This old saying has more of a biblical background than many people realize. Jacob knew how to create his flock by making a deal with Laban, whose flock Jacob was in charge of keeping (Genesis 30:29-33). Jacob begins to place branches of poplar, almond, and plane trees where the flocks mated (Genesis 30:37). The lambs born during this event were streaked, speckled, and spotted, so Jacob was able to keep them according to his deal with Laban (Genesis 30:39-40). The idea of becoming what one beholds is not only present when being around people, but what one beholds gets within that person and typically gives birth to whatever that something is. When people are around lawless, rebellious, or religious people it will breed lawlessness, rebellion, and religiosity. When people are around clean, holy, and biblical people it will breed cleanliness, holiness, and a living epistle of the Word of God. Bad people corrupt good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). When seeking to live for God, people must surround themselves with others who walk with God. Religious people who have a form of godliness but deny the power of God in their lives can only produce people of the same caliber (2 Timothy 3:5). The fruit of one’s life is the revealing agent of who they truly are in character (Matthew 7:16, 20). This, among many other reasons, is why every person needs to find a local church with a local pastor God has called them to not just attend but to be part of the body of believers there. People will make sacrifices for their kids or themselves to the college they dream of, save money for the vehicle they dream of, or work hard to get the position at work they dream of, but many will not invest in ensuring they surround themselves with godly people to remain godly in an ungodly world. With the world so full of ungodliness and anti-Christ agendas, Christians need to have uncompromised, the Word of God living, bold people of God to be around so their faith in God and belief in His Word does not diminish. When people behold a lukewarm social gathering, they will adapt themselves to that gathering. When people behold a hiding sin in the closet leader, they will begin to hide sin in their closet. But when people behold an imperfect, quick-to-repent, Bible-speaking, and Bible-believing leader, they will follow suit (1 Timothy 3:1-13). This type of leader should be found within the home, on the job, within the government, and especially within the church. Christians do not need a person to become another idol or cool trendsetter, they need a holy man or woman of God to lead them in the paths of righteousness that will help not only their eternity but their present state of living (Hebrews 13:7). Pastor Titus Maraifu from Africa has said, “To be great one must rub elbows with greatness”. To apply it here, a person becomes what they behold. Christians must behold the holy God they declare they serve (1 Peter 1:16). They should allow the Holy Spirit to be within them making the changes and leading them throughout their lives. Beholding the Holy Spirit will make that person holy (Romans 8:14; John 16:13; Galatians 5:16). May Christians no longer behold the world, its culture, and anti-Christ doctrines but may Christians everywhere behold God through a relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Word, and His Spirit to be the people of God He has planned for them to be. For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
There are so many churches within the United States and this region. Although there may be so many churches, or at least social gatherings, not every church is making true Christians. The purpose of a church is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the entirety of the Word of God (Matthew 4:4; Acts 2:42; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Matthew 28:19-20). When churches fail to train God’s people to be soldiers in His army, those people are set up for failure against a very deceptive and determined enemy (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Genesis 3:1; Ephesians 6:11). True churches build true Christians by preparing them for war (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Not a war of people against people but a war of spirit against spirit (Ephesians 6:12). The spirit of a Christian against the spirit of the demonic army. Within the natural military time, effort, finances, and a lot of discipline are used to train soldiers to fight for that nation. Why do so many Christians lack the training to stand for the kingdom of God? The answer is the difference between churches being social gatherings as opposed to true churches building true Christians. Cities, towns, and regions do not need more churches, they need churches to be true churches that train the army of God how to stand against the enemy of their soul, the enemy of God’s Word, and the enemy of God’s kingdom (Ephesians 6:11-18). Until Christians can be the soldiers they are meant to be, they will not endure the battle against their spiritual enemy (James 1:12; Matthew 24:13; Hebrews 10:36). It is not too late. It is not too late for Christians to find true churches training the soldiers of God. It is not too late for pastors to begin to lead their churches in the paths of righteousness and disciple them in this training. It is not too late for various churches to unite, not within one building, but under the same mindset, vision, and purpose, to build God’s army to conquer the opposition against the people of God (1 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 12:4-5). Until God’s people stand as the Bible declares, the spiritual enemies will continue to have victory and mock God. The Bible covers spiritual warfare too much for churches and Christians to not understand how to combat the spiritual enemies they face within their lives. The lives of Christians depend on the training received within the churches they attend (1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Corinthians 15:58). The eternity of so many people depends on the discipleship received within the churches of how to live for God that is according to His standards. When churches do not build soldiers of God but focus on gathering people Christianity becomes weak within the homes of the people, within the region, within the local churches, and within the nation. Churches must return to the Word of God and the holiness it requires for God’s people as opposed to being relevant, intentional, and lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). The great falling away is taking place among the many people who are gathered rather than discipled (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Hebrews 3:12-14). As long as the presence of God is still found on the earth, it is not too late. May every Christian desire to walk with God daily. May every church desire to disciple God’s people making them strong soldiers of God. May every pastor preach the unadulterated Word of God providing strength, boldness, peace, supply, and holiness for and in the people of God. For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
In the middle of various denominations, preaching styles, and slight differences in doctrine, every person should have a personal relationship with Jesus. Some beliefs can lead to heresy or not align with the Word of God which should not be followed, but this important relationship with Jesus Christ should be within the heart of true Christians. Without a relationship with Jesus Christ, no one can enter into Heaven (John 14:6; Romans 6:23). With a personal relationship with Jesus, every Christian should be led by God’s Holy Spirit, keeping them accurate in doctrine and having revelations of who God is through His Word (John 15:1-10; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 1:7). Many traditions emphasize a correct action but with the wrong motive. Going to church is not a relationship with Jesus, although going to church is a Christian discipline (Hebrews 10:24-25). Believing that God exists is not a relationship with God, although one must believe that He exists to have a relationship with Him (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:9-10). Having a family that goes to church does not mean everyone in that family has a relationship with Jesus Christ (Luke 12:51-53; Matthew 10:35-37). When churches, pastors, and Christians remove their focus from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ where is the focus being moved to? For some, it may be a social gathering that discusses a couple of Bible verses but no effort is placed on starting or maintaining a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:2). For some, it may be a method of keeping up appearances with other people who attend to display how much money they have and what clothes they wear or to gossip about others within the area (1 John 2:15-17; 1 Timothy 5:13; James 3:5-6). This is not what the church is designed to accomplish nor why the church is to gather together. The church is to help every believer or non-believer who walks within the doors to start or maintain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ with the end goal of spending eternity in Heaven with God the Father (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:11-16). The church is not only the building but the believers who are gathered within the building to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). Jesus Christ came to earth to be born, to give His life, and be resurrected on the third day to give every person the choice to be born again and to know God by having a personal relationship with Him (John 3:16-21). Christianity is centered on this important point. If the entirety of the Christian faith is summed up in this relationship why do so many Christians not emphasize this point? Having a relationship with Jesus will lead people to be clean, holy, and bear the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). Some people are not ready for this due to having a stronger desire to live life according to the world’s methods and not the standard Jesus requires (James 4:4). This type of mindset reflects a personal relationship with Jesus is not the focus or desire of this person making them, not a Christian (Matthew 7:21-23). Being a Christian is defined as being like Jesus or being like the Anointed One (1 John 5:1-5). A person will only be like someone else when they spend time with them. How is your personal relationship with Jesus? For more information about having a personal relationship with Jesus or about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
In these last days, many Christians do not take seriously a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Some play spiritual games of reading the Bible only when they want to, praying only when they want to, and going to church only when they want to. This lifestyle creates a lack of consistent and true commitment to Jesus. Commitment is defined as an agreement or pledge to do (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It is also defined as being obligated or having an urge or drive forward (Merriam-Webster). Being committed to Jesus Christ requires being a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). A sacrifice does not have an opinion of when or how it gets used or what part gets offered but is fully submitted and committed to the use of the master. For Christians, their master is Jesus Christ (John 13:13). When there is a choice of obligation or choice of action this is not a commitment but it is unfaithfulness. Faith is a necessary element required to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Part of faith is being full of faith or faithful in fulfilling one’s commitment to living for God (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Timothy 1:12; 1 Corinthians 4:2). Everyone that has made Jesus their Savior, Lord, and Master no longer has a choice in their lives but has made a commitment to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and to follow Jesus (Mark 8:34; Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23). Part of this commitment is to ensure that when the name of God through Jesus Christ is taken upon each Christian it is not taken in vain (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:11-13). Not only do these verses direct the attention to making oaths by applying God’s name, but also applying God’s name to one’s life and acting contrary to the doctrines of God. Christians take the name of Jesus upon their lives as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) speaking and acting as if He were there in the flesh. This is not the life that most Christians live, but for many, it is quite the contrary. Some are living for the flesh by acting on sinful nature, living for carnality by fulfilling what the body craves, and weakening the authority and power of Who Jesus is through not living out the Word of God. Even through a commitment to Jesus Christ, God does not expect perfection from His people but the effort of doing their best by knowing Him through the Word of God, being led by the Holy Spirit, and being quick to repent when sin does take place in one’s life. How can one be committed to a marriage while acting as if they are not married? This is the lifestyle of some Christians by acting as a spiritual bachelor while declaring to be married to Jesus Christ. Christians must choose to be fully committed to Jesus Christ not with their mouth only but through action, doctrine, and their personal relationship with Jesus on a daily basis. Salvation is not a hard process or a hard standard but it does require a true commitment to Jesus Christ (John 14:15). Jesus said that anyone, whosoever in the King James, who believed on Him will not be condemned and will not perish (John 3:16,18). This belief is not based on whether one thinks He is real but when a person believes in and on Jesus by trusting in, clinging to, and relying on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and Master. Relationships take commitment. Be fully committed to Jesus. For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
Unify is defined as to make into a unit or a coherent whole; to put together, to form a single unit; to bond (Merriam-Webster dictionary). Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25). There are many churches, pastors, and Christians that have fallen for the spirit of religiosity’s traps of division not only throughout time but within the region. This division is not among lines of heresy and separating false doctrine from sound doctrine to be biblical (Ephesians 4:14), but among churches that desire to honor God or among denominational names (Romans 16:17-18; Romans 12:5). Churches and Christians should be driven to have the spirit of unity working among them to glorify the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:3). When churches, pastors, and Christians fail to work together the spiritual enemies of God win (1 Corinthians 1:11-14). Some Christians will unify for a common cause like homelessness, feeding people, or one certain particular event but they will stop at that one event and not proceed to give God honor by continuing in His work through unity. How can this be overcome? The answer is simple. Christians need to gather with the common beliefs that should unify all believers of the New Testament church (Hebrews 6:1-2). These doctrines are: going on to maturity in their relationship with God, repenting of dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. All of these are the elementary or foundational doctrines of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:1). If Christians disagree on other doctrines like how to baptize, tongues, or other smaller branches of the Bible those doctrines should be able to be set aside to focus on the major doctrines of Hebrews 6 to still work in unifying for the kingdom of God through Jesus Christ (Titus 3:9-11). The enemy wants God’s people separated as easier targets to conquer making this unity even more vital to all Christians that desire to endure to receive their salvation (Matthew 24:13). Unifying is good for a region and a major method of breaking strongholds the spiritual enemies have used to divide for years (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Christians, pastors, and churches need to unify within each region to overcome the attacks of the enemy of the Christian faith (1 Peter 5:9; Romans 12:21). What can cause people not to unify? For some it may be insecurity, fear of the unknown, going against tradition, or pride and arrogance. In each of these reasons to not unify they are all of the flesh or carnality. Christians are to not walk in carnality but by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:5-8). If God’s people cannot unify, does that reflect serving different motives? When each person serves self no one will be able to unify because the motives are focused on each person getting their way or being set as the focus of the task. When God is the One being served then unity should be an automatic by-product of everyone attempting the same goal of glorifying God (1 Peter 3:8; 1 John 1:7). This should motivate all Christians, pastors, and churches to honor God in everything that is conducted and create unifying for the kingdom of Christ to God’s purpose (Colossians 3:14). The world needs Christians to unify to share the Word of God by working together to reflect one body and one army bringing victory for all that believe (1 John 5:5). For information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
Christmas time is a special time of being with family, friends, and people that are held dear to the heart. It is also about laughter, joy, peace, and making memories. Traditions of having presents appear under or near the tree on the morning of December 25th is a way to celebrate gift giving, especially with smaller children. Playing various games with family of all ages or gathering for food makes for many traditions of celebration. Most importantly, Christmas time is about Jesus Christ of Nazareth being born into this world to teach, preach, glorify Father God, lay down His life, and to be resurrected giving anyone the opportunity to be born again. Some like to argue over the exact date but having a specific date to celebrate His birth is at the heart of this holiday. Even as many can agree on these things when people take their eyes off of Jesus Christ and place their attention on iimaginery figures this diludes the meaning of Christmas. Christians are to let their light shine before men to give glory to God in Heaven (Matthew 5:16). This includes seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Everything that is conducted or said within the lives of Christians are to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17). Christians are to bear witness of the Light of God, Jesus Christ, not the tales of others (John 1:8). It has been said what if a person teaches their child there is an imaginery figure that leaves presents and does magical things at Christmas but when that child is older understands they have been lied to for the sake of Christmas fun what keeps that now older child from doubting all the marvelous things that God actually does through His Son Jesus Christ? Again, Christmas can have fun and be full of memories or clean traditions only conducted around this time of year but Christians should use this time of year to share about the wonderful news of the birth of a Savior (Luke 2:9-18) that came to this world to make a way for all to be born again and receive everlasting life (John 1:12; John 6:40). Without walking cautiously Christians can be more influenced by the world and its tales or culture as opposed to being an influence on the world to reflect the culture of the kingdom of Heaven. When the world has more influence on Christians than the things of God this is spiritual adultery (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; Romans 12:2). One of the influences that should be evident is the grace of God within the lives of His people. The grace of God teaches Christians to reject and renounce all ungodliness and worldly desires and to live upright, devout, spiritually whole lives in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). The reason God’s grace teaches His people this is for them to look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ Who gave Himself on their behalf to redeem them from all their sins and to purify them to be eager and enthusiastic about living a life for God (Titus 2:13-14). Sadly, some Christians turn to fables of the world to compromise their telling of Jesus Christ during the celebration of His birth, death, and resurrection with imaginery figures that represent more of the world than anything that has to reflect the kingdom of God. May Christians begin to pick up the mantle of the reason of not only the seaon but the reason they were created, to worship and commune with God. For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
In general, the modern church has given over to the spirit of religiosity by becoming therapeutic to the attendees of the assembly. By accommodating to the desires of the public, church services of these organizations are now the feel-good injections of false hope and half-truths that do not change the people looking for the true hope and full truth of God and His Word. The word therapeutic means producing a useful or favorable result or effect, having an effect on the body or the mind. Part of this demon’s ability to use therapeutic methods accommodates anything the body or mind desires. Some of the therapeutic changes include: no offense in messages (no negative aspects or conviction), removing the necessity of salvation and holiness, fewer crosses or steeples, removal of communion, appealing to the unchurched (secular appearance and activities), focus on videos, music, drama, or other arts that are secular in nature, adding exercise gyms, spas, locker rooms, etc., adding various franchises on church property, removing the necessity of tithes and offerings, removing references to the blood of Jesus, marketing Jesus in a different view rather than from the Bible, and many more. This accommodation also includes sin while presenting a façade of Christianity (2 Timothy 3:5). When churches become therapeutic they are seeking a favorable result to their motives and not to the eternal benefit of people. Although there may be an effect on the body or mind, eternity is based on the response of spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:14). There must be a change in the spirit and application of the spiritual principles to connect each individual to God (Galatians 5:16). Only focusing on the natural is not only a ploy of the spirit of religiosity but this demon desires this to keep people from being prepared in their spiritual ability to obtain victory (1 Corinthians 2:15). When God’s people are spiritual, as God desires them to be, they examine, investigate, and question all things. When they are spiritual they also have the Holy Spirit to help them in their weaknesses (Romans 8:26). This interaction does not sound like therapeutic desires but a submission to God reflecting a true relationship with Him. When people take on the newer ideology of religiosity there is a belief that God wants people to be nice and happy. This creates the therapeutic mindset that as long as people are nice, happy, and believe that God exists then they are right in God’s eyes. God did not establish His kingdom to work in this manner (Romans 12:21; John 16:33; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58). God’s people are called to be overcomers not to be given therapeutic bandaids to administer to gashing wounds. Therapeutic methods accommodate to solidify the pleasure of self as the normal method of living but this directly opposes God and His Word. The enemies of this therapeutic goal of religiosity are marked as standing in the way of people’s happiness (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul’s letter to Timothy displays how the therapeutic methods of religiosity go directly against the Word of God. Why do so many churches or Christians allow this demon to tend to them? The answer is the pleasing of the flesh rather than having a true relationship with God. This is the height of religiosity that is manipulated to not recognize the need to change by this same demon. When accommodations are made it is easier to not face the truth and deceive oneself as being in right standing with God. May Christians overcome this spirit of religiosity and have a true relationship with God through Jesus. For more information visit agcsparta.org.
There is a spirit in the region that has a stronghold within some churches and within the hearts of some people. This is the spirit of religion also known as religiosity. Religiosity is a feeling or a quality of being religious through action while not actively having a relationship with God. Just as a person who is married should not have the quality, feeling, or obligation to their marriage as a state of being, but instead should be so involved in their relationship with their spouse to express devotion as a fruit of their love. When the spirit of religiosity is allowed there are more actions or words that are not motivated by a heart of love and servitude to God (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8; Jeremiah 2:5). This is the opposite of how God designed mankind to interact with Him. Losing the purpose of believing in God is dangerous and leads to religiosity. Mankind was created to worship God and have fellowship with Him (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:15-16). Religiosity blinds participants by having the right action but without a relationship with God. The Apostle Paul describes this as having a form of godliness but denying the power of Him interacting in these people's lives (2 Timothy 3:5). The spirit of religiosity can present the façade of a relationship with God through acts of religion but the relationship may have ceased to exist long ago. Every Christian must walk with God daily through Bible study, prayer, worship, being in the house of God, and being led by the Spirit of God. Even these actions must not be from a routine of habit or obligation but from a sincere heart’s desire to be intimate with God. In discussing this spirit of religiosity two main ditches represent the heart of how it operates within people, the legalistic method and the deceptive method. The best example of the legalistic method is Martha. Martha is hosting Jesus in her home yet Martha does not find it permissible for her sister, Mary, to sit at the feet of Jesus to worship, sacrifice, and honor Him (Luke 10:38-40). Martha’s distraction was her work but she could not get passed the facts of Mary not being legalistic in her works like herself (Luke 10:41-42). He knew that Mary was seeking intimate time with Him as opposed to being focused on religious works like Martha. Works alone do not constitute a right standing with God (Romans 9:32). Knowing Jesus helps people to understand God and how He desires to fellowship with mankind. Christians are to have a work ethic for God but not in a legalistic manner. A purified heart seeks to get close to God and in return, He draws close (James 2:17; James 2:24; Matthew 7:22-23). A work ethic should be produced from love created by a pure heart and faith reflecting a relationship with God. The best example of the deceptive method is Judas Iscariot (John 12:3-7). Judas was a deceiver and had used the ministry not only for his gain, but he covered his actions under the cloak of Jesus’ name and character. This describes how some Christians use ministry, another person’s ministry, or the name of Jesus to hide their personal motives, schemes, and sins. Christians are to not hide behind their label and live how they desire. God’s people must be humble, walk with Him in sincerity, and cast down any ideas or doctrines that contradict the Word. In doing this, the demon of religiosity will not be able to penetrate the heart of Christians. For more information visit agcsparta.org.
For many years Christians have begun to settle for less of God. Less church, less Bible study, less prayer time, less holiness, and less seeking God. Why is this now become the new standard within what is supposed to be the Body of Christ? Jesus Christ did not settle for less even knowing what the plan of God was for His life. He did ask that the cup could be passed from Him, yet even in the same prayer, not His will but God’s will be done in His life (Matthew 26:39; Matthew 26:42; Mark 14:36). To be Christ-like or a Christian, should reflect the goal of not settling for less of God but more of Him within their lives. When Christians choose to settle for less in their lives they are allowing more room for the spiritual enemies of their Christian faith to have a foothold (Ephesians 4:27; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 2:11). They are saying to God and His enemies there is a vacancy for something else to have access to what is supposed to be God’s. This settling means more than what is on the surface level. A drawing back signifies that selfishness, ungodliness, and other things have more importance to that person than God (Hebrews 10:38-39; Luke 9:62; 1 John 1:6). Even within churches, there may be a settling for less truth of God being spoken, less opportunity for God to move among the people as He desires, or less of God in general and more room for carnality of culture or gratification of fleshly desires. John the Baptist declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). This is the person Jesus declared to be very important to the kingdom of God (Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28). There should be more believers like John the Baptist who are willing to declare they will only settle for less of self and less of flesh and not settle for less of God or the things of God. This prepares the way for Jesus Christ to enter and make an impact not only on that person’s life but those around them who will allow Jesus to touch their lives (John 1:23). Christians, especially in these last days, must understand the importance of God is needed now more than ever. Settling for less of God sets people up for failure who are looking for the truth of God. Instead of offering more of God, they are offering gifts for attending church, coffee and doughnuts to satisfy the flesh, less truth of God to better their lives, and more culturally relevant things to cater to the carnality of people. People, and not just Christians, need the Word of God to convict them of sin by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), the power of God to move in their lives, and fellowship centered around Jesus Christ as Lord and Master for them to find the peace, joy, love, and other fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) they are looking for in their lives. May more Christians, especially pastors and preachers, step up to give others more of Jesus and not settle for less of God and less in God. This mindset benefits no one. Let’s change the region by allowing God to be the center of the lives of the people not settling for less in God to only place His label upon people as a false claim for fire insurance on the day of judgment. This is the time everyone needs more of God not less. For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.
As many Christians live for God there will be interactions with people who declare they love God but do not have the actions that reflect this type of talk (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8). Throughout time and within the Bible certain people have animal-like tendencies that are not so good for true Christians to partake with when seeking to please God. Let’s take a look at these animals biblically and naturally to understand how these people work against the kingdom of God. Foxes naturally are cunning, eat small things and can only shake their prey until they die, camouflage themselves in their surroundings until they attack, vocalize with a whine, yelp, explosive call, combative call, growl, and bark, and are related to wolves. These are some of the reasons the Bible states that it is the little foxes that spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15). Religious foxes have plans to use their craftiness to gain favor with people but are cowardly by doing it more in a small intimate setting because they know they cannot stand against truth in a bigger setting. When these foxes are not handled biblically they will not only rip off the fruit of a good vine to have for themselves but also ruin the growth of the branches by cutting it off from the vine (John 15:1,5). Some of the Pharisees went to Jesus and told Him that He needed to go away because Herod was determined to kill Him (Luke 13:31). Jesus responded by calling Herod a fox because he was sly, crafty, skulking and cowardly (Luke 13:32). Herod was determined to come against Jesus and the plan that God had for Him to complete. Possums are more known in the United States and Canada but there are some religious parallels with certain people that gather among religious groups. Possums are opportunistic to feed on whatever is vulnerable or available for them to partake of with little to no hassle (Jude 4,12-13). They are also solitary and nomadic animals who only thrive where they can hide, feed, live in darkness, and then leave when attention or light is directed to them (John 3:19; John 11:10; Ephesians 5:11; 1 John 1:6). When threatened they produce a foul-smelling fluid in their mouth leaving those around them with this stench if it is placed upon them (Proverbs 18:21; James 1:26). Snakes are very biblical animals yet dangerous in both the religious and natural aspects. Snakes use their mouth as their best weapon to inject venom, for those of the poisonous breeds, and kill their prey before consuming them (Matthew 12:34; James 3:10). Some snakes become dormant for a season after consuming prey. Each of these animals uses their mouths to accomplish their tasks of killing and eating. When applied in the religious aspect these people use their mouths to kill many things and people of God whether by compromising doctrine to permit sin, killing the reputation of holy people, or splitting a church (Ephesians 4:29; Psalm 141:3; Matthew 12:36-37). In every form these people much like the animals are not used to build things or have good reputations but more for their bad qualities of harm and selfishness. True Christians should expose these types of behavior with the Word of God to bring biblical repentance (Ephesians 5:11; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 John 1:9). May Christians have discernment and wisdom in understanding these characteristics and know how to handle these types of people. For more information about Abundant Grace Church visit agcsparta.org.