He does not empower. He is working in us to will and do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). We need only participate in the Holy Spirit’s transformative work (Romans 12:2; 2Corinthians 3:18)

Unfortunately, our subconscious is the playground and base of operations for our carnal mind. From there, it attempts to distract and deceive for its self-focused intentions. It does so by affirming the voices of Satan and the world, and by adding its own words of deception and destruction. Yes, the carnal mind speaks to us… continuously.

Now get this: We are responsible for rejecting what the carnal mind is attempting to speak over us. Here is an example to illustrate the sinister and destructive consequences awaiting those who shirk this solemn responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »

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