Before the Beginning...
Before the beginning, God was. The LORD Almighty - the God of the armies of the heavenlies.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun and moon, seas and lands, plants and creatures. But the creatures and the lands had no one to care for them. So out of the dust of the earth, God formed the man - in the image of Himself.
I wonder if, before He breathed the breath of life into the man, God thought of His Son, knowing that breath of life would cost Him life.
For there was a heavenly war raging - God and His kingdom had an enemy. The enemy was the embodiment of evil and was consumed by his desire for power. The enemy hated God and became the opposite of all that God was.
God is good. The enemy is evil.
God is life. The enemy is death.
God is truth. The enemy is lies.
God is love. The enemy is hate.
God is freedom. The enemy is captivity.
God knew the enemy would deceive the man and his kind in order to enslave them for a kingdom of his own.
But the LORD Almighty, knowing all, perceiving all, and purposing all for good, breathed that breath of life into the man He had created.
Out of the bone of the man, He created woman and settled them in a place of beauty and abundance, peace and freedom.
Now, within freedom, exists choice.
Among a multitude of beautiful, delicious fruit trees, there was a single tree the man and woman were not to eat from. For God said if they ate the fruit of that tree, they would surely die.
Therefore, the enemy of God crafted a plan to exploit God’s gift of choice. Disguised as a serpent, the enemy - the deceiver, the father of lies - enticed the woman to eat of the forbidden fruit. He promised her power, knowledge, and wisdom and deceived her into believing the stipulation God gave them was not for their good.
So he used the same tactics he still uses today.
In a moment, the enemy brought sin into the world, and mankind was separated from God. For just as God had warned, there is a penalty for sin - death.
Through his facade of freedom, the enemy enslaved mankind. He bound mankind with chains of darkness and death, yet cleverly disguised them as light and life. For the enemy masquerades as an angel of light because God is light. The enemy placed a veil of darkness over the eyes of mankind, yet once again disguised it as light.
For remember, the enemy is
So the enemy does not present himself as he is. Instead, he presents himself as God is -
In the millenia to follow, the enemy continued to enslave and deceive mankind. He introduced evil and detestable practices into the hearts and minds of man. He masqueraded as spirituality and false gods in an attempt to fill man’s God-created desire for their Creator with himself.
The enemy roamed and ruled the earth, as the prince of the power of the air, thinking he had won.
Until one day - the day appointed before that breath of life was ever breathed. The day when the LORD Almighty sent His Son to the earth. The day when Jesus Christ laid aside the glory of the Heavenlies and wrapped Himself in human flesh. He was compassion and conviction, strength and humility, love and obedience - obedient to God even unto death.
Jesus Christ took the punishment for the sin of mankind upon Himself. Crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!,” He was separated from His Father so man would never again have to be. For Jesus knew the Spirit of God would raise Him from death and that through His death and resurrection He would overcome the enemy of God once and for all.
He knew that from that day on, if mankind would believe in their hearts He was the Son of God and confess it with their mouths, then they would be saved. The LORD Almighty would break the enemy’s chains of darkness, remove the veil that covered their eyes, and fill the man with the light of His Spirit, commissioning him to carry that light into the darkness to others who were still enslaved.
Now, in the millenia that follow, the enemy scrambles for power. He knows his days are numbered. For there is another appointed time - a time when the enemy’s sentence will be carried out, and he will face the consequences of his own sin - eternal death in the hell he created.
So he scrambles, tightening his chains of darkness and working harder to secure the veil of those still enslaved. It is FOR freedom that Jesus Christ set mankind free, so the enemy works to convince mankind they are already free.
He prowls around like a lion, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy his prey. He hates mankind. For mankind is created in the image of God, and the enemy hates God. He masquerades as morality, as good, as spirituality, and as a god, still in attempt to fill that God-created space within mankind which desires our Creator...with himself.
He still enslaves under the guise of freedom, and he still deceives mankind into believing God’s stipulations are not for our good.
He scrambles to convince those who have the light to hold tightly to their chains of darkness. For if the free hold onto their chains of darkness, the light of the Spirit within them is dimmed.
Church, it is time we pry our fingers off our chains so we can open our hands to the God Who is waiting to fill them! It is time we recognize the enemy’s distractions for what they are - idols. It is time we fix our eyes relentlessly on Jesus Christ, embrace the light of the Spirit of God within us, and carry it into the world of darkness only we can reach. We have one shot at this life. If we don’t live it on purpose, we won’t have the impact we were created to have.
While the church lives distracted, there are children being abused and exploited by the millions - in your town, in your neighborhood, in your children’s schools. There are children being shown that their value lies in their achievements and their priorities should follow prestige.
While the church lives distracted, there are young people becoming addicted to violent and perverted pornography available at the touch of a button. There are young people experimenting sexually, desperate for love, confused about their identity because they can’t seem to find it in the pages of their social media - confused about their identity because those who are going before them are confused about theirs. There are young people turning to drugs, alcohol, and suicide - trying to die to be seen.
While the church lives distracted, there are adults trapped in the cycles of abuse. Some, victim to a person. Others, victim to a substance. There are adults grasping for significance, as their dreams fade into the ebbing of years, attempting to acquire wealth, prestige, beauty, knowledge, position, or followers - yet lying their head on their pillows with an unquenched longing in their soul. There are adults whose offenses, opinions, and pains pile up year after year, creating a hoard of captivity, blocking any path to their exit.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) So if those who have the light are not shining it brightly, then how will the blinded ever see?
Could it be that the lost don’t know they need Jesus because those who HAVE Jesus aren’t showing the lost who He is?!
Before the beginning, God was. Now, God is. After the end, God will be. He is the LORD Almighty - the God of the armies of the heavenlies. And His Spirit lives in us.
We are in a war - a war we cannot see with our eyes. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of darkness. And the Spirit of God within us is greater than those powers of darkness - greater than the enemy we are fighting.
But in order to fight in the war, we have to perceive it. It’s time the church quits engaging in arguments and quarrels that push the lost AWAY from Christ. It’s time the church quits allowing distraction or offenses to dim their light. For we are filled with the light of the Spirit of God - the SAME Spirit that rose Jesus from that grave.
It’s time we take it into the world. It’s time we take it into OUR world.
YOUR world needs what YOU have.
Church - it’s time.
(Creation and the fall of man)
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.
...He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
...He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.
I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you…
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
1 Corinthians 15:24
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
2 Corinthians 4:4
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-
His [God] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!
He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son,
2 Timothy 2:14
Keep reminding God's people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
2 Timothy 2:23-24
Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
2 Timothy 2:26
Then they will come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, who has taken them captive to his will.
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 John 4:4
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
...I am the First and the Last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.