Archive for the ‘Spiritual warfare’ Category

Please Help Us, Isaiah 64, Matthew 12

July 2, 2014

“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence…” Isaiah 64:1

This morning I arose to the reality that we are living in a world of darkness.  Ours is a world that is at war with God and with God’s people.  The headlines are almost daily inclusive of the wars in our world.  Last week I read an article that stated the following, “every day in the world Christians are being martyred at an alarming rate.”

In Isaiah 64 we read the Prophets plea for God to come down and help his people who were under great oppression from the nations of the world.  In chapter 63 Isaiah the Prophet pleads for mercy.  In this chapter we see his correct understand of humanity and his correct understanding of God:

Think it through:

1.  Isaiah knows he nor the people are worthy to be in God’s presence, Vs: 6-7

The best we as humans have to offer is compared to filthy rags.

2.  Isaiah knows he and the people can be made worthy by God’s cleansing power, Vs: 8-12

You and I are compared to clay in a potters hand.  Paul writing in Romans (9:20-21) teaches us that God can do with us as He desires because of who He is.

This morning I cried out to God, “Father, make us vessels useful for your kingdom work.”

Our response:

We can be assured our God is on the job this day.  He is sovereign over every moment of our lives (Matt. 12:1-14).  We can come before Him in honesty because He already knows all about us.  This very day we can trust in God’s amazing work in our lives.

Key-“You and I must first confess our inability and then cling to His ability.”  In this way we are able to reach out into a dark world with hope!!!

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Being Strong In The Lord (Proverbs 13, Ephesians 6)

March 26, 2014

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”  Ephesians 6:10

As Paul comes to the conclusion of his letter, he speaks words of wisdom to both children and parents; bond servants and masters.  Having now completed his practical teaching, Paul returns in conclusion to a very deep theological discussion: “Our strength is in the Lord.”

Question, “Why should saved people need to be taught about being strong in the Lord?”  Paul gives us two reasons:

1.  We are living in an evil day, Vs: 13

2.  We are facing an evil one, Vs: 16

Think it through:

How should we respond to this teaching?

A.  Put on the armor of God, Vs: 14-17

Take time and study each part of God’s armor.  Write down how this armor will help you to be strong in the Lord.

B.  Put on the attitude of the godly, Vs: 18-20

Because we are being strengthened by the Lord we can possess the following attitude:

1.  Lord, we need you every hour (Pray without ceasing)

2.  Lord, I am watching the enemy (I am spiritually alert)

3.  Lord, I will proclaim the gospel (Boldly to proclaim)

Our response:

Lord, I will be strong in you so that the mystery of the gospel would be proclaimed to the world.

Who Can Fight Against The Enemy? (Revelation 13)

August 21, 2012

“Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” Revelation 13

For some of you the name Lolo Jones does not ring a bell, but for those who watched the Olympics her name stands out.  Lolo participated as a hurdler in this years games.  She finished fourth in her best event.  But this was the not the news I am referring to.  Lolo is a follower of Christ who has found herself in a place of great media craze as she has taken her stand for Christ.  Such media as the New York Times and Sports Illustrated have tried to degrade her stand on sex, moral values, and her stand for Christ.

Certainly Lolo is not alone in her stand.  There are millions of Christians whose daily lives are under the scrutiny of a darkened world and a diabolical enemy.  We see this enemy at work in chapter 13 of the book of Revelation.

I remind you that this chapter is on the heels of chapter 12 that speaks about our enemy being defeated. Some would consider this chapter to be an oxymoron, but it is not.  In chapter 12 we see and overview of our Sovereign Lord’s control.  Here in chapter 13 we find a description of our enemy. Here is and outline to follow:

1.  Our enemy is formidable, Vs: 1-4

2.  Our enemy is furious, Vs: 5-10

3.  Our enemy is focused, Vs: 11-18

Our enemy has two main ambassadors, “The antichrist and the false prophet.”  Both of these ambassadors have a two-fold Goal:  1) Magnify Satan himself.  2) Establish a one-world government.  As one reads the headlines and follows the trajectory of our world it is easy to see this coming into play.

But we who are followers of Christ find great reason to rejoice and praise our God in this time.  Maybe you ask, “How could you make such a statement?”  The answer is clear.  All that is happening in chapter 13 is by divine permission of God.  We see such descriptions as, “Given authority, It was allowed, and authority was given.”  These are subtile reminders that God is in charge.

Lolo Jones and every Christian who is suffering today can take heart that God is on the throne and he is working everything for his purposes.  Brothers and sisters rest your weary souls in the truth that our God is over all you are facing.  Rejoice in the truth that victory is and will be yours in Christ alone!

Holy Boldness (II Corinthians 10)

August 3, 2012

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.”  II Cor 10:3

There are days when we find ourselves in need of Holy Boldness.  Consider the founder and CEO of Chick-Fil-A.  Recently he took a bold stand for the Biblical view of marriage.  His stand took boldness and now all hell has been unleashed against him.  My prayer is that he will follow Paul’s example of how to have holy boldness in this hour of trial.

The setting for II Corinthians 10 (Our More For Christ readings) is Paul’s response to those who were false Apostles. These false Apostles were challenging Paul’s authority as an Apostle.  Paul responds with holy boldness.

This morning I want to ask you the following:  “Is there boldness that is needed in your daily life?”  The answer is certainly, “yes.”  Paul had boldness and yes we need boldness.

In this moment I feel compelled to warn you of the following, “Your boldness must not come from fleshly anger or resentment.  Your boldness must come from another source.”  Notice where Paul’s boldness comes:

1.  Paul’s boldness comes from the Holy Spirit (Vs: 3-6)

Paul would not rely on the flesh to respond to his critics.  He relied on the Holy Spirit.  This way his response was of God and not of his sinful nature.  Paul’s reliance on the Spirit positioned him in the place where the Spirit was leading and redeeming each circumstance.  The enemies of the cross could not stand!

2.  Paul’s boldness comes from the scripture (Vs: 7-12)

Paul could tear down strong-holds because he spoke the truth of God’s word.  Paul had a strong foundation to stand on.

3.  Paul’s boldness comes from his status (Vs: 13-18)

The reason Paul was facing this opposition was because of his assignment from the Lord.  Paul was to take the gospel to new lands and to people who had never heard.  He must be bold because this was his assignment.  Brothers and sisters this is our assignment as well.  Paul closes this chapter with a reminder that his approval was from God not from me.  Paul stood in boldness because all that he was had come as the grace of God.

So brothers and sisters, “What do we glean from this?”

1.  Always allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you.

2.  Always allow the scripture to speak for you.

3.  Always stand on God’s assessment of your life

On The Firing Line

June 20, 2012

“So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authorities and jurisdiction of the governor.”  Luke 20:20

Shockingly, I have discovered that life is not always cake and ice cream.  The fact is, it is most often just the opposite, aches and pains.  Now this may seem to be gloom and doom but it is not.  Here are the words of a great man of faith, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”  Job 23:10

Ours (as followers of Christ) is a life that is lived with daily opportunities of growth in grace.  One could say, “Ours is a life that is lived on the firing line.”  We have things hurled at us, by our enemy, to trap us and to derail our witness for Christ.  But at the same time these things are allowed by God to strengthen our walk and to magnify the witness of Christ in our lives.

For example, consider our More For Christ readings for today, Luke 20:19-40.  Jesus is on the firing line.  There are those who are seeking to trap Jesus.  But their trap turns into and opportunity for Jesus to teach truth that magnifies the name of the Father.

This morning I discovered two things:

1.  The wisdom in always using truth as our weapon of choice on the firing line.

Jesus faced a question about allegiance.  His answer was God’s truth.  Brothers and sisters we must arm ourselves with His truth while on the firing line.  Anything else leaves us wounded and in shambles before the world.  Jesus faced a question about marriage.  Again His answer was God’s truth.  If truth was Jesus weapon of choice, I want it to be mine as well.

2.  The joy in knowing that the truth will set you free from all attacks.

As we study God’s word our minds are freed from the confusion of the matter.  We can see clearly and we can stand firmly on the rock of Jesus.  As we study Gods word our lives become powerful examples of what it means to live the Christ life.

This day I pray for you as you are on the firing line.  This day I plead with you to arm yourselves with the word of God.  His word is the only weapon you need in your fire fight.

 

The True Meaning Of Lordship

May 25, 2012

Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you?”  Luke 6:46

Many couples face the issue of Lordship throughout their lives.  I was reminded of this as I was listening to a pastor teach on the subject of dating.  Here is an exert from his teaching:  “One of the two parties will say to the other, ‘if you love me you will be willing to go all the way.’  The other will try to hold out, but the issue of lordship is front and center.”

For me there are several levels of discussion here.  For our time I will only deal with one.  The issue of who is Lord of both of their lives.  Jesus is quoted on Lordship in our More for Christ readings, Luke 6:43-7:17.  

In particular we look at 6:46-49.  Notice Jesus teaching:

1.  The definition of Lordship is assumed

The correct definition of Lordship according to Jesus is simply, “one who is obeyed,”  The incorrect definition of Lordship is simply, “One who is sometimes but not always obeyed.”

2.  The description of Lordship is illustrated

Jesus gives us a clear picture of the correct and incorrect definition.  The correct definition is illustrated by a house being built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.  When the storms come and the rains fall, the house will stand.  Lordship means our salvation and our entire lives are being built on Jesus Christ alone.

The incorrect definition is illustrated by a house being built on the foundation of something else.  When the storms come and the rains fall, the house will fall.  Lordship does not mean Jesus plus something or just believe in something.

Back to our opening illustration.  This couple will make their decision based upon who is truly Lord of their lives.  If Christ is Lord they will truly get through the storm because of a foundation.  This morning we find this in Luke 7:1-17 in two illustrations.  I encourage you to read both.

Bottom line, Who is Lord of your Life? If it is not Christ you have not hope of success in the devastation of life.  But in Christ, our Lord will see us through.

Words You Never Want To Hear

February 7, 2012

“And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”  Matthew 26:21

The title of our blog, without a doubt sparked your curiosity.  You were probably not only wondering, what words, you were offering your own suggestions as to what those words would be.  For some people those words would be, “Honey, I no longer love you and I want a divorce.”  For others, ‘You have cancer.”  These are certainly words you never want to hear.

However these are the not the words I was considering this morning.  For the Child of God, Jesus words in Matthew 26 are words one would never want to hear.  But the fact is, they not only heard them, they fulfilled them a few hours later.

Our scripture reading for the day, Matthew 26:14-35, begins on the heels of Judas secret plot to betray Jesus.  It is now the eve of Passover and Jesus has gathered with his disciples in an upper room somewhere in Jerusalem.  Four things will be forever remembered from their time in that room:

Jesus announces, “It is my time.”  The cross now awaits Jesus, Vs: 18.  He makes this statement to remind us that His Father is in complete control.  This very hour was the very reason for which Jesus came.

Jesus announces, “Someone will betray me.”  Each man was shocked, especially the one who was guilty.  In this moment, Judas turns down his last opportunity to repent.

Jesus institutes the “Lord’s Supper.”  In this room Jesus would begin a practice that signified the coming of the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah, 31:31-34.  Jesus was headed to the cross so that we could have forgiveness of sin.

Jesus announces, “You will all cave in this night.”  The disciples could not believe they would turn away from Jesus. But this is exactly what they did.  In this moment we see Peter’s intentions are motivated by his pride in his own ability.  But his ability would not be enough.  Jesus would explain this a few verses later, “The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.”

Be assured, when we fail to take our stand for the Lord, our flesh is in the way.  There have been many times in my life when I did not take my stand for the Lord.  In those times, I found a gentle reminder from the Lord that standing for Him always involves a surrender of our will to His will.

This morning, you could be facing another day before that person who is trying your faith.  Daily you feel as if you have failed.  This day can be different, if you walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  This day you must trust in His power and not your own.  You must choose to arm yourselves with God’s armor (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Be assured, when you do, God will say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”  Trust in His provision for this day and every day.

For further study consider I Peter 3, Ephesians 6, and James 1

Who Will Stand Up

July 29, 2011

This morning I was shocked when I read about a bill that is before congress this morning.  The bill would establish a new diplomatic post that would be charged with defending religious freedom overseas.  The intent of this post would be to discover areas of persecution and to offer ways to stop the persecution.

As I thought through this proposal the truth of my scripture reading from Acts 2-4 came into focus.  When the church began, it was with great demonstration of power as the gospel went forth and three-thousand people embraced the gospel.  By chapter four  the number of men who have come to Christ has grown to a number of five-thousand.  But as is always the case with the gospel, when Christ is glorified Satan is angered and he attacks.

Chapter four tells us the story of persecution. Peter and John are arrested and told, “To speak no more to anyone in this name,” Acts 4:18. The fact is religious freedom is given to everyone except those who stand for Christ.  Look around the world, if you are a Muslim you have freedom, if you are Buddhist you have freedom, if you are an atheist you have freedom.  All have freedom except those who name the name of Christ.

But the question is, “Who will stand up?”  In Acts 4 we discover the Apostles stand up. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge.  For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard,” Acts 4:19-20.  Their stand would cost them their very lives, but to them it was worth it to be able to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.  They knew it was God’s sovereign purposes that they would face persecution (Acts 4:25-31).  They only asked for one thing, “Grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,” 4:29.

Question, “Who will stand up in our day?”  The cause of the gospel demands that true followers stand up in every venue of life.  Today, I challenge believers in the work place to stand up.  Today, I challenge believers in the political arena to stand up.  Today, I challenge moms and days to stand up.  Today, I challenge college students and teenagers to stand up.  Today, I challenge missionaries to keep standing up.  The gospel demands that we stand because we are the light on the hill. If we do not stand up, there is a basket placed over the gospel and people will die in darkness without hope.

The bottom line is this, no post appointed by congress will stop the persecution in our world.  The persecution is allowed by God to magnify the gospel. Only when Christ returns will this persecution end.  Until then give your best and be totally spent for Christ.  What we have to look forward to is beyond all imagination, “The times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, appointed for you, Jesus,” Acts 3:20.  Come Lord Jesus come!!!

A Great Chain

February 9, 2011

This morning I was gripped by what I read in Revelation 20:1 “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.” The next verse moved me to shout,”Praise the Lord.”  “And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,” 20:2.

As I read these verses I wondered out loud, “Will the chain hold?” Certainly we know that many scenes in the book of Revelation present us with difficulties in interpretation, but always the meaning of what God is doing is clear and once again we see with clarity God’s meaning.  Satan, the enemy of God and all of humanity is bound by God and has no influence.

There is no need to worry about the chain breaking because it is God who always puts Satan in His place and Satan is no match for God.  Now Let’s pause for a moment and consider Satan’s present status in relation to your life and mine.  Jesus speaking of Satan wrote, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him,” John 8:44.  Satan is the master deceiver who desires to destroy your life and he will use every means at his disposal.

Satan will use lies and deception.  How often have you believed you were powerless in a tough situation?  How often have you believed there was no hopeless in certain circumstances?  How often have you given into peer pressure thinking I have no one to stand with me?  How often have you felt like there cannot be anything good that can come from what I am facing?

Each of these scenario’s are tools of the enemy.  But there is coming a day when the master deceiver will be chained and the chain will not break.  This is great news for our future.  However there is great news now.  Satan does not have power over God even now.  Here is how James describes this, “Submit to God, resist the Devil and He will flee from you,” James 4:7.

Brothers and sisters you can have victory in every circumstance that Satan throws your way.  The key is not in you binding Satan and you holding him at bay, because you cannot.  The key is to submit your every moment to God.  This way Satan is not coming at you, He is coming face to face with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Be assured he will lose every time.

So, allow me to encourage you to submit to God this day.  Place everything in His hands and stand  back and watch the enemy flee.

Maybe you ask, “How do I know when I have submitted to God?”  Peace will come into your heart and mind!!!