Defeating the Devil’s Strategies


Reposted from In Touch Ministries

All of us make tracks through the valley of failure. Then the key question is, What we will do next? Sadly, many believers who stumble give up a vibrant kingdom-serving life for a defeated existence. But failure can also be a chance for a new beginning of living in Christ’s strength.

In pride, Peter thought his faith was the strongest of all the disciples’ and swore that even if the others left Jesus, he never would (Mark 14:29). Yet when the time of testing came, he denied even knowing Christ–and did so three times (Matt. 26:69-75). Satan hoped the disciple would be so wounded by his own disloyalty that his faith would be undermined by shame, condemnation, and despair.

Likewise, when the Enemy sifts believers today, his goal is for us to become shelved and ineffective for God’s kingdom. That’s why he goes after our strengths, especially the areas in which we proudly consider ourselves invincible. But if we’re willing, the Lord can use our failures to do spiritual housecleaning, as He did in Peter’s life. After the resurrection, Jesus met with the disciple personally and restored him, preparing him to become a great leader in the early church. He made it clear that Peter’s potential to serve was defined, not by failure, but by his unwavering love for Christ.

Advertisements

The Dependability of God


From the first chapter of Scripture, the Bible makes a case for the dependability of God.  Without exception when God spoke, something wonderful happened.  By divine fiat there was light, land, beaches, and creatures.  God consulted no advisers.  He needed no assistance. “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:9).

The same power is seen in Jesus.  He is unchanging.  He’s never caught off guard by the unexpected.  “God never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (James 1:17).

God is strong.  He does not overpromise and under deliver.  “God is able to do whatever he promises” (Romans 4:21).  “It is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).  God will keep his promises.  It must happen because of who God is!  And because God’s promises are unbreakable, our hope is unshakable!

Reposted from Max Lucado

There is Always Something You Don’t Know


Reposted from Radical Mentoring

A lot of us work somewhere that’s not ‘headquarters.’ Not ‘corporate.’ Not ‘the home office.’ That was me once. When the orders were handed down to us in the field, they sometimes seemed dumb. Out of touch with the real-world situation on the ground. I’d say, “What are they thinking up in the ivory tower?”

Then it happened.

I was promoted and transferred to corporate. One of my first tasks was complicated with all kinds of HR and union concerns . . . things I had no knowledge of a few weeks earlier. When the new instructions went out to the field, my phone lit up. “Regi, what are you thinking?” “It sure didn’t take you long to forget what it’s like out here.” “You’re just like the rest of them . . . out of touch and totally insensitive to the headaches you’re creating for us out here!”

My boss picked up on it. He took me aside and taught me something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “There’s always something you don’t know.” In a lower-level job or a remote position, there are things people ‘upstairs’ know that you don’t. We never have the whole picture.

This same principle applies in everyday relationships. When your wife comes home acting cross and impatient, there’s something you don’t know. When someone races past then cuts you off in traffic, there’s something you don’t know. When your teammate turns critical and negative, there’s something you don’t know.

And when God doesn’t cause or allow things to work out the way you want them to, there’s something you don’t know. A lot of what we don’t know will never be known until we’re there with God in the next life.

Lean into what you do know. God is good, and God loves you. That’s really all you need to know.

The Believer’s Purpose


God has a purpose for your life. If that weren’t true, He’d have taken you home to heaven at the moment of salvation. Do you ever wonder why He left you here?

The Lord intends to influence others through you. Our purpose is to be a vessel through which Christ overflows to others–touching those who hurt and desperately need a Savior. Once we are saved, Scripture teaches, our involvement is threefold.

First, we love others. Jesus clearly stated that this was one of the two greatest commandments (Matt. 22:38-39).

Second, we share the good news of salvation (Acts 1:8). Some travel across the world to spread the gospel, while others teach neighbors across the street. The Holy Spirit will direct us to the right people if we are willing to obey.

Third, we serve in a variety of ways, like helping those in need, sharing our resources, and lifting others in prayer. Jesus is our perfect example of all three. His entire life was marked by caring for people–both those who loved Him and those who did not. In fact, the Bible teaches that He humbled Himself and became like us, willing to give up His life for our redemption. There is no greater love; there is no greater act of service.

Scripture clearly defines the believer’s purpose. Aligning ourselves with God’s intentions for His children–loving others, witnessing, and serving– bring us great satisfaction. In fact, we’re still on earth not merely to hear more teaching but to act on it and share with others what we learn.

Reposted from In Touch Ministries

How to Tell If Your Struggles Are from You, God, or Satan


Reposted from Crosswalk

If you’ve been a believer for much time, you’ve been faced with this question at least once in your spiritual life. “Is the battle I’m facing from God, myself, or the Devil?” 

Depending on what side of the church tracks you live on, we can easily give credit to any one of them. I’ve heard the phrases, “God is trying to teach you a lesson” or “The devil is attacking you” in the very same community of believers. What about human choice? Don’t we have a part to play in what we are experiencing?

Our winning and losing in our everyday lives will depend on our understanding of the battle and with whom we are fighting. We won’t be dominant over the enemy until we see this life-or-death fight up close and personal.

The War is Over

The enemy of our souls would love nothing more than for each of us to believe we are fighting for victory and not from victory.  When Christ died on the cross in our place to pay the penalty of sin, the war was over. Spoiler alert: We Won! God has the whole world in His hands and has made a way for us to spend eternity with Him.

So, why do we struggle? Because we still live on the earth. We have a real enemy, and as long as we are alive, we will have to deal with him. We have nothing to fear. If we are living our life in Christ, we will always be more powerful than anything that comes our way. But, the Bible is clear that we aren’t to be ignorant of our enemy.

The Devil is an Angel with a God Complex

You may think of God and the Devil as equal and opposing figures fighting each other from two different sides, much like the cartoon image we have of a devil and an angel perched on someone’s shoulders. But we need to be clear: The story of God and the Devil isn’t one of two gods fighting each other. The Devil is an angel with a God complex. His power and authority are only in his possession because God has allowed him to continue for the time being.

The Devil is a Liar

The only way to know if it’s your enemy is to understand his exact characteristics. Your enemy’s whole purpose in life is to get you to believe a lie about God.  It started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. His lies sound like, “God isn’t that good” or “God’s not telling you the whole truth.”  The lies always go deeper, “God made a mistake when he made you” or “God’s not going to help you.” All grounded in lies about God. One of his greatest and most powerful lies always begins with your identity. It sounds like, “You can’t do it” or “ You don’t have what it takes.” His words are wrapped in fear, anxiety, and shame.

The Devil is an Accuser

Our enemy loves to accuse us. He’s known as the accuser of the brethren (Revelations 12).

Once we begin to live in spiritual confidence, he uses another lie. “Who do you think you are?” often trying to accuse us of pride and arrogance. He loves to use accusation to stop us in our tracks. An accusation is claiming someone is doing something wrong. Our enemy will never stop there. He will always go further hoping we believe the lie, “You are wrong” or “You were made wrong.”  Accusations are dangerous because they will always distract us from our real purpose, which is to live in the abundant life Christ died to give us.

The Devil is a Thief

In John 10:10 it depicts our enemies exact character. It says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;”

The word steal in the Greek is the word klepto. It’s where we get the word kleptomaniac, which means, someone who steals for the thrill of taking. When the enemy operates in our lives, he is stealing from us as well. We may not realize it as it’s happening, but eventually, we feel the sense of loss and see that what is rightfully ours has been taken from us. If we want to walk in daily victory, we must remember that the enemy comes into our lives as a thief.

The Devil Wants Us to Sacrifice

In John 10:10 it uses the word kill, but it doesn’t mean what you might assume. The word kill in the Greek is Thuo, which means to sacrifice. “God’s not coming through for you!” or “You are not going to experience it!” are the enemy’s smoke screens.  When the enemy comes to kill, he’s hoping you will sacrifice everything God has given you. He tells you that you have waited too long, believed for too much, and seen nothing happen. You might as well throw in the towel. The crazy thing is, we believe his lies. The Devil may not have to steal very much from us—especially if we are already giving it away.

Living Spiritually Alert

(…To keep Satan from taking advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2:11 amp). 

Paul points out, “We are not ignorant of his schemes.” I have often heard the phrase, “Ignorance is bliss,” which suggests that if I don’t know something, then life is more comfortable, relaxed, and peaceful for me. But ignorance is not a godly way of living. Being ignorant of the enemy’s schemes only leaves us vulnerable to his tactics.

Being spiritually illiterate doesn’t mean the enemy will leave us alone. It means we are more likely to make critical mistakes due to a lack of full understanding. Ignorance will hurt us and leave us confused, dejected, and deceived. God did not call us to be spiritually blind; he called us to be spiritually alert.

 

God Knows You


Reposted from Max Lucado

Christ takes away your sin, and in doing so, he takes away your common-ness.  You no longer need to say, “No one knows me” because God knows you.  “LORD, you…know all about me,” David discovered. “You know when I sit down and when I get up.  You know my thoughts before I think them.  You know where I go and where I lie down.  You know everything I do…You are all around me…and have put your hand on me” (Psalm 139:1-3, 5).

God knows you and he is near you.  See how these four words look taped to your bathroom mirror: “God is for me!” (Psalm 56:9). And his kingdom needs you to discover and deploy your unique skill. The poor need you; the lonely need you; the church needs you, the cause of God needs you. Get the word out. God is with us. We are not alone!

The Gospel


The Gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. – Garrison Keillor