Successful Spiritual Warfare

Prayer is our lifeline to the Trinity. We continually communicate with God in prayer through each moment of the day (Matthew 7:8). We do not need a quiet place to kneel and pray.

We pray through the storms of life, the serene times of play, the busyness of our own making and the unforeseeable issues, which life unexpectedly throws at us.

Prayer changes us, the people we pray for, the circumstances surrounding us and the spiritual principalities and powers all around us.

In chapters nine and ten, the Bible records Daniel’s experience concerning answers to his prayer. One was a quick response and the other a delay of about three weeks.

In the later, when God’s archangel finally broke through Satan’s lines of hindrance drawn in high places to prevent the answer from being delivered, he explained all of this to Daniel in detail.

These are some of the most amazing verses in the Old Testament. It enables us to realize the spiritual warfare going on around us as a reality and an entity to take seriously.

These verses encourage us to “pray-through” in every situation and to persevere until God delivers His answer, rather than to give up after a weak attempt to petition our Deliverer.

Sometimes, our prayers are carnal and self-centered; designed too heap on our self the riches of this world (James 4:3). God does not always provide what we want, especially if He knows it is not for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Yet at other times, Satan steps up his resistance in order to discourage us from believing in God, trusting Him with our life and walking in His order for our day.

God inspired James to tell us that if we submit to God’s will and resist the devil, he has no option but to flee from our presence (James 4:7-9). This is the secret to successful spiritual warfare.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for deigning to form an intimate, personal relationship with us – the Creator with the created. You desire our continual fellowship while we live on this earth and look forward to our death when we come to abide in Your presence forever (Psalm 116:15).

Your angels rejoice when one sinner repents and crosses over from eternal death into life, adding yet another Saint to Your Kingdom (Luke 15:7). You rejoice over us with singing and You love us with an everlasting love (Zephaniah 3:17). We can barely grasp the full meaning of this relationship, which You offer to everyone ever born on this earth.

Thought for the Day:
Most people never avail our self the opportunity to enter into this intimate union with our Creator and King, because we despise the shame of the cross and resist the opportunity to totally surrender our will to His.

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Our Strong Tower

As an infant, most of us are properly cared for by our parents; although, more often in these days in which we live, children are no longer cherished and nurtured.

Regardless of our upbringing, however, life rarely pulls its punches. It deals out a lifetime of hard knocks, abuse, neglect and disappointments.

We learn to keep more to our self, in order to give people and circumstances fewer chances to hurt us. We want to stay safe from a world, which often frightens us.

We continue to reach out to other people, and to help them in any way we can; but suspicion taints the way we view people and opportunities, which come our way.

We are programmed to believe that the good times will never last, because they never did in the past. We stop looking forward to things; and we never believe promises, because they rarely if ever happen.

We miss opportunities, which we would enjoy, because we are afraid to trust the leading of God’s Spirit. We stay home rather than to take risks to meet new people and to share God’s love with them.

We learn to build walls to hide behind in an attempt to protect our self. However, these very walls only serve to keep us restrained in the confinement of our own making.

We try to escape these walls through addictions, the wrong friends and mate, busyness, hobbies, projects and over-achieving in areas, which do not really matter.

We imprison our true self behind those walls, which were meant to keep us safe. We can never live a full life as long as we continue to hinder our whole body, soul and spirit from living free in Christ (Galatians 5:1).

Prayer:
Father God, we wall up our heart, because vulnerability makes us susceptible to victimization and neglect. You advise us to guard our heart from sin, but not from other people. You actually expose us to disappointment in this life to show us the magnitude of Your continual love and nurture for us.

Remind us that when we are the weakest and the most vulnerable, then You are the strongest and closest to us in order to fight on our behalf (2 Corinthians 12:9-11; Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 3:22).

Therefore, we can entrust our body, soul and spirit to You and Your protection and care (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). We can run into the safety of Your everlasting arms (Isaiah 41:10).

Thought for the Day:
We fear vulnerability; therefore, we hide our true self behind walls of our own making; but God protects us from our enemies and is a strong tower into which we can run and be safe. – Psalm 18:2, 10

Divine Appointmets – A Missed Opportunity

Growing up as a shy melancholy, I did not change very much when I first came to Christ. I still hesitated to talk to people, for fear of rejection and ridicule. Yet, I wanted to tell others about God’s divine love.

An opportunity arose a few weeks later, when a school chum pulled into the gas station just outside the window of the office where I worked. I knew my boss would not like me to take time away, and I figured my friend was also very busy.

So I just ran outside for a moment, greeted him and told him I had some good news to tell him as soon as we could get together. He was married to my boyfriend’s sister, so I did not think much time would pass before we could chat.

I ran back to my desk, excited that this would be my first opportunity to share with someone about the love and mercy of Christ in my life. A smile adorned my face for the rest of the day.

That very night…my lifelong school friend…committed suicide.

When my boyfriend gave me the news, I was devastated for his wife and their families, but more distraught because the Gospel of Christ may have saved his life both physically and spiritually, if I had only taken the time to speak to him when God gave me the opportunity.

I felt such deep remorse for days. I cried out to the Lord for forgiveness of this sin of omission. At the funeral, I cried more for my failure than I did for his family. I felt bereft and condemned by Satan’s shame.

The next day at work, I stared out the window, watching the cars come and go at the gas station next door. I judged myself for my failure and felt such regret that his life ended too young, and that his eternal destiny was already set.

My failure haunted me for weeks, until I stopped rebuking myself long enough to listen to the Lord. The shame of my failure left, but in its place came a dogged determination never to miss another divine appointment to share the love and grace of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, Your mercy and grace to forgive our sins of commission and omission humbles us and increases our love for You. I know that You had a plan for my school friend, and he chose to end his life rather than to surrender His life to You (John 3:16-18).

Thank you for the many opportunities You continually give us to share the Good News of the Gospel of Christ with everyone You bring into our life. Help us never to hesitate from fear or human reasoning, but to step out of our flesh and into Your Spirit, and to open our mouth and allow You to fill it by Your Spirit (Psalm 81:10).

Thought for the Day:
Not everyone will accept the Gospel of Christ when we share it with them; but we take them to a crossroad in their life where they have to make a choice to accept or reject the Lord. – John 3:16-18

Be Holy as God is Holy

God calls each one of us to be holy, because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). As we face our flesh with each new morning, this appears to be a daunting task. Our temptations and carnal desires sometimes get the best of us.

I hear Christians saying that it is too hard to be holy, and that Jesus had an advantage over us. This is true according to humanistic thinking, but not according to Biblical principles.

Jesus was half God and half man, since God’s Spirit conceived Him in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35). He was filled with God’s Spirit each moment of the day. When his human flesh was tempted, He had the God half to keep him perfect.

We have the same opportunity to walk in holiness. When we come to Christ, His Spirit moves right in. Our body is His temple and He fills us through all of our being with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Satan’s temptations cause us to sin and to live apart from God. The price of sin is degradation and loss. Pleasure for a moment reaps for us shame and often deplorable living conditions.

However, God gives us a way to escape every temptation, which we will ever experience (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we submit to Christ in us, and walk by His Spirit’s direction, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The entire power of the Godhead, the Trinity, dwells within us (Colossians 2:9). We are free from the power of sin, and we are made to walk in new life through Christ in us (Romans 6:6-8).

Christ in us is our eternal hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Although our body is still perishing due to Adam’s sin, God’s Spirit in us gives us both life and righteousness (Romans 8:10).

God strengthens us with His power through His Spirit in our soul and spirit (Ephesians 3:16). Our hope in Him is the firm and secure anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that Christ exchanges His holiness for our sinfulness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Remind us that our witness for You depends on our righteous walk in this world. Non-Christians watch us, even when we do not realize it. Our attitude each day, and even during trials, will speak more to them than all the words we could ever preach to them.

As Your Body, the people who work in children’s ministry will impact the children in their sphere of influence; and then, these children will affect the lives of countless people during their lifetime, because of Christ in us. Even as we minister to adults, we help them to grow in their devotion to and knowledge of You. Helps us to be holy, even as You are Holy.

Thought for the Day:
As our soul yearns for God in the night, our spirit within us diligently seeks Him; and when His judgments come upon the earth, all of the inhabitants of the world learn to walk in righteousness. – Isaiah 26:9

Hope for Tomorrow

If the Gospel of Christ is not true, then there is no forgiveness or reconciliation for our sins and we have no resurrection to look forward to. We have no joy for our current life or for the next, and there is no expectation of living in the Father’s house in the future (Romans 10:9; I Corinthians 15:17-19; John 14:1-2, 12). Life without Christ is a life without hope.

There are countless people experiencing depression and mid-life insecurities because they place their hope in our culture, a bank account, a philosophy, their employment or worldly religions. This house of cards is shaky at best, and the ensuing insecurity drives people insane, gives them heart attacks or destroys their relationships.

However, the Gospel of Christ is gloriously true. Jesus suffered and died to set us free from Satan, the flesh, sin and death. We now have hope for tomorrow. As we walk in the light of God’s Truth, we have no fear of darkness or evil, because Christ in the authentic Believer overcame Satan and evil on Calvary’s cross. Even negative aspects of life now work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

A life based on God’s Word has a stable and firm foundation (2 Timothy 2:19). As we walk by the direction and power of God’s Spirit, we will not fulfill the dictates of the devil or the flesh, but we will luxuriate in the continual blessings of God (Galatians 5:15-26). As we focus on His plans for our life with a pure heart, He uses us according to His will (Psalm 51:10; Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us the opportunity to live in Christ and to become a new creation. We rejoice that our old habits, sins, negative emotions and personality are made new by Your Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we trust You with our life, You destroy the deprivation, which devastated us and You mature us in the likeness of Your Son (Romans 8:29). Thank You for claiming us as Your own and for making it possible for us to spend eternity with You.

Thought for the Day:
Therefore, even when we are simply eating or drinking, or whatever we decide God wants us to do, we do it all for His glory.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31

Be Still and Know

Salvation through Jesus Christ is a free gift; we do not earn it by our beliefs or our behavior (Romans 6:23). The gift of God’s presence, however, entails our obedience and love for Him. Walking in God’s Spirit allows us to maintain this constant communion with the lover of our soul (Galatians 5:16-25). It also helps to stop the good activities, which we are invited to participate in, from becoming the enemy of God’s best for us.

Constant busyness keeps us in continual stress and turmoil. Do we really need a two family income, a new car, family phones, premium cable channels, clothes from the mall, the hottest toys on the market, etc? Some people work two or three jobs to supply their family with the lifestyle they believe they need. When does the workaholic have time to spend alone with God, family and friends?

Our hectic lifestyle prevents us from entering into the rest of God’s presence (Hebrews 4:1-16); but as we love the Lord with our entire heart, having no idols in His place and ordering our steps to seek Him throughout the day, He will provide us with His love and guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6). We always walk in fulfillment and we find joy in the simplest revelation of His goodness.

Alone (All-one) time with God allows us to enter that place of abiding, which connects and fills us with His Holy Spirit. Abiding provides us with an opportunity to enter God’s rest, to soak up His presence and to operate from a sense of His peace. His joy gives us needed vitality to meet the trials of the day (Psalm 46:1-3). His wisdom and goodness help us to succeed.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to make time every day to stop all activity and to cuddle in Your lap, like the little children that we are (Matthew 19:14). Help us to allow You to immerse us in Your love as we love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). We admit that we are powerless and cannot control the events in our life, so we relinquish all control to You and Your perfect will for our life.

Thought for the Day:
Take time to be still and to focus on the fact that God is God and there is no other like Him. – Psalm 46:10

Growing in Christ

When we come to Christ for salvation, our desire to sin wanes over the next few weeks and months. In some people, it disappears completely right away. Others have sins that easily overcome their resolve to live a holy life; and it takes them longer to surrender those desires to the sanctifying work of God’s Spirit.

Eventually, we come to a place of total surrendered to God’s will. We are so tired of reaping the consequences of our decisions that we decide to trust God instead. We struggle to learn to pray, thinking we must use a specific formula, not knowing we can converse with Him as we do our best friend.

We gradually learn that Father God really does know best and that He has our best interest in His heart and will for our life (Jeremiah 29:11). Gradually, our thoughts turn more toward eternal, spiritual matters than to carnal, earthly issues. We view our problems from God’s perspective. We live to please Him rather than our self or someone else.

God’s everlasting arms and eternal grace lift us ever higher above the negative issues of life. Even in the most horrendous circumstances, we maintain a positive attitude and outlook by faith in Him. His thoughts become our thoughts and we perceive the issues of life from a Biblical worldview.

We abide in Christ and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25; Colossians 2:6), living according to the grace of God. We see His merciful hand in every area of our life. Our fears and doubts gradually subside and we adopt more and more of the mind and faith of Christ as our own (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Prayer:
Father God, as joint heirs with Christ, we inherit all things that You prepared for us before the world ever began. You provided Adam and Eve with Paradise and wanted them to enjoy the blessings there forever. However, their pride and self-will fell to Satan’s temptations and they lost Paradise for us all. Thank You that Jesus died to redeem us and to restore to us everything Satan stole from Adam and Eve.

Thought for the Day:
No issue in life is really our problem to solve; it is merely an opportunity for God to prove His miraculous love for us.