Spiritual Warfare

What happens when we sin?Premium Content

If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.1 John 2:1

From time to time we hear - sometimes even in the secular media - of some prominent Christian who has fallen into scandalous sin. I remember when Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart very publicly got caught in sin, and they were neither the first nor the last people to endure those circumstances. When we see such famous people - famous, at least, in Christian circles - fall into sin, many questions can come into our minds.

Obviously we wonder whether these people are actually Christians - a legitimate question, though we have to be careful not to condemn on partial evidence, for what would someone think of us if he had no more hard facts than we receive through the media? There is also the question of what happens to such people if they are in fact truly regenerate. Sometimes it might seem that a sin is so public, and so egregious, that surely the person involved must have lost his salvation if he ever had it.

Of course to create doctrine based solely on our reason is dangerous - our minds are as fallen as any other part of us, and are as subject to malfunction as our hearts or eyes. We simply don't think clearly in this world - the most brilliant preachers and theologians in history (I think offhand of Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and J.I. Packer - with a little work I could extend the list a long way) have not been as brilliant as they would have been had there never been a fall. Every one of us, from little children just born to certified geniuses, suffer from the effects of the fall on our minds. This is one reason why we must always derive our doctrine from the Scriptures, and subject our doctrine to the Book, for there is no human mind capable of infallibly reasoning its way to the truth.

And when we think of the

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How are Praise, Surrender & Worship Connected?

Perseverance for me is essential because the alternative is defeat and loss of faith. Defeat and loss of faith is totally different from surrender.

Surrender] is knowing that God is Lord of lords, King of kings. It is knowing that I must and need to depend on Him totally and completely at all times.

\0/ praise .....
it is so easy to praise God when all is going well in our lives. We are happy, joyous and free but then the you know what hits the fan and our lives become unmanageable. We find ourselves totally powerless. fear creeps in and anxiety rules.

It is time to ....
/0\ surrender

Each of Us is that 100th SheepPremium Content

"My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace." Jeremiah 50:6

Most of us are familiar with the parable of the lost sheep and the passage about the good shepherd.

Flock of sheep. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Luke 15:3-7

"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." John 10:11

And most of us have seen the matching artwork, the depiction of a loving, attentive Jesus holding a lamb in His arms.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart... Isaiah 40:11

Yet, there seems to be a disconnection. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Jesus loves us; He's our good shepherd. But do we REALLY personalize it? And what exactly would that mean to us?

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The Power of His Resurrection

The fact that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead tells us something very important: our God is in the resurrection business. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is declared by St. Paul to be the assurance of our own resurrection on God's appointed day (1 Cor. 15:12-20).

The goal of our lives therefore should be to know Christ and "the power of his resurrection" (Phil 3:10). This means that we cannot lead defeated lives, nor can we evade our responsibilities under God to bring every area of life and thought into captivity to Jesus Christ.

You Belong!

The longing to belong is very powerful and foundational to our sense of self. But there is an infinitely greater pull -- Father's. He is constantly seeking us out and calling our heart to his!

"My son, give me your heart." Proverbs 23:26

When we respond to this call it becomes a homecoming. The prodigal came to himself while slopping hogs and experienced a homecoming that he never imagined possible. How about you? Do you know beyond a shadow of doubt that you belong? Don't allow anyone to tell you something else.

Make sure no outsider who now follows God ever has occasion to say, "God put me in second-class. I don't really belong." Isaiah 56:2 Msg

There are religious outsiders who will judge you. Their only agenda is dissuading your journey to Father's heart. As a matter of fact they don't even understand the conversation of the heart. Belonging empowers you to embrace and live in Grace. Belonging is the path to love. And belonging is bigger and louder than the voices of rejection.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. (Brennan Manning)

Even the darker parts of our journey become a homecoming. In the state of belonging we can truly rest. Read the following scriptures and settle in to belonging.

Overcoming Porn

** Are you having less sex with your spouse or stopped having sex with your spouse because you are looking at pornography?
** Are unhealthy emotions overtaking your thoughts and controlling the outcome of your actions?
** Have you tried to quit looking at porn but can’t?

If you answered yes to any one of these then you are addicted. Anytime we are addicted to something it means we are under its control and have become a slave to it. Does being addicted to porn mean you are a bad person? Not necessarily.

What it means is that you have a sexual temptation that you desire more than you desire the goodness of self brought on by God. You are allowing the sin to overwrite the natural goodness of your character. Satan is pulling at your flesh to look at porn, while principles and mores are put on hold somewhere in your mind.

Bad people remain in their addiction all the while getting worse spiritually and emotionally. Bad people don’t even try to come out of their addiction but rather revel in it and eventually get worse in their sinful behavior. Bad people don’t know they are lost, they believe they are following the right path already. Bad people are literally holding hands with Satan.

Some of you might be playing a game of tug and war because your conscience is having a difficult time dealing with your actions. This is the flesh (physical and emotional feelings) fighting with the spiritual aspects of your nature. The spiritual aspect of self knows right from wrong. Which way are you tugging? Did you fall into temptation again?

When the Past Haunts UsPremium Content

I often find myself going over and over the past,like when I am trying to go to sleep at night and can't because of these thoughts. All the fear and panic of the past creeps into my present. It is as if I re-live it all in real time. It can be extremely painful both spiritually and emotionally.

I have come to learn a few things.

1. I can always learn from my past and I think we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes and missteps.

2. Satan can use the past to keep me in bondage. And that is certainly not the will of God. The last thing I want is to be doing what Satan wants. So, when these thoughts come back to me I pray. I ask God for healing in this area of my life.

When the past comes back to haunt me it can be something from years ago or from just yesterday. Usually the result is confusion in my entire being. But scripture teaches:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

So I have to wonder if it is not Satan who drags some of this stuff up to confuse me, to make all of these emotions boil over and create a mess. Now, I am not saying I have to ignore these feelings and emotions. They should and must be dealt with in a godly and biblical fashion. But I cannot allow them to create confusion and a mess in my life. I have to be aware of these emotions and deal with them, not allow the pot to boil over.

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What are you willing to change?Premium Content

We're in the middle of cold and flu season; sickness abounds.

And, it's at this time of year, I think about healing. It's one thing to be flu-ridden, queasy, achy, possessing a high fever and wish to be well.

However, it's another thing if we struggle with addictions and compulsions; they are also referred to as "disease." With that situation, we're often conflicted at best and resistant and unhealthy at worst. What is our response to the question, "Do you want to get well?"

Hey, even Jesus asked the question.

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Is the price Jesus paid for you and me enough?

"It cost God plenty to get you and me out of that dead-end, empty-headed life we grew up in."

Is the price Jesus paid for you and me enough? Do you feel that you need to add your (good intentioned) efforts-kind of like the "Cross of Calvary", plus you? We may need to meditate on the following scriptures to sort out the before questions.

I posted this recently, but have a strong sense from God that someone desperately needs this truth, right at this moment! Please stand with me in intercession for those who truly can't live another day without the revelation of Calvary.

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And just barely free either; abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, and everything on planet earth.

Are You "Doing" or Actually Giving Your Heart?Premium Content

God is not looking for you to "DO" more for him. He is simply and passionately looking for more "OF YOU". He is looking for more of your heart.

His constant passionate cry is:

My child, give me your heart. (Proverbs 23:26)

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show HIMSELF STRONG on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9a, NKJV)

You are at your best resting in His loving heart and grace, not in some piety or religious service and performance. Even though it may be well intentioned. "Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into (by faith through grace) what God does for you. True freedom develops best in the fierce battle to live loved and to love others by the fruit of grace."

The Christian may be like a ship tossed in a storm. Nobody on board may be aware that the ship is making headway at all. Yet it is sailing on at great speed (but not without resistance). Great winds and storms help fruit-bearing trees. So also do corruptions and temptations help the fruitfulness of grace and holiness...corruptions and temptations develop the fruit of humility, self-abasement and mourning in a deeper search for the grace by which holiness grows strong. But only later will there be visible fruits of increased holiness. (John Owen)

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