Instruction from the Perfect Teacher

If you could designate anyone as the perfect teacher, who would you choose? We could all probably name a few qualified instructors who have benefited us.

Today, advertisements bombard the internet and social media from people anxious to take our money in return for the latest, greatest training in whatever interests us. They attempt to promote personal success stories as credentials. Who or what qualifies someone to teach or instruct another?

Recently, individuals in our small home group shared their experiences of being taught as children. Some received the iron-hand of instruction — a do it my way or else method. Others felt the freedom of being entrusted to discover their own way through challenging assignments. Still others learned tasks bit-by-bit through loads of encouragement. All felt a certain level of limitation surrounding the processes of learning and growing.

God is not negligent at teaching those who follow Him.

I hear the Lord saying, I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide. So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make me tug you and pull you along. Just come with me!”
Psalm 32:8-9 TPT

Perfect Teacher

Within these verses we find multiple ways a perfect teacher instructs. Let’s break it up a bit.

  • I will stay close to you
  • Instructing and guiding you
  • I will advise you along the way
  • And lead you forth with my eyes as your guide.

The best instruction and training occurs within this type of intimate relationship. To learn lessons well, we need someone who sticks by us through the process, “instructing, guiding, and advising” us. It implies doing life together. The psalm uses the Hebrew word for teaching which means “to flow as water, to lay, to point out, or teach” the correct “course of life, mode of action, or road to walk.”

The psalm points to a walking together with our teacher and learning by word and example.

Jesus Christ

The New Testament uses the Greek word didaskalos for teacher fifty-eight times. Forty-one of those times, translated also as Master or Instructor, refers to Jesus. Throughout the Gospels, we witness Him walking in intimate relationship with His disciples. He did not restrict His teaching to a chosen few, however, but rather taught everyone freely.

“By the time Jesus came ashore, a massive crowd was waiting. At the sight of them, his heart was filled with compassion, because they seemed like wandering sheep who had no shepherd. So he taught them many wonderful things.”
Mark 6:34

Mark illustrates Jesus teaching to the masses out of a heart filled with compassion. The Message Translation of the Bible puts it this way, “At the sight of them, his heart broke … He went right to work teaching them.”

Multitudes of people around us lack the core instruction needed to function in a healthy, production way. Without a solid spiritual foundation, they find it impossible to thrive. I imagine Jesus’ heart again breaks as He looks down the streets of our cities. If He was present, I believe He would do as He once did and get to work teaching them.

The need for Spirit-filled, anointed teaching remains. Who will fill the gap?

Receive to Give

The disciples didn’t instantly become model students. They often made Jesus’ task of teaching more difficult than necessary. I do, too. Psalm 32 adds,

“So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make me tug you and pull you along. Just come with me!”
Psalm 32:9

The disciples often turned intimate teaching opportunities into arguments over who was the greatest among them. Even Jesus, the Perfect Teacher, requires His students to possess a willingness to learn. The same applies to us.

God loves each of us enough not to leave us lacking, struggling, and unable to cope with life’s ups and downs. He patiently comes beside us, inviting us to “just come with me!” But His ways feel strange and uncomfortable. They stand in complete contradiction to our ways. Then we, like they, resist His instruction.

But before we are qualified to teach others, we must first learn from Jesus, the Perfect Teacher. That requires submitting to His mindset and following His ways.

Students Teach

Jesus’ students eventually caught on, coming into alignment with His instruction. They soon proved to be the greatest transformational success story this world has known. The early disciples carried on Jesus’ teaching with the same passion and compassion He displayed.

Jesus instructed them,

“Now you must go into all the nations and preach repentance and forgiveness of sins so that they will turn to me …”
Luke 24:47 TPT

Yet, their teaching was often rejected.

Jesus students continued to teach in spite of opposition. They proved that the message of the gospel, rather than a perfect sales pitch, eloquent storytelling, or charisma, “is the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). And indeed, because they learned well from the Master, they instructed others equally well. Though accused of turning the world “upside down,” their efforts, in reality, turned it more right side up.

May we be encouraged by their example and the unfailing promise of God to continue to teach us. Whether our learning journey has been short or long, difficult or easy, may we draw close to the Father allowing Him to “guide (us) along the pathway for (our lives) … advising (us) along the way and leading (us) … with (His) eyes.”

Then may we, too, become those who teach others through truth-filled words, living examples, and the compassion of Christ. Eternity will bear witness of the impact of following the leading of our Perfect Teacher.

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Back to the Basics — Humility

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To reach our full potential, we return to the basics — applying and mastering the foundational principles to our pursuits. No matter our field of study or area of expertise, we strive to understand the essential facts or concepts of a subject or skill.

In school, I excelled in mathematics and sciences. I knew that once the basic principles were established, every future aspect would securely be positioned upon it. I never achieved much success in other more vague and subjective studies.

Acclaimed UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, began every new coaching season by teaching his players how to put on their socks. Doesn’t that sound foolish? Wouldn’t these accomplished athletes already know how to put on their socks? Had all their mothers neglected to teach them this basic skill? Coach Wooden knew that if his players put on their socks improperly, they would develop blisters, which would impede their speed and maneuverability. So, he took them back to the basics, teaching his college players how to put on their socks.

Basics are important!

Back to the Basics

People may generally be divided into two distinct groups:

  • The first group proudly wears their credentials, denying any need for instruction or correction and ensuring their superficial masks remain in tack behind busy lives. They consistently avoid situations which may expose personal weakness..
  • The second group humbly receives correction and acknowledges deficiencies. They take personal responsibility for change. With humility, they return to the basics, again and again, seeking authentic transformation — even when it becomes obvious they need to relearn how “to put on their socks.”
Back to the Basics

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.
Proverbs 29:23

To go back to the basics of humility, I present three case studies: Peter, Moses, and Jesus. Each walked a similar, yet unique, path of humility. Each learned that by willingly going “low,” God brought them great honor. Of course, there are many other men and women we could add to this list.

Peter

Of all the disciples, I relate to Peter the most. Words like overconfident, proud, or presumptuous accurately describe this zealous leader. Often in the same breath, we find Peter speaking with divine understanding and with grotesque error. His encounter with the Holy Spirit we read about in Acts 2 changes Peter forever.

I believe a prior turning point proved equally significant for Peter, however. His failure to stand faithfully with Jesus when it mattered most caused Peter to question everything about being a disciple. His life’s direction stood in jeopardy. Confused and discouraged, he went back to what he knew — fishing.

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out . . .”
John 21:3

Of course, their fishing expedition proved unsuccessful. After Jesus fed them from His own catch, He confronted the heart of Peter’s dilemma.

” . . . Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me . . .”
John 21:15

Three times Jesus asked Peter the same question. Twice Peter responded, “You know that I love you.” But the third time, we see Peter adjusting “his socks,” as he surrenders in complete humility. Deeply saddened and distressed, he acknowledges that he doesn’t even know his own capacity to love fully.

” . . . He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
John 21:17

Because Peter humbly lowering himself, Jesus granted him the honor of launching the infant church into the first century. Jesus brought Peter back to the basics of humility so that pride would never impede his spiritual growth or the effectiveness of his calling.

Moses

We find a capsulized version of Moses’ biography in Hebrews.

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
Hebrews 11:24-26

Moses abandoned the reputation and privilege of a king’s palace to becoming a foreigner and shepherd in the back side of the wilderness.

“Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.”
Acts 7:22

Yet when God called him to lead His people out of slavery, Moses claimed no such credentials. In his younger years, Moses, like many of us, acted with pride and presumption. We see no evidence of either in his later years. In fact, this is written of him,

“(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)”
Numbers 12:3

What an amazing declaration. In the wilderness, Moses learned how to “put on his socks” and walk with complete humility. Because Moses willingly turned back to the basics, God used him powerfully.

Jesus

No other person humbled themself to the degree that Jesus did. Leaving the throne room of Heaven, He chose the way of the cross — to be despised and rejected. He didn’t just learn the basics; He became the basics, taking on the form of humanity.

For man to humble himself before God is one thing; for the Second Person of the Holy Trinity to humble himself to such a level is beyond comprehension.

“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
Philippians 2:6-8

And because of such great obedience,

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name . . .”
Philippians 2:9

Perfect Examples

What examples these men are for us all! The greater the level of humility, in receiving instruction and correction, the greater the level of honor bestowed.

To know their example and follow it are two different things. Often, the process for them and for us is painful. It is uncomfortable to discover we might have to relearn the right way to “put on our socks” — to do the very things we once thought we excelled at.

Like Peter, we might be asked to get out of the boat of familiarity and risk failing again. Like Moses, we might to called to speak up, face our greatest nemesis, and give God our radical “Yes!” Or in lesser ways, like Jesus, we might be asked to lay aside every privilege with a willingness to give even our lives for the sake of God and others.

One thing is assured. God calls us all to

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2

This is a new season. The greatest Coach ever, Jesus Christ again teaches us the basics. Whether His instruction comes direct through the Bible, the Holy Spirit revelation, or if He chooses to speak through others, it’s time to go back to the basics. Let’s learn to “put on our socks.”

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Come Now! The Parable of the Great Banquet

Have you ever received an invitation to “Come Now!” to a function? In many cultures, it is rude to refuse such an invite. Perhaps, you were already committed to other plans, were exhausted from work, or it was poor timing for you. There could be many reasons to decline an impromptu engagement.

We might request a rain check from the host or hostess, hoping to meet at a later date when it is more convenient. Sometimes, the delay may be justified. Other times, we create excuses for having other priorities — even misplaced priorities. Although a similar opportunity may come again, we must carefully consider each offer.

Jesus told a parable, a simple story revealing spiritual truth, about a great banquet. In the parable, the host offered no rain checks. “Come now!” he announced to his chosen guests.

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’”
Luke 14:17

Excuses

Without even considering the gravity of their response, they “all alike began to make excuses.

What? Everyone invited declined? Sadly, their excuses sounded strangely familiar to those we might use.

“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
Luke 14:18-20

Politely, they all requested a rain check on the dinner engagement. Preoccupied with newly purchased property, the potential of owning his own land flooded the thoughts of the first guest. The second, an obviously wealthy man to buy five yoke of oxen, felt secure in his possessions and wealth. He wanted to try out his latest and greatest investment. Besides, he could prepare a banquet for himself whenever he wanted. The third could think of nothing but the pleasure of being with his lovely bride.

Most of us can relate to at least one of these fine gentlemen. Just like them, things, money, and people occupy much of our time, energy, and focus too. We easily justify how much time and effort we place in these areas of our lives.

The Master

The host planned for months. He prepared for weeks. All his servants worked diligently to present the choicest delicacies for the master’s guests. Elaborate decorations adorned the great banquet hall. Everything was ready.

The master of the banquet saw through the feeble excuses of his chosen guests. At great expense, he had prepared his best, freely and liberally offering it to others without any expectations in return. Their refusal would not stop the banquet.

Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’”
Luke 14:21

The servants obeyed. Up and down the city streets the servants ran, beckoning the outcasts and neglected to come now to the great banquet.

Still Room

The wealthy elite who rejected the master’s invitation went about their personal pursuits, enjoying their luxuries and pleasures. The most unlikely of guests flocked into the great banquet hall. They sat around tables overflowing with delicacies. Their eyes bulged in disbelief and bellies rumbled with hunger as they gazed upon the abundance of provision. But there was still room for more.

 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’  “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.”
Luke 14:22-23

Can you hear the heart of the master? Can you feel his generosity? His compassion? The intent of his purpose? “My house will be full!”

The servants ran with haste into the countryside, beckoning everyone they saw to come now. The master desired every seat to be full. He had prepared for maximum capacity.

No Rain Checks

Jesus spoke not just to the listeners of His day. He speaks just as clearly to us — whoever and wherever we might be. The invitation of the Father, the Master of the house, reaches to you and me. It extends to our family, neighbours, and friends. Everything has been made ready.

The banquet points directly to the future marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Rev 19:9). It cost Him everything. It costs us nothing to accept His invitation. He waits for our, “Yes!”

One way or another, the banquet will be filled. Those who decline will miss out. Those who are ready will feast with Him. For some who delay, their place will be given to others.

There will be no rain checks — no opportunity for a change of heart once the seats are full. The Master commands His servants with an urgency, “Compel them to come in!” Then, He gives this warning,

“I say to you all, no one who receives an invitation to feast with me and makes excuses will ever enjoy my banquet.”
Luke 14:24

No More Excuses

How many excuses have we spoken or heard from others. Either verbally or through our actions, we tell God, “Later! When it is more convenient, I will follow You. When business isn’t going so well, I’ll come to You. If my relationships fall apart, then I’ll call on You.”

God’s invitation is to “Come now!” Jesus warned that there will be no room for those who refuse. And there will be no grounds for excuses then.

I weep as I consider all the Master has done for us. I also weep as I consider the consequences of those who decline His invitation.

The parable tells a true story — one lived out daily and being fulfilled throughout eternity. May the parable inspire each of us as God’s servants through the streets of our cities and down the roadways of our countryside, inviting others to come to the Master. May we each sense the Holy Spirit compelling us to come now.

Lord, like the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, we accept Your gracious invitation. We come without excuse to sit at Your table. We thank You for the great preparation You have made for us. With humble hearts, we say, “Yes!” to You. And with urgency, we invite others to join us. As unworthy beggars, we feast of Your goodness and mercy. Thank You, Lord.

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The Best Gift — Reconciliation

During the Christmas season, we consider the best gift for those we love. When God sent His Son, Jesus, He sent His best gift for us. What made this gift so perfect?

For a moment, consider the best gift you have received. It probably never came from a store and could never have been purchased with money. Was it the birth of child? Or special occasions with someone you loved? A friendship?

This may seem odd for most of you, but one of my most cherished gifts has been the last ten days of my mother’s life. Our relationship had always been rocky. We never seemed to mesh on anything, although we both tried. There were many misunderstandings, painful words, and harsh judgments. But during the last ten days of her life, when moments mattered most, God showed us great mercy and brought reconciliation. We talked, prayed, laughed, and loved. Those ten days proved richer than all the previous sixty years combined. I will be eternally grateful for that sweet gift.

Reconciliation. How deep the chasms of indifference, apathy, and misunderstanding grow! How humanly impossible to restore relationships so deeply severed!

But God! But God through His only Son, came to reconcile. First, to reconcile us to Himself. Then, to reconcile us to each other. Both necessary. Both impossible apart from Him.

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 AMP

Reconciliation

We find it difficult to comprehend just how much “God so greatly loved and dearly prized” you and me. He would not rest until we were reconciled back to Him. The Oxford Dictionary defines reconciliation as the restoration of friendly relations, or the action of making one view or belief compatible with another.

You see, we all begin life alienated from God — enemies in fact. We arrive bent, broken, and turned away from Him. Though He loves us deeply and desires a personal and intimate relationship with us, we carry on preoccupied, self-absorbed, and consumed by temporary things. Though He calls, we choose not to respond to Him.

It took something drastic to get our attention. It required extreme measures to bridge the gap between us. When reconciliation seemed impossible, He alone made the way.

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
Romans 5:10

A Savior

Many outside the Christian faith live contented and unaware of their need for a Savior, believing that doing good is enough. Surprisingly, many within the faith maintain a false sense of security based upon the same reasoning. They go to church, serve faithfully, and even give financially.

If doing good was enough, there would be no need for Jesus, the cross, or the resurrection. But, doing good will never be enough to bridge the gap between holy God and broken humanity.

” . . . He has also set eternity in the human heart . . .”
Ecclesiastes 3:11

We all have an inner knowing that there is something more to life than what we now see. Though we live bound by the temporary and limited by time, God created us for eternity — an eternity with Him.

But why do “good” people need a Savior? Paul explained it this way,

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 3:23

We all sinned in some way. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we lie, steal, gossip, hurt others, live selfishly, disobey authorities, and a long list of other moral failures. No one meets God’s perfect standard. We all fall short.

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

Separation

Not only does sin separate us from God, it results in more than a physical death, but an eternal separation from God. Therefore, we need a reconciler. We need someone to restore relationship and compatibility with God.

Each Christmas, we celebrate the coming of that One — the One who arrived as an innocent baby, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death as payment for our sins, and rose again to offer hope of an eternity. The innocent paid the price for the guilty.

The Bible tells us how.

” . . . For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. The heart that believes in him receives the gift of the righteousness of God—and then the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation.
Romans 10:9,10 TPT

When we declare Jesus Christ as our Lord, believing that God accepts his death as penalty for us, we receive salvation. How unbelievably amazing is that? Jesus closes the gaps between God and us, reconciling us to the Father. The best gift becomes ours. Through Jesus, we become righteous before God.

The Best Gift

Many gifts will be shared this Christmas season — gifts expressing friendship, love, and family. But my greatest desire is that we would receive the best gift of all, the gift of reconciliation. I pray that we would receive the gift of eternal life which God offers us today.

Jesus already paid the full price! We cannot earn what He has already made available for us.

“So turn away from your sins. Turn to God. Then your sins will be wiped away. The time will come when the Lord will make everything new.”
Acts 3:19 NIRV

I anticipate the reaction of those I prepare gifts for. The giving only becomes complete as the recipient accepts my gift. The gift of salvation, the best gift of all, waits for each of us to receive it. To accept God’s perfect gift, we verbally declare our faith in Jesus from a believing heart. It is a simple but profound action.

The Savior waits for our response.

Jesus, thank You for Your salvation. I confess that I have sinned and could never meet God’s standard of perfection. I need a Savior. Forgive me, Lord, of my sins and failures. I believe that You died to save me and set me free. I believe that You were raised from the dead to give me eternal life. Come Jesus. I invite You to be my Lord and Savior. I thank You that You have become my best gift.

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Healing Broken Hearts

We often limit the importance of healing to restoring physical bodies and easing troubled minds, but Jesus also came to heal broken hearts. Without diminishing the need for the first two, may we also not ignore the last one.

Several years ago, a young hockey player, who we knew very well, received a sharp blow to his chest by a fast-moving hockey puck. The impact instantly stopped his heart, depriving his brain of oxygen. At twenty-years of age and in his prime, he died.

We have all faced sudden blows that have caused damage to otherwise healthy hearts. Most of us, have never fully recovered. We all live with broken hearts — wounds of sorrow from the death of a loved one, wounds of rejection or betrayal, wounds of abandonment or separation. Brokenness results mainly from harmful things done to us or unmet needs which others failed to offer us.

There is good news, however. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he has anointed me to be hope for the poor, healing for the brokenhearted, and new eyes for the blind, and to preach to prisoners, ‘You are set free!’ I have come to share the message of Jubilee, for the time of God’s great acceptance has begun.”
Luke 4:18 TPT

Brokenness

Out of brokenness we hide, self-protect, and live artificial lives. We adjust, improvise, and normalize what Jesus desires to heal. Many of us adapt to our fragmented condition, emotionally pushing people away while pacifying our pain through addictions or other artificial means. But God loves us too much to leave us in permanent denial and pain.

Luke records Jesus reading from the scroll of Isaiah, making this declaration about Himself.

” … He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted …”
Isaiah 61:1

The Hebrew words Isaiah used here mean “to wrap firmly the break, or to stop the breaking in pieces.” Jesus intends to do for us what we cannot accomplish through self-effort.. He came to wrap our broken hearts with His healing love and to stop them from breaking.

Using the same words as Isaiah, the psalmist understood this deeply personal ministry of God’s restorative love.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3

“Praise the Lord,” the psalmist says, “God heals. He has the cure! He mends even the deepest recesses of our being, bringing us to complete wholeness.”

Closer Than You Think

As I flip through the tattered pages of my life, I now see what I missed then — God’s consistent nearness. In my brokenness, feeling distant from Him, He came close. Like a skilled surgeon, He gently and compassionately removed each numbed layer of scar tissue, softening my heart little by little and bit by bit.

Over an extended period of time, I prayed for God to soften my heart. He did. He does. And He continues to do His miraculous healing.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18

We can all identify, at a certain level, with broken hearts and crushed spirits. Jesus Christ, our hope and our help, comes low to where we are. He bends down to our level and breathes life, restoring and renewing.

God Speaks

Through the Bible and by His Spirit, God speaks His message of hope and assurance to each of us.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27

Today, let’s welcome the peace He offers. Whatever the “trouble” imposed upon us, today let’s choose to yield it to Jesus and welcome His healing. Perhaps, we will need to seek the help of a pastor or Christian counsellor. Often, the healing of broken hearts requires a process (similar to mine) of allowing God to expose and mend hearts — piece by piece and little by little.

But that process can begin right now through prayer. The sudden impacts we have endured don’t need to rob us of life, love, and hope. Jesus came to heal and restore no matter how deep the blow or how extensive the damage to our broken hearts.

“Lord Jesus, I recognize areas of brokenness in my inability to love as You love. I confess that I find it difficult to live honestly and openly before others because of my broken heart. As I acknowledge my need for healing, I welcome You to come and touch those deep fragmented areas of my heart. I ask You to reverse every level of brokenness and restore wholeness. Please soften the layers where I have become calloused and uncaring. Mend and heal every area where I have been crushed in spirit so that I may live fully and freely. Thank You, Lord Jesus for beginning to heal my broken heart. Amen.”

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Mark 11:24 — Believing Prayer: Pray With Faith

Believing prayer forms a rock-solid foundation for every vibrant Christian. Jesus has already made provision for everything we need. We pray with faith, not in the power of our words, but rather faith in what Jesus already made available to us.

With the approaching Christmas season, I have been considering again the significance of Jesus’ coming. He fulfilled every requirement of the law and the Old Covenant, implementing the New Covenant. Jesus made a way for all those who believe in Him to come to the Father without sacrifice or religious ceremony.

What does this mean regarding believing prayer? Everything!

Let’s look at an incredible promise Jesus gave to each of us.

” ‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Mark 11:22-24

Say It!

Although faith makes room for silent prayer, Jesus taught His disciples to “say,” or speak, their prayers out loud. He emphasized disdain for anyone who used loud, long-winded, public prayer, attempting to inflate egos or elevate religious status. God knows our hearts, but we inform the enemy through our words.

In verse 23, Jesus uses two different Greek words for “say”:

  • The first comes from the Greek word epo, which means “to speak with authority, to command or order as a king or general.”
  • The next word “say” comes from the Greek word lego, meaning “to speak by linking together or expressing the heart and mind with words.”

A king doesn’t need to raise his voice to issue a command. Our humble voices carry the authority of Jesus Christ to bring God’s will into effect around us.

Jesus emphasized to His disciples that a person’s confident faith combined with God’s power could produce amazing results. When the request is in harmony with God’s will, God is fully capable of doing that which man regards as impossible.

“Jesus responded, ‘What appears humanly impossible is more than possible with God. For God can do what man cannot.”
Luke 18:27

So, we pray spoken, authoritative words, with a united heart and mind.

Does Not Doubt

Jesus calls us to combine authoritative voice with an undivided heart. The Aramaic word for “doubt” means “to be divided or undecided in your heart.”

Let’s reject the whispers of condemnation regarding why some prayers appear to go unanswered. Prayer will always contain an element of mystery. Through believing prayer, we bring our requests to the Father and allow our hearts to leave the results to His ways and wisdom. Sometimes the healing comes; sometimes it doesn’t. Often, provision unfolds, but sometimes it doesn’t.

Nevertheless, may all of our prayers be void of doubt! May believing prayer, birthed and immersed in faith, flow from a united heart of mind.

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
James 1:6

James calls anyone who doubts “double-minded,” or literally having “two souls” — one of faith and one without.

Believe You Have Received It

Do I drench my prayers in the faith that God has already answered? Sometimes yes, but sadly not always.

Here rests the heart of Jesus’ promise to us.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Mark 11:24

“You have received it!” Jesus declares! What? When? How? Everything we could every ask from God has already been provided through Jesus Christ. Everything!

Let’s take a quick look at the example of prayer Jesus gave His disciples and us.

“…Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one,
for yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.”
Matthew 6:9-13

Every aspect of this model prayer, we have already received! We approach God not as some distant cruel tyrant, but as our loving Father. Through the authority of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, heaven already invades earth’s corrupt domain. We already feast on daily manna, the Living Word. Every sin (past, present, and future) Jesus already dealt with through His shed blood. Jesus already broke all the enemy’s authority over our lives. We already live under the protection and provision of our King of kings and Lord of lords.

So as we pray, we do so with complete confidence.

One Condition

Both Matthew and Mark speak about one condition — our willingness to forgive others.

“That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive — only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”
Mark 11:24-26 MSG

Several months ago, God challenged me to refuse to entertain any negative thoughts toward anyone. Too easily, we allow critical thinking or judgments to swirl in our hearts and minds. Jesus makes it clear that it is impossible to have a pure heart in prayer while holding a polluted heart toward others. By freely and willingly forgiving every hurtful thing against us, we align our hearts with His.

May nothing stand in the way of us receiving His full promise. May believing prayer rise from knowing that we “have received” whatever we ask for according to God’s will. Through the prayer of faith, we reach into the treasure trove of God’s storehouse of provision already waiting for us.

Today, may we each grasp a greater awareness of all that God has made available.

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Good Roots: Rooted and Grounded

Natural principles hold true for Christians as well; the development of solid foundation is essential to be rooted and grounded. Paul Keith Davis says, “Go deep in order to go high.”

Although trees and shrubs of all shapes and sizes fill the lots and parks within the city, I see only the tallest of trees from my fourth floor window. Those who roots have reached deep and wide obtain the resilience to survive the extreme Canadian prairie seasons. Without extensive root systems the gale force prairie winds would topple them.

After planting hundreds of trees over the years, I’ve learned the first five years are critical for healthy root development. In those five years upward and outward growth remains minimum, but beneath the surface a fibrous web of tenacious roots ensure long term health of the tree.

When the focus on root development takes precedence, all other growth and development will lead to greater health and fruitfulness.

God knows far better than I do about planting seeds and transplanting seedings. He created and designed the whole process.

Through trial and error, I also discovered that the right tree planted in the wrong location may survive for a season, but it will never thrive. Usually such a scenario results in death — sometimes slow, other times rapid.

Believe it or not, some trees prefer wet roots, others insist on theirs being dry; some only grow in rich loam, others prefer sandy soil. The adage “bloom where you are planted” only goes so far.

But what does becoming rooted and grounded mean?

In Love

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:14-19

Paul prays for the Ephesian church to become rooted and grounded (or established) in love.

The original word translated as rooted means “to cause to take root, to fix firmly and establish.” While the word translated as established means “to lay the foundation, or to lay the basis, erect, or consolidate.”

Paul prays that “every family” — not just some or a choice few — would become rooted and grounded in love. He knows we need help! But through the power of the Holy Spirit, as Christ inhabits the core of our being through faith, our roots of love deepen and spread ever wider.

The deeper our roots of love go the more we discover how high and deep God’s love for us reaches, going far beyond our comprehension. In His love, we become like mature trees rooted and grounded, reaching the full potential of all God has for us.

In Faith

“And now there is nothing between you and Father God, for he sees you as holy, flawless, and restored, if indeed you continue to advance in faith, assured of a firm foundation to grow upon. Never be shaken from the hope of the gospel you have believed in . . .”
Colossians 1:22-23 TPT

Paul conveys the same idea to the Colossian believers. He encourages them to lay a foundation of faith that is steadfast, firm, and immovable. Those rooted and grounded in faith grow! Faith advances! Never shaken!

Isn’t that what we all desire? A steadfast foundation ensures that nothing and no one comes between us and God. Our core relationship with Him grows unhindered “if” we continue in faith.

Even the smallest tree will experience a set-back when it is transplanted. Though its root system hasn’t yet spread as deep and wide as a mature tree, it takes time to begin to thrive in new ground. We all resemble transplanted trees.

This passage begins with:

“Even though you were once distant from him, living in the shadows of your evil thoughts and actions, he reconnected you back to himself.”
Colossians 1:21

Evil actions and sin-based thinking plagued us all until God transplanted us and “reconnected” us back to Himself. He transplanted us in the fertile soil of faith and love to spread our roots ever deeper. Once rooted and grounded, we will grow to full stature, casting holy shadows of protection and provision for others.

In Truth

Jesus told a parable illustrating the importance of being rooted and grounded.

“Let me describe the one who truly follows me and does what I say: He is like a man who chooses the right place to build a house and then lays a deep and secure foundation. When the storms and floods rage against that house, it continues to stand strong and unshaken through the tempest, for he built it wisely on the right foundation.”
Luke 6:47-48 TPT

Every builder knows the indispensable value of a “deep and secure foundation.” Storms will come! Floods will rage against us! By hearing and activating the Word of God in our lives, we will stand “strong and unshaken” nonetheless.

A building’s secure foundation in many ways resembles a tree’s roots system. We choose daily where and how to build upon God’s promises. May we build wisely. May each one of our lives become firmly rooted and grounded in His Word of truth.

Remain

In Ezekiel 17, we read an allegory about a great eagle who planted a cedar beside “abundant water.” Its branches turned toward the eagle while its roots settled deep in the rich soil, allowing the tree to flourish and be fruitful. But when another eagle came, the cedar turned its roots toward the new eagle, seeking a new source.

“Will it thrive?” God asks. “Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither” (Ezekiel 17).

God in His gentle mercy warns of the consequences of not remaining grounded in Him. He points to the real dangers of turning to other sources. The Holy Spirit does all He can, rooting and grounding us in His love and steadfast faith and nurturing us through the living water of His Word, the Bible.

Rooted and Grounded

Later in another vision, Ezekiel saw an eternal river flowing from the “threshold of the temple” (Ezekiel 47). He describes the resulting overflow of abundance!

“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fall. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
Ezekiel 47:12

Everyone rooted and grounded in love, faith, and truth bears fruit that nourishes and heals. Their lives carry the capacity to influence and impact many others. It is my prayer that when the hunger and hurting come close to us they will find food that satisfies the deep longing of their souls and healing for every broken area of their lives.

May our roots of love go deep, the foundation of our faith be solid, and truth of God’s Word guide our decisions. Let’s “go deep in order to go high.”

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3 Reasons to Put Jesus First

Today, I want to explore three great reasons for putting Jesus first in our lives and a few suggestions on how to do just that.

Last year we moved into a small city. Even though I had been a farm girl most of my life, I thoroughly enjoy living in this new community. Just as I once enjoyed following deer trails across the open prairie, I now enjoy exploring the beautiful walking paths of my city.

On a few occasions, I became disoriented by the intersecting and winding pathways. As soon as I encountered a familiar landmark, I could regain my bearings and walk with ease. Feeling even slightly lost is an unsettling experience.

Have you gone through a “lost” experience — not knowing which direction to proceed? Maybe, we all have at sometime. Jesus is the unchanging landmark, our epicenter Who sets a sure course for our lives.

#1 The Epicenter

In fact, Jesus is the epicenter of everything. He is the core, the heart, giving purpose to all things.

“For in him we live and move and have our being . . .”
Acts 17:28

Before I encountered Jesus and experienced life with Him, my life was incredibly lost in addictions and depression. He absolutely transformed my life, broke old destructive patterns of thinking, healed my emotional wounds, and restored hope and purpose.

I’m not alone! Millions of people through the ages testify of the same life-changing dynamics that Jesus makes.

By putting Jesus first, at the core, the center of our being, we may wander on to unknown paths, but we will never be lost or alone.

#2 The Plumb Line

Carpenters use a plumb line to draw true vertical lines so what they are building is perfectly formed to square. A plumb line is a string with a weight attached to the end. As the weight dangles freely, it will settle to a true vertical position. The plumb line remains true despite the whims of the carpenter. Without a plumb line the entire project risks becoming crooked and unstable.

“This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD asked me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ ‘A plumb line,’ I replied. Then the Lord said, Look I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.'”
Amos 7:7-8

The people of Israel had forsaken God and established their own twisted concept of morality and spirituality. But with Jesus as our plumb line, no attempt to justify our crooked ways will stand the test. He never changes with current whims of culture.

Jesus forms the plumb line of right and wrong, good and evil. The wise of heart will put Jesus first to establish God’s true standards in their lives. With Jesus as the plumb line, social frustrations and current opinions all come into context.

#3 The Pattern

Though Jesus came as a baby in human likeness, He established a perfect pattern of living unlike any human before Him. Jesus became the flawless model of humility, the example of self-sacrifice, and the representation of perfect love and grace.

When we put Jesus first, He becomes our focus as we seek to live in a way that reflects Him.

” . . . listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”
Acts 2:22

The challenge and encouragement within this verse is endless. “Listen!” the writer says, “Jesus was a man!” Everything Jesus did on earth, He did as a man! He fed the hungry, ministered to the poor, welcomed little children, raised the dead, healed the sick, and set demoniacs free. And He did it all as a man — a man filled with the Holy Spirit and led by God.

Everything Jesus did as a man, He also welcomes us to do. He showed us how. He set the pattern.

As we put Jesus first, we walk in His footsteps, following His example — even into the impossible of miracles, wonders, and signs.

Practical Steps

For far too many of us, Jesus can become an add on to other important or demanding things. Yikes! That, my friends, is a dangerous path. In the busyness of life, we can all too easily relegate Jesus to second, third, or fourth place.

As much as we love our families, Christ must be first. As much as we love and appreciate others in the Christian community, no one and nothing else should take first place. But how do we put Jesus first?

Just like in my walks, I need to be alert to my surroundings and aware of my direction, the same holds true for walking and living for Jesus. God helps us lay a firm foundation for placing Him in the preeminent position.

One of the most effective ways to put Jesus first is through beginning and ending each day with Bible reading and prayer. This helps us to focus on Him and His promises, by giving Him the first word in our hearts and minds.

Next, we can check the plumb line as we make decisions and choices. Will it align with His standards or ours? Am I living in a way that is true to Him?

And finally, which pattern of living can we learn from and grow in today? How can we live with God intention and purpose, re-presenting Him to those around us?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33

May Christ be the epicenter, the plumb line, and the pattern we follow everyday. Our lives ignite with purpose as we put Jesus first!

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Humility — The Pathway of God’s Blessing

The selfish inclination of the natural heart instinctively bends toward pride. By humility we will experience the pathway to God’s blessing.

While in a church service yesterday, I sensed there was a spiritual opening in the ceiling. An opaque or translucent cover sealed the opening. On the cover was written the word “HUMILITY.” I knew God was showing me the church’s access to God’s blessing was the pathway of humility. Humility also protected the people within the church from any attacks the enemy would attempt to forge against this faithful body of believers.

I know I haven’t even begun to understand the power of humility. My battle to overcome pride is unrelenting. Two things stop God’s moving among us: pride and bitterness. We find the antidote by embracing the opposite: humility and forgiveness.

This familiar verse comes to mind when I think about humility.

“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Proverbs 16:18

Nobody approaches life intending to self-destruct (becoming crushed, broken, or fractured) or fall (to come to ruin).

With Us

God longs for us to walk in harmony with Him — working with us, in us, and through us by the Holy Spirit. Humility guarantees this synchronized ebb and flow in the Spirit.

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
‘God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.'”
James 4:6

Imagine for a moment a beautiful white stallion running free and wild with mane and tail flowing in the wind. Though majestic and powerful, its potential remains unrealized. Only when the stallion willingly submits to a rider’s direction will the beauty translate into directed force and channeled potential.

We resemble that stallion. Holy Spirit is the rider. Humility allows the Spirit to flow through us as instruments of divine healing, anointed teaching and preaching, creative release, and so much more. Surrendered under the Spirit, we effortlessly move in His rhythm, directed by the whisper of His breath, without the need for bit or bridle.

Obedience contains a key aspect to consistently walking in humility.

Character and Behavior

Humility goes beyond attitude, infusing character and influencing behavior.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12

Notice how humility plays a central role within these character traits. Humbleness marks the lives of those who have conquered pride and haughtiness. Any attitude of superiority or egotism must bow for us to live in genuine humility deliberately and consistently.

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:1,2

God calls us to love in a way that stretches beyond emotion, doing whatever benefits and seeks the best for another person. The Passion Translation says, “live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior — a life that expresses gratitude to God.”

Holiness

One dictionary defines humility as “a state or condition of being holy, including piety, saintliness, blessedness, devoutness.” The more we choose humility, the more we resemble our Lord.

This passage illustrates it best.

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
Philippians 2:6-8

When every natural tendency strains toward self-promotion, let’s remember Jesus’ extreme submission to the Father. He humbled himself, surrendering everything for the love of God and others.

Walking in the steps of our Master beyond question includes following the path of humility. Even when the path of humility requires us to bend uncomfortably low.

Let God Lift

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
James 4:10

Just as Jesus humbled himself, God calls us to humble ourselves.

Jesus told His followers,

“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. but if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty”
Matthew 23:11-12 MSG

Every self effort to “lift” ourselves to a higher profile or position will ultimately lead to a fracture, falling or failure. But as we lower ourselves, He will ultimately lift us up making our lives “count for plenty.” Isn’t that what we all desire — our lives counting for plenty? His effortless lifting flowing with ease and filling each of us with peace?

Because Jesus lowered Himself to the extreme, God raised Him to the extreme.

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.”
Philippians 2:9

Blessings pour through the open door of humility. Often, they are tangible and definable. More often, they come in the subtle transformational changes within and around us. A beautiful piety and devoutness to Jesus becomes increasingly evident in everything we do.

Revival

Revival naturally flows from the stream of humility — first personally and then corporately.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

Wherever we find people walking in humility, praying and seeking God’s face, turning from sin, and walking in forgiveness, God moves! Revival occurs. The trickle of His Presence turns into a fire consuming everything that opposes Him.

Do you long for revival? Humility breaks through the translucent curtain, allowing God to flow freely into our midst, turning hearts radically toward Him.

It starts with me! It begins with you! May we cast aside the garments of pride and conceit, choosing instead the pure garments of God’s glorious humility. As we do, we will experience the blessing of God flowing into and through our lives in dimensions we never believed possible, making them truly count for plenty.

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A Time for War and a Time for Peace

Time for War

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” but is there a right time for war? If so, when, why, and how do we take our stand?

King Solomon wrote,

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens . . . a time for war and a time for peace.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1,8

The older I get, the less things appear worth fighting for — either to fight to win or to risk losing. Battles must be chosen wisely and fought strategically. Whether as willing or reluctant soldiers, God has enlisted Christians into a much larger engagement than we often realize.

Jesus forewarned His followers that satan, who was bent on destroying Him, would also engage in formal military combat against us.

Only two territories exist — the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness. No neutral ground exists. Though defeated, satan continues guerilla warfare to discourage and sidetrack the children of God.

Paul called his spiritual son, Timothy, onto the battlefield when he said,

Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”
2 Timothy 2:4

Faith

It is a fight our Commanding Officer, Jesus Christ, already won for us. Because we win, it is a good fight!

“Fight the good fight of true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you. which you have declared so well before many witnesses.”
I Timothy 6:12

Paul writes this instruction near the end of his long fought battle of true faith. Second Corinthians 11:23-28 vividly describes Paul’s combat: imprisonment, countless beatings, often near death, five times forty lashes minus one, stoned, three times shipwrecked, night and day adrift at sea, frequent journeys, dangers of river, robbers, from Jews, Gentiles, and false brothers, in the city and in the wilderness. Then add toil and hardship, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure, plus the daily pressure of caring for the churches.

Paul encourages Timothy to fight the same way — not with traditional weapons of war, but with courage, dedication, and standing for true faith.

Believing and trusting in Jesus Christ eternally secures our place in heaven, but few people will fight for a belief! To fight the good fight of faith, we need a deep-seated conviction — a conviction for which we are willing to risk our lives. When faith is threatened, it is time for war.

Marriage and Family

My husband and I recently celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary. We have fought many battles to reach that milestone.

Although we both have an aversion to engage issues head on, we have learned that for a relationship to not just survive, but thrive, is to fight for what is most loving, most honorable, and most life-giving in our relationship.

The Bible offers solid advice.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Romans 12:18

Flies hang around garbage. It is a fact of nature. Everyone within relationship must be willing to deal with their own pile of refuse — garbage attitudes, garbage goals, garbage agendas, garbage emotional triggers . . . At times, I am shocked how much garbage I willingly drag around!

But when people lack willingness to tackle their own issues, peaceful co-existence becomes extremely difficult or even impossible. Whatever depends on me, is mine to correct with the help of the Holy Spirit.

The faint of heart shrink back, blame, and avoid. The courageous enter the battle and grapple with issues that threaten the integrity of relationships such as marriage, family, and friendships.

To protect these important relationships, we must discern the time for war.

The Internal Battle

Often, our greatest battles come from within.

Again, Paul defines this battle so well:

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
Romans 7:21-23

Every Christian fights this war “within” — the war between our carnal nature and the Spirit of Christ. The battle continues until we enter heaven’s gates in ultimate triumph.

With all our hearts we desire to please and obey our Commanding Officer, Jesus. Yet our selfish nature demands its own way. At times, we boldly hold the winning line. While at other times, we succumb to old patterns!

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death! Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Romans 7:27

Since Christ has already triumphed, He carries us through to victory. No matter how it appears at the moment, He will ultimately deliver us from this conflict between our sinful nature and the holy desire of the Spirit within us.

Every day is a time to war this strategic battle. Just as Jesus’ win became ours, our wins become the encouragement for others within the ranks.

A Time to War

Every campaign narrows down to the fight between good and evil, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Whether the battle openly shows up in our relationships or hides deep within our hearts, we must continue to fight, not in our own strength or through natural means, but through Jesus Christ.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

The moment we pick up earthly weapons, we lose our grip on divinely powerful ones. God equips us with something far more than angry words, manipulative tactics, or military might. He gives each of His followers powerful spiritual weapons in our arsenal.

As we fight, staying in tune with the Spirit, both internal and external strongholds must crumble and fall. Ephesians 6:10-18 more clearly defines our weapons. They are worth repeating here:

Entire books have been written on the significance of our spiritual weaponry. When it is time to war, let us confront with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God — implementing each through fervent prayer.

Victory

Jesus engaged in the bloodiest altercation ever fought. He came forth victorious. Because He overcame, rising triumphant over the horrendous onslaught of satan, death and hell, we, too, face every adversary from victory’s side.

Today, we come to Him not for victory, but from victory!

Rise up, saint of God. You are mighty for the task! It is time for war!

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