Ready for Battle

Battlefront – Action shooter video game based on Star Wars series of movies

Our son chooses a character (hero or villain), weapon, planet, and runs around in a battle fighting against the enemy and completing tasks…..and then, when he’s done he turns off the game and moves on.

In life, though, we’re in a real battle with real enemies, real weapons, and real casualties.  There is no turning off the battle.

Who is the enemy? Paul tells us

Ephesians 6:11-12 NLT

11 “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategiesof the devil. 12 For we are notfighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

Not a physical fightagainst menbut against unseen evil and powerful rulers, authorities, and spirits

What does the enemy want?

John 10:10 NLT

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”

I typically note “kill and destroy”, but a thief steals first, in secret and without using force. He hides in the shadows and the confusion waiting to question what God is doing in us.  We are prepared for the skirmish, hand to hand combat, but we don’t do well with the slow, day to day, and mundane………..But the devil does

Genesis 3:1 NLT

The serpent was the shrewdest (clever– MSG) of all the wild animals the LordGod had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?

battle.jpg

The devils strategy from the beginning was to plant a seed of unbelief in mankind’s mind and to ultimately destroy him/her.  And that’s been his agenda throughout biblical times and still today.

He knows if he can place a seed of unbelief in your mind there’s a good chance you’ll be passive and it will take root.

But God has a strategy too to prepare us as Christians for battle.

Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT

13 “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truthand the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peacethat comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faithto stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

  1. Belt of Truth(6:14)
  • Biblical times – Protected lower area of body/ provided support for all other pieces of armor during battle.
  • Today – As Christians we must put on His beltbelieving that God’s Truthkeeps us from giving in to the world’s beliefs and defeats Satan’s lies.

John 8:44 NLT

“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truthin him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liarand the father of lies.”

Devil says – You are sinful, lost and without hope.

Truth– God’s love and salvation has set me free from sin and death.

The world we live in teaches that truth is what we make of it—that good and bad are relative and that there are no absolutes, only equally valid opinions.

There is an ongoing….

  • Battle for Truth according to Scripture
  • Battle for identity
  • Battle for traditional Marriage
  • Battle for Family
  • Battle for Life

But the Bible teaches that truth is God’s Word—that good and bad are defined by Him and that there are eternal and unchangeable absolutes, uninfluenced by opinions.

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

 All Scripture is inspired by Godand is useful to teach us what is trueand to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right

Romans 12:2 NLT

 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect

Regardless of the battle, the TRUTH is:

  • God is alive, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and in control
  • The holy bible is without error and the inspired word of God
  • God created all of mankind with an identity
  • God created marriage between 1 man and 1 woman and they were commanded to multiply
  • God alone determines our days
  1. Breastplate of Righteousness(6:14)
  • Biblical times– Protected the heart along with the other vital organs
  • Today– As Christians we must put onHis righteousnessto protect against all of Satan’s accusations and charges.To be righteous is to do what is rightin God’s eyes (Obey God’s laws of love).

Proverbs 4:23 NLT/NKJV

23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (out of it springs the issues of life)

Once we have put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must be sure not to remove it. Wearing righteousness is not a one-time event; it requires a lifetime of action.

  1. Shoes of Peace(6:15)
  • Biblical times – Protected feet while marching into battle
  • Today –As Christians we must put onHis shoesof peace that allows us to take the good news of Jesus wherever He leads.

1 John 2:6 NKJV

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

 Satan will try to place obstacles in our path, but we can take comfort in the good news promised by God that there is nothing from outside ourselves that can trouble our hearts or give us reason to be afraid.

John 16:33 NLT

“I have told you all this so that you may have peacein me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Luke 10:19-20 NLT

“19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

  1. Shield of Faith(6:16)
  • Biblical times – Protected entire body from enemy’s fiery arrows during battle.
  • Today –As Christians we must hold up His shieldto protect against Satan’s fiery arrows of doubt and temptations.
    1. Believe that God is in control, that He is working everything out for our good, and will keep His promises. Faith turns aside doubt and temptation.

Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Romans 12:3 NKJV

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

God gifts each of usa measure of faith. As we walk with Him that faith grows and develops until it becomes a shield, protecting us and making us victorious in Christ.

Our faith in God, can also give Satan a shove backwards. Because God tells us that faith cannot just be in our minds, it must produce actions—works of obedience and service.  The temptation of Christ.

  1. Helmet of Salvation(6:17)
  • Biblical times – Protected the head, the most vital body part, during battle
  • Today –As Christians we must put on His helmetto protect our mind and thoughts against Satan’s lies. We have been called out of this world. Though we remain in it, we are not of it and remain separate from it. Our way of living and even of thinking should differ from the worlds. We are to develop the mind of Christ.

1 John 5:11-12 NKJV

11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Remember that salvation comes from God, and that God is on our side. If we commit to fully follow and obey Him, it is impossible for us to lose our battle or our salvation.

  1. Sword of the Spirit (6:17)
  • Biblical times – provided offensive and defensive weapon during battle
  • Today – As Christians we must pick up His sword (Word) to
    • destroy strongholds of temptation, anger, fear, pride, and rebellion

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT

4 “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

  • discern the truth and thoughts

Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

  1. Prayer (6:18) at all times, all occasions, all believers

Even with full armor we need continuous prayer for ourselves and other believers.  Prayer brings you into communion and fellowship with God so that His armor can protect you.

Romans 13:14 NKJV

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

American Theologian Albert Barnes comments, “No matter how complete the armour; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph”.

If we equip ourselves with God’s armor, we must also be determined to keep a steady line of connection with Him. He is the commander of His spiritual army, and He alone knows how to lead it to victory.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT

8 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”

DAILY:

S– Standup victorious under God’s power with confidence GOD HAS ALREADY WON;

  • Paul encouraged 3 times- Stand up, Stand firm, Stand your ground
  • Jesus commanded 2 occasions to lame men “Stand up and pick up your mat”
  • We are complacent/ passive (laying down, disengaged) political/ social

 

T– Take up (put on) God’s full armor  – RESIST the devil

A– Always pray in the Spirit at all times, for all occasions, for yourself and other believers – CONNECT to God (praise and petition)

N– Notice danger – STAY ALERT to the devil’s schemes

D– Declare the truthSPEAK OUT LOUD

  • About God…….You are good and loving and faithful and have never left me
  • About yourself……I am a child of God, Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
  • Speak about the devil……..You’re a liar and you’re defeated

STAND!!!

“When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” Billy Graham

The Mysterious Love of God

3 truths that God wants you to see about his mysterious love mysterious.jpg

  1. God PLACES us to Reign (hold royal office)
  • Rule the kingdom…. have authority over, govern
  • Protect the kingdom….from enemies (seen and unseen)

33“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years.

  • God PLACED Manasseh at the age of 12 as the 13th king of Judah; longest reigning King (55 years)
  • Rule Gods people
  • Protect the kingdom from enemies
  • God PLACED Adam to rule over creation and protect the garden from enemies

1:28 “Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reignover the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”(Genesis 1:28) NLT

2:15The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.”(Genesis 2:15) NLT

  • God PLACED you and me to reign
  • Have authority as a child of the king (ambassadors) to rule in the kingdom
  • What is your kingdom? Your seen and unseen property
  • Protect the kingdom against your enemies
    • Seen
    • Unseen
      • Devil
      • Yourself
        • body (fleshly desires)
        • soul (thoughts and emotions)

Helmet of salvation, Breastplate of righteousness, Belt of truth, shield of faith, shoes of peace, and sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18)

So how was Manasseh as a king? – he was the WORST King of Judah!!!

He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lordhad driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had broken down. He constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them.

He built pagan altars in the Temple of the Lord, the place where the Lordhad said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. Manasseh also sacrificed his own sons in the fire in the valley of Ben-Hinnom. He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger.

Manasseh even took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God’s Temple, the very place where God had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws, decrees, and regulations given through Moses—I will not send them into exile from this land that I set aside for your ancestors.” But Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lordhad destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land.

Manasseh’s resume:

He built carved idols, constructed places for idol worship, encouraged worship of Baal, sun, moon, stars, burned his sons as child sacrifices, allowed fortune telling, magic, and murdered innocent people

What’s your resume look like?

Worshipped idols like money, career, family, cars, animals, social media, TV, yourself

Murdered others with your thoughts?

  1. God PURSUES us to Repent

10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. 11 So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.

  • God PURSUED Manasseh
    • Lord spoke
    • Lord senthis enemies (humiliation, exile, prisoner)

 

At Manasseh’s lowest moment

  • Lord listened

12 But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request.”

  • God PURSUES you and me
    • God speaks to us (dreams, visions, pictures, scriptures, nature)
    • God uses whatever he chooses to get our attention when we sin (job suspension/loss, medical bills, car maintenance, negative physical results…)

At our lowest moment, when wesincerely humble ourselves

  • God listens and is moved
  1. God PROMOTES us to Restore

So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lordalone is God!

  • God PROMOTED Manasseh
  • God restored his freedom
  • God restored his kingdom
  • God restored the relationship

 

  • God PROMOTES you and me to Restore
    • Jesus restored our freedom
    • Jesus restored our kingdom
    • Jesus restored our relationship

Manasseh’s response:

14 After this Manasseh rebuiltthe outer wall of the City of David, from west of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel. He built the wall very high. And he stationed his military officers in all of the fortified towns of Judah. 15 Manasseh also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the Lord’s Temple. He tore down all the altars he had built on the hill where the Temple stood and all the altars that were in Jerusalem, and he dumped them outside the city. 16 Then he restoredthe altar of the Lordand sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the Lord, the God of Israel.

“Successful” Ministry

Luke 10:16-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”

17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”

18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

I repented for my sin and believed in Jesus, according to Scripture in 1999. I was baptized in His Spirit, according to Scripture in 2005. A few years later, another promise, according to Scripture, manifested when I began receiving visions and dreams -and prophesying what I saw and heard to others.

Acts 2:17 New International Version (NIV)

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.

I was such a baby at the time. I had NO idea how to digest the Word of the Lord in my heart before feeding it to others. How I needed spiritual mothers and fathers to train me in the way I should go!!! Instead, I foolishly delivered many of those messages in haste, and as a result, I was threatened, scowled at, and ignored by many in the Church. Still, the Lord was faithful to lead me, feed me and care for me in the wilderness, as I licked the wounds of rejection and betrayal from those that were supposed to love me. In the desert, I had to realize: God did give me good gifts to use for His glory and to encourage others. I did hear from heaven and speak what I heard. But first, I needed to open my mouth and eat what He gave me (Ezekiel 2:6-8).

ministry.jpgAfter the wilderness experience, a few people began accepting my messages as I prayed with them. Demons obeyed me too! Men, women and children encountered Jesus and were healed, delivered and set free from bondage right here in my living room! I rejoiced in my “successful” ministry. And I told others about my success; in person and on social media. “Look at me. Look at me. Look at ME! I’m in ministry. I’m gifted. Yay me!!!”

Then the Spirit led me into the wilderness…again. There I stood, naked before Him, with nothing to hide behind. In the dryness of the desert, “my ministry” dried up. In His mercy, the Lord began shining His light on the pride hidden in my soul. Grieved over my arrogance, I repented & retreated to the shelter of His wings (Psalm 91). There He began exposing the fear of man. Fear of man has many different arrows that pierce the heart, mine were designed to penetrate a longing for acceptance, approval and affirmation through what I do. So, when I performed “successful” ministry, and people accepted my message and approved of me and affirmed me, I felt loved. When they did not, I felt unloved, rejected and abandoned. All the attributes of an orphan of the world, not a child of the Creator.

In His shadow, I child finds rest. In His refuge, a child is safe from the trap of successful ministry.  In His shelter, no evil will conquer a child. In His love, a child will be rescued. In His protection, a child will be rewarded. (Psalm 91)

I’m still a child, still learning to hide in the shelter of His wings. Are you? In deep humility, I plead with you: do not fall into the trap of believing the lie that “successful” ministry will gain you entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’s warning, according to Scripture is clear. Do you know Him? Does He know YOU?

Matthew 7:21-23 New International Version (NIV)

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’