Wednesday, April 14, 2010

3-28-10 The Rules of Engagement

The Rules of Engagement

No matter who we are…or what we do for a living…all of us are bound to face struggles in life.

Financial pressures, job loss, personality conflicts, time demands, illness, emotional pain, or even death.

When faced with setbacks like these…people often tend to blame God for their circumstances…

Or other people…or even themselves.

Many times when we pray…
Our prayers are sabotaged or counter attacked by the enemy (evil spirits).

We could be fervently praying…but not effectively…

Because we could be praying amiss.

We could be praying from an incorrect perspective and position.

Satan is able to gain the upper-hand in our warfare…

Because we ignorantly pray “earthbound” prayers.

Jesus told us…that we needed to fight our battles…
And wage warfare where it really belonged,

In The Heaven Lies!

Matt.16:18-19:

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The bible…urges us to consider that there is a sinister source…for our troubles…

What the Apostle Paul called the ruler, authorities and higher powers in heavenly places.

Our struggle is not against God…or other people but against “spiritual forces of evil”.

Paul tells us…that people are not our enemy…but it is sin and Satan himself.

Paul warns us that…there is evil. It’s out there. It will attack you. Be ready. Arm yourself.

Don’t ever imagine…that you will have special immunity from it.

Some people think…that Satan doesn’t even exist.

But maybe this story can help them.

Once there was a boxer who was being badly beaten. Battered and hurting…he leaned over the ropes and said to his trainer…Throw in the towel!

This guy is killing me!

The trainer said… Oh, no, he’s not. He’s not even hitting you.

He hasn’t laid a glove on you!

At that point the boxer wiped the blood away from his eye and said…

Well…then…I wish you would watch that referee.
Because somebody is surely hitting me!

We all fight spiritual battles…and we might well ask…who is the enemy?

It’s not the nonbeliever…

Although occasionally you will meet a person so full of evil and rebellion against God…

That he or she actually declares themselves the enemy of God’s Kingdom.

The secular media or world systems…work endlessly to undermine God’s truth…

But they are not the enemy either…even though they are often…tools in the enemies hands.

Our enemy is Satan and the spiritual forces of evil.

Satan is called the deceiver (Genesis 3)…the accuser in (Zechariah 3)…and the destroyer in (1 Peter 5)…

And he is the enemy of our souls…and of the souls of our friends and loved ones.

As Paul sounded this battle call…he wanted us to know whom we’re fighting.
We are not in an earthly military campaign-our battle is not against enemies of blood and flesh.

Instead…we battle the demons over which Satan has control.

Satan’s work is to tempt people to sin.

According to Daniel Schaefer in this book called Dancing with a Shadow…

The Eskimos devised a way of killing wolves. They planted a knife in the ice with the handle buried.

Then they put chunks of fresh meat on the blade and let it freeze.

The wolves would smell the blood from afar…and come to lick it.

As they licked the frozen meat…they worked themselves into frenzy.

Soon they cut their tongues on the razor-sharp blade and began feeding their hunger with their own blood.

They would lick…until they slowly bled to death.

This is Satan’s favorite way to tempt and destroy people.

Satan does not fight fair…his plan always include subtle tricks and schemes.

When we fail to recognize the danger of Satan’s luring temptation…

And allow ourselves to become obsessed with it …we are in danger of self-destruction.

In the life of every believer…we battle against Satan.

We face a powerful army…whose goal is to defeat the enemies…

And they try every device to turn us away from Him and back to sin.

Every believer fines themselves subject to Satan’s attacks…because they are no longer on Satan’s side.

We need to be fully prepared for battle…desiring the whole armor of God.

There are many things we need… to arm ourselves with…

To “be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm”.

That verse tells us that we win not by slaying the enemy.

This is not a battle in which we attack.

We win just by standing firm and holding our own ground.

One night while this missionary John Paton was in the New Hebrides Island…

His mission station was surrounded by hostile natives.

They were intent on killing the Patons and burning the mission station.

Paton and his wife prayed through the night in hopes that God would deliver them.

When daylight came the natives left.

A year later when the chief converted to Christ, Paton asked him why they did not attack.

The chief was surprised by Paton’s question. He asked, “Who were all those men with you?”

Although Paton knew of no other men…the chief said he was afraid to attack…

Because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments who circled the mission station with their swords ready.

Listen church…God’s fight and victory is real whether or not we see it.

There was this movie I once seen…

Where this good guy is showing off his karate moves to the enemy…

While the enemy just stares at him without any expression.

Then…after a pause…the enemy takes out a gun and shoots him.

Listen church… Satan is the bad guy…

And we need to wear the full armor of God…in order to shield ourselves from his deadly shot.

It is not enough…if we try to fight Satan only by our own strength.

All believers need supernatural power to defeat Satan…

And God has provided this power by giving us his Holy Spirit within us and his armor surrounding us.

Paul gives us a powerful strategy for standing firm against our spiritual enemies:

“Put on the whole armor of God”.

God’s armor is made up entirely of spiritual weapons:

Ephesians 6:11-18

A Fight to the Finish

“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong.
So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.
Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.
Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life.
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
In the same way…prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.
Pray hard and long.
Pray for your brothers and sisters.
Keep your eyes open.
Keep each other’s spirits up…so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Luke 10:19-20

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you ; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

3-14-10 Spirit of Fear

Spirit of Fear

There are 15 identified major “Evil Spirits”…
That we all should be aware of…

That is creating havoc in this world and our lives.

Paul warns…that we should put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Eph.6:11)

Peter tells us…be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he devour. (1 Pet. 5:8-9)

James gives good advice saying…resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

Job 3:25
“For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me”.

Spirit of Fear
How many of you in here today…believe that everyone knows…what it’s like…to be afraid.

We all have things that we are afraid of…

Such as storms, spiders, snakes, bats and some people are terrified of snakes.

There are also hidden fears…that can motivate us.

Fear of failure…makes us afraid to do anything that could draw criticism…

Or give someone a chance…to laugh at us.

I could go on and on…talking about fears.

But today…I want you to know…that there are two kinds of fear…

Fear that is good…This fear keeps us from driving 100 mph…or things like sticking our hand in fire…and then there’s

Fear that is harmful…this is the “spirit of fear” that I want to expose today.

This is the kind of fear… that paralyzes us…and keeps us from doing things we could or should do.

Perhaps there is a fear… that some of you here today…may need to overcome.
Let’s pray…

How many of you ever stop to think…that…

Fear had its beginning with Adam’s rebellion and fall…in the Garden of Eden.

After Adam and Eve had disobeyed God’s directive to them…fear entered their hearts.

Gen.3:10-“And Adam said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked; and I hid myself.”

So since the beginning of time…the “spirit of fear” has been running rampant on this earth.

Jesus even prophesized…that in the last days of time…

That this world would become a race… of fearful people.

Luke 21:26 (NASB)-“men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

How many here know…that the leading cause of death… is heart disease.

People are suffering from strain and stress.

Alcohol consumption…drug abuse and anxiety attacks is increasing…contributor…

Because it constricts the vessels carrying blood to affected areas.
Cigarette smoking is also a major cause… but why do people smoke?

Often, because they are uptight, nervous and afraid!

Fear is “the enemy” among us…and it is taking a tremendous toll;

Psychologically, economically, domestically and physically!

As well as politically…both nationally and worldwide!

Fear destroys relationships, hinders growth in business, and impedes academic progress…

Breaks up families and keeps people out of church!

Fear is often the cause of strife, worry, bitterness, resentment, jealousy and hatred…

But fear can be conquered and driven out of our lives!

Many years ago…Presidents Herbert Hoover stated:

“The dominant emotion everywhere in the world is FEAR.
This applies to every part of human activities-finance, industry, farmers, workers, thinkers and government officials.”

The Atlantic Charter…

A document drawn up by President Roosevelt and Britain’s Sir Winston Churchill…

Is one of history’s greatest documents, championing the common liberties of mankind.

It is called: Freedom From Fear!

It contained 4 critical freedoms:

Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion!

God has not given us the “spirit of fear”…

But He has given us three things that will help us overcome fear:

The gift of Power… The Gift of Love… and the Gift of a Sound Mind.

Power to be saved:

(John1:12)But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Love:

The more we love God, the less fear we will have. It is a matter of trust.

When we realize that God will take care of us, it relieves our fear.

My kids don’t worry about having something to eat.
For all these years we have provide for them…they would be worried.

But they know I love them and will provide for them…so they are not afraid about that.

Then there’s a Sound Mind:

Most of the time…our harmful fears are the result of wrong thinking.

But something happens…when we are saved and begin to trust God.
Our mind is renewed!

(Rom12:2)-“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.