The Battle Is The Lord’s!

The Battle Is The Lord’s!

During these challenging times, encouragement is often needed.  We might feel, in ourselves, there is nothing we can do to change the things that are happening in our country and around the world.  But the wonderful thing is, as believers, we were never meant to do anything in ourselves. As David confronted Goliath, he saw his giant stature and his shield bearer.  He saw his sword, his spear and his javelin. But, just as Abraham considered not his or Sarah’s aging bodies when God promised they would have a son, David considered not any of these things that his physical eyes saw. He saw through the eyes of faith. He went into that battle with only one weapon, and it wasn’t his slingshot.  It was his unwavering faith and trust in knowing that the battle he was facing was the Lord’s to fight! David was fully convinced that God would bring him victory over his enemy just as Abraham was fully convinced that God would perform what He had promised.  Our faith is rooted in a God that has overcome the world. There is no foe, no circumstance or situation, no challenge, trial or temptation that God cannot see His children through to victory. David’s confession to Goliath that day of how the battle would play out was by faith!  He not only proclaimed victory over Goliath but over the entire Philistine camp!  And it happened just as he said!  And what was David’s purpose in this fight?  So that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel!  So church, let’s put our enemy on notice!  “We are children of the God who has overcome the world and whoever is born of God overcomes the world!  We do not need swords and spears or guns and weapons!  For the battle is the Lord’s and this day He will give you into our hands so that all the world will know there is a God in America!

19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Romans 4:19-21 (NKJV)

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47 (NKJV)

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)

4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 1 John 5:4 (NKJV)

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG)

Who’s In Charge?

Who’s In Charge?

In many cities in our society today we are seeing total chaos.  People are completely out of control with no form of rule over them that they neither respect nor submit to.  The word chaos is defined as complete disorder and confusion.  Chaos is what happens when there is no submission to authority. Most people cringe at the very mention of the word submission.  But the fact is, submission exists in every institution there is:  the home, the work place, the schools, the church, on every street and at every intersection. Without submission body shops would be overrun with fender benders and our prisons couldn’t hold all the offenders there would be. Without submission society will crumble.  One definition of submission is the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.  Human nature screams at the thought – “Nobody tells me what to do!”  But we are believers and we are not to be led by our flesh but by the Spirit. As Christians, we must search the scriptures for direction. First Peter 2:13-14 gives us great insight into the area of submission. It says 13 For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right” (NLT).  This is not a suggestion that we can choose to obey or not.  This is God’s Word.  Because God commands it, by submitting to those in authority over us, we are ultimately submitting to God. Which then makes the opposite just as true – by rebelling against those in authority, we are ultimately rebelling against God.  And we find that to be the crux of it all really.  People are ultimately rebelling against God! Satan, who is the god of this world, rebelled against God and got tossed out of heaven for it.  He then tempted Adam and Eve to do the same.  But God doesn’t tolerate rebellion.  Just ask Adam and Eve.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. Romans 8:14 (NLT)

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 1 Peter 2:13-14 (ESV)  

12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;  Isaiah 14:12-13 (NKJV)

!” 23 So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:23-24 (NLT)

Good Vs. Evil – Whose Report Do You Believe?

Good Vs. Evil – Whose Report Do You Believe?

Good vs. Evil – A dichotomy as old as mankind itself.  Upon hearing the word evil, many people think of things being wicked, demonic or vile in nature. And that would be true.  But, in Numbers 13:32 God referred to the report of the 10 spies as evil. So this would make one think that evil may be merely doing or saying things that are contrary to God’s Word and God’s will.  God said He would bring the children of Israel into the land of milk and honey and the ten spies, choosing to believe their own eyes over God’s Word, said that it would be impossible. At the very least, they didn’t believe God and at the very worst, you might say they were calling God a liar.  In Genesis, during the 6 days of creation, God continually described all that He had made as good. And upon completion of creation which included creating man in His own image, God declared it all to be very good.  But Satan, who had been cast down from heaven to earth for rebellion against God, came in the form of a serpent and deceived Adam and Eve.  And in an instant, all that was very good became cursed.  Adam and Eve chose to believe the serpent over God.  You could say they chose to believe the evil report. In Numbers, the 10 spies and all the people who aligned with them would never enter into the promised land.  What did God call them? – an evil congregation – because they gathered against Him! Likewise, Adam and Eve were expelled from their paradise to toil in a cursed world.  So…good vs. evil.  Turns out it’s a choice – Which report do you believe –  God’s report or the evil report?  Satan chose, the 10 spies chose, Adam chose.  Which do you choose?

32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. Numbers 13:32 (KJV)

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:31 (NKJV)

And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Luke 10:18 (NKJV)

35 I the LORD have spoken this; I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’ ” Numbers 14:35

(NKJV)14 “So fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15 (NLT)

1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? Isaiah 53:1 (NKJV)

Disagreement or Intolerance?

Disagreement or Intolerance?

I read a sad story this week from a mother who has two sons in their mid twenties.  She said she had been a member of her chosen  political party all of her life and she voted for the current president.  Her sons informed her that if she voted for him again they would lose all respect for her and would not speak to her anymore. 🙁 One of the great things about America, or it use to be anyway, is the freedom we have as citizens to vote. There are a wide range of candidates with varying political views to choose from at the polls. And we can, or should be able to, vote however we choose without harassment or threat from anyone.  But this woman’s story, and there are many more just like it, is all too common today. This divide in our country over politics has left us in a heartbreaking position.  It has divided  families and friends from sea to shining sea. I’m sure many of you have experienced or know someone experiencing this very thing. Whatever happened to “let’s agree to disagree”?  Now-a-days, people can’t even wear a political cap on their head without fear of assault.  What used to be disagreements have become intolerances. People seeking political and religious freedom have flocked into this country from places all over the world that would throw them in prison or worse if they spoke out publicly against their government and would never give them the right to vote.  Let’s pray that this sentiment is not infiltrating here in the land of the free or America will not be the land of the free much longer.

13 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. Galatians 5:13 (MSG)

17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT)

16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16 (ESV)32

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NLT)

Church – Put On Your Armor!

Church – Put On Your Armor!

When you see what is happening in America today, as a believer, you have to know that we are under a spiritual attack. It is people who have executed rebellion and violence against our country. But all people are under the influence of one of two sources: the god of this world or the God who created this world. The unbeliever would say that’s nonsense because he cannot understand spiritual things. It is clear from scripture that our enemy is not flesh and blood. We are fighting against a host of wickedness! But in the same verse that tells us who we fight, it also tells us how we fight! As believers, we know spiritual battles need spiritual weapons. And God, in Ephesians 6:14-18, has provided those weapons. To abbreviate the verses, let’s list them like this: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, God’s Word and last but definitely not least, prayer. In looking at them this way, what are the first 5? They are the very nature and character of God Himself! And the last one, prayer, is a 24/7 hotline to Him! So we are not in this battle alone! I think we can all agree that the evil day in Ephesians 6:13 is here. Two things have happened to aid the enemy in this evil day: 1) many pastors and teachers have neglected or even stopped preaching on The Holy Spirit, and 2) our society in America has sunken deeply and quickly in its blatant rejection of God. So church, it is up to us! We must wake up to the wiles of the devil! It is not his power that defeats us – it is his craftiness (deception). This has all happened right under our noses! But no more! We must put on the armor of God so we will stand our ground! And after that, we stand some more!

16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Romans 6:16 (NLT)

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)

3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NKJV)

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:12-13 (NKJV)

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– Ephesians 6:14-18 (NKJV)

Not My Will But Yours!

Not My Will But Yours!

We know from the book of John that Jesus and the Father are one.  We know that Jesus did only what the Father did and spoke only what the Father told Him.  So was it even possible for Jesus’ will to ever differ from the Father’s?  When we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is in absolute agony knowing what the plan of God was for Him.  Matthew 26:38 says Jesus’ soul was exceedingly sorrowful.  The Message Bible puts it this way: “This sorrow is crushing my life out“.  Then in verse 39 (NLT) we find Jesus praying “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.  Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”  Clearly Jesus wanted to be released from what was to come upon Him.  But even more clearly, Jesus wanted God’s will to be done not His.  We know that Jesus never sinned.  So having a different will from God’s is not sin or Jesus would have been in sin.  Jesus’ submitted His will to that of the Father’s so that the plan to redeem mankind could be fulfilled. Sometimes following the plan of God is not easy.  Sometimes following the plan of God causes us momentary pain or discomfort. Every single day each of us has decisions to make that will either agree or disagree with the plan of God.  And sometimes God asks us to do things we do not want to do. Not wanting to do them doesn’t put you into sin.  But not doing them does. Submission requires a “putting under” of your will and may require a bit of suffering.  But submission to God, no matter the ramifications, will always bring us one step closer to the glory of God.    

30 I and My Father are one.” John 10:30 (NKJV)

49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. John 12:49 (NKJV)

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19 (NKJV)

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 (NKJV)

Good and Evil

Good and Evil

What do you think of when you hear the word “wicked”.  (And I am not referring to famed Broadway hit.)  The Thesaurus brings up words like evil, bad, wrong, depraved, immoral, iniquitous and sinful. These words probably express what you were thinking.  But, I bet one phrase that didn’t immediately pop into your thoughts was “God’s people”.  However, that is exactly who God is referring to in II Chronicles 7:14.  God clearly begins the verse with “If My people……”.  The entire verse says “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”.  So from this verse we know it is entirely possible for the people of God to be proud, wicked, and sinful!  Not exactly the glowing report we hope to get as the body of Christ.  But the most wonderful thing we see in this verse as well is that God gives His people a way out.  This way out is something that King David knew very well and is possibly the reason that God said “David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart“.  That way out is repentance! David committed what most people consider the worst of sins yet he was a man after God’s heart, the apple of His eye. Even though he was a sinful man, he was quick to repent. Repentance requires admission of guilt, remorse and turning away. However, we now live in a time where people seldom even take responsibility for any wrong doing much less repent of it. In fact, another scripture is coming to pass before our very eyes – “20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV).  Instead of turning from evil ways, somehow those evil ways have turned into good! People who love God are somehow the bad guys while the lawless go about their crimes unchallenged. But fear not!  The Word of God never changes!  If we love God like we say we do, we will keep His commandments.   We must acknowledge any sin, repent and turn away from it, then pray and seek the face of God if we want to see our land healed! The church holds the key!     

14 But now your (Saul’s) kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart (David), and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”  (Emphasis added)  1 Samuel 13:14 (NKJV)

22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ Acts 13:22 (NKJV)

8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, Psalm 17:8 (NKJV)

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:15 (NKJV)

Mr. Universe vs. Barney Fife

Mr. Universe vs. Barney Fife

What is the difference between Mr. Universe and Barney Fife?  You might say that Mr. Universe has muscles and Barney Fife does not.  But you would be wrong.  They both have muscles.  In fact, they both have the same number of muscles.  But Mr. Universe’s muscles have been exercised and developed and Barney’s clearly have not. This is a great mental picture of what exercise and development can do. There is definitely tremendous increase to a muscle when it is exercised. Well the same is true of our faith.  All of us who are believers in Jesus Christ have been given the measure of faith. But why do some people seem to have more faith than others?  It’s not a question of more – it’s a question of increase.  It’s like Mr. Universe and Barney Fife. Some people have exercised and developed their faith and have found that with exercise comes increase. And the great thing is you don’t need an expensive membership to a spiritual gymnasium to attain bulging faith.  You just need daily reps of scripture! Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. The more Word you fit into your day, the more increase you will see to your faith.  But know this, your faith doesn’t need to bench press 300 pounds to move that mountain in your life.  Jesus told his disciples that faith the size of a mustard seed can yank a mulberry tree out of the ground by the roots and cast it into the sea!  Just a little faith goes a long way!

17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3 (KJV)

5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6 (NKJV)

One Nation Under God…Indivisible!

One Nation Under God…Indivisible!

In Matthew 12:25, Jesus says “….Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation and every city or house divided against itself will not stand (NKJV)”.  The Easy-to-Read version says it like this “…Every kingdom that fights against itself will be destroyed.  And every city or family that is divided against itself will not survive.” Jesus was responding to accusations by the Pharisees that He was casting out demons by the power of Satan.  Jesus replied that, if that were true, then Satan would be casting himself out so how could he stand? What happens in homes where husbands and wives are constantly fighting? Divorce. What happens to sports teams where teammates don’t work together? Losing records.  What happens to churches when leadership or congregants quarrel and disagree?  Church splits. What happens to countries whose governing parties constantly bicker or whose citizens are divided? Total chaos and upheaval. The devil is very smart.  He knows well the battle strategy of divide and conquer.  He knows the easiest way to cause destruction is not to attack from the outside but from within.  He knows the best way to manipulate people is to get them to a place of discontentment and discord. If he can do that, he just sits back and watches the mayhem.  Great things can happen when people are in one accord. Just look at what happened on the day of Pentecost!  The devil knows the power of unity and he is working overtime to cause conflict.  So church, we must pray for unity!  Pray for peaceful resolutions.  Pray for people to esteem one another better than themselves.  Pray against division and strife and that this country be perfectly joined together, one nation under God!

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NKJV)

1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1 (NKJV)

2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:2-3 (NKJV)

Know Your Enemy!

Know Your Enemy!

Most people would probably agree that we are living in times we thought impossible here in America. Having to live under curfews to prevent violence, theft and destruction of property is unimaginable in the land of the free. America has always stood for freedom.  She has fought for freedom within her own borders and beyond. Because of that, we are free to experience life, liberty and to pursue happiness which are rights given to us by God, not by government, as our founding fathers acknowledged.  America was founded by those who acknowledged God and by those who desired freedom to worship. And this is where the angst lies. It is extremely hard during this time to not be moved by what we see. Actually when we see riotous, lawless radicals hijacking the peaceful protests of those who seek justice, it’s almost impossible to not let emotion get the best of us. But we MUST remember, we fight not against flesh and blood.  Our enemy is Satan.  And he hates America because, no matter what anyone says, we are a Godly nation and that puts us in Satan’s crosshairs. Satan hates everyone who loves God. Satan is lawless and is looking for anyone to join his lawless mob. His M.O. is no secret – he steals, kills and destroys. So where you see theft, death and destruction, you see the work of the god of this world. You may think that a person, a sect, a political party or a nation is our enemy.  But they are only tools being manipulated by the lawless one. As the church, we must know who our enemy is! And we must also know that no weapon formed against us will prosper!

18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT)

17 But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken! Isaiah 54:17 (NLT)