Knowing the Enemy’s Plan…

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Ephesians 6:10-14 (KJV)

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 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.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Every believer faces temptation.

Take a moment to recall a particularly enticing situation involving something that would displease God. Did you realize you were involved in a satanic battle?

The Devil is real.

Scripture reveals that he leads an army of fallen angels and is prideful enough to think he can gain victory over God. By definition, a satanic attack is a deliberate assault upon an individual, which is designed to cause spiritual, physical, material, or emotional harm. Satan desires to thwart the Lord’s purpose in believers’ lives, to rob them of joy and peace, and ultimately to deny God the worship He receives through yielded followers.

As in any war, knowing the enemy’s plan helps us prepare for the attack.

 

First, be aware that the battlefield takes place in our minds. To walk in a godly manner with Christ, we must first be sure that our thoughts are in submission to His Spirit. This takes daily surrender and time in God’s Word.

Second, Satan tempts us during vulnerable moments. Be cautious when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (This is often known as the H.A.L.T.  warning). Third, he is deceptive; we won’t recognize the trap as an evil scheme. Instead, it will seem good, and we’ll likely wrestle with some sort of doubt.

As Christians, we should walk closely with Jesus.

Satan desires to lure us into destructive actions that rob us of God’s plan for a good, full life. Stay connected to the Savior: read the Word, pray, and fellowship with other believers.

These are weapons we use against the Devil in spiritual war.

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Walk Through the Open Doors…

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2 Corinthians 2:12-13 (KJV)

12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.

In today’s passage, Paul wrote about open doors—he used the figure of speech to signify great opportunities to preach the gospel.

Those “doors” were important because physical, technological, and geographical limitations hampered his work considerably.

Just think about how different things are for evangelistic efforts today.

 We’re living in the most opportune time to reach the entire world for Jesus.

We have the technology to penetrate every country and impact every culture.

In times like this, we should be asking where we personally fit into God’s plan.

It’s inappropriate to sit back and act as if this job were intended only for preachers and missionaries. There may be all kinds of reasons why we consider ourselves unqualified, but it is time we got past our excuses. All of us can read and study the Bible and then begin to share it with others.

If you have trusted in the Savior, then you’ve received eternal life from Him and are indwelt by His Spirit. So you should be able to talk about Him.

This is the time to impact the entire world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can no longer think in terms of just “my workplace,” “my city,” or “my country”; the whole world matters.

We begin at home but are not to stop until we’ve reached all people groups on earth.

Jesus died to purchase men from every tribe, tongue, and nation. Don’t discredit yourself or count yourself out.

You can walk through the open doors God has placed before you and have a significant part in reaching the world with the good news of Christ.

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Considering Decisions….

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 1 Peter 2:9-12 (KJV)

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

As we search to discover God’s plan for our lives, we should consider three things.

Glorifying God.

We are commanded to let our light shine before men so we will bear spiritual fruit that glorifies the Lord. As our life increasingly follows the pattern of the Savior’s, our thoughts and responses will bring Jesus praise and point other people to Him.

Conforming to Christ’s likeness.

In considering any decision, we should ask ourselves, Will this help me become more like Jesus or tempt me in my weaker areas and cause me to turn away from Him? If we submit our minds and emotions to the Lord, His Spirit will build Jesus’ character qualities into our life. As we rely on the Holy Spirit, He will help us make wise decisions and guide us safely past temptation.

Following the Lord’s will.

When deciding how to proceed, it’s wise to ask, Is this in line with God’s known will? Throughout the Scriptures, the heavenly Father has revealed what pleases Him. His commands are clear regarding the way born-again believers should live. Our home, business, and community life are to function according to His will.

Wherever you are, don’t let yourself be pressured into actions or decisions that would be displeasing to God.

Train yourself to stop and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal whether each choice will bring God glory, help to develop Christ’s character in you, and keep you in the center of God’s plan and purpose.

Wait on Him, and do not step ahead until you have an answer.

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Disobedient Choices…

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1 Samuel 15:1-11 (KJV)

1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.
2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.
6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
10 Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,
11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.

God’s plan for each one of us has our best interest in mind.

 His way leads to fullness of life.

 Yet He did not create us to be robots that blindly and lifelessly live their godly life.

No, the Lord grants us the choice of whether or not to obey Him. Our human nature tends to choose a self-centered path that turns away from God’s authority. But in doing so, we miss His best for us.

Consider the life of King Saul. God chose this man to be king and provided guidelines for him to follow. Though Saul knew the Lord’s instructions, he chose to do things his own way. At times his sin was unquestionably deliberate, such as his attempt to kill David out of jealousy. At other times, however, his rebellion seemed less clear-cut. For example, despite God’s order to “utterly destroy” the Amalekites and their animals, Saul spared the best of the herd, with the justification that they were “to sacrifice to the Lord” (1 Sam. 15:3, 21).

 His disobedient choices cost him the throne and eventually led to his destruction.

This man chose the road that satisfied his immediate fleshly desires, but as we know from history, the end result was hardly fulfilling. We can learn from Saul’s mistakes. Partial obedience is actually disobedience.

 And any disobedience falls in the category of rebellion, which is sin.

Each day, we face the same types of choices. Though the details are different, both large and small temptations lure us. We can live according to Christ’s will, following His lead and listening for His voice. Or we can refuse.

Choose today to live God’s way–which leads to fullness of life.

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