Defeating Satan and His Lies


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Reposted from crosswalk.com

Doing hard things is hard.

The words aren’t just the catch-phrase for a movement, but a reality. Doing hard things takes determination, grit, and die-hard commitment to push through the pain.

Right now, I’m on the brink of the biggest hard thing I’ve ever done. Throughout my journey as a rebelutionary, I’ve done things that terrified me. I’ve grown stronger and braver. I’ve tested the limits of my comfort zone and gone beyond them. I’ve seen God move. I’ve felt his presence uplifting me. But through it all, I’ve known one thing: the impact our hard things have isn’t confined to this earthly realm.

And neither is the opposition we receive as we do them.

Before the hardest things I’ve done, and the biggest breakthroughs I’ve experienced, I’ve always felt the oppression, attack, anxiety, and irrational fear trying to overtake my mind. I’ve been paralyzed with insecurity and doubt.

This time is no exception.

I’m overwhelmed and terrified. The task before me seems insurmountable, the fear in my heart overpowering.

But every time, without fail, God has brought me through, and done things greater than I could fathom.

So I’m pushing through. Not giving up. And most importantly, I’m fighting.

Our Hard Things Matter.

Satan hates our hard things. He hates this movement of rebelutionaries.

The hard things we do are ultimately for Jesus, for the glory of his name and furtherance of his kingdom. That’s why our hard things matter—and why we’re so fiercely attacked as we do them.

With every hard thing we do—every time we don’t give in to fear and share the Gospel, every time we destroy our pride and do small hard things well, every time we accomplish what the world says is impossible, every day we live sold-out for Christ—God’s name is glorified and Satan’s attacks and lies crushed a bit more.

We need to keep going and keep fighting. I’ve searched Scripture, and found six ways to fight when the enemy attacks as we do hard things.

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This is a battle unlike any we can comprehend. It’s fierce and deadly serious. We would be unable to withstand it, and even less equipped to fight in it, except for one thing: God’s Word commands us to, tells us how, and is, in fact, our most powerful weapon.

In light of these words of truth, the Father of Lies and every demon must flee. In Matthew 4, Jesus demonstrates this when Satan tempts him in the wilderness. Weak and vulnerable, the Son of God takes up this weapon with the words “It. Is. Written.” Three times he repeats it, quoting Scripture in the aftermath of temptations, combating Satan’s lies with pure truth. And the enemy left.

We can hold in our hands, and speak with our mouths, Words of unprecedented, immeasurable power.

The next time Satan lunges to attack, open the Word, lift up your sword, declare God’s truth, and block the enemy’s advance.

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2. Fight with Prayer.

Samuel Chadwick wrote in his book, The Path of Prayer, “[the devil] fears nothing from prayer-less studies, prayer-less work, prayer-less religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”

Prayer is more powerful than we realize. When we pray, we’re entering the throne room of God—and stepping onto the battlefield. Over and over in Scripture we see proof of answered prayer.

When Daniel set his heart to pray and fast for three weeks, God sent an angel to him, and Daniel’s prayers exactly covered the time the angel struggled against the evil forces delaying him. (Daniel 10:1-14)

Elijah prayed fervently seven times for God to end the drought plaguing Israel, and on the seventh time God sent rain. (1 Kings 18:41-45)

And James tells us, “The prayer of faith will save the sick,” and, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5: 15, 16)

If we’re not seeing answers to our prayers, maybe it’s because we’re giving up too soon. If we don’t believe our prayers can have any effect on the enemy, they probably won’t. Prayer isn’t a comfortable exercise—it’s hard work and discipline and it requires persistence and perseverance.

If we’re going to fight, we must fight on our knees.

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3. Fight Dressed in Armor.

When I feel like I’m in the thick of battle, I intentionally take the time to “dress myself” for war. Ephesians 6 outlines our armor. Praying through the passage and reading it out loud, I verbally clothe myself with the protection God offers.

Usually it looks something like this, “I’m standing in Christ, putting on the belt of truth. God’s Words are truth, and everything the enemy is trying to tell me is a complete lie. I’m strapping on the breastplate of righteousness— not my righteousness, but Christ’s, purchased for me with His blood on the cross. (vs.14) On my feet are the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace. I can walk in God’s peace today. (vs. 15) Above everything, I’m picking up the shield of faith. No darts of the enemy can penetrate it. (vs. 16) On my head is the helmet of salvation. I’m saved and I know I’m saved, and Satan can’t steal my salvation from me. And lastly, the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. (vs. 17)”

I do this, because it gives me a visual and verbal outline of what my “armor” and “weapons” are. It grounds me in God’s Word.

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4. Fight with Praise.

Psalms is a book filled with praise. Again and again, it proclaims the power, beauty, and goodness of praising God. Even when the Psalmist was overwhelmed and anguished, he nearly always ended each Psalm with a call to praise.

Satan can’t withstand the pure praises of God’s people. Praise is one of the strongest levels of spiritual warfare. When we praise God despite our circumstances, chains are broken, strongholds crushed, walls destroyed, and armies defeated. Think of Paul and Silas, praising in prison. (Acts 16:25, 26) Jehoshaphat, leading his army praising into battle. (2 Chron. 20:15-24) The Israelites, praising the walls of Jericho down. (Joshua 6)

God responds to our praises. So does Satan. God is glorified. Satan is thwarted.

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5. Fight in Community.

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Too stubborn to admit I needed prayer, I suffered alone, until I reached the breaking point. But when I surrendered my pride, I learned a beautiful truth.

There are few things more powerful and moving than praying for another, and being prayed for. Joining hands and hearts with each other, and passionately interceding together is impactful, and always brings me to tears. Scripture, once again, first teaches us this truth.

In Matthew 18:20, Jesus tells us, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Deuteronomy gets more dramatic and says, “Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand.”(32:30) And Ecclesiastes famously declares, “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”(4:12)

There’s strength in community. Our impact is multiplied as we reach out to those around us and fight this battle together.

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6. Fight as a Victor.

I recently shared how I was struggling with a friend. Her response encouraged and strengthened me: “The enemy hates what you’re doing…so keep going! A pastor at my church recently said, ‘May the opposition of hell be the affirmation you need to keep going and obeying God.’”

You’re guaranteed victory if you’re submitted to God. God already won the war—we can have victory in the battle. James 4:7 tells us, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

He. Will. Flee.

There’s no caveats, no if’s, and’s, or but’s, no fine print—just the command to submit and resist.

If we’re doing hard things for God, we’re automatically a target for attack, and we will receive opposition from the enemy. But this doesn’t have to be something that scares us. We don’t have to cower or live in fear. That’s what Satan would want us to do, but not what God calls us to do. We’re victorious. We’re equipped. We’re filled with God’s Holy Spirit and covered with the armor we need. God’s Words are a force to be reckoned with. With them in our hearts and on our lips, so are we.

We’re not powerful in our own right or strength. On our own, we can’t fight at all—but because Jesus has already fought for us on the cross, we’re able to stand strong and live freely.

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Keep Going.

So, rebelutionary, when—not if—Satan opposes your hard, God-glorifying things, keep going. Don’t give up.

Remember, we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts of evil. (Ephesians 6:12)

Pray. Praise. Put on your armor. Pick up your sword. Have comrades in battle.

And fight, knowing that victory is yours by the blood of your King.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10)

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Be Careful


Be careful that your “Christianity” is not little more than politics and nationalism cloaked in vague scriptural support and moral arguments. – Micah Fries

Dead End Job


Bored businessman looking at his computer in his office
Bored businessman looking at his computer in his office

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

I don’t believe God makes mistakes. Even though the job you’re in might feel like a dead end, you’re in that job for a reason. Maybe it’s requiring you to grow parts of yourself you would rather just leave alone. Or maybe you’re being forced into situations where you are having to trust God because you’re pressed way beyond your area of comfort or confidence. What if God is using your job to teach you some things about yourself or about Him? Like any good father, God wants you to grow and develop. He wants you to be challenged in your work, but He’d rather see you ‘Holy’ than ‘Happy.’ Sometimes He leaves us in ‘dead-end jobs’ for periods of time that are much longer than we’d like.

Consider Jesus’ disciples. The brightest young students in Jesus’ day were invited by rabbis to “follow me” (i.e. to become their disciples). Once selected, they would continue in their studies of the Talmud on the career path to become one of the Jewish rabbinical clergy. About the time of puberty, these young men would be chosen to study under a single rabbi. If a young man wasn’t chosen by the age of 13 or 14, then he would follow his father or uncle into the family trade, becoming an apprentice and ultimately making his living doing what his dad or uncle did. We can assume, based on their professions (fishermen, tax collector, etc.) that Jesus’ disciples were rejected as career religious leaders. They hadn’t been called by a rabbi, yet they had to make a living somehow. So out of necessity, they took dead-end jobs, following in the career footsteps of their fathers. But then along came Jesus . . . and everything changed. As founders of the church, these guys ended up doing some of the most important jobs in all of history.

With most things, we see God’s hand in our lives retrospectively. We’d like to know in advance that things are going to work out but unfortunately, God’s will isn’t always wrinkle free, pain free or struggle free. It’s often quite the opposite. It’s after things happen, decisions are made, and events occur that we can look back and see the hand of God in them. When I look back on my career, I can clearly see God’s hand. I can see how He was maturing me as I sat in dead-end jobs for 5 years. I wasn’t conscious of it then but He was clearly there . . . sustaining me, nudging me on when the results were poor and I wanted to give up . . . and reminding me that it was Him who would bring that next job.

So, if you’re in a dead end job, talk to the One who put you there. Ask Him to show you what He wants you to learn . . . about Him . . . about yourself . . . about the people you work with. After all, it might not be all about you! You may be there just to impact someone you work with . . . to be the person who points them to Jesus at the perfect time.

And if that’s not the case, then ask Him to usher you out of there and into a better job. He can do that . . . He will do that . . . the question is when. It was years for Jesus’ disciples . . . it may be years for you as well. He wants you to trust Him. Will you?

Scapegoat


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Reposted from Radical Mentoring

Scapegoat . . . it’s a word I’ve known all my life, but only recently did its significance dawn on me. When we think about a scapegoat, we think about the person at the office who gets blamed for something they didn’t really cause. Or the basketball player who forgets to box out his man, allowing the other team to score the winning basket. All the other plays in the game, both good and bad, are forgotten. It’s that one play . . . that one guy . . . who gets the rap for the loss. He’s the scapegoat. Unfair but real just the same.

Wikipedia says, a scapegoat is “a person or animal which takes on the sins of others, or is unfairly blamed for problems.” The concept comes originally from Leviticus where we’re told how the High Priest put both his hands upon the scapegoat’s head and confessed the sins of the people, thus laying their sins on the goat and removing them from the people. The goat was led away into the wilderness and intentionally lost so the sins of the people could never be found again. I’d never thought of Jesus as a scapegoat, but Charles Spurgeon did. In one of his devotional, Spurgeon quotes Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” He also points to John 19:16Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) where it says, “They took Jesus and led Him away”. Just like the scapegoat in the Old Testament.

I’ve always felt sorry for the scapegoat, but that’s not the right response to what Jesus did. He was not a victim, He was a volunteer! He volunteered to be the scapegoat . . . for you . . . for me . . . for all of us. He doesn’t want us to feel sorry for Him, he wants us to appreciate Him . . . to live a life of gratitude for what He did for us . . . for His willingness to take on our sins. Instead of feeling sorry, He wants us to respond by forgiving ourselves and others and by loving Him back and showing that love by loving others every minute of every day.

It’s easy for us to walk right by the word ‘sin.’ It’s not a popular word these days. To ‘sin’ is to ‘miss the mark.’ To fall short of perfection in God’s eyes. Today, we kind of ‘pool’ our sins with everyone else’s, diluting them by making them a global thing. We hide behind “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. But after we die, we’ll each face God. We’ll be accountable for our sins . . . all of them. As the verse above says “we have turned every one to his own way.” Sin is individual and so is accountability. If we’ve asked our Heavenly Father . . . our ultimate ‘High Priest’ to place our sins onto Jesus (the ultimate scapegoat), we’ll be accepted into the eternal Presence of the Trinity. If we haven’t, we’ll face the judgment of a holy and just God who cannot be in the presence of sin. And that means we will spend eternity not in His presence. That would be hell.

The Month Before “Christ”mas


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Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.

Why the PC Police
Had taken away
The reason for Christmas
No one could say.

The children were told
By their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men
And Angels and things.

It might hurt people’s feelings,
The teachers would say
December 25th
Is just a “Holiday”.

Yet the shoppers were ready
With cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down
To the floor just to get it!

CDs from Madonna,
An X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing,
Something quite odd!

Retailers promoted
Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books
By Franken and Fonda.

As Targets were hanging
Their trees upside down
At Lowe’s the word Christmas
Was no where to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples
And Penny’s and Sears
You won’t hear the word Christmas;
It won’t touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive,
Di-ver-is-ty
Are words that were used
To intimidate me.

Now Daschle, Now Darden,
Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather,
On Kerry, on Clinton!

At the top of the Senate,
There arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus,
In all public matter.

And we spoke not a word,
As they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak
Of salvation and grace

The true Gift of Christmas
as exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season,
Stopped before it started.

So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’
Under your ‘Dream Tree’
Sipping your Starbucks,
Listen to me.

Choose your words carefully,
Choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS,
Not Happy Holiday!

Please, all Christians join together and wish everyone you meet

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

Respect Begins At Home


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Reposted from Your Bible Quotes

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)

Wives, respect and obey your husbands in the same way. Then the husbands who do not obey the word of God will want to know God. They will want to know God because their wives live good lives, even though they say nothing about God. They will see that you live holy lives and respect your husbands. 1 Peter 3:1-2 (WE)

I imagine that at least some ladies think it was easy in Biblical times to do as the Bible directs wives to do and behave in the manner that was befitting a wife, perhaps because that was before feminism and bra burning and women’s liberation. Well, remember Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and that really is true. Human nature is what it is and has been from the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and will be until the last mortal man and woman right up to the second coming of Christ and the new Heaven, new Earth and the New Jerusalem.

THE BIBLE IS FOR ALL GENERATIONS

If this didn’t need to be repeated for each generation, the admonishment of “wives respect your husbands” wouldn’t have been in the Bible in the first place. God’s thoughts are higher than ours; remember that God has seen all that will ever be done, and heard all that will ever be said for all eternity, and He has given His life instruction accordingly. The Bible came from God and holy men spoke as God directed (2 Peter 1:21). 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable…”

Paul told us, and the Corinthians, that “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us…” (1 Corinthians 10:11) So all that made it into the Book is as good today as the day it was written. And the instruction “wives respect your husbands” made it in at least twice. If you are not sure of the path God has laid for wives, turn to Him and His Word for guidance.

Respect, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person.” Think of someone you respect outside of your marriage such as a friend, parent, or a mentor. Now think about how you think of, but most of all, speak about this person when he or she is not in your company. What do you say to others about her? Do you respect his wishes when he is not around? Wives respect your husbands as much as, or more than, you do your friends. If the answer is no, and if you desire to be the woman and wife God made you to be go to the Lord in prayer. We don’t always understand how, but prayer changes things.

RESPECT BEGINS AT HOME

Let’s look at a scenario. If you are in a respected friend’s home but he is not there do you respect his belongings and the way he would want you to behave in his home, such as perhaps taking your shoes off or not eating and drinking in the living room?

How about a respected co-worker? If she is away from her desk, would you go through her drawers just to see what she might be hiding in her personal space? If you would honor another’s wishes in these scenarios, would you do the same for your husband? If you wouldn’t dream of violating the privacy or rules and/or wishes of another, shouldn’t you wives respect your husbands at least this much?

Respecting someone means behaving the same as you would in his presence as you do in his absence. Well, you might say, it’s only little things that don’t matter and they are silly things anyway, like turning all the lights off or keep the heat turned down. Leaving a light or two on or cutting up the furnace a degree or two won’t hurt him if he doesn’t know it, right? Solomon has an answer for us on this one as well. Song of Solomon 2:15 “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vines.” Again God’s Word gives us the answer by telling us wives are to be committed and submitted; not in bondage, but under the husband’s protection as God intends.

BUILD A STRONG MARRIAGE

A marriage built on God’s Word is a strong marriage. Wives respect your husbands because any disobedience, no matter how small is a building block in the wall between you and your husband. As a matter of fact, when we do these things it’s almost spiteful, yet when you think of your husband is that how you feel? Probably, not. Turn the tables; how would you feel in his shoes? If you found out that he deliberately went behind your back and did something he knew you wouldn’t like?

It’s childish and petty, but these types of things, minor disrespect, back door disobedience, this tit-for-tat back and forth is not how marriage should be, but wives go at husband bashing as if it is an Olympic sport. At some point, you need to step out of the loop and realize your loyalties are to your husband that you promised to love, honor and cherish all the days of your life. Not just when he’s around and not just when you feel like it. Wives, respect your husband, even when he is not there. The Bible promises both favor and protection for a Biblical marriage in the order He designed. Satan has twisted everything God has made to make wives feel the yoke of oppression where there once was the security of protection from her husband.