by Alan Breitenstein
February 20, 2022
Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
For the past few weeks I have been reading the book “That Old Serpent -The Devil” by F.J.Huegel (1954). Some interesting questions have emerged along with actual events that have put me to a test on what I have learned, and have given messages on in the past. I was now faced with this test from God. Maybe this test could be called a refinement. Also, recently I received an e-mail from coach Dave on how the church does not teach the wiles of the Serpent, so I am not the only one God has given this thought to.
Before I tell you what happened I must first give you the information from the book. The author writes:
Christians who, in spite of their faith, are still oppressed by the Enemy. Christians, of course, have been set free, but they may be deceived if they are not aware of the wiles of the Adversary.
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Timothy is instructed to teach in such a way that his hearers might recover themselves out of the snare of the devil:
2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
It was the subtlety of the serpent which proved the undoing of man. Peter in his 1st epistle writes:
1 Peter 5:8-9
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world
The wiles that Satan employs to deceive men are of a nature so subtle, that apart from Divine wisdom and grace, it is not possible for man to see through them and to overcome them.
The ordinary weapon, the one that served to undo man in the beginning is the appeal to greed for "self". Self is the tree that is pleasant to the eye and good to look upon.
Satan works through “reason" itself.
The woman saw that the tree was desired to make one wise. What Satan suggests all comes so interwoven in the natural course of our thinking processes that it never crosses our minds that the Prince of Darkness himself is at work behind the scene. We imagine that we are doing our own thinking; and we are! The interjection from without does not seem to violate in any way "our" reasoning. It is here that the "god of this world" is shaking the foundations of civilizations today.
Take for instance communism. People think that communism is so great, and they go to the extremes of pointing out verses in Scripture that Jesus Himself was a communist. The Enemy knows the value of Truth, and he knows that man was made for truth so the Enemy gives man half truths.
(Here is one of my own examples: A friend of mine named John went to court awhile ago with his friend Ben on behalf of what I am not sure ... taxes, drivers license... and his friend argued the jurisdictional issue in that he was under God's laws and not man's. The judge told the prosecutor or bailiff to put this Ben in the insane asylum. Well, Ben objected and, in doing so, upset John. You see, Ben saw the insane asylum as spending time with a bunch of lunatics, whereas John saw it as the judge granting him his freedom by putting Ben on a list to not come into court anymore. Are not true Christians classified as lunatics? The judge put it in such a way that the reaction that he got from Ben was that he was not fully clothed in his beliefs. Therefore I believe the judge put Ben in jail. Are we not insane in our beliefs? For we believe that those who are not insane with us, are themselves insane. They are the ones who do not choose life and liberty.)
There is nothing truer than that we should be free, and nothing more false, if that freedom is not exercised within the bounds marked by the good of others and the glory of God.
Another weapon for the devil is pride. Pride fills the hearts of men in their unregenerate state, and keeps the flag of the Deceiver-Prince gloriously unfurled upon the citadel of the hearts. Satan knows that nothing can ever shake the bulwarks of human pride except the Christ of the Cross.
Satan worked in Peter and also worked in Judas. No one is immune. Satan fans the baser passions of men, working on the materials which their pride and their lust for worldly pleasure and their greed of gain placed at his disposal.
We certainly cannot leave out the in-roads that Satan has made with the church. All divisions within the church, ranging from certain rules that are not followed, the distortion of Gospel readings, and more emphasis being placed on the messenger rather than the message. (We experienced a division last week concerning Shelah and Judah. This division is detrimental to our beliefs in the Israel identity message. We have to work it out, for if we don't then the Evil One wins.)
Another weapon for Satan is his power to work miracles.
Matthew 24 -24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
“I have been a soldier and I know that nothing keys up an army as battle and a consciousness of the presence of the enemy. If there is no real enemy to fight, then neither is there any real reason for discipline and for vigilance for arms, and all the rest."
Now if Christ, the Head of the Grand Army of the Redeemed, is to be trusted and to be taken seriously, there is a mighty foe. And it isn't just sin, it isn’t just social injustice and it isn't just greed. It is not an “it”. It is “he”. Christ did not teach His disciples to pray: “Deliver us from evil," as most versions have it. He taught them to say: "Deliver us from the Evil One".
If we are no longer on the march as soldiers eager for battle, rest assured the powers of darkness are. “
This statement made by Huegel brings to mind what Don preached 2 weeks ago that Israel or the nations of God's people always became corrupted when life was good. This statement also affects our prayers. How can we have fervent and effectual prayer for those who are sick if we ourselves cannot feel their pain? When we are feeling good and praying for others are we really thinking or feeling their pain or is our mind wandering? Try putting yourself in their position and praying as though you were praying for yourself when you are in pain. Our mind wanders even when we are praying for ourselves. Praying is not easy, due to the Serpent interference. Put on the whole armor of God when praying. (More on this subject later)
“There is every stage of demon interference, from actual possession to the highest oppression. I am often oppressed by the powers of darkness-a cloud settles upon my spirit, a deadly fear grips my heart, my soul pants as if asphyxiated, fiery darts pierce my innermost being, a murky atmosphere envelops my mind - but hidden away in the wounds of Him who died for me and rose again, I soon obtain a full orbed victory, and my glad spirit sings its way to God. We must not think that because we belong to Christ there need be no vigilance as regards the enemy. The whole weight of the New Testament is against such a mistaken confidence. Our very "confidence" that we could never be deceived by the enemy has all the earmarks in itself of a deception already achieved by the Evil One.”
Who is immune from the symptoms he mentioned?
Now let me tell you what recently happened to me. I had the 'CHECK ENGINE SOON” light come on in the truck, so I took it to the local mechanic to get an appointment to have it fixed. This was on Thursday a week ago. He was pulling a truck out of his garage and I pulled off to the side thinking that he was going to give it a trial run. I got the appointment and waited for him to pull out and after he got by me, I started to back up. Well I did not know that his wife was in a vehicle behind me and she was pulling out as well. I eased into the door of the vehicle she was in and did not even know that I had done it. I do not even remember hearing horns going off.
I just so happened to look in the side view mirror and saw the car there, that was not there when I had started to back up. The mechanic I could see had stopped and pulled forward. I got out and asked if I hit that vehicle and he said yes. When she closed the door there was a big dent in the door. My first reaction was “God, what have I done?”
On Monday, I took the truck in and told him how sick I had been over what had happened and that I hoped he and his wife were not upset with me. His reply was, “No we are not upset, for she was looking one way in backing up and she did not see you to honk the horn. And I did not honk the horn because by the time I looked forward it was too late.” So my hearing isn't completely shot.
Now you might be thinking that this isn't so bad, but you have to understand that I have no insurance and I have no state driver's license. I have a license issued by the Embassy of Heaven; a license not acknowledged by the corporations of America. I pay all that I owe on income taxes. The vehicles that I drive are insured under my wife's name and only she can drive them. I fully rely on the protection of God. Not all of us are called to do what I have done. God calls us for many different purposes and I truly believe He led me to come out of the system in this way. It is to my belief now that He uses this revolt of man's system to refine me and test me.
99% of the time I get behind the wheel I pray the 91st Psalm. I have avoided some accidents by the virtue of God letting me know that He is there with me. Many thoughts came to mind after this accident: “Lord where the warning was? Where were the angels? Where was the protection? How am I to pay for this? How can I know that You are with me when I get behind the wheel again? How can I trust God? How can I have faith in a God that allows this to happen?”
I think that others are out to hurt me; not me hurting others. In spite of all the negative thoughts I just kept telling myself that it is a test from God. These thoughts just kept hounding me, and I just kept asking for the Lord, God to remove the Evil one and the spirit he represents. I am one who sees the glass half empty. I always think the worst of situations and just cannot wrap myself to looking for the positive until it happens. I prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I just cannot fathom preparing for the best and then be let down if the worst happens. I wonder just how much time is spent preparing for the worst than the time spent suffering from a letdown if the best does not happen?
These attacks are similar to us getting sick. Lord why have You inflicted me with this pain or sickness? It is these times that will certainly tell us where our faith lies. There are two types of pain; physical and mental. They both play against each other if allowed to continue for a period of time, and thus making it harder to get rid of.
So the next morning (on Friday), I asked God, “What am I to learn from this; what am I to do?” The answer was to love God with thy whole heart, mind, and soul. For you see the Lord God was showing me that there are other gods in the closet. Take a look at the god "how am I going to pay for this?" a god that I spoke against in the last message. How about the god that kept hounding me that the True God was not there for me and see you should have had insurance? Insurance is another god: another way of alleviating the responsibility of our actions.
I could not stop those thoughts. They were constant and making me miserable. I knew the source that they were coming from. I have also been praying for wisdom and God granted that also, but certainly not in the way I expected it. It was over the next 5 days that wisdom came. Take notice that the prayers that I have read every Sunday is asking for more wisdom and understanding. Little did I know that God was going to fill me up with it like He did our ancestors with quail.
Can we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul? My belief now is that we cannot as long as we are tolerant of being in a fallen state. Why would God give us a commandment if He knows we cannot follow? Part of the answer to my question came in 1 Chronicles 29. David said that the congregation gave to the building of the temple with a WILLING heart. It is not that we cannot; it is we will not. I am sure that the answer would have come to me if I was reading elsewhere in Scripture. It just so happens that I was in that part of Scripture. So what does (willing) heart mean? Heart is synonymous with mind.
When we are attacked with whatever, do we look to the Lord God with a whole heart, mind, and soul for help? In other words when we look to the Lord, is our mind strictly on the Lord? Are there interruptions? Thinking of being in pain is an interruption. Have you ever thought it rude for someone to interrupt you while you were having a conversation with someone else? If so, then how do you think God feels when our minds are elsewhere?
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
There it is! Fear has torment, therefore if we fear we are not made perfect. What is considered perfect in the eyes of God? Elijah feared Jezebel and fled. Could God have been refining Elijah when he fled? Did not Jesus have agony in the garden? Can we possibly be made perfect in love while we are in this fallen state? Once again why would God tell us something that we cannot achieve? Or is God telling us that when fear comes upon us which it will then we are to put on the mind of Christ?
1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (The Spirit tells me that this is a mistranslation, it should read the mind like Christ, or it could read mind on Christ. If we had the mind of Christ what would Christ have?)
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (this translation is correct)
Romans 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Notice one mind no INTERRUPTIONS)
2 Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
These verses lead us back to willingness. Are we willing to put our minds on Christ? Are we willing to be in the Army of Jesus the Christ? God shows us perfect love by allowing our hearts desires; our willingness to be destroyed for lack of knowledge and still gives freely to us. How much more will He give if we are willing to be in His Army? In order to be in His Army we have to go through training.
When a storm enters the area and the winds are high and the trees are swaying back and forth, giving us the fear of damage to our homes. We are putting fear or faith in the material things rather than God. Thoughts come to our minds such as "I do not want to go through the repairs or spend the money to make repairs. It seems that our focus is on what we have worked for all our lives that can be destroyed by a storm. That is what our faith is in: SELF, fear and worry. Storms come in various ways, such as anything that disrupts our plans. Anything that takes us out of the routine that we are in is a storm.
When we are sick and we have pains that just do not go away, we are putting our thoughts more to the pain than we are to God? Should we love our "self" more than God? It seems that every time a problem or dilemma comes about, we are focused more on that problem or dilemma than on God helping us or questioning God why this problem is sent to us.
Matthew 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Now this verse seems to contradict the entire message. It would suggest that we are to love thyself. It is self that is destroying us. So what does Jesus mean here? Could it be that loving thy neighbor will take away from loving our self, for Jesus knows that just loving our self is destroying us? Now do not get me wrong that we are not to love our self; for we are, as long as you have God as the Head. If we have God as the Head and we are one with God, we will have no fear when danger is near. This is another reason for training, being able to immediately come under the wings of the shadow of the Almighty.
One thing that I found out is that when the Serpent attacks with his thoughts, listen to them. Just listen to them. This is a way of testing the spirits. See what the Evil One has to say and when those thoughts subside, which seems to be rather quickly. Give not heed to them. "Is that it Satan? Is that all you got? In the name of Jesus be gone Satan". After a little while those thoughts come back and the reply has to be repeated. This Serpent is relentless, just like mainstream news with covid. The purpose is to break not bend.
I was even being tested in giving this message, for the thoughts came in as "Don't give that. You are just going to embarrass yourself and make a fool of yourself. No one is going to be interested in what you have to say. Just give it up and move on. You are making a mountain out of a mole hill.” All that Huegel had mentioned came into play in my thoughts.
Could these tests all be similar to Jesus saying to the rich man "sell everything and come follow me" We all know what the rich man did. We can give in to the wiles of the Serpent or we can follow Jesus and train for a Christlike mind.
There is nothing wrong with having nice things, for nice things are a gift from God. But what is wrong is not glorifying God for those nice things.
We have just gone over the wiles of the Wicked One, and we have seen that all he needs to employ his artifices is a little pride, some remnant of the old self life. "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself and that wicked one toucheth him not". Our only safety lies in a constant appropriation of what has been called the radium of Calvary. By faith we must constantly appropriate the death of Christ from which the life of the New Creation springs. Nothing but the Cross can take the life out of the "self" principle.
Only when we can answer "I am crucified together with Christ in whose Name I command you to go" that the Wicked One will be overcome.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in thy throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne"
From what we go through in tests and refining, how can we ever expect that it is a bed of roses? That term seems to be used for those with an easy life and yet roses have thorns. One can only imagine the thoughts that went through the minds of Christ and Job and all those martyred for the sake of Christ, along with their bodily harm. I understand the thoughts that flooded them, but can only imagine those thoughts compounded with the bodily harm.
Who can know the thoughts of Job? We know that Job’s mind was ever and always with the Lord. Even though Job's friends were assuring him that he done something to offend God. Job held his ground that he did not. Even though Job's friends were punished for being the mouthpiece of the Evil One, they still kept the Lord God on Job's mind. Jesus had to certainly have His mind on His Father, for no one could take a beating and the torture that He went through and still manage to carry the cross without saying an angry word toward anyone.
One of the hardest parts of a test or refining is the not knowing; not knowing the outcome and whether it is going to be devastating or merciful. How long are we to be in misery? We are at the mercy of God. There is a switch inside our heads that could be turned off when the Serpent turns on his wiles. It is through training. It is through putting on the armor of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;
So what is the training? It is a matter of practicing daily of either looking to the Cross; or imagining standing before the Throne of God the Father and Jesus the Son and having an uninterrupted conversation with Them. See how long you can go before you recognize a distraction. Have a conversation during distractions to see if you shut the distractions off. Conversations are the same as prayer. When praying, nothing but the Triune God should be on your mind. Shut out the pain; inquire about the pain, but do not dwell on the pain. It is from the Serpent. Whatever methods you try, make sure there is only you and the Triune God present. Training as such should make a difference in those we pray for. Most importantly of all is when pain and danger come your way, focus on what Christ went through during His crucifixion.
There is one thing that I have to give credit for to the Catholic church, and that is during the week before the celebration of the Resurrection. We would go to church and they would go through the Stations of the Cross; the scourging and all. I do not know whether or not they were trying to get the people to reflect on this torture as a way to take away your own sorrows and pain, but I am sure it did for the hour it took to go through those stations.
2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
This verse, along with the verse "Go away I do not know you" concerned me on whether this pertained to me. When I prayed the 91st Psalm, I prayed it while I was in the car traveling. Do you know how many distractions there are while driving and praying? I was not one with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I asked for wisdom and they gave it to me. “If you are going to ask us to keep you safe then you need to get training, we will not put up with double-mindedness any longer". It is a wonder that They have been so merciful to me for so long.
As the Israelites were instructed to look upon the bronze serpent when bit, we are instructed to put on the mind like that of Christ when we are bit, and do it persistently without interruptions. Try it, you might like it.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the tests and the wisdom and knowledge and the refining.
This message comes with a cost: four and a half days of misery and a cost of 2-3 thousand dollars. This message costs you, the congregants, nothing, for as Jesus paid with suffering and blood and gave us redemption freely, this message is free also. When the Holy Spirit gave me this statement, I said "But Lord there is no blood", And His reply was, "You know all those times you cut yourself working and you asked Me why I let this happen? Well that blood of yours is in the money you earned to pay the debt".