Satan’s Synagogue

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 “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” (Revelation 2:9)

Here in Revelation, we find the first mention of a specific place that Satan is worshiped in. Strangely enough, it is called a ‘synagogue’, a place where Jews worshiped God! Why would Jesus say to the church of Smyrna, and later to the church of Philadelphia, that the devil was being worshiped in their service?

Because he was. The Christians (who still met in synagogues) were conducting their service in such a way that the devil was getting the glory, instead of God! While this may seem unthinkable, it is not impossible. In the pagan world, men and women worshiped idols, which Paul said were devils in disguise.

“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils” (I Corinthians 10:20)

Thus, anytime we give priority to anything other than God, we are giving priority to the devil- in essence, worshiping him.

As I’m sure none of us want to become Satanists, what things should we do to avoid our churches-and lives-from  becoming Satan’s synagogue?

1. Keep the right church.

One of the problems mentioned in the epistles to the Corinthians was the fact that they were frequenting the temples of pagan gods. While this was not the problem with Smyrna and Philadelphia, it is certainly applicable. If we go to the wrong church, we certainly aren’t worshiping God correctly. We must make sure that we attend  churches that glorify God with their music, appearance, and message.

2. Keep the right friends.

Not all the members of these two churches were worshiping incorrectly; only some. We must beware of people in the church who claim to be Christians, but do not bear any fruit. Certainly we should be kind and try to help them grow, but we don’t want them as our close friends. Clean doesn’t make dirty clean; it only gets dirty itself.

3. Keep the right motives.

When we serve God for selfish reasons, we actually are serving self. By serving self, we inadvertently serve the devil’s will. We should serve God with a cheerful attitude; otherwise, we will become bitter and sour. It is very easy to start out with the right intentions, then go wrong along the way. We must safe guard against this.

4. Keep the right outlook.

Christ warned the deceivers in the churches that He would come back soon to judge them for their sins.

“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”

If you know that you are not a Christian, but pretend that you are; you will be judged for that, and it won’t be a simple slap on the hand. If you aren’t saved, you will go to hell. There simply is no getting around it. You can’t fake your way to heaven: it doesn’t work with God. He will have to say,’I never knew you’, and turn you away. You don’t want that to happen. Accept Jesus as your Savior today!

Christians don’t intend to worship the devil, but they do. While you may not think yourself to have fallen victim to any of these things mentioned in this blog, tuck it away for later. You never know when you may need it!

 

The Crown of Thorns

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I’m a Roman soldier,

So it’s true I’ve seen men die;

But the death of One they called ‘the Christ’

Is still stuck in my mind.

The Jews brought Him to Pilate, and

They said He must be killed.

He’d claimed He was Messiah, King;

On the Sabbath day, He’d healed!

Pilate found no fault in Him,

So sent to Herod’s hall;

And that’s where I come into this-

We cursed this ‘Son of God’.

The captain took a purple robe

And laid it on His back.

Then said I- O, I curse the day!-

‘A crown is what He lacks!’

I went outside and cut the boughs

All studded with thick thorns,

And plaited them together so

They could His head adorn.

Carefully, I weaved the thorns,

By chance, I cut my hands-

But laughingly I shook it off,

And back inside I ran.

The captain put it on His head;

I hit it with the staff.

‘Hail the King!’, we all did cry,

And then began to laugh.

We sent Him back to Pilate, and

I went along as guard.

Yet I found myself most strangely drawn

To Him Who we had marred.

They crucified Him that same day,

And I was there to watch.

I swear He said ‘Forgive them!’ when

They put Him on the cross!

A long three hours past, the sky

Went black, we trembled all;

The centurion spoke our fearful thought;

‘This was the Son of God!’

When He cried out that it was done,

I knew that He was dead;

Then looking down in disbelief,

I saw my hands were red!

Twas my own blood- from cutting thorns-

But that’s not how it seemed.

On my own hands, I saw the blood

Of Him upon the tree.

The guilt and shame hung on my soul-

I’d helped to kill God’s Son!-

And blindly, I returned back home,

Afraid of what I’d done.

Three long days past, a Sunday morn’,

I finally heard the news.

His followers said He was alive,

He’d come up from the tomb!

How could it be? He was not dead?

I’d seen with my own eyes!

If He’s not dead, He’s really God;

He really is the Christ!

I left my post, I left right then,

I went to where He was…

And all I seemed to see was that

He still bore thorn-made scars.

He looked at me; I stumbled back.

I knew He’d know my face;

But such a love came to His eyes,

I knew He’d given grace.

He spoke of love, His love for us,

And said that He would save

And take to heaven everyone

Who came to Him in faith.

‘Even me?’ I spoke so low,

And yet He seemed to hear.

‘Whosoever.’ He did say,

Then left my doubts and fears.

I knew that One Who rose again

Could do what ere He pleased.

So right there, in the crowded street,

I fell down on my knees.

He came to me, to me! I say.

He took my trembling hands-

The hands that made a crown of thorns

To place upon His head!

‘Do you believe in Me, my child?’

‘Oh, yes! Oh, yes!’ I cried.

‘Your sins be pardoned, then.’ He said,

And bid me then to rise.

I write this now to show to all

That Christ refuses none.

If He’ll take me, with thorn-scratched hands,

 Won’t matter what you’ve done.

Crucified with Christ

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What does is it mean to ‘be crucified with Christ’ or to ‘die to self’? I’m sure we’ve all heard those terms at what time or another, but what does it really mean? Why do we do it? How do we do it? Let’s take these questions one at a time based on God’s Word.

1. What does it mean to ‘die to self’ or to ‘be crucified with Christ’?

These terms mean basically the same thing. To ‘die to self’ or to ‘be crucified with Christ’ means to deny oneself selfish or wrong desires in order to better serve God.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would… And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Here the word ‘flesh’ is used as a synonym for ‘self’, ‘sin nature’ or ‘mammon’. Living in the flesh, or serving self, is the opposite of living in the Spirit, or serving Christ. One cannot do both, but must do one or the other.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

2. Why do we do it?

Denying self is necessary to properly serve God. When we are full of self, it is impossible to please God.

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

When we are saved, we are in-dwelled with the Spirit; however, we are not filled with the Spirit unless we have crucified our flesh so that He can take over.

“…that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”

Thus, to serve God and lead a happy, productive Christian life, we must walk after the Spirit, denying ourselves for the greater cause of Christ.

3. How do we do it?

First of all, we must realize that crucifying the flesh is not some spooky fall-down-like-you’re-dead sort of thing; nor is it something that we do once, and don’t have to think about again. We must daily choose to lay aside our sinful and base desires so that we may be filled with the Spirit.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God…”

The Bible makes it clear that our flesh is wicked and sinful, but also that we can have the victory through Christ Jesus. However, we must dedicate ourselves to putting Christ first, and ourselves last. We must learn to tell ourselves ‘NO’ and to choose the victorious Christian life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! You’ll know you’re on the track when you start manifesting these traits in your life:

 ” …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Don’t give up, dust yourself off when you fall, and trust that God will help you! He always does, you know:)

 

The Church House is Quiet

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The church house is quiet, there’s no one’s inside-

No bickering, no quarreling, no babies to cry.

No feelings to hurt, no messes to clean,

No work to be done, no kids to be seen.

They’ve closed up the church house, said it cost too much;

Said, ‘Maybe this church house is tired of us.’

The church house is quiet, in a sad sort of way;

It misses the people who came on Sunday.

For while there’s no crying, there’s also no joy.

And though there’s no fighting,there’s no girls or boys.

No laughter, no singing, no friendship so rare;

No praising the Father, or sharing of cares.

The church house is quiet, There’s no one’s inside-

And it makes me so sad; like someone has died.

God’s Mercy to Us

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Mercy: that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.  It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.”

This definition of ‘mercy’ is found in Webster’s 1828 dictionary, and accurately describes the denotation and connotation of the word. The meaning of the word simply means to not make someone pay for something they deserve to pay for, but the emotions the word carries is far more than that. Mercy brings to mind love, compassion, pity and most frequently, God; for God is the epitome of mercy.

Who is God? Is He some unattainable Being that set the world into motion, then left us to our own devices? Is He cruel and uncaring, or does He really care about us?

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

If God thinks about us, don’t you think that He cares about us? Yet over and over, in the past and to this day, we continue to turn from Him, and even to criticize Him! The Israelites did this in Ezekiel’s day. They turned from the Lord’s law to go after other gods, and when He offered His full forgiveness, His mercy, they mocked it!

“…if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right…he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

[but] a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood… that doeth not any of those duties, but… hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination… shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.

But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.”

“Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal.”

Right here, God promises His mercy to anyone that will truly repent; and Israel says it’s not enough. Israel’s problem was not that God wouldn’t take them back; it was that they didn’t want to go back. This is a problem today just as much as it was 3,000 years ago. God freely offers His mercy, but we are too proud to take it. ‘I’m ready to accept it’, you say, ‘but what do I need mercy for? I’m a pretty good person…’ There is one great big huge reason that you need mercy—you’ve sinned. There is not one person in the world that can say they’ve never done anything wrong, save Jesus Christ.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…”

When we sin, we wrong God, and He has instituted a payment for that wrong— death.

“For the wages of sin is death…”

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

The only way that we can avoid that second death is to somehow become righteous.

“For I [Jesus] say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Yet Isaiah says that,

“…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…”

Our righteousnesses are so little that they don’t even count as righteousness! How then can we be saved?!

“And he [Noah] believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.”

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

If we believe God, He will impute righteousness to us.

“…to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Not because we deserve it, not because we’ve worked for it, but because He’s merciful.

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”

There are no requirements for His mercy. You don’t have to pay a lot of money, or live inside a cave, or do a lot of good deeds. God’s request is that we repent of our sins, and call upon Him in faith.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Even after salvation, we still commit sins. This does not mean that we become “unsaved”. While sin will affect our relationship with God, it will not affect our salvation.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…”

Salvation is not dependent upon us, it’s dependent upon God. Only His mercy can save us. Won’t you accept His offer in faith today?