The Believer's Armory:
M.E. Brines' blog with articles & links to important resources to equip Believers for spiritual success in a world steeped in the occult.
The first three chapters of Matthew concern Jesusí genealogy, birth and upbringing. It wouldnít be a bad idea to read those chapters and I encourage you to do so, but in the interest of staying on topic weíre going to skip ahead to the section in chapter four which first mentions the disciples.
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And leaving Nazareth, He [Jesus] came and lived in Capernaum, which is on the seacoast, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali, (14) so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, (15) "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations! (16) The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death." (17) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (18) And walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea. For they were fishermen. (19) And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. (20) And they immediately left their nets and followed him. (21) And going on from there, he saw another two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. And He called them; (22) and they immediately left the boat and their father and followed Him.
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We see from this that at the very beginning of his ministry, right after he first began preaching, Jesus began recruiting his disciples. Making disciples was an integral part of his ministry. They were there right from the beginning.
Notice the method of recruitment: he went to where they were at work and chose them. Jesus chose them, not the other way around. We tend to think of the Kingdom of God as a voluntary organization. After all, donít evangelists encourage us to ďmake a decisionĒ for Jesus? Itís as if itís all up to us; we are the ones making the decision, after all, right? But thatís not how it really is. He chose us.
God is not willing that any should perish, so Heís sent out to each of us a draft notice. Some of us respond and report for duty. But most of the people of the world are simply draft dodgers trying to avoid the call of God.
Remember Paulís words in Ephesians 1:3-6:
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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ; (4) according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (5) having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (6) to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He has made us accepted in the One having been loved.
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Now, Iím not trying to push any Calvinist theology here. Iím quite familiar with that although I happen to believe in Free Will. But the fact of the matter is that the Lord chose us to be his disciples; He chose everyone:
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2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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Unfortunately not everyone responds as they should. But we should keep the idea in mind that He chose us, both the keep ourselves from becoming too high-minded about our relationship and too low-minded.
Remember: Jesus initiated the relationship, not you. Donít start thinking how superior you are to all those other unfortunate sinners out there. But for the grace of God youíd be right there lost alongside them.
But on the other hand, God sought you out: donít make the opposite error and think that youíre not valuable. The God of the Universe loves you and knows your name. That means youíre somebody.
Continue on in the passage we are studying in Matthew and notice what Jesus did with his disciples.
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And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (24) And His fame went throughout all Syria. And they brought to Him all those being badly ill suffering various diseases and torments, and those who had been possessed with demons, and those who had been moonstruck, and paralytics. And He healed them. (25) And great multitudes of people followed Him, from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and beyond Jordan.
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He didnít send His disciples to seminary or Bible School or a seminar. He took them right out into the world and they went to work right alongside him. Being a disciple is on-the-job training. We learn by doing. You see the same thing in martial arts dojos. Iíve never seen one yet with a chalkboard in front of a row of desks.
Continue reading in Matthew 5:1-10:
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And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain. And when He had sat down, His disciples came to Him. (2) And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, (3) Blessed are the poor in spirit! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. (4) Blessed are they that mourn! For they shall be comforted. (5) Blessed are the meek! For they shall inherit the earth. (6) Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness! For they shall be filled. (7) Blessed are the merciful! For they shall obtain mercy. (8) Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God. (9) Blessed are the peacemakers! For they shall be called the sons of God. (10) Blessed are they who have been persecuted for righteousness sake! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
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Even though great multitudes were following him, Jesus took his disciples up into the mountains for special training. If we want to be the best disciples we can be we need to try to get all the special training we can get. You can see this same principle in the martial arts. The best students are always the ones who are there the most. Theyíre the ones who go to the extra training sessions, the seminars, and conventions. Many of them may even be students of several different techniques. The students who become masters are also the same ones who are participating in tournaments along the way. The students who merely show up for one class a week, never make much progress and rarely accomplish anything.
In his first lesson Jesus gives his disciples a quick summary of the course he is about to take them through, presenting the principles he intends to elaborate upon over the next three years. Observe these principles in action in the chapters that follow as the disciples go through their training with the Master.
To be continued....
Has Christianity lost its cultural relevance? Has the Churchís misguided
efforts to market itself to non-Christians doomed it to irrelevance? Is it time
for a new Reformation? Spiritual
Embezzlement Made Easy
What does Jesus expect from his followers? How did he train his disciples? Revolutionary
Why do those who disagree with you politically believe the ridiculous things
they do? Why donít they see whatís so obvious? How does the Progressive
Mentality differ from the Conservative Mentality? What are their origins? Their
motivation? Their goals? What part does religion play in political worldviews
Ė for BOTH sides? What does the Culture War mean for the future of the US?
Read Conservatives are
from Mars & Progressives are from Venus
With all the depressing news lately do you need something to pick you up and make you laugh? In a world where sugar, cream and caffeine are illegal can one man give the people back their just desserts? Strike a blow for frosting and freedom! Read The Donuts of Doom, a whimsical steampunk fantasy e-novel Also available in paperback.
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Who is M.E. Brines?
M.E. Brines spent the Cold War assembling atomic artillery shells and preparing to unleash the Apocalypse (and has a medal to prove it.) But when peace broke out, he turned his fevered, paranoid imagination to other pursuits. He spends his spare time scribbling another steampunk romance occult adventure novel, which despite certain rumors absolutely DOES NOT involve time-traveling Nazi vampires!
A former member of the British Society for Psychical Research, he is a long-time student of the occult and a committed Christian who sees himself as a modern-day Professor Van Helsing equipping Believers for battle against the occult Principalities and Powers that rule a world in darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)
The author of three dozen books, e-books, chapbooks and pamphlets on esoteric subjects such as alien abduction, alien hybrids, astrology, the Bible, biblical prophecy, Christian discipleship, conspiracies, esoteric Nazism, the Falun Gong, Knights Templar, magick, and UFOs, his work has also appeared in Challenge magazine, Weird Tales, The Outer Darkness, Tales of the Talisman, and Empirical magazine.
*I'm often asked how I square my Christianity and "messing around" with the occult, as if I'm partial to bestial things with a goat under the amber light of the moon or something. No so. I'm a student, in the same way I used to study Soviet weapons and tactics back when I was a US Army officer. This gives my work a unique perspective no matter what your belief system. I don't judge. I just present the information and let the reader decide.
Tales of the Talisman magazine
Ghost Hunting Theories (+ Bigfoot)
Gnostalgia (the Esoteric Steampunk Lodge of the Retro-Future)
Why Star Trek is dead. (Postmodernism killed it)
Smashwords is great place 2 get e-books, 7 different formats, Nook, Kindle, EPUB, & more! Many are FREE. Check it out!!! https://www.smashwords.com/
The Struggle of Nations Game
(This could be you)
Ever wanted to rule your own nation? Now you can! The Struggle of Nations is a historical play-by-e-mail game where each player is the leader of his own nation. Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing government or rebel faction. Weekly turns represent the passage of a year in game-time. During each week you can plot, plan and scheme, then turn in your national budget and orders by the deadline. Track your progress using the economic report and full-color maps on the web site. Read about your exploits in the weekly newsletter!
The game accommodates busy players by enabling you to spend whatever time you like during the week conducting diplomacy with the other players via e-mail and determining your budget and orders, as long as they are finalized and submitted by the weekly turn deadline. You devote to the game exactly as much or as little time as you choose.
The rules are realistic and complete yet with a human referee to allow customized options. Players can manipulate tax rates, social programs, propaganda, and forge a customized military with secret weapons of their own design. The possibilities for economic growth, conquest, colonization, exploration, and research are endless.
Set in a 19th century steampunk Victorian world, The Struggle of Nations allows players to develop their countries as they see fit, accommodating any ideology or style of play. The game only ends if one player manages to conquer (or destroy) the world. In previous sessions the game lasted until the early 21st century as players began to explore and colonize the solar system. What could YOU accomplish if you ruled a nation?
Find out in The Struggle of Nations! Choose any nationality or secret society you like. Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing nation or rebel faction. Just contact the Game Master by sending an e-mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org." For the rules of play, click on The Player's Handbook below. The game is FREE (although we request a donation of $5 per turn.) Sign up today!
The links below lead to the Player's Handbook, and other useful documents. The player's handbook helps players fill out their order packets correctly so their orders are not misunderstood by the Game Master.
The new Indian balloon carrier:
Argentine explorers on Easter Island
The Papal flagship, Fist of God
You can join the game discussion group by using this URL:
All attached documents are Copyright 2012 by Michael E. Brines