Sunday, March 13, 2016

You know Christ wasn't a pacifist, or some self-seeking bully.

Jesus is the prince of peace, He gives peace with God the Father through the forgiveness of sins. Why? Well, He is a peacemaker as we too should become, but Jesus is not a pacifist.

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” Psalm 144:1

Kinda similar thoughts to what we read in the 18th psalm. This was penned by David right before he was promoted..yes, before his accession to the crown, when he was troubled and persecuted by lost religious Saul. It seems he was still in trouble at this time (for all believers have struggles and none have an exemption from trials that are allowed in our lives to help us grow strong). The neighboring nations were pretty much harrassing and molesting him spiritually--giving him disturbances, especially the Philistines. (See 2 Sam. 5:17). Here David acknowledges, with triumph and thankfulness, the great goodness of God shown to him in personally advancing him forward as a leader.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.. Psalm 18:2

You are my strength, Heavenly Father and I’m thankful for Christ a mighty warrior. He fought and won as Your Son.

Jesus said, When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.~ Luke 11:21

Now some days I feel a million miles away.. from god, but still I pray. Feelings are fickle--they lie. But I still want to pray and to hear all that You Lord have to say. You connect me in your Way and in your church. Feelings may sway--they come and go, but make me know as a real bro.. so I can go and show. Please show Yourself strong through me.

Connect me real tight. With You, let me burn bright and put up a fight..a good one. So that others can get redirected to Your light and connect as well.

I choose to worship You in Spirit and in truth. And I want to do that with JOY ahead of everything else I do and am. Yes, I want to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and trust you to provide all that I need--I know you will. You always have. Thank you. Your grace and kindness makes me want to tell somebody about you. It makes me want to type in right and explain how you really are. Perhaps if I write the truth in a way that accurately describes Your character Lord, yes, write about your holy, faithful, gentle and really good character, then others will want to draw near to You.. will come to You by grace through faith. If I was a musician I would play music with all my heart, I would pick riffs and strum on strings as best I could I'm right lyrics that would please you. But all this with make the devil and his minions squirm and fight To confuse, to deceive, to mislead people away from the cross.

What have you heard 'bout “spiritual warfare” lately..or ever? We can review what’s true about it. What does God in the Bible say about it?

There are two primary errors when it comes to spiritual warfare—over-emphasis and under-emphasis

1.) Some blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on demons that need to be cast out. Well, real Christians can contend with their old fleshly nature, but they never need to have them (demons) cast out because the Holy Spirit who lives inside of the believer doesn’t have Mr. Lu-Cifer inside or any of his fallen-angel-buds as roommates enjoyin’ some time-share or seasonal vacation arraignment or other kind of agreement with them. Duh!

2.) Other people completely ignore the spiritual realm and the fact that the Bible tells us our battle is against spiritual powers. 

The key to successful spiritual warfare is finding the biblical balance

Jesus sometimes cast demons out of lost unregenerate people; other times He healed people with no mention of the demonic. The apostle Paul instructs Christians to fight the good fight of wage war against the sin in themselves (Romans 6) and warns us to oppose the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10–18).

Ephesians 6:10–12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This text teaches some crucial truths: we can only stand strong in the Lord’s power, it is God’s armor that protects us, and our battle is ultimately against spiritual forces of evil in the world.

Ephesians 6:13–18 is a description of the spiritual armor God gives us. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and by praying in the Spirit. What do these pieces of spiritual armor represent in spiritual warfare? We are to know the truth, believe the truth, and speak the truth. We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we face. We are not to waver in our faith, trusting God’s promises no matter how strongly we are attacked. Our ultimate defense is the assurance we have of our salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. And we are topray in the power and will of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is our ultimate example of resisting temptation in spiritual warfare. Observe how Jesus handled direct attacks from Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). Each temptation was combatted with the words “it is written.” The Word of the living God is the most powerful weapon against the temptations of the devil. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

A word of caution concerning spiritual warfare is in order. Nowhere in Scripture are we instructed to cast out demons or even to speak to them. The name of Jesus is not a magic incantation that causes demons to flee from before us. The seven sons of Sceva are an example of what can happen when people presume an authority they have not been given (Acts 19:13–16). Even Michael the archangel did not rebuke Satan in his own power but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9). When we start talking to the devil, we run the risk of being led astray as Eve was (Genesis 3:1–7). Our focus should be on God, not demons; we speak to Him, not them.

In summary, what are the keys to success in spiritual warfare? Glad you asked. We rely on God’s power, not our own. We put on the whole armor of God. We draw on the power of Scripture—the Word of God is the Spirit’s sword. We pray in perseverance and holiness, making our appeal to God. We stand firm (Ephesians 6:13–14); we submit to God; we resist the devil’s work (James 4:7), knowing that the Lord of hosts is our protector. “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:2). 

God, I'm willing to change, to mature, and to grow strong. I'm willing to turn the page to engage.. in biblcial spiritual warfare however you want me to, Lord. Please fill me with Your Spirit. Thanks.. that You train my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Amen.
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