Daily Warfare within…

I Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims abstain from
fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

 Daily Warfare within…!

An old Cherokee is telling his grandson about a fight that is going on
inside him. He said it is between 2 wolves.

One is evil: Anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt,
resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is good: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness,
benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied,

“The one I feed.”

Romans 8:3-5 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through
the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be
fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they
that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after
the Spirit the things of the Spirit
.”

Gal 6:16 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” 

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Is it well with your Soul…

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Is it Well with your Soul…

Maybe it is just my imagination and I hope so, but it seems to me that much of Christianity does not see the persecutions and trials of this world as having merit. Am I wrong and how does my life stack up is the nagging question? I know that in my heart I do not like persecution and trials so if I can avoid them, I will. Then I see scripture that says if there is no objection to my life style by the world then I may be a Christian in hiding. And worse yet, if no trials then I might not be saved. Ouch, that thought process is not one that I wish to pursue.

First I check out my eternal life and find I am confident that I have asked and am trusting in Jesus sacrifice for my sins to be sufficient for my salvation. Nothing can be added from my end (Gal 2:16-21). Then comes the question of how my life as a believer stacks up to His will for me. If I do not change to meet my Savior’s will for my life just what will I hear at the Judgment Seat of Believers. I know my sins are washed away so they will not be on display there but how about my life’s work or lack of work for my Savior after being “born again”?????

The second verse of “It Is Well with My Soul” puts persecution in perspective.

Tho Satan should buffet, tho trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

And an example from scripture helps us to put trials into perspective.

Paul is one of those examples. As we review his life as recorded in scripture we see that he was given “a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Almost every saint of every age could echo Paul’s concerns and the request for God to remove those thorns.  Trials do come to each child of God.

That is a given. How we look at them is not. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you” (1 Peter 4:12).  God had a purpose in Paul’s life, and He has a purpose for us.  Paul couldn’t clearly see the purpose, and, at times, we can’t either. We can, however, “glory,” as Paul did, or “rejoice,” as Peter advises, or “count it all joy” as James records in response to the knowledge of God’s loving oversight.

 

I love this thought from that passage on removing the thorn in II Corinthians. I memorized it so I could have it ready when the difficulties of my life are better understood by listening to my God. Paul accepted God’s answer to his prayer that he requested three times and the answer was.  God’s grace is sufficient; you need that thorn in your life for a much greater purpose and outcome than the immediate fleshly satisfaction of it being removed.

II Cor 12:8-10 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Holy Alphabet…

James 1:2a “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials”

Notice it is not “if” but it is “when”. Why do you think that would be?

 ABC’s

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame

Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know

Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee

Move out of “Camp Complaining”
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone

Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To “thank” is a command

Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We’ll run the race with gratitude
Exalting God most high

Yes, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but…
Zion waits in glory…where none are ever sad!

“I AM Too blessed to be stressed!”

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the
distance between your knees and the floor.

1 Thes. 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

James 1:2,3 “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various
trials; Knowing this, that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Hitting the Self-Destruct Button…

Mat 7:1, 2  “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Hitting the Self-Destruct Button

It seems we are constantly battling the temptation to judge.  If we aren’t trying to refrain from judging someone else, it is usually because we are judging ourselves.  Most of us would deny being judgmental and it is absolutely true that we do not want to be. However, if we are being honest with ourselves, we often are guilty of comparing ourselves to other people.  We compare our jobs, clothing and, oh yes, our body types.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  So true!  It’s as if we are hitting a self-destruct button every time we compare ourselves to others because the outcome will never be good!  One of two outcomes occur when we compare ourselves to others.  The first possible outcome is that we instill a false sense of joy.  We have a temporary high due to the false sense that we are better than someone else.  In reality, we are simply having a better hair day or we spent more time being high-maintenance that day.  The other possible outcome is that we feel down on ourselves and actually begin to resent the person who we are feeling jealous of.

It’s so much easier to focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves rather than focusing on the things that we do like (if we will admit we actually like something about ourselves).  We all have good qualities and we all have areas that could use some improvement.  Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”  Yep, we have all been there…. we have all “judged a fish for its ability to climb a tree” or allowed our feelings to be decided by judgmental comparison.

Are you ready to expose all the shame and guilt you experience when you don’t focus on the wonderful God-given qualities you have and instead compare yourself to those around you?  Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”  We can begin to let go of comparison when we expose our weaknesses to God and admit the mistakes we make.  Saying, “God, I am a mess, forgive me for putting my focus on who I’m not instead of who you made me to be.” Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, better known as Plumb, co-wrote and recorded “Lord I’m Ready Now.”  Read the lyrics slowly and let them sink in….

 

“Lord I’m Ready Now”- Plumb

I just let go
And I feel exposed
But it’s so beautiful
Cuz this is who I am
I’ve been such a mess
But now I can’t care less
I could bleed to death

Oh Lord I’m ready now
All the walls are down
Time is running out
And I wanna make this count
I ran away from you
And did what I wanted to
But I don’t wanna let you down
Oh Lord I’m ready now
Lord I’m ready now

You called my name
I turned away
But now I
Am listening
I was so caught up
In who I’m not
Can you please forgive me?

The bottom line is…Comparison is dangerous!!!  Comparison can cause resentment, pride and ruin relationships.  Most importantly, comparison is a sin.  God is pretty simple and blunt when he says “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”  (Mathew 7:1)

Challenge:  Instead of comparing yourself to others today, thank God for three qualities He gave you (make sure one of them is a physical characteristic).  Also, give three people, who you may feel a little sting of jealousy towards, a compliment.  Focusing on our positive qualities and appreciating the positive qualities of others can change the way we see ourselves and the way we view others.  Don’t hit the self-destruct button today. Instead, choose to lift up those around you and be thankful for the beautiful person God has made you!

One final thought. There is One who you should keep your eyes and pattern your life after. Can you guess Who He is? And yes, if you do He will change your life.

Hebrews 12:1, 2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The Spiritual Cold War…

If I told you that there was a war going on you would probably ask me if I read the papers or listen to the TV and radio. Of course there are wars going on all around us. But if I told you there was a war going on that no human can actually see and can have very little affect on the outcome you would then give me a strange look and wonder what planet I am living on.

Well this morning I want to remind myself and you of that very fact. There is an ugly cold war going on that we cannot see and it has eternal consequences.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

 2 Cor 4:3, 4 “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

So if those verses are true and the real enemies are satan and self then how does he attack?

I Peter 5:8, 9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

James 4:1, 2a “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.”

 If I honestly look around me and within me I quickly realize there is a war going on for my soul. There is a war going on to keep me from serving Jesus. I am ‘born again’ so satan can no longer have my soul but he can keep me from serving Jesus. So how can I fight it?

2 Tim 2:22-26 “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,  and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

 Galatians 5:16, 17 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.”

Put on God’s armor today that is described in Ephesians chapter 5 so you can stand in the midst of this cold war. I stand with Jesus our Lord and Savior and with you fighting the good fight………………..daily!

Luke 9:23 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Through the Storm, through the Night…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good,

even to them that are called according to his purpose.”

Through the Storm, through the Night…

Back in 1932 I was 32 years old and a fairly new husband. My
wife, Nettie, and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago’s South Side.

One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis, where I was
to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn’t want to
go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But
a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis.

I kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A
and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66.

However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at
leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back. I found Nettie sleeping peacefully.

I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to
stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I
shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

 

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd
called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a
messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram.

 

I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the
words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

 

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could
hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home.

 

All I could hear on the other end was “Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.”

 

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy.
I swung between grief and joy. Yet that night, the baby died.

 

I buried Nettie and our little boy, both together, in the same
casket. Then I fell apart.

 

For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an
injustice. I didn’t want to serve Him any more or write gospel songs. I
just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well.

 

But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first
sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis. Something
kept telling me to stay with Nettie.

 

Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him
that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

 

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But
still I was lost in grief.

 

Everyone was kind to me, especially a friend, Professor Fry, who
seemed to know what I needed. On the following Saturday evening he took
me up to Malone’s Poro College, a neighborhood music school.

 

It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows. I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys.

Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as
though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody,
one into my head-they just seemed to fall into place:

Precious Lord, take my hand,
lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn,
Through the storm, through the night
lead me on to the light,
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

As the Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my
spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel
farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open
to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that
day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.

Tommy Dorsey/ “The Birth of ” Precious Lord

Neil and Rosemary Merckens

“Be still and know that I am God” ~Psalm 46

The Real Spiritual Cold War is on….

The Real Spiritual Cold War is on…

Yes there is a Cold War going on right now. It is an invisible one so we cannot see it.  There is a group of books authored by God that keeps us informed. Listen up!

 Job 2:2 “And the Lord said unto Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So satan answered the Lord and said, ‘ From going to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it.’

The warning and the solution to battling it.

I Pet 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.”

The main weapon of war in a spiritual cold war!

James 4:7 “SUBMITT yourselves therefore unto God, RESIST the devil and he will flee from you.”

 All those proclaiming to be from God are not!! The word Christian has a different definition in our world than in the Bible. Some supposed men and women of God proclaim a Gospel of health, wealth and prosperity and teach many different ways to get to heaven and they sound so good. So how can we tell the difference??

II Tim. 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. “

II Cor. 11:14-15 “And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again”

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” 

 John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 Protection comes from!”

Ephes. 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. “

Have a great day and don’t forget the greatest book ever written provides you with the Armor needed to do battle. Apart from God’s power you are helpless to do battle!

James 4:7″ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”