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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Stand Out


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God did not call us to blend in, but to stand out. Let your light shine. – Craig Groeschel

God Told Me


 

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Reposted from Radical Mentoring

There’s a little twinge in my spirit when I hear the words “God told me” come out of someone’s mouth (including my own).

Did He? Does He? How do you know it was God?

What’s our motive for qualifying what we’re about to say with “God told me.” Are we trying to sound ‘super-spiritual’? Do we think the truth we’re about to share has to have the heavy-duty punch of “God said” to be worth the attention?

I try not to get into theology on this blog because there are usually as many opinions as readers. Nobody has concrete answers to theological questions. I subscribe to this quote (often misattributed to St. Augustine) . . .

“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”

As Jesus-followers, we have a responsibility to represent Jesus and His Kingdom well. We’re told in Corinthians to be “ambassadors for Christ.” To me, that means when people see us, they see people living as Jesus lived. Loving. Serving. “Gentle and humble in heart.”

The humble in heart part is what I’m talking about here. It’s hard to appear humble in heart while we’re saying “God told me,” or “God wants me to,” or the even more dangerous, “God wants you to . . .”

Personally, I do believe God speaks to us individually. It’s almost always about matters of the heart, and it’s always for our good. But His words for us are just that . . . they’re for us. When we start adding “God told me” to things we’re saying, there are often unintended consequences . . .

  • Listeners get distracted from what’s being said by the “God told me” part. If what you’re saying is truth from God, won’t the Holy Spirit reveal that without us having to punctuate it with “God told me”?
  • Unbelievers can be intimidated and feel even more like outsiders . . . pushed further away from meaningful faith.
  • New or less mature believers lose heart, feeling there’s something wrong with them because God’s not speaking to them.
  • The believer doing the talking accidentally glorifies himself instead of Jesus.
  • The person talking could get it wrong, repeating things they imagined but God wasn’t in.

Let’s be thoughtful, careful and prayerful with our words, especially when we invoke the name of the God, who is so holy that the Jews didn’t even speak His name for 300 years.

Let’s be careful to avoid sin . . . including the sin of self-righteousness.

Scripture: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Exodus 20:7)

Our Work Can Be Worship


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Many people dread their work. If you’re one of them, try changing your attitude toward your work! God’s eyes fall on the work of our hands. One stay-at-home-mom keeps this sign over her sink: “Divine tasks performed here, daily.” Indeed, work can be worship.

Peter wrote, “You are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God.” (1 Peter 2:9). So, let every detail in your life—your words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus. (Colossians 3:17). You don’t drive to an office, you drive to a sanctuary. You don’t attend a school, you attend a temple. You may not wear a clerical collar, but you could, because your work is God’s pulpit!

Reposted from Max Lucado

Worship


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Reposted from Max Lucado

Worship adjusts us. It lowers the chin of the haughty and straightens the back of the burdened.  It bows the knees, singing to him our praise.  Opening our hearts, it offers to him our uniqueness. Worship properly positions the worshiper.  And oh how we need it!

We walk through life so bent out of shape.  Cure any flare up of commonness by setting your eyes on our uncommon King.  Worship lifts our eyes and sets them “on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power” (Colossians 3:1).

We worship God because we need to.  But our need runs a distant second to the thoroughbred reason for worship: God deserves it.  God would die for your sin before he’d let you die in your sin. What do you do with such a Savior?  You lift up your gift in worship.

R U Saved


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Reposted from The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Something non-believers tell me all the time is that they were once, some even very devout, Christians who, often with a significant amount of heartache and personal turmoil, walked away from the faith and will never go back.

I hate to argue with people over this or even tell them they might be wrong because, truth is, no one but them and God will actually ever know for sure.

But, then again, I hate to sugarcoat biblical truths too so…

I was studying Revelation 3:16 in Matthews Henry’s Concise Commentary this morning and this line jumped out at me.

“There are many in Hell, who once thought themselves far in the way to Heaven. Let us beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves.”

Not only do I agree with that completely, I think its central meaning can be rightly applied to another verse I have also been studying lately, 1 John 2:19.

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

If there are people who proclaim to be actual confessing Christians that will find themselves in Hell, certainly there are deconverts who were never truly saved despite how adamantly they may declare they were.

Causes of the indifference and inconsistency in religion Revelation 3:16 speaks of, the commentary explains are, self-conceit and self-delusion. If one thinks about these key terms, along with “flatter and deceive” in the above quote, they explain quite a bit.