Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spiritual Warfare

Good Evening Everyone! Tonight I want to address a very, very important topic. One that as Christians we tend to not to focus on enough. Its the root of many of our heartaches, the essence of the evil that swirls around us, and a great explanation when many of us ask "Why?". What am I talking about. Well, I'm talking about Spiritual Warfare. Its real, its present, and as Christians we need to understand the concept, embrace the concept, and have faith that we have the final victory through Jesus. I know some of you tend to tune out on some of my emails, skip through the verses, or skim through for the message. Please, please, please read every word of this one because for some reason this is really heavy on me right now and someone in this group (maybe even me) needs to hear the words God is giving us. Let's start with what I feel is one of the best Biblical descriptions of what is going on around us... Ephesians 6: 10-20: Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. The war is on Brothers and Sisters! Don't believe me? Look around! Pay attention! There's a reason for the heartache you've felt. There's a reason you don't think your good enough, beautiful enough, or remotely qualified at times to make it through. There's a reason you want to pass blame, question others, through daggers, and lash out because of the hurt you've felt. That reason is the devil. He is the source of the pain and darkness. Remember this is his world, but we are not of this world nor will we stay here. His schemes are aimed at destroying us, separating us, and breaking us. We cannot let this happen! Don't believe in the darkness! It is temporary and Jesus already won our freedom! Did you hear me? WE WIN THROUGH OUR RISEN SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST!!!!! Take heart, have passion, Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, everything that is in you. Accept the full armor of God, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, and the shield of faith. BELIEVE IT! YES, I'M SCREAMING AT YOU AND SCREAMING IN THE MIRROR... BELIEVE THAT WE ALL NEED TO BE DILIGENT AND PROFESS OUR FAITH WHEN WE FEEL LIKE FALLING! If we believe, stand firm, and pray with perseverance and petition we will not fail. Remember, the price is paid and God is with you! Next time the spiritual war erupts around you and the darkness creeps in take a moment and read the verse above, but do more than that. Say out loud "I'm a Child of God and the evil has no authority over me. I'm redeemed by the healing power of Jesus who is the Christ!" Grace, mercy, and peace to all of you Brothers and Sisters. I'm right along side of you on the battlefield. Let's rally around each other, rally around all believers, and welcome our General to the battlefield again. Join us Jesus! And onward Christian Soldiers! In Christ, Steve

Planting Seeds

Good Evening Everyone! Hope everyone's week is starting off well and that you are energized by the arrival of fall, the smell of bonfires, the beautiful color about to burst in the trees, the brisk air, and the sites of pumpkin patches littering the landscape. It is such a wonderful time of year reminding us of God is faithful and the harvest is about to be taken in. Today as I was driving around I reflected on farmers and how much faith they must have to year in and year out plant their fields and depend on God to provide. As I was thinking about that I also started thinking about the parallel that can be drawn with all of our lives. We plant seeds all the time in hopes of producing a bumper crop of financial security, family stability, and prosperity in every aspect of our daily lives. As I thought of this the first parable that came to mind was the parable of the sower. Although I truly love that parable the one that came out stronger was one focused on faith. Specifically, the following verse from Matthew: Matthew 17:20 "He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." How many seeds have you planted? How many times have you doubted God? How little faith have you had in Jesus? Tough questions I know. These were the questions that were swirling in my head when I realized I don't have a fraction of the faith a farmer would have when it comes to my life. "I" would rather try to handle things instead of trusting in God. "I" would rather set the time table rather than listening to him when he says "not now". "I" would rather feel like I have control over my life instead of trying submitting to a compassionate and caring Lord that guides me in the paths of righteousness. All that being said "I" will not give up on my walk and my desire to truly give it all to him. As you can tell I obviously need some work, but at least I'm trying. What about you? Where are you on your faith walk? Where are you truly at on your faith walk? I observe many of you and can tell you I'm in awe of the outward faith you demonstrate. You inspire me by your works and your dedication. You build me up with your words and actions. I could specifically mention each of you and the impact you've had, but rather I will ask you to reflect on the area of your faith that is most strong and how you will expand upon it. There are certain evangelists that focus on all of the goodness of God without focusing on the God of Perseverance, Character, and Hope. I know each of you has tough times you deal with. I know each of you have your own moments of darkness. But, I also know that each of you have it within you to do what is impossible in your eyes if you only have the faith that Jesus spoke of in the verse above. Instead of listening to what the world says will happen or must happen submit yourself to God and watch him show you his love and faithfulness. You might be surprised by what he has in store for you. And, by all means get out there and enjoy the harvest! Love, Peace, and FAITH be yours through Our Risen Savior, Steve