FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Where Are You Empty?

In Unmasking Satan: Understanding Satan’s Battle Plan and Biblical Strategies for Fighting Back, author Richard Mayhue wrote, “When General George Patton counterattacked Field Marshal Rommel in World Ward II, Patton is reported to have shouted in the thick of the battle, “I read your book, Rommel! I read your book!”  Patton had, we understand, studied Rommel’s Infantry Attacks and knew the German leader’s strategy; Patton planned his moves accordingly.

If we read God’s book, we know two things – the schemes and strategies of our enemy, the Devil and the love and power of our Father, God.

We know that Satan is a powerful adversary and, to be effective in our battle, we do well to take stock of him. We know that he lies (John 8:44); deceived (2 Corinthians 11:14-15); frightens (2 Timothy 1:7); schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11); tempts (Matthew 4:3); controls (Ephesians 4:26-27); steals, kills and destroys (John 10:10); prowls and devours (1 Peter 5:8).

As Max Lucado reminds, we also know that “Satan will attack weak spots first.” Jesus fasted for forty days and nights. As the Son of Man, He was very hungry. The devil came to Jesus to tempt Him, knowing His weak spot and saying, “If You are the Son of God, tell these rocks to become bread.” Matthew 4:2–3. Max writes, “Forty days of fasting left Jesus famished, so Satan began with the topic of bread. Jesus’ stomach was empty, so to the stomach Satan turned.”

It’s no different for us. Satan will attack our empty places first – the holes in our souls that crave intimacy, love, attention, success, wealth…even food.

Remember though, our battle plan book, the Bible, not only tells us Satan’s strategies, it also tells us how to equip for the fight – and how to win! It tells us how to fill those holes!  We must read and plan our moves accordingly!

Where are you empty?

Look to God to fill those holes. Bring your weaknesses to Him before Satan brings them to you!

Resources

Lucado, Max. (2015). God is with you every day. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Mayhue, R. (2001). Unmasking satan: Understanding satan’s battle plan and biblical strategies for fighting back. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel.

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Consider God

Jumping right in I will tell you that I believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God. What the Bible says is wholly useful and completely true and trustworthy. It is a guide not only to salvation but to all life. God’s word has purpose and will not return to Him void. It will accomplish what He said it would and prosper in the thing to which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11). Every single word is true and important as all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man (and woman) of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

So, there is not one text, one Scripture, one story, one word that we can dismiss as untrue or unimportant – even those that, in our “humanness,” we struggle to understand, to wrap our brains around, to make sense of.

Case in point – Abraham and Sarah.

Both wanted a child. Both were old. Really old. Yet, God promised Abraham that He would bless Sarah and give Abraham a son by her (Genesis 17:16). Abraham laughed, and “said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear (17:17)?

Like Abraham, we might be inclined to laugh, too, when we read their story. A ninety-year old mom? Seriously? Seriously!!! Because God has many lessons in Abraham and Sarah’s story – lessons for them then and for us now. Lessons even in Abraham’s laughter. While our laughter in a situation such as this might be a “you’ve got to be kidding” laughter, Abraham’s was a laughter of delight, not of distrust. Laughter of joy, not jest.

Likely, delight and joy might not be our first emotions – even after years of wanting a baby. You and I (at least I) would more likely be inclined to start considering ALL the reasons that this just could not happen. Surely I would consider my age – 99! I would consider, if not the impossibility, certainly the difficulty of birth at that age. I would consider the limited functioning of my body at that age. I would consider my limited strength, patience, health, coordination, mental faculties… I would consider the lack of family support (my mom would be 130 and not exactly up for babysitting). I would consider the chances that my baby would suffer deformities. I would consider my finances (a baby on retirement income?). I would consider the impact on my time and how my day-to-day functioning would need to change.

Abraham never considered his body or Sarah’s. His life or hers. Rather, he considered God – His strength, His power, His promises, His provision and His faithfulness.

Whatever we face, our first consideration should be our God. Romans 4:20 (ESV) tells us that Abraham never doubted that God would do what He promised; he never stopped believing. Rather, he grew stronger in his faith and just praised God, laughing in delight.

What do you need? Consider our God, then laugh in delight knowing He can do exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!


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First Sunday of Advent

According to Bible Gateway, there are 5467 divine promises in the Scriptures. Other sources say there are fewer, and one says there are more than 7000. Regardless the number, be assured, we are a people of promise.

For centuries, God promised and prepared people for the coming of his Son, our only true hope for eternal life. Christmas is the time that we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises God made—that He would send a Savior.

Today marks the beginning of Advent – the season leading up to Christmas. Advent begins four Sundays before December 25. This year Advent spans November 27 through December 24. This is a wonderful time to look back, look inward and look ahead.

What are we looking back to? 1 Peter 1:10-12 helps us understand:

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

We look back to remember the thousands of years that God’s people, our ancestors, were anticipating the coming of the Messiah, the Christ, God’s Salvation. Though many foretold the coming, none knew the day nor the hour nor the person nor the true magnitude of the grace to come.

Why are we looking inward?

In addition to being the start of the new church year, Advent is a reminder to prepare our hearts and minds for Jesus’ coming -not His first, but His return. We look inward introspectively, deep into our own hearts and minds, to prepare ourselves to stand before Him. We search for that which separates us from Him and seek His forgiveness and His help that our hearts and minds might be filled with Him and our hands might be about His business.

To what do we look ahead?

We look to His coming again! In the New Testament anticipation of Christ’s return is a constant theme. As followers of Christ we, too, should look forward to His return. We should long for His return – our blessed hope (Titus 2:13), long to see our Savior from heaven – the place of our citizenship (Philippians 3:20) and long to receive our crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award… to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

I once read that “real” Christians “really” look for His return because He is real, and He really is returning.  Are you looking?