Trusting God as we enter into 2016. . .
INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Folks, as the New Year comes upon us, we are reminded that we are embarking on a new part of our life’s journey that is filled with many unknowns. These unknown events can challenge a Christian’s faith to its very core. This is the reason that I felt it was important to take a few devotional lessons and address keys to “Entering The Unknown By Faith”.
In this six part devotional series, we will be looking at Isaiah 42:16. This is a wonderful text to use in this devotional series. In this series, we will learn about how to handle unforeseen, challenging life events based upon our trust in the Lord and His enabling graces.
Lord willing, by His grace alone, we will be uncovering the wisdom found in God’s Word that will help…
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TAKE HEART, PEOPLE!
Have you been troubled by what you see happening in the world and about you, or have you, had a recent dose of trials, afflictions, attacks from Satan? Whatever it is you’re going through- WELCOME to earth’s club!
God’s Word to us today:
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:2
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1Cor 2:9
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH- Soldiers in God’s Army
WE ARE IN A DEADLY WAR WITH SATAN! ARE YOU IN THE LORD’S ARMY?
You are in the LORD’S ARMY only if JESUS is your Lord and Savior, and if you serve HIM only. You are NOT in the LORD’S ARMY just because you attend church on Sunday or have signed membership in a church, or even if you give regular offerings. It is through JESUS ONLY, or ONE WAY as the song goes, that we become followers and soldiers of Christ. Jesus is the Commander-in-chief of the LORD’S army into which were drafted, His Special Forces, when we chose to follow Jesus and were conscripted by God to serve Him.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20)
And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)
“and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:14)
See ‘The good and faithful servant’– Mt 25:14-23.
WE ARE FIGHTING A SPIRITUAL BATTLE!
Every believer in Christ is in a spiritual battle to stand with God and stand against Satan. The amazing part about fighting in this battle is that it is not really OUR battle, but it is GOD’S, who will fight it for us, but we must stand and resist Satan with Him.
The battle is the LORD’S, and the victory is OURS! GOD FIGHTS FOR US! He is not only our Savior and Redeemer, but God is also our Deliverer from evil! Jesus taught His disciples to pray to the Father, “deliver us from evil…” (Mt 6:13)
“The battle is the LORD’S,…” (1 Sam 17:47)
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:57)
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper;” (Isa 54:17)
Good soldiers have made their choice and decided which side they want to be on. It is God’s side!!! Like Joshua, we have said, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
Our first order is to drive the enemies out to claim the blessings of God and the Promised Land. We are thrust into the battle between evil and good in this world which is a battle between God and the enemies of God who resist Him, namely Satan and his warring factions. This battle is for the souls of men. The stakes are high; the outcome will be eternal life with God in heaven or eternal damnation with Satan in hell.
CALLED TO BE SOLDIERS
We are all called to be soldiers to engage in a spiritual battle, whether we like it or not. As long as we live in this world, the battle between good and evil, God and Satan, for men’s souls will continue until the end of man’s rule on earth. The battle has begun and will intensify until that day when the Lord returns with His faithful servants and sets up His Kingdom on earth.
This is what the prophet Isaiah wrote of the last days:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD has risen, upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall rise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isa 60:1-2)
What kind of soldiers will make up God’s army?
The answer is ONLY the fighting ones, the good and faithful soldiers– no cowards, deserters or traitors; no compromisers or those with double-mindedness or unstable character, none who are tainted with worldliness in character and behavior, but only those separated unto God to do His will and accomplish His plan and purpose for man.
God’s army is comprised of those who are:
Friends of God
Fearless and brave
Focused and alert
These men and women of God are courageous to the end, following GOD’S directives, not man’s, fully committed to His service.
A good soldier places his trust in God in keeping the faith and is totally committed to his mission. He has courage and confidence, knows his calling and is separated unto God.
The Bible says,
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (2 Tim 2:4)
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor 6:14)
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord…(2 Cor 6:17)
“endures hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Tim 2:3-4)
A good soldier makes his service to God his number one priority, and is not distracted by personal and business matters, but leaves these behind when he goes off to the front lines. He is not afraid of face-to-face combat; he has no commitments to hinder him from being focused on the task at hand; he is alert and vigilant, ready to confront his enemy.
(Jesus said) “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:2)
Who are we fighting?
It would often seem that we are fighting among ourselves, other people and diverse groups, including nations fighting against nations. There is disharmony and strife in every human institution- family, school, church, government and society, among every culture and race of people. While covetousness, envying and greed, anger and murder, etc. underlie most strife and evil deeds, the evil and wicked spiritual battle is incited by and is being warred under the leadership of SATAN with his demonic army.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12)
Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:16)
SATAN’S Modus Operandi- MO
To engage in this battle is to engage with the enemy of our souls, Satan, whose goal is to destroy us.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: (John 10:10)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pe 5:8)
How will we defeat Satan in his attempts to ‘steal, kill, and destroy’ us?
GOD WILL EMPOWER US to do battle with Satan as we are submitted in obedience to Him and His Word.
2 Cor 10:3-6 state:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
In his exhortations, the apostle Paul continues:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Eph 6:10)
This verse tells us that our strength is in the Lord and also in the power of the Holy Spirit in us from our Almighty God and Father. The latter refers to Acts 1:8:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…”
The Armour of God
God has given us an armour to help us in our battle with our enemy. This armour will work when we are in right standing with God and when we take an offensive stand against Satan. Take note that ‘stand’ is mentioned 4 times in Ephesians chapter 6:
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
As believers in Christ we must RESIST AND OPPOSE every attack directed against us. Our shield of protection is FAITH:
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Eph 6:16)
As a good soldier in God’s army, we must have an offensive mindset and CONFRONT our adversary. If we are knocked down, we must get up and FIGHT for our very life. Don’t let Satan push us around and make mincemeat out of our lives. Stop listening to his lies and letting him intimidate you. Get into GOD’S WORD and learn it for yourself so you can use it as your weapon!
YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH GOD, SO ACT LIKE IT! Stand up, put up your dukes and FIGHT; use the strength of God and power of the Holy Spirit; use all the armament God has equipped us with.
Ephesians 6:14-17 describe the parts of the armour that include truth, righteousness, faith and salvation and the all important weapon, ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’. It is imperative to learn and study the Word of God for ourselves, to energize our faith, to use it against the enemy as we stand firm to resist his attacks. Our armour is not complete without knowing how to wield our weapon, ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ 2 Tim 2:15 says:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
As a good soldier, we must take full responsibility for studying God’s Word by ourselves to have His approval, and not be a poor Christian witness. Everywhere I have taught and preached has been on the importance of knowing God’s Word. I exhorted folks to take this scripture seriously because Satan tempted Jesus with the Word of God as he will us. Satan, the Master Deceiver is taking out the troops, adding many ill-equipped and ‘wannabe’ soldiers to his rolls as we see with the growing apostasy in the churches!
Prayer, the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony are essential elements of spiritual warfare:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints: (Eph 6:18)
And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Rev 12:11)
Back in 1973, when I first committed myself to serve Jesus, I was surprised to hear a dear brother in Christ warn me with these words, “The devil is going to test your faith.” I thought what negative words to say to someone who has just returned to God’s sheepfold. I understand more clearly now, that there is a battle going on with Satan trying to win the Christian believer back to his side. But God has given us His Word and promises that will equip us to stand firm and resist Satan’s attacks upon our faith.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Jas 4:7)
Neither give place to the devil. (Eph 4:27)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH!
Related Links on the Lord’s Army and Spiritual Warfare
http://www.brandonweb.com/sermons/sermonpages/2timothy21.htm The Lord’s Army
http://unchainedgrace.hubpages.com/hub/Can-you-be-a-Soldier-in-Gods-Special-Forces God’s Special Forces
http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/fellow-soldier.html Soldier of God
More links may be found under ‘SPIRITUAL WARFARE’ on my Tab Bar- https://heulu.wordpress.com/end-time-teachings/
See 6-17-14 ARMOUR OF GOD- Teachings on Ephesians 6 by Pastor Rob Barkman http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/sihs-think-on-these-things-ephesians-614-17/