Monday, March 28, 2011


There is no “pause button” in the spiritual life. We’re either going God’s way and getting stronger in Him, or we’re going the enemy’s way and getting weaker. There is no “dead calm” on the sea of spirituality. We’re either putting the effort and energy into sailing God’s way, or we drift away from God’s ways and into enemy waters. You never stand still. The wind is always blowing. Paul reminds us to keep moving in the right direction in Eph. 4:13c-14 “… become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming”.

The important thing to know is that you and I have a choice in the matter. But to make no choice is to make a choice. Because in making no choice, the choice naturally becomes that of moving closer to the enemy. You drift in the direction of the enemy, and you become easy prey for him. God wants us to, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. 1 Peter 5:8

In the Bible Hosea prophesied that because God’s people refused to return to Him, they will become captives of Assyria. The sword will come against their cities. The bars on their gates will be destroyed. The sword will also consume them because of their own counsels. The prophets kept calling them to the Lord, but they didn’t exalt the Lord.

Consequently they will fall prey to their enemies. Hosea prophesied, They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria--he will be their king, Because they refused to return to Me. The sword will whirl against their cities, And will demolish their gate bars, And consume them because of their counsels. Hosea 11:5-6 (NAS)

Their enemies would do 4 things:
1- They will capture them,
2- Tear down what they’ve built,
3- Destroy their security, and
4- Consume them.

If we don’t take the initiative to go God’s way, 4 things will likely happen to us:

1) The enemy will capture you and hold you prisoner.
Your enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. On a practical everyday level these 3 enemies could take you captive and hold you prisoner with such chains as: patterns of sin, strongholds of sin, unhealthy boundaries in your life, indecision, hurts from the past, fears of the future, self-centeredness, rebellion, pride, and bitterness.

2) The enemy will tear down what you’ve built.
He’ll tear down what you’ve built in your spiritual life. He’ll tear down what you’ve built in your marriage, in your family, with your children. He’ll tear down what you’ve built in your other relationships. He’ll tear down the responsible use of your time and energy and money.

3) The enemy will destroy your security.
Though you are secure with the Lord as His child for eternity, you’re not as protected from the enemy as you were. Your enemies move in, invade your life, and bring more temptations and more troubles and more worries.

4) The enemy will consume you.

What do we do?

We find the answers in 1 Peter 5:6-11 - Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil… Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. … After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

Live surrendered to the Lord and build your security in Him.

Throw off all your worries onto the Lord.

Think clearly.
Stay alert to the enemy and His schemes.

Take a stand on your faith in God’s trustworthiness.
He is always true to what He says He’ll do.

Remember you’re not alone.

Suffer through.
God wants to build perseverance and character in you. Then you’ll grow to be stronger and stronger in the Lord’s strength.

Be encouraged by the strength of your spiritual life that God produces.

Monday, March 21, 2011


“If only…” How many times have we used those words? It’s our typical response to circumstances we wish we could change.

When Jesus and the disciples arrived in Bethany they were told not only that Lazarus was dead, but that he had been buried for four days. When they finally arrive in Bethany, the family of Lazarus is not at all happy with him. John 11:20-22 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

The first words of Martha reflect the classic response to a difficult situation, “If ….”
• “If only” I had convinced them to go to the doctor sooner.
• “If only” they had not been driving that evening.
• “If only” they had not had that surgery.
• “If only” they had been more careful.

What are we to do with our “if only’s?” We need to do what Martha and Mary did. They took them to Jesus. Even as Martha expresses her “if only you had been here” the idea is still in the back of her mind, that even yet He could still do something. She says in verse 22, "But I know that even now God will give You whatever You ask". The good news is that Jesus is big enough to take care of our disappointment.

Jesus asked her the most important question that any one can ever face: John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus made this very personal. He asked “Do you believe this?" He is not asking, “Do you believe in God? Do you believe in life after death?” Rather He’s asking, “Do you believe this? Do you believe in Me? Do believe that I am the resurrection and the Life.”

Martha’s response in v. 27 was “Yes, Lord, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” She uses the “perfect tense of the verb”. It indicates a “firm and continuing commitment”. She had in the past put her faith in Jesus and that is where it remained. Jesus reminded her of her faith in Him.

When we’re faced with difficulties and unchangeable situations, the best response is to believe in Jesus and what He says is true and eternal. And let our minds and emotions rest on His infinite wisdom and our security in Him.