FULLY ALIVE!

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


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Was I Robbed or What?

Make no mistake about it. Satan is a liar (John 8:44). He is also a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

He came last Tuesday.

But he did not steal, (kill or destroy) my joy. I gave it to him!

Yes, as soon as he showed his face, I threw up my hands and gave it to him. Without a fight.

Of course I didn’t recognize that right away. As a matter of fact, I spent several hours and engaged in several conversations discussing how he had robbed me. Interrupted an otherwise glorious morning and stole my joy! It was a beautiful, sunny day. I had a plan and a list, and I was working both. The skies were blue, my steps were light and peppy, I had checked two things off my list and was well on my way to number three.

Then, out of the blue, Satan showed up bringing with him several demons from the past.

What?

I handed my joy right over to him. I let him take me back to a dark place. A sad place. An overwhelming place. For a few hours I settled into that place – rolled around in the muck and mire, had a pity party and resigned myself to the fact that “this” would never be over, would never go away, that there was just no end to “it.” I even texted my girlfriend that “this” was a gift that just kept on giving.

So what?

Thankfully, my Father reminded me of some things!

First, He reminded me of Who He is – all powerful, almighty and all knowing (Psalm 147:5, Isaiah 40:28, Luke 12:7)! He was not caught off-guard or by surprise. He knew just what was going to happen every minute and moment of Tuesday, and He already had a plan.

Secondly, He reminded me of who I am and where I am – that He is mindful of me (Psalm 8:3-4) and that He is with me, upholding me (Isaiah 41:10), protecting me (Psalm 20:1, 140:4), helping and delivering me (Psalm 46:1, 34:19).

Thirdly, He reminded me that while He fights for me (Exodus 14:14), I am to always be alert and am to resist the devil and stand firm in my faith (1 Peter 5:8-9). I am to be dressed in full armor at all times so that when (not if) Satan comes, I am ready and able to stand (Ephesians 6:11-17) not turn tail and run and not surrender! I am to remember that in all “these” things I am more than a conqueror through Him (Romans 8:37) and I can be strong and courageous not trembling and dismayed (Joshua 1:9)! My enemies have been subdued under me (Psalm 18:39).

Now what?

I reclaimed my joy!

And I encourage you to do the same. When we belong to Christ, the enemy never has the final word over our lives. We are secure in God’s hands (2 Chronicles 20:15).  He fights for us but we are to be ready at all times so that when Satan comes, we stand!

 


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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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Evil Germs

Germs are everywhere. Really. In fact, 80% of infections are spread the same way. Someone touches a germ-ridden surface and passes a bug along.

Dr. Elaine Jong of the Washington Travel Clinic (Seattle) says it doesn’t matter “whether germs are viral, bacterial or fungal, some can remain active on most surfaces for several days – stainless steel, wood, plastic or even the paper in a magazine.” There are a gazillion germs living on the umpteen surfaces you touch throughout the day.

When you touch germy surfaces, those germs are transmitted to your hands. When you touch your face – eyes, nose, lips, including eating – Bam! You have infected yourself. When you touch others, you pass the germs on to them. They, in turn, touch their faces and… Yes, Bam! They, too, now have the infection, and so the cycle continues.

So, can you just not touch any surfaces? Probably not. Door knobs, elevator buttons, counter tops, cell phones, faucets, magazines…all germy! What are we to do? Wash our hands. Faithfully. Vigorously. Repeatedly.

Guess what? Satan and his evil spirits are like germs – everywhere! Satan leads and controls an army of evil spirits that will do whatever they can not only to keep the lost from coming to Jesus, but to try to “take down” those who walk in fellowship with Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. He is the enemy, he prowls and he seeks to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is a thief seeking to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). His primary work is to defeat those who serve the Lord and to halt the building and advancement of God’s kingdom.

Just as we are not defenseless against germs – there are a multitude of medicines and a plethora of sanitizers, wipes and sprays all intended to build our defenses and protect us from the ravages of germs, prayer builds our internal strength and is our primary strategy to fight our enemy, the Devil. Just as we are faithful, fervent and persistent in washing our hands, we must be faithful, fervent and persistent in prayer – specifically in praying the truths of the Scriptures.

Kay Johns writes in Scriptures for Victory: Armed with the Sword of the Spirit, “We’re naïve if we think we’re not in the battle.” Understanding we are in a battle, we must also understand the imperative of being always ready for battle. We must cover ourselves with the blood of Christ – blood that redeems (Ephesians 1:7), sanctifies (Hebrews 13:12), cleanses and purifies (1 John 1:7), reconciles us to the Father (Colossians 1:20), binds us to His covenant of love (1 Corinthians 11:25) and protects us from Satan (Revelation 12:11).

We are prepared to fight germs when our immune systems are strong from a healthy life-style: eating fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, controlling blood pressure and taking steps to avoid infection such as washing our hands and cooking our meats, etc.

We are prepared to fight Satan and his evil spirits when we walk in personal relationship with Christ, pray as He taught and study His words so that we may declare His truths!

 

RESOURCE

Scriptures for Victory: Armed with the Sword of the Spirit

www.learntopray.org


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Window Shopping

It was almost a ritual.  Sunday School followed by morning worship that lasted most of the day (so I never understood why they called it morning worship) then home to a dinner that my mom had actually prepared just after breakfast, a nap for dad and then a short drive into town just as the sun was setting to go window shopping!

Those of you under the age of 50 probably have never heard of window shopping – looking at the goods displayed in shop windows, especially without intending to buy anything. If you have heard of it, your probably can’t understand it. Well, think of it like shopping online. You put a lot of stuff into your cart, but you never check out! Researchers (yes, someone actually studied window shopping) say that there are great benefits from window shopping – exercise, relieved stress and raised aspirations are just a few, not to mention you save money!

For us, it was a great family time. It was almost a kind of “date night” for mom and dad as they walked along whispering to each other, gazing into the windows of the furniture store, reminiscing about old times and making plans for their future – and ours. For my sister and I, it was a time of dreaming. Our favorite window gave a gaze into the local 5 and dime. As we grew, our interests shifted to the clothing stores. Sometimes we would stop for ice cream and enjoy our cones and sandwiches as we walked, talked and “shopped,” our imaginations running wild.

That’s what window shopping is really about – letting your imagination run wild. You imagine all the things that you could have, the life you could live. Imagination can be a good thing. And not. Especially when it comes to living the Christian life. We were not meant to live a life of imagining what could be, what we might have. John 10:10 teaches us that Christ came that we might have an abundant life, here and in the hereafter.

When you window shop you never go into the store, you never try on the goods, you don’t even get to touch them. You simply watch from a distance, separated by that pane of glass and separated from the joy of touching, holding, knowing, having. When we window shop God’s word, we read of all that He has promised – rest, power, strength, peace, victory, life eternal! (Matthew 11:28-29; Isaiah 40:29-31, Proverbs 1:33; John 14:27, Romans 8:37-39), but we separate ourselves from possessing these gifts and knowing the full joy of them. Just as we cannot really imagine owning some of the possessions behind the glass of the store windows, we tell ourselves that we cannot really receive God’s blessings. For certain, we don’t deserve His love.

We look with our human eyes and think with our human thoughts, so it is difficult for us to comprehend. God does not love us because we are lovable or because we deserve His love. Our hearts are innately deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We are evil and we do evil (Romans 3:10-12). But it is not just God’s nature to love; He is love, true love, not the sappy movies and Valentine’s Day kind of love but agape love, love that sacrifices, and He chooses to lavish His love on those who need it the most, those who least deserve it, those who rebel even against Him (1 John 4:10; John 6:44; Romans 5:8).

Unlike the cold panes of glass that separate us from the stores’ goods, God invites us to come – come drink, come eat, come live (Isaiah 55:1-2). Don’t let Satan trick you into thinking you are unworthy. He will have you forever on the outside looking in, nose pressed against the glass, desiring what you think is beyond you. Come. Come into God’s covenant. Come into His love (Isaiah 55:1-3).


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What does it mean to be fully alive?

Webster identifies the word alive as an adjective and defines it by identifying synonyms such as  animated, alert, active, energetic, vigorous, sprightly, vivacious, buoyant, exuberant, ebullient and spirited.  Does that sound like your life?  Does that sound like anybody’s life that you know?  All too often we feel anything (and everything) except alive, much less fully alive!  But fully alive is just what our Father desires for us.  John 10:10b reminds us that Christ came that we might have an abundant life (NASB).  I especially like some of the other translations for this particular Scripture such as that we might have life “to the full” (NIV) or that we might have a life that is “rich and satisfying” (NLT).  The Aramaic Bible in Plain English translates John 10:10b as “I have come that they may have life and have whatever is abundant.”  That’s something to ponder – what is abundant to you?  What is fully alive?

I wish that I could tell you that I had an answer for you to either of those questions, but I don’t.  But I do have the next best thing to offer and that is what is the source of an abundant life!  We only have to back up a few verses from John 10:10b.  Verse 9 reads, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved…and find pasture.”  Join this verse with verse 10, and you have the answer.  Jesus is the source of an abundant life – the only source.  Not a career.  Not a person.  Not a place.  Not a time or season.  Jesus is the door, and He came that we might have life and “whatever is abundant!”